Having to make a decision on whether to go home or attend an event you have looked forward to is always a tough choice. That was me last Friday. Throughout the day, I was caught in a quandary: go home and get some rest considering the busy week I’ve had or be at Alliance Francaise, Accra to experience what the much talked about PhreakOutLive was all about.
At 6:30 pm, I was contemplating which of the options to take. Going home would mean missing out on whatever fun the night would be serving. It would mean waiting for another year to experience the wave. Attending the event also meant staying out late, the struggle with getting a car back home. I came to a decision after an hour: I was going for PhreakOutLive.
8:35 pm was when I got to the venue. The Musical Lunatics were prepping, playing some mellow jams to the small crowd present. Even when Official Kwame, the MC on the night introduced the first act of the night, the amphitheater of Alliance Francaise wasn’t fully packed. People were still filing in. Poet/Spoken word artiste, Hondred Percent opened the night. By the end of his performance, the benches were largely filled.
A sea of performances followed and the artistes on the bill dished an exciting, riveting and memorable show. Nigerian act, Big Ben performed ‘Do My Own’ (a song he did with rapper M.anifest which introduced him to a section of Ghanaians). ‘Do My Own’, according to Big Ben is a response to his dad’s displeasure at his career path.
Ria Boss, who performed three songs including ‘Everything’, ‘Love Yourself, and ‘Flame On’ (fan favourite) proved again why she is a big deal. Afro/Neo Soul singer, Eli Muzik delivered one of the best sets of the night. His growth and maturity as an artiste and a performer were on display. His vocal control and his ability to direct his band affirmed this observation.
By the time producer Kuvie took over for his set, the crowd was already hyped for whatever was to come. Each one of the previous performances had upped the excitement a bit higher. Bringing out fellow Villainaires (artistes/collaborators of Villain Sounds), Kuvie’s set was an energy spreading episode. New comers OneRJZ, $pacely, Nxwth, KiddBlack and Darkovibes were irrepressible. With their trap-influenced tracks, they got the crowd roaring. The euphoria had hit a crescendo by the time Darkovibes performed his hit song ‘Tomorrow’. One guy close to me (I was near the stage) was belting out the lyrics like he helped Darkovibes write the song.
One observation made during their performances was the degree of unity existing between these young artistes. They provide a clutch for one another. And they extended same love to new sensation Kwesi Arthur. Songs like ‘Ade Akye’, ‘Prekese’ (his version Future’s ‘Mask Off’) and ‘Grind Day’ have become anthems. Seeing the GroundUpChale act on stage singing/rapping those songs made it extra amazing.
If there’s an artiste that impressed so much on the night, it was Yung Pabi. Even though I’d seen his performance once (during a Yoyotinz Open Mic session last year), his set on Friday was a standout. His entry, the choreography and the dramatization of his song were enough proof that he came to make an impression on the audience. And he aced it.
For many fans, A.I was the man they came to see. And he didn’t fail to give fans what they needed. Covering most of the songs-both full singles and hooks for others- from his recent catalog such as the classic ‘Grind’, ‘Paper’, ‘Burn Fat’ and hooks done for others, the 2Ligit artist proved he’s indeed a formidable talent. His voice is as perfect as the one heard on wax. His rapport with the fans who stood inches away from the stage was admirable as well. The call for an encore wasn’t fully honoured because of time.
When the incredible Villy (of Xtreme Volumes) came on, the crowd had left or were leaving, which was very sad. But, that didn’t diminish his performance. As he told the crowd who stayed, he doesn’t ‘care if you’re 10 people or 100 people. I’m performing for you’. Villy is a master act. He exudes energy and knows how to rock a stage. He can hit notes without struggle. The crowd was indulgent, singing along to some of his very popular songs such as the political charged ‘Wia My Money’. For over 20 minutes, he was dishing out great vibes with a touch of class.
Two things are worth criticizing. First, the sound was poor to an extent. There were periods where one the sound from the band overpowered the singing of the artistes. Ria Boss suffered that. Same happened during Kuvie’s set. Also, the list of performers could have been structured well. Villy should have performed before A.I since it appeared many came to see him.
The Musical Lunatics were exceptional on the night. The band confirmed their status as one of the best, if not the best band around. There were moments I found myself looking around, wondering if some of the artistes were performing to a dubbed instrumentation CD. But, it was all the handiwork of the Musical Lunatics. Nii Quaye and his boys are untouchable. Ayorkor impressed with both her performance and backing duties.
As Official Kwame put it, the essence of PhreakOutLive is to provide a platform for young artistes on the come up to showcase their talents to the new music fans. The artistes featured lived up to the ethos of the event. They recognized the opportunity given them and they equally gave out their best on the night. For this, BeatPhreaks and DJ KEYZUZ deserve encouragement and support to keep this event going for many years