One of the things that has kept us entertained through the lockdown has been the Club Beatz at Home and Saturday was the finale. Forget the headlining act Mafikizolo… it was the surprise trio of Lydia Jazmine, Irene Ntale and Lilian Mbabazi that left us talking.
If there is one thing the two-month lockdown has taught us, it is survival. The first time everything came to a standstill, few imagined Ugandans would forge a way to party through the months.
Then they discovered online shows. Artistes, organisations and brands have held online shows, but it is the Club Beatz at Home that has stood out the most — they were consistent — happening every Saturday, with those sleek production values by Fenon.
The last of the Club Beatz at Home took place on Saturday. It was the finale of more than six weeks of exposing Ugandans to amazing live performances, from artistes such as Irene Ntale, Lilian Mbabazi, Kenneth Mugabi, Naava Grey, A-Pass, Cindy and Jose Chameleone and of course surprise packages in people such as Pallaso.
But there was also a good number of forgettable ones and that is the time people partly switched off to chat, took a toilet break or went for a refill. Generally, the shows were the kind that cared little about fame and artiste status.
Saturday’s show had a line up well thought out; South African duo Mafikizolo, Navio, stage beast Cindy, crooner Kenneth Mugabi and Pallaso.
The show started in time, with Martha Kay as host; she is a good communicator that has never struggled with the queen’s language, yet, making her the host of the weekly show seemed to weigh down on her.
Mafikizolo opened the Saturday performances. The problem though, is that they have become predictable. They, however, did their best through a catalogue of songs such as Emlanjeni, Ndihamba Nawe, Udakwa Njalo to their newer works, Khona, Happiness and Love Potion.
Kenneth Mugabi did not disappoint, thanks to his will to connect with an audience he could not see.
The Comment section
The real party, though, was in the comment section.
During Mugabi’s performance, it was clear many people had no idea who he was but stayed around to discover him. Others had an idea but were there to see only Naki, his most popular song.
The fun though was in the shade. “Do you think people in Nansana understand Kenneth Mugabi? Or in Kapa Cat they trust?” one user commented.
But even with cutting edge production, it is hard to imagine if the shows were promoted well enough. The ratings were worrying. For most of the time, the shows peaked at 2,000 live viewers — Saturday did not hit that mark. They numbers grew and fell most of the time. They were mostly stable by the time Pallaso and Cindy came on.
Pallaso may have left us breathless with his collaboration with that little known Luganda rapper, School Fees, but the biggest surprise of the night was the trio Lilian Mbabazi, Irene Ntale and Lydia Jazmine.
Ntale’s acoustic performance, Lilian’s unmatched voice range, joined by probably an understudy of theirs, Jazmine, was Fenon giving us more than we paid for. The trio did a medley of their songs Nkubanja, Kyolowoza and Vitamin.
There were more things that made their performance memorable; they had all performed on earlier episodes of the show and all have big songs written by the late Moze Radio; the artistes complimented each other that even when we knew one was stronger in some departments, they never showed off.
They capped their performance with a cover of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. What a way to end a season of performances, but the show was not over yet, Cindy was waiting in line.
She was amazing, not surprising since we know her stage prowess, in fact her only short coming was performing after the trio. She was good but never had we imagined Irene Ntale singing and strumming her guitar for Lydia Jazmine and Lilian Mbabazi.