By the look of things, the line up alone would tell you a different story. A story that would include a full line up Malawian side against a Zambian side that had one representative and you would wrongly think the Lusaka influence would pale into insignificance.
Lucius Banda, Lulu, Maskal, Piksy, Dan Lufani, Wendy Harawa and of course The Blacks made the Malawi team while only The Organised Family duo represented Zambia. You would say Malawi had an upper hand.
But the reality on the ground is that Malawi tumbled miserably. Whereas Malawi brought quantity, Zambia brought quality. Whereas Malawi brought noise and erratic over-dramatisation, the Zambian duo, which was ironically backed by a Malawian Mizati Band, provided the entertainment that was spell binding to the thousands that thronged the Robins Park last weekend.
Malawi’s biggest culprit was Maskal. He failed the Malawi team as if this was his first show; in other words he displayed irresolute qualities of a debutant. He had no idea what level to start his song with. He started on a high note and ended up stepping himself all over.
Listening to his CDs one cannot help it but appreciate that Maskal is a good act when it comes to singing, but on this day he resorted to shouting.
To an extent, Lulu also helped to condemn the Malawi team to the category of mediocrity.
I don’t know what has come over him, to start with. He is sporting a new hair style; long hairs that did not do badly, given who he is. He was putting on a shining tar-gray suit but he kept on trying to fiddle with his slacks pockets with the freer hand as the other was holding on to a microphone, which was distracting as those watching him were trying to fathom what it is he was trying to get from the pockets.
Then one thing came out clearly, Lulu was trying to copy Michael Jackson through his hairdo, dressing, dancing antics and how he was throwing about his vocals. I wish he had stuck to the Lulu he introduced to the public from the onset.
Lucius Banda needs to be more innovative now. Apart from his new message where he is pleading with people not to get fat – saying obesity is killing a lot of people – his stage music antics are becoming predictable and monotonous like the Black Missionaries.
Dan Lufani was poignant to himself I guess. He was more satisfied with what he was doing than taking caution of what the audience expected from him. You know that feeling when you end up with a bittersweet aftertaste? This is what Dan gave the audience. He never exactly knew where to take them.
Armstrong needs to do more. Apparently he only has one track. The rest of the music that he played provoked many to protest that he was not stirring the people that thronged Robins Park by touching where it matters most. This tells him something though, if he is the learning type. He better go back to the drawing board lest he remains a one-hit-artist.
Black Missionaries still managed to ride on the names of their dead makers; Evison Matafale and Msamude Fumulani. There is still lack of the sting; I mean they still bring that familiar act. Who has to think for them, surely, so that they become more new and move away from the template of their forbearers?
The other person that failed the audience is Collen Ali, the so called sound engineer of the day. What is wrong with preparations for live shows in Malawi?
This other day The Black Missionaries mocked the spirits of their dead makers when they ill-prepared and spent half of the time for the memorial show in Chileka in trying to rectify faltering equipment.
Likewise even with Multichoice as the owners of the show, still the intermittent provision of service from the engineering crew and their equipment left many with sour mouths.
There was a time when Piksy was playing where the bass guitar disappeared. Luckily, because of the nature of his music he managed to keep up the temperature on the dance floor by continuing doing some clowning around with rhyming lyrics bordering on sexual inference from his songs.
This is what failed The Blacks when they were faced with a similar situation. Apart from Anjiru filling the speakers with sweet nothings, they lost out on a number of patrons some of whom decided enough was enough and decided to call it a day.
This was so because before The Blacks the Zambian duo of the Orga Family terrorised the dance floor when jerked patrons appreciating things as they unfolded from their seats to stand up and try break and twist a tendon or two. They felt Orga Family had compensated them enough.
If local artist were around to watch their counterparts, I guess they learnt a lesson or two of what it means to master the art of making the audience feed from your palm.