After months of promotion and expectation, the BAR 2 concert, headlined by rapper EL and put together by his label BBnZ Live came to pass on Saturday, 29th August, 2015. This is the second event in what is shaping up to be an annual event. The first event was hosted in July last year.
The World Trade Centre came alive with DJ Mic Smith setting the mood up for what was to come, courtesy his impressive playlists and skills set on the decks. He kept the audience excited; dropping hot hip hop/RnB mixed with afro pop tunes.
For a show advertised to commence at 8pm, some fans trooped into the venue by 7 pm and had to wait-with many having to stand on their feet (the GHc 20 and GHc 25 ticket holders) for almost 6 hours. Only the VIP ticket holders (GHc 30) were offered a seat. Some criticized the arrangement especially the provision of seats, suggesting it was unnecessary since it is a hip hop show.
With over a dozen artistes on the bill coupled with the late start of the show (it began officially after 9pm), one was in for a long night and yes it was a long one-show ended after 3 am.
The first leg of the show was to advertise underground artistes to new fans. Some were amazing to watch. The likes of Morning Tee, Pata (Temple), Kidd Black showed great attitude on stage and got the crowd roaring.
The crowd got into frenzy in the second half of the show when the more established acts came on stage. Illa Shaz and his Shaolin MonFunk (Mamprusi Imperial) broke the monotony of what may be described as the ‘Drake-ish’ tone of most songs (here I’m talking about the Worst Behaviour inspired rap style and sound) most of the first acts were displaying. Illa Shaz and the Shaolin MonFon Crew- a veteran hip hop collective- brought that ‘Wu-Tang Clan-esque’ energy to the set. With their gangsta outlook (costume) and boundless energy, they got the better side of the crowd.
Trigmatic followed keeping the tempo alive. And by the time the irreverent FOKN Bois (M3nsa and Wanlov) stepped on the stage, one came to realize where he was-a real hip hop show. The FOKN Bois’ stage artistry was once again reinforced. The duo’s performance that night was admirable. The chemistry and sheer understanding coupled with their amazing dramatizations is a good template for all would be artistes. They are without a doubt, the finest performers we have around.
The FOKN Bois rocked the party
The likes of Flowking Stone (who brought out his brother Kunta Kinte in a nostalgic manner) and Kwaw Kesse dished out songs that got the crowd super excited. At this point, it was clear that the ground was perfectly pitched for ‘The BAR Man’, EL to make an appearance. And yes, he came, thrilled and bowed out in style.
EL performed a potpourri of songs from his BAR I mixtape, some old songs and a couple on his current BAR II mixtape. He brought out most of his pals who featured on the album-from C-Real, Kojo-Cue, Stargo, Recognized Ali, Lil Shaker, Cabum, Gemini, JaySO (whose calming disposition on stage was excellent), Pappy Kojo and Joey B who all gave a good account of themselves.
One of the memorable moments of the night was when EL, Pappy Kojo and Joey B performed ‘All Black’. The spontaneous crowd reaction was indescribable. It was as if the audience was there just for that moment. The crowd reaction was orgasmic and electrifying.
The BAR II, notwithstanding the positives (including beautiful stage setting) was without flaws. And the conspicuously flaw was the poor sound quality. One could barely hear the words of the artistes. The venue was too large and obviously not one built to host such events. Too much sound echoed defacing what would have been a perfect night.
Apart from the FOKN Bois who called on the sound men to turn the volume down so the fans could hear their voices and Stargo who sounded audible, almost all the acts had their voice drummed out by their own music.
As indicated above, the late start of the show and the long list of ‘passing through’ acts meant the show dragged unnecessarily. One could understand EL for trying to offer some of his hop hop friends the stage to sell their craft to his fans but the numbers were disgustingly high. And the effect was evident as by the time EL made an appearance -most of the people were tired. It took a while for them to get back into the groove.
Why EL didn’t follow the template of BAR 1 (in terms of artistes on stage)? Maybe something he must consider next time. As a footnote, the organizers could also showcase the names of some of these up and coming acts for the crowd to know them.
For EL, the BAR Concert series is not only an opportunity to give back to his fans and gauge his artistry but a platform for him and BBnZ to create an annual ‘Must See’ showpiece. Definitely the BAR concert has the potential of becoming a national event a la Drake’s OVO Fest. And with the experiences of the first and this weekend’s shows, BBnZ is on the right path.