Sauti Sol’s performance and launch of their new album Live And Die In Afrika was another game changer by the group in the way live music is performed.
There were a few lessons to what the night meant to the band, the fans who were there and the music industry as a whole.
1. Kenyans will support quality local acts
The myth that Kenyans don’t attend shows by local acts was shattered in two ways. Not only did they pay between Ksh. 1000 to Ksh. 5000 (the VIP section was filled up), they came out in large numbers that parking at the expanse Ngong Racecourse was a task by itself.
Revellers had to walk long distances from the spots they parked to the entrance because of the filled up main parking spaces.
Next time a musician says Kenyans don’t go to shows by Kenyan singers, just reference them back to this and ask them why Kenyans don’t go to their shows per se.
2. Sauti Sol are trend setters
You could tell from the very beginning that the band changed the way live music was perceived and performed in Kenya.
There was a trap door entry to the stage from the backstage, the visual displays and the size of the stage alone were larger-than-life.
The props, the dancers and the band’s outfits changed depending on the set they were performing. The whole set design and delivery has notched up live shows not only in Kenya but in Africa.
Even the venue where the show took place wasn’t the usual next-to-the-tracks Ngong Racecourse destination but a section of the golf course. This set up an incline where anyone could see the stage from anywhere, and it felt like one was at an outdoor concert somewhere not in Kenya.
They will also be embarking on a travelling concert tour through many parts of the country and beyond.
3. Bien is a talented musician
No one has questioned the vocal prowess Bien has possessed since he burst into the scene with Sauti Sol. He had also been playing the guitar before Polycarp came into the fray.
Since then, however, he has gone on to establish himself as a song writer and as he displayed on Saturday, quite the pianist. This versatility in his talent base sets him miles apart from most entertainers.
4. Sauti Sol is strongly rooted
Not only has the band had followers who have stuck by them from day one, their respective and collective family support have been a crucial part of their longstanding success.
Their parents had to be part of the “revolution” on this night of their biggest unveiling. Aaron Rimbui, who performed on this track with them, has also been their mentor for a long time.
They still have a good relationship with Adele from back in the day, Le Band and Amos & Josh are bands that have also enjoyed relationships with Sauti Sol that go deeper than just music.
They also somewhat have a relationship with Penya Africa, the team that managed them in the initial stages of their success and up until a few years ago, when Marek Fuchs became their manager.
5. When you’re excellent, you become a brand
Sponsors and companies always want to be associated with the time-proven winning team. This is the secret to brands, consistently delivering the goods.
In that aspect, Sauti Sol is definitely a brand as they have proven time and again they can deliver the goods.
Hence companies like NTV, Kiss100, Radar Security, Homeboyz Entertainment and even the embattled Uber among others offered support to have their names associated with Sauti Sol on this one night that could be the beginning of a fresh face to live performance set ups.
For that same reason, besides the gate charges, many fans wanted to take home memorabilia such as t-shirts, mugs and the album that were on sale at the venue.
6. Despite all the preparations, you’re only as good as your supporting cast
The event was mainly a successful one. The performances were immensely incredible and the crowd loved what was before them. It is because of this that I will single out the soundmen for ruining an almost flawless display.
Microphone and sound issues were the main let down to Sauti Sol giving 100% the best show of their lives. Low sounding and sometimes muted mikes on the guitars, and Amos was barely audible during their “Nerea” performance.
Bien and Mudig were clearly angst by this, since it happened on many occasions, and it even made them cut the performance of “Coming Home” while Bien had to delay his performance of “Kiss Me” while the microphone was being looked into.