As Mr Eazi and co spread the Life is Eazi love at the O2, Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody makes some noise and gets jiggy with it.
So, Mr Eazi was in town with his Life is Eazi tour.
He’s an interesting guy. Born in Nigeria but now based in Ghana, his Wikipedia page tells us he’s “The pioneer of Banku Music, a fusion sound he describes as the mixture of “Ghanaian bounces, Ghanaian highlife, Nigerian chord progressions, and Nigerian patterns“.
This sounds promising and intriguing at the same time. He has been a MOBO nomination for Best African Act and his single Dance For Me made The Guardian’s top 10 biggest African tracks of 2016. There is no doubting his pedigree. We were ready to be entertained and informed.
There was a healthy crowd already assembled early as we strolled into the O2 and even with 2 hours to go before Mr Eazi was due to hit the stage, DJ King Alfred had the crowd jamming to a mix of heavy dancehall and dub vibes. He had a massive smile on his face and every shout of “Liverpool – You awrite?” was met with a huge cheer.
It was clear from the off this was going to be less gig and more party. And on a school night too. Never mind that, we can worry about it in the morning. In the meantime there’s serious dancing needs doing.
Towards the end of the set King Alfred dropped Iyawo by Dotman – a new one on us (as, to be fair, was most of the rest of the set), but a song we’d recommend checking out and which had some of the crowd bring out a Nigerian flag in homage. There’s a lot of love in the room. And it carries on from here.
Naija Boi is the “Official DJ” to Mr Eazi. A moniker of which we are reminded more than once tonight.
His was a much more hip hop / RnB orientated set and there was even more jumping and bouncing from the crowd. Party Animal by Charly Black about half way through seemed apt as a statement of intent. But if we’re totally honest we would have preferred a set that better matched the Afrobeat vibes to come from tonight’s main draw.
We accept entirely we’re in the minority, but there just didn’t seem to be anything particularly original here and it felt like an odd fit.
Mr Eazi is in the house. ‘MAKE SOME NOISE!’
So we do. With short red dreads and sunglasses he cuts a cool dude vibe. He bounces on stage and the phone cameras are out straight away. “I love you guys, I love you guys, so much” he says. It’s quite clear the love goes both ways.
It’s not easy (ha!) to fit Mr Eazi into any particular genre, which is perhaps why he can get away with the description cited above. There’s reggae, dub, jazz, soul. And lots of bouncing. It’s intriguing and damn good.
There are changes of pace, style and rhythm going on all over the place. There’s a charge in the air too. Mr Eazi doesn’t hold back when it comes to the theme of getting jiggy with it.
The Guardian’s choice, Dance for Me caused a storm: “Shoki shoki me say alkayida, Baby dance it for me and dab” and had more than a few couples simulating what they were going to do to each other when they got home.
A similar theme is the rather melodic All Night: “I wanna go all night, Go all night for you for you for you“. We could go on – you get the picture.
As the set progresses, so does the intensity. After Life is Eazi there’s a plea to the audience: “Later. Where’s the party?” We can’t help but think he’s serious.
And then after another couple of songs he’s gone. Early, according to the posted stage timings and no encore. Guess that’s good in a way.
We too could have partied a bit longer. But that’s fine. Leave them wanting more is always a recipe for success. Such a great evening.
Images by Getintothis’ Olivia Hayes