By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
Days after the excitement of the Castle Lite ‘Unlocked’ subsided, housekeepers at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos were still trying to rid the venue of all appearances of the product with which the venue was branded. The Castle Lite concert must go down as one of the most anticipated events of this year. Before D-Day, organizers of the event took over a sizeable portion of the hotel and cordoned it off in order to have unhindered concentration for its artisans and professionals who were transforming the location into an enticing fun spot.
Everywhere you turned it looked like Eko Hotel was bathed with tons of snowflakes!
The Castle Lite Unlocks musical concert headlined by multi-platinum selling American rapper, J Cole and a host of Nigerian international stars led by Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, among other artists, thrilled the audience with so much energy on an extra cold stage. It was indeed a night of glitz, glamour and great music, combined with ice-cold Castle Lite beer.
The show hosted by Do2dtun and South Africa’s Pearl Thusi opened with a deejay battle amongst DJ Obi, DJ Xclusive, DJ Neptune and Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt, delivering performances that thrilled the audience. Each one of them had 10 minutes to prove his mettle. Floundering with his equipment, Obi could not even play three songs successfully before his time was up. Jatt showed an excellent of the crowd and appeared to be the only one who understood what he had to do, therefore maximizing the time available to him. Exclusive came on stage with his own song (a technique which was lost on his colleagues like Jatt and Neptune who have also recorded their own songs), but quickly switched to audience favourite tunes. He ended his segment well. Neptune did not appear to seize the moment. His session was lack-lustre.
Ycee may not have understood that the organizers were serious about time management. Wasting his allotted time on irrelevant stuff, he made an effort to impress when he was being asked to leave the stage. Falz Tha Bahd Guy hit the stage with the largest number of performers. He was well-received. Equally applauded for his performance which was galvanized by DJ Lambo was MI who ended on a glorious note walking away to the sound of his hit, ‘Africa Rapper No. 1’. DJ Big N stimulated the performance of Tiwa Savage. On a night that Tiwa appeared tired, her dancers were very engaging. Leaving the stage when the ovation was loudest, she still had about three or four minutes left.
Wizkid who performed with a band took off with a complaint. He didn’t seem to like the sound. And he said it loud and clear. The inclusion of world-class percussionist, Samson Iroko in his line-up of instrumentalists shows how seriously he takes his act and what he is willing to pay to get the best. He also had DJ Spinall as part of his team. Always energetic on stage, Davido was primed for a jaw-dropping appearance on stage. Many did not see him coming from a devise that popped him up suddenly. He worked with DJ ECool. He left the stage at 1.10am.
A trapeze act preceded the arrival of the headline artiste, German-American star of Rap music, Jermaine Cole. Swinging, spinning and performing all kinds of stunts from an amazing height, she held the audience spellbound. A stream of confetti and a thick screen of smoke flooded the stage after her performance. When the thick smoke cleared, Cole was on stage, looking around like he was lost. If it was orchestrated that he should don a top with the Nigerian colours of green and white, many did not take note. The audience was restive with chants of “J Cole”, “J Cole” rending the air and the dread locked rap god, soaking in all the love from the audience.
And he said, “What’s up Lagos, and the crowd went wild. The rapper apologized for not coming to Nigeria sooner,” he said.
J Cole captivated the hearts of the audience by performing songs off his latest album, KOD, which was released on the 20th of April, 2018, for the very first time ever anywhere. And to the surprise of J Cole and many, the audience knew the lyrics of the songs and sang along to every song he performed.
The excitement in the air was palpable as fans rushed towards the stage dancing to the tunes. One fan climbed the stage to hug him, but the security men were ready and blocked him before he could distract the performer.
“Castle Lite breaks boundaries and music is a natural fit with the brand’s DNA. We also appreciate the fact that it represents the biggest passion point for our consumers lives, hence we are always committed to unlocking memorable fan experiences and creating shared value for all our consumers with concerts like this”, Franscoe Bouwer, Castle Lite Marketing Manager, said.
Performing for the first time in Nigeria, the Dreamville top dog, Jermaine Lamarr Cole,charmed the audience by performinghit tracks from his rich repertoire that include,Can’t Get Enough (from his studio debut album,Cole World), as well as Role Modelz, Apparently, Wet Dream (from his recent platinum-selling album 2014,Forest Hills Drive),Deja Vu, Immortal, Crooked Smile, Power Trip, Neighbors, and Work Out, during the show anchored by popular OAP, Do2dTun, and one of South Africa’s finest entertainment personalities, Pearl Thusi.
Speaking to journalists at the once-in-a-lifetime Extra Cold experience, Marketing Director, AB InBev Nigeria, Arne Rust said, “Innovation is what drives Castle Lite as the brand is always at the forefront of technology, making beer drinking easier and fun in every space. As a result, our innovation approach is geared at unlocking new spaces for consumers to enjoy Castle Lite. Also, Nigerian music has over the years showcased its innovative, progressive and extremely expressive streak. This explains why we have this rich assemblage of Nigerian music stars who push boundaries and do things differently like Castle Lite.”
Very interestingly, J Colefurther captivated the hearts of the audience by performing all the songs from his latest album,KOD, for the very first time in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the rapper dropped his fifth studio album KOD last week Friday (April 20), which spans 11 tracks, including titles like 1985, “ATM”, “Brackets”, and “Motiv8”.
According to Consumer Connections Manager Jumoke Okikiolu, “It has been an unbelievable evening with the best of Nigerian hip-hop on display. This is what happens when Castle Lite joins forces with progressive artistes who are currently game changers. All our consumers here today have had an extraordinary experience and we are proud to have provided a platform for this incredible mix of music to flourish.”
Castle Lite has since 2011 been renowned for bringing music heavyweights that include Drake, Kanye West, Timbaland, Bryson Tiller,Travis Scott, Wiz Khalifa, Nas & Chance the Rapper to the continent, allowing them to share the spotlight with local artistes on the Unlocks platform.