One of the fears about having a music performance at an unconventional space is comfort or the lack of it. At the recently concluded Ibejii Live Experience held at the African Artists’ Foundation building in Victoria Island, that fear was easily erased with the degree of careful planning that was injected into putting up a mini-concert.
A few unconventional sights awaited every member of the audience. In addition to the regular chairs, there were sofas laid directly in front of the stage. It was a nice combination with the champagne glasses that the guests came in with. The sofa comfort was not to extend back stage where Ibejii was being prepped for the show. He would perform for an audience largely made up of family, friends and associate-a disconcerting thought. His parents sat close to each other as they watched their son’s persona transform on stage.
Ibejii may have chosen not to produce or perform popular music but his fans’ frenzy situation at the recognition of a favourite track from any of his album was quite a pleasant surprise. It was never envisaged that his retro sounds would resonate with the young as much as it is expected of the old. His songs include “Kirakita’’ and “Alejo’’. Some of his fans were draped in the Yoruba traditional “Dansiki robes’’ and shamelessly swayed to his reverberating sounds.
Ibejii’s amiable persona on stage makes it easy to forgive his dances. He connected with the audience in spite of his signature dark shades. He didn’t look too comfortable with the temperature on stage. Of course, he turned up the heat of the concert with the aid of his indefatigable band members. He went off stage and returned with his regular clothes which he was wearing during the sound check.
Ibejii was joined on stage by Brymo as he performed “Alaigboran’’. The song, in literary terms, celebrates a rebellious child who has found fame. Of course, the duo turned in around, pointing at each other as the subject of the song.
Celeste, with her sweet serenading voice performed her folk-alternative songs such as “Oluronmbi” and “Opipi’’ prior to Ibejii’s performance. Indeed, she was a show-stopper, with a “wow-factor”. By “wow”, it means she hit the high notes; gliding over every key with ease and strumming away the guitar at the same time.
Before Celeste’s performance, the opening act was Dwin the Stoic. He looked like an academic or a performance poet but his poetry is embedded in his songs-which are masterpieces in songwriting by the way. It was a good thing to have Celeste and Dwin the Stoic on stage; the former, in a way, stole the show and the latter saved it for the headliner.