Tocky Vibes fails on the big stage

HARARE - Rising dancehall artiste Tocky Vibes delivered a weak performance during Friday’s Lockdown Concert headlined by South African House music group Mafikizolo.

The 21-year-old artiste, who was given the honour of being the last act in a bill that also featured music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and fit-again Alexio Kawara, failed to rise to the occasion and worsened matters by prematurely leaving the stage much to the chagrin of thousands who packed the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).

The Mhai singer, who, for a change, was clad in a suit, made a grant entry onto the stage and was immediately led to a makeshift throne to symbolise his claim that he is now the King of Zimdancehall. After such a triumphant entry, the record HICC crowd, expected fireworks but it turned out to be a disappointment.

Tocky, who began his act seated on his “throne,” frustrated the music fans with barely audible songs they were not familiar with. Even when he left his “throne” and began singing popular hits, his performance remained uninspiring. The young artiste struggled to gel with his live backing band that had marimba and guitar players.

After repeatedly complaining about the poor quality of the sound, Tocky unceremoniously bolted from the stage leaving behind frustrated fans who waited in vain for his return.

Elvis Bokosha, who manages Tocky Vibes, claimed after the show that his artiste was a victim of poor sound quality.

“Sound engineers failed to provide good sound and it was not feasible for us to continue performing as it would erode our reputation and image,” said Bokosha.

“We cannot emphatically say we were sabotaged but it boggles the mind to note that everyone was performing properly with the same sound system but when Tocky’s turn came the situation became worse. The quality of the sound was unacceptably poor.”

Simba Madziwa of Simmad Entertainment, who organised the event, boldly refuted the allegations of sabotage.

“Of course the sound was not perfect but it was generally acceptable. The same sound system Tocky Vibes was complaining of was the same sound system used by the group Mafikizolo, Tuku, Alexio Kawara and even Seh Calaz who came on as a surprise artiste,” said Madziwa.

“Above all, it is of utmost importance to know who was behind this sabotage if it was true.”

Apart from Tocky, the rest of the performers on the night gave sterling performances even though music fans were disappointed because the main act Mafikizolo did not bring a live band.

The organisers claimed yesterday that if Mafikizolo had brought with them their backing band the entrance fees would have significantly increased.

“The group performed without a live band because we wanted to cut the costs. It was going to increase entrance fees had Mafikizolo brought the entire backing band. In total the delegation would have been around 15,” said Madziwa.

Despite them playing without their backing group, Mafikizolo still managed to deliver a spectacular performance that was greatly enhanced by their two gifted dancers. Their playlist included songs off their latest album Reunited. As expected Khona and Happiness triggered excitement on the crowded dance floor.

On a night on which Tocky Vibes dismally failed to rise to the occasion, Tuku and Alexio ably raised the country’s flag high. Tuku, as expected, impressed the packed crowd by playing several of his old hits and songs off his latest album Mukombe Wemvura.

For Alexio, it was an emotional return to the big stage. It was the Shaina singer’s biggest performance since he broke his leg in a car accident in December last year. Alexio was given the longest slot on the night and demonstrated that he has fully recovered and is now able to give his trademark energetic performances.

In addition to his songs, Kawara also performed songs done by legendary musicians like the late James Chimombe and America-based Thomas Mapfumo.

The show was characterised by commotion as fans jostled to gain entry. Simmad Entertainment attributed the commotion to disorderly fans.

“The show tickets were sold out around 6pm because we had spent a whole week selling the tickets. Fans came in big numbers well after 6pm and demanded to buy tickets which were no longer available. As a result fans tried to force their way into the venue until we beefed up our security,” he said.


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