If you couldn't make Gidi Culture Festival or couldn't stand the rain, I’m sorry because it was LIVE. But luckily I’m here to highlight some of the day’s memorable moments.Firstly, to all the people that left, I empathize with you: there were points during that rain where I was legitimately concerned. However, besides a little bit of water, wind and a power outage or two, the night was epic.
Before the headliners arrived there were so many wonderful acts but the standouts were definitely Nneka and Simi. Nneka reminded us why her brand of Nigerian folk music has been touching ears and hearts all over the world since 2009, and Simi serenaded the audience with sweet melodies while listeners stood attentively, eagerly awaiting the next note.
The party started with Burna Boy. Dressed in all white and looking like the second coming of Shabba Ranks, the guy killed it. Hitting the crowd with older jams like “Tonight” and “Like to Party,”to the Temper remix , a more recent collaboration with Skales. Burna's energy was infectious, as jumped around on stage you couldn't help but move too.
After the crowd was adequately gingered, enter Mr. OBO himself, Davido. Honestly, before he came on I’d forgotten how deep this guy’s catalog goes. Although my personal anthem, “Coolest Kids in Africa”, wasn't performed , the set went in: just song after song, hit after hit.The guy peppered them, appropriately closing with the current song of the season, "If.”If you weren't sure it was going to be a party, the moment you heard the crowd of a couple thousand rain-soaked Nigerians yelling "30 billion for the account ohhh", you knew it was on.
Diplo.... where do I even start with Diplo’s performance? Before he even started his set I noticed the aura of coolness emitting from the guy. Imagine this: it's 2 AM and raining, but the crowd is ready. The first record drops and the crowd erupts; the party starts to get live, only for you to hear the abrupt scratch and screech of a faulty speaker. That’s what happened: the rain coupled with the power outages caused one of the main stage speakers to blow.
I wasn't surprised because, after all, this is Nigeria and we know ourselves. But what did surprise me was Diplo's response. The guy calmly directed the stage hands as they fixed the speaker and continued his set like he’d never stopped. He even dropped a joke in pidgin. From there it was gone. Seamlessly guiding the crowd through waves of afrobeat, hip-hop, trap and electro house, Diplo displayed his extensive knowledge of the Nigerian music scene--and expanded the audience's taste right there and then.
As Diplo dropped Ed Shereen’s “Shape of You,” Walshy Fire (⅓ of Major Lazer) called out Vanessa’s Mdee’s dancers to give the crowd a little shapely entertainment. When one particularly talented dancer jumped into the air and landed in a full split, the crowd erupted. Amidst the cheers I thought to myself with all that . . . ummmm . . . shapliness . . how does she stay so limber? Anyway, Walshy continued to put on for Nigeria. The self-proclaimed “Bahd Jamaican” dropped special dubs of Mr. Eazi’s “Leg Over” and Tekno’s “Pana,” making the audience go crazy. The night was truly special, andI hope more people take cues from Gidi Culture Festival and invest in Lagos’s arts and culture scene. It’s necessary.