Hands in the Air for Major Lazer

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The musical ecstasy at the beachfront of Hard Rock Cafe recently was inspired by thrilling performances from the international electronic DJ Group, Major Lazer, at the U-Live Africa concert, reports Vanessa Obioha

For most of the music lovers who gathered at the sandy beachfront of Hard Rock Cafe in Victoria Island last weekend, the U-live Africa organised concert was another opportunity to catch the popular EDM group DJ Major Lazer on stage. The last time the group comprising record producer Diplo, and disc jockeys Walshy Fire and Jillionaire, were in the country, only the latter was absent. At that event, they thrilled the crowd even though their sounds were relatively new to the Nigerian audience. Their major collaborations with Nigerian acts then were with Davido, Wizkid, Tekno and Mr. Eazi. But the trio have gone beyond that. Today, they boast of a large portfolio of African acts collaboration, particularly Nigerian artistes. From Burna Boy to Kizz Daniel, they are the latest sensation.

What makes it more interesting is the way they fell in love with Afrobeat sounds, though they have a reputation creating unique sounds by mixing different genres such as reggae, house, dancehall and others. Fusing African sounds on their productions only show how far our sounds have travelled and the global appreciation that have accompanied it.

Prior to their African tour that led them to Lagos, the group released ‘Afrobeats Mix’, a compilation that featured only African acts like Mr. Easily, Sauti Sol, Burna Boy and others.

In an interview with music magazine, Complex, Diplo stated that the music project puts African artistes and their dances right in the international music mainstream, saying “new African music gets overlooked in America and Europe.”

One of their most popular tracks in the continent is ‘Particula’ which featured Ice Prince, Jidenna, Nasty C and Patoranking. On YouTube, the music video has been viewed more than 45 million times.

Thus, when the news of their concert filtered in the air, expectations soared. Will the trio who have produced unforgettable electro sounds in the last few years live up to their fame?

Early birds thronged the venue clinching the best spots on the beachfront which have been transformed to a concert ground. A stage was mounted at the middle with few tents dotting the sandy landscape for those who preferred a cosy and intimate setting.

The stage was adequately designed to accommodate the performing art with brilliant lights flashing in sync with the sounds from the wheels of steel. The concert, however, did not alter the bubbling club atmosphere in the cafe which is one of the popular hangouts for the elites. Music blared from the loudspeakers as the music revellers clinked glasses and engaged in small chats.

As the night wore on, the music denizens were entertained by mixes from DJ Consequence who thrilled with drum beats and afro-house mix, Pheels had earlier proven to be the king of house music with his unique selection. With the hosts, Dot2dun, Nenny B and Bollylomo keeping up the energy with their hypes, DJ Xclusive waltzed on stage and took it to another level with his own selection taking the crowd from old to new school, afro to American hip hop; he kept the crowd screaming for more.

Before the arrival of the trio, the US Consul General, F. John Bray, came on stage with Korede Bello and Sound Sultan to advocate non-violent elections.

“Tonight we are all here for Major Lazer. Music is the weapon, peace is the mission. As the 2019 general election draws close, I encourage you all to make a commitment to a non-violent and peaceful democratic process,” the American envoy noted.

Though the consul general tried to be audible, his message was lost on the audience who were anticipating the arrival of Major Lazer. Immediately, the musical trio hit the stage, the ambience was electrified.

Diplo known for his brio mounted the deck, shouting to the fans that it was good to be back in Nigeria. Jillionaire, the most reserved member of the group wasted no time dishing out very wicked mixes that threw the crowd into frenzy. They sang along, screamed when Walshy or Diplo got closer to the crowd, and always on cue when he asked them to raise their hands in the air. Other times, the two hype men of the group asked them to jump or move their body in an up and down movement. At a point, they encouraged members of the crowd to tell one another ‘I love you’.

Throughout their over one hour set, the group entertained the crowd with beautiful energetic sounds, sampling some of their collaborations with Nigerian acts such as the remix of Davido’s Skelewu and when they played their ‘Run Up’ remix with Skales, the latter came on stage to perform.

To close the night, they played ‘Particula’ which sent the crowd into wild ecstasy, dancing and screaming – with their hands raised in the air for the group. Before finally taking a bow, the group paid respect to the nation, waving the green-white-green flag alongside their ‘Peace is the Mission’s flag.

The Major Lazer SoundSystem Concert was organised by U-Live Africa and sponsored by the US Consulate General in Lagos.