By Sindiso Dube in Bulawayo
Prior to his solo live concert last week on Saturday, Bulawayo rapper Cal_Vin, born Mgcini Calvin Nhliziyo, said he had many fans and his brand was now very big and deserved a gig of that nature. His target was to fill up the close to 400-seater Bulawayo Theatre.
This is the same rapper who has hosted three annual solo concerts, gigs that would take him a whole year to put together, but has produced dismal results.
The first two Made In Bulawayo concerts held at Elite 300 were well-attended by artistes and fans from across the country, but were hard hit by organisational chaos. Everything about time management and sound system was wrong.
In December 2018, the rapper thought of using a new formula of taking the concert back to his high-density suburb of Luveve.
He got the shock of his life.
Like what many critics say, local hip-hop is poor in numbers, fans of the genre are the artistes themselves. The rapper and his supporting acts turned the highly publicised show into a mere rehearsal session as they performed for themselves on the rainy evening. No one came out to support the Luveve Boy, as he is affectionately known.
Fast-forward to events last week on Saturday, where one would be left with many questions and less answers.
Has Cal_Vin failed to single-handedly organise a solo show? Is it a question of Bulawayo not supporting their own or it’s a question of the rapper shooting himself in the foot?
“We are not supported by our own,” is a refrain which many Bulawayo artistes have chorused out on more occasions than the number of their recording studio visits.
Cal_Vin’s concert was more of a dejavu from the first two editions of Made In Bulawayo concert, as poor time management and sound quality dampened the rapper’s moment of “greatness”, the night he was supposed to prove that he was a leader in Bulawayo’s hip-hop circles.
Fans that parted with their hard-earned $10RTGS were made to wait for more than three hours to get into the venue because there was no public address system, leading to many walking away.
The highly-anticipated show, which was supposed to start at 5pm and end at 8pm only began after 8pm, and only a patient few stayed for the act.
The rapper accused the service provider of sabotaging him.
“We were supposed to have the public address system at 3pm, but when we called the service provider he was not taking our calls till the time we were supposed to start. He was double-booked. We ended up making last-minute changes and called someone else so that they would cover up for us. The initial provider only arrived later when we had engaged someone else,” he said.
“It was an unfortunate situation and I apologise to my fans for the inconveniences caused. This is not what we wanted the night to be like, but we won’t be discouraged, we will continue to do it till we get it right.”
The sound quality gave an awful output and one could tell that the band had not gone through sound check. Cal_Vin had to redo his set for the run-away hit Zkhuphani after three failed attempts due to appalling sound feedback.
Besides the sound interruptions and starting the show late, Cal_Vin gave his best shot.
He began the night with iThemba, which is off his latest album Nhliziyo. The song talks about the problems he faced in the past years that almost pushed him into quitting music.
He went on to perform Kuwe, uBulawayo, King Kong and the Skyz Metro FM best hip-hop winning hit Banjalo Abantu with the handful crowd singing along to the lyrics.
Cal_Vin’s band was led by Nathaniel Oktopus, who is also his producer. Oktopus has worked with Jeys Marabini and Willis Watafi.
The ambitious rapper and singer becomes one of the few hip-hop acts to organise a solo concert backed by a full live band set and hopefully his next attempt will be magical.