The Uncut Xtra Album Launch concert, held at the New Afrikan Shrine on Saturday, June 5, 2021, was epic. That last word is thrown around these days but it seems about right in this case: Several parts of the concert were of a large scale: the number of stars that performed, the number of songs on offer, the mammoth reputation of its headliner, and finally its length. These were the good bits. But the show ended at 2 am after starting three hours late—so that even the duration of delay was epic.
This was mainly due to the showmanship of singer Zinoolessky, who was co-headlining the concert with frequent collaborator Blanq and Deravibes.
The singer, who’s signed to Naira Marley’s label, appeared in an all-black jacket at the New Afrikan Shrine, Lagos venue, and as a band played the Cupid not Stupid theme, Zinooleesky killed the show with an electric performance.
The audience responded to the performance with excitement. The crowd responded to the song with dance and video phones raised high. Many sang his words back to him.
As the show went on, several artists shared the stage. The singer Nana rae came on for ‘all of me’. Marteenoh sang ‘Body’, Z3N Lifestyle sang ‘satisfy me’. With Blanq, all three sang ‘Cupid not stupid’. With 2willz, all four sang the live version of the theme song’. Afrobeatsglobal signee Spencer joined in, performed the chorus on ‘Cupid not stupid’ from The Uncut Xtra album season 3.
Mighty and Cim also performed. Singer Spencer, who maintains a friendship with 2willz and blanq, sang his own song ‘Big Money’ as he closed his set with his highlife-meets- Afropop tune.
For his part, Zinooleesky gave a loose performance, in contrast to the other artists’ tightly scripted one. At one point, he engaged with his fans abruptly. The concert experienced a high moment when Zinoleesky performed his hit single ‘Kilofeshe’. alongside Amen dance crew winners of Zlatan’s Cho Cho dance challenge.
The Uncut Xtra Album Launch organizing team does deserve some applause: they succeeded in getting disciplined and ultra-talented dancers, the sound production was great and the backing band hardly made life-changing, concert-destroying errors. So much on offer smacked of professionalism. Besides the late start, the Uncut Xtra Album’s launch proceeded undisrupted. This is a minor miracle in the New Afrikan Shrine.
One last note. The concert featured lots of elaborate setups—including a stage rendition, dance, and an acrobatic show. But all of these clever set pieces would have failed if the music was inadequate. That was not the case because over the course of his career Zinoleesky has made very good music.
If anyone had forgotten this fact, the Uncut Xtra Album Launch concert was an excellent reminder. Someone else might say it was an epic reminder.