Unplugged Still On Life Support

Nothing survives in life if it stays the same. It is a rule of life everything has to change because without evolution no organism can subsist.

Unfortunately, the organizers of Club Silk’s monthly Unplugged shows are still eluded by this notion, gauging by what transpired last Thursday. The monthly show, which happens every last Thursday of the month (since it started in March 2008), had been going on consistently until last July when it took a break.

Apparently, the organisers wanted to have a redress of the show – before returning it with a fresh look. Last Thursday was the night that club goers had been eagerly waiting for. The club had lined up three artistes: Rabadaba, Don MC and Nince Henry. It wasn’t the lineup you would expect on what was dubbed ‘Unplugged Revamped’.

Rabadaba’s career is on a downward trend – with less optimism for revival. Don MC has consistently been a tag-along rapper. It is in songwriter Nince Henry that you had some little hope. This time round, the stage was bigger – with a white draping at the back displaying spectacular lighting effects. But that was all there was to offer!

The numbers were miserable, with only a handful of patrons in the club. It was also rather odd that the seats reserved for the sponsors, Nile Breweries (through their brand Club Beer), were empty. Even Shem Ssemambo, who is usually a regular guest at Unplugged, was a no- show. And then the most annoying part is that we had to wait until 11pm for UB5 band, which usually backs the musicians, to get to the stage for the show to kick off.

Rabadaba hit the stage first with his hits: Olunyiriri, Mukyamu and Bwekiri, which he performed for 20 minutes as the small crowd cheered him. He was followed-up by Don MC, who received a cold reception while doing songs such as Ekinyumo, I Am Loving It and Oli Mubeezi.

A few minutes past midnight, the long-awaited Nince Henry stepped forward, but he didn’t seem happy. However, he gave the audience a good performance, opening with Kibalo Kye, Cinderella, Kaberebere and Kabiriti. This is before he took a short break where he told the audience about his songwriting world.

But revellers didn’t seem interested in his escapades they just wanted him to perform. And having noticed it, he quickly belted out Sikyakaaba, Taata W’Omuntu, and Basusi Bamenvu, among others. He capped the night by sampling Diana Nalubega’s Kisumuluzo and Bebe Cool’s Kamwako, songs he penned.

After the show, Nince Henry shared his views about Unplugged with The Observer, saying the idea of having more than one artiste just waters down the concept.

“Unplugged is supposed to be an up-close and personal event between the fans and artiste, but that can’t happen people want you to sing and then the next artiste comes on”.

He also noted that an artiste needs to do enough preparation for the show – revealing that he was called two weeks to the show and only rehearsed once. According to Bayimba International Music Festival’s Phillip Masembe, Unplugged should be more than just performances.

“In my view, this is a chance for artistes to tell their music lovers why they wrote or decided to sing a certain song and what it means to them,” he said.

He further noted that there should be an extra reason that brings people to Unplugged – otherwise you can now catch a lot more musicians doing live performances anywhere in the city. Masembe’s sentiments can’t be dismissed. For instance, Bebe Cool, who is lined up to perform next month, has just had a successful live concert at the Kampala Serena hotel and he performs with his Gagamel band at Club Amnesia every Tuesday for free.

For a Bebe Cool fan that never misses his Tuesday gigs, the Unplugged show next month won’t be that attractive unless there is something more to the show.

Source : The Observer

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