Bebe Cool has since dominated the headlines ever since he was thrown out of stage at the Swangz Avenue All Star concert that happened on Friday at Lugogo Cricket Oval despite Tarrus Riley putting up a great performance on Friday.
It was billed the biggest concert of the year and may be rightly so, as Swangz Avenue arguably Uganda’s biggest record label was celebrating 10 years in the entertainment business as they hired Jamaican Raggae star Taruss Riley to headline the much anticipated show.
The All Star concert started with upcountry tours organized in conjunction with Bell Jamz, a music and entertainment platform to promote the industry especially local talent under Bell Lager. After visiting major towns like Mbale, Masaka and Arua, the Friday show was the climax of the celebrations.
CURTAIN RAISERS DO THEIR PART
With gates opening as early as 3pm, the event kicked off in earnest with DJ mixes where reggae vibes were oozing off the mega sound systems assembled by sound engineers from UK. This is the only stage where MCs showcased as the rest was non-stop performances.
Having a reggae headlining artiste, It was fitting for organizers to kick-start the event with our very own reggae legend Maddox Ssematimba who stepped on the stage at around 8pm performing popular songs like ‘Nakatudde’, ‘Easy’ and crowd favourite ‘Namagembe’ before a skimpily dressed Vinka stormed the stage dressed in all-gold and wiggling like a possessed python as she performed ‘Love Doctor’ before it was followed by a hip-hop session led by Navio and his Clear Kut crew.
When Mun G completed the hip-hop session with ‘Akantu’, there was time for a tribute to late Sera and Mozeh Radio among other artistes who the industry has lost in recent times. With Aziz Azion doing the magic on his guitar before unleashing his hit songs in full starting with ‘Oxygen’ with the song that made him big ‘Nkubira Mukwano’ he did with Swangz Avenue being the main highlight.
Benon Mugumbya co-founder of Swangs Avenue turned back the clock when he reminded us of his singing days with ‘I Know’ where he features Vampos (Now Vampino) as they encourage hard work and a ‘never give up’ attitude while taking it day by day in our hustle.
Benong then introduced Pasha Amora the girl from Arua who they discovered in their talent during the upcountry tours and she showed the crowed why in a few years’ time she will be a force to reckon with.
Maurice Kirya then pops up with his guitar as he serenades the crowd with his sultry voice before Ziggy received the biggest cheers with ‘Sunda’ and ‘Eno Mic’ which have been iconic East African tunes followed by Rabadaba, Weasel, Apass Kent And Flosso with Vampino concluding the dance-hall/Ragga session with ‘Smart Wire’
Bebe Cool who was supposed to crown it all for the curtain raisers, started with ‘Love You Everyday’ as he entered the stage only to be welcomed by boos and flying bottles before being whisked away by organizers and security. He tried to resist but the crowd who kept chanting ‘People Power’ got even more rowdy forcing security to drag him off stage where he continued fighting them back stage.
That scuffle scared the hell out of Jamaican Tarrus Riley who was to come up next after Bebe Cool and even threatened not to perform. After a few minutes of calming him down and convincing him that the trouble makers were no more, he allowed and came on stage alongside veteran saxophonist Dean Frazer and the Black Soul Band.
Tarrus didn’t look any bit affected by the Bebe Cool fracas as he was in high spirits doing what he does best –singing reggae (and dancing too). Although he didn’t perform most of the common songs known to Ugandan fans like Cool me down, ‘Love’s contagious, ‘Whispers’’ he still excited the crowd with songs like ‘Gimme Likkle One Drop’, ‘Come Ova’ and the block-buster hit ‘Just The Way You Are’ that sent the crowd wild forcing Tarrus to re-do it about three times.
Dean Frazer also showed flashes of why he is respected in the reggae circles with some mind-blowing moments through the sax. By this time, most of the’ bazukulu’ in the charged up crowd had forgotten about Bebe Cool only for Tarrus to bring back ‘People Power’ and ‘fight for freedom’ chants punctuating them with luganda greetings that sent the crowd wild.
He also wrote a few lines dedicated to Uganda and particularly MP Bobi Wine.
“Put up your hand for the freedom fighter.. Put up your hands to free Bobi wine” Tarrus shouted to wild cheers from the crowd.
He also mixed his own songs with some old school raga and Chaka Demus and Pliers tunes that the Black Soul Band played. Every moment was magical and even if the show went deep into early hours of the moment and clearly beyond the midnight deadline set by KCCA for outdoor shows, no one seemed to care and in fact wanted more from the Jamaican.