#DiploUganda Diplo Came, He Mixed, We Raved, EDM Prospered!

Rave – A rave (from the verb: to rave) is a large dance party at a nightclub, dance club or festival featuring performances by DJs, who select and mix a seamless flow of loud electronic dance music songs and tracks. (Wikipedia)

My Friday began with a trip to Moringa to pick my complementary Diplo ticket, thanks to Club Pilsner, the show sponsors, from a stunning Joan who, like me, it seems was already dressed for the event. That last sentence might give you the impression that I was dressed stunningly, but if I were to take those props, I’d be insulting the amount of slayage Joan was exhibiting. This ticket was the best thing to happen to me after a week harassing different people close to the concert for freebies with my partner in brokenness, Max.

Don’t give me that look. Easter was long and I was ending my fast so the pockets suffered massive damage. I wonder if Max managed to get in, though? Like a true mudugavu, our struggle became his solo struggle after I got sorted.

After picking the ticket, I proceeded to office where I pretended to work. I should have just taken the day off because all I did was interrupt my workmates, who were doing actual work, with my #FOMO KB of who Diplo was and why they were unlucky for not having been born as me who was going to see him live. After thoroughly irritating them, I went to social media and wrote an essay on my love for EDM and why this concert was like the second coming of Christ for me.

Thanks to the good people at @clubpilsner, I’ll be attending #DiploUganda. That’s right, mathafuckas!! (forgive my Rukiga, I’ve watched the trailer of The Hitmans Bodyguard starring Samuel L. Jackson & Ryan Reynolds more than is medically recommended) To explain my #FOMO, I need to take you back in time Katono. My love affair with EDM/House (or Techno as it was fondly known those days) began way back in the 90’s. As a young boy growing up in the towns of Western Uganda, I was a religious listener to #RickDees on @913capitalfm coz that’s where I could find techno songs. Music my parents used to call ebidongo du du du du. Fast forward to o’level in Namilyango, technology brought us radio scanners in all shapes and sizes & I discovered the techno hour on @88.2SanyuFM every Saturday evening. That was around the time Darude released the beast that was Sandstorm. You should have seen me running around the main hall via sosh when they played that track. Fun fact, I wasn’t feeling my dance partner at the time & that jam presented the perfect opportunity to flee the scene. Good times! Next scene is at campus where I had my own laptop, discovered illegal music downloads and communities of people with similar interests. The relationship blossomed. After campus, we never looked back. House was more regular on the radios, especially @beewol’s Saturday night show. Rouge, which was like my living room, and other establishments around town also had several house nights. The next level for my relationship with house is to attend a big house music festival, preferably @Tomorrowland. Nearer to home though is Ultra SA. We even have our own @NyegeNyege plus local house producers/DJ’s #DiploUganda is therefore quite a big deal. Internationally acclaimed house producer in our dustville, nirvana! IMO, he comes only 2nd to David Guetta in terms of mainstreaming house music through collaborations and merging it with other genres. The work he has done with/as Major Lazor is just phenomenal. So tonight, I’m going to rave like a zib. There’d better be stretchers for some of us. Hopefully I’ll maintain enough sanity to put up a blog post. Look out for it on Muwado next week.

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Let’s just fast forward this to the show. Venue choice was great. Garden City, which is next door to Golf course has suffered a massive reduction in human traffic over the years and is now very crucial for one thing, parking. Secure parking. Considering the price of the ticket (100k ordinary. The VIP price of some shows is not even that much) it’s safe to assume most revellers had cars. Ate not these bu random Toyota’s everyone that is able to get a salary loan acquires. I’ve just been hit with the reality that I do not own a car so I’ll just stop this dissing train of thought here. Attendees must have been happy with the parking situation so we’ll leave it at that.

Considering the erratic nature of the weather of late, having it indoors was also a good call. Only problem with indoors is that it can get really hot especially for a high tempo concert like this one. And it did get hot. I mean, I walked in at around 8.30 and people were already fleeing from the heat. Event’s later on showed me that they were just not drunk/pumped enough. I don’t remember hearing anyone complaining when things started catching fire.

The tickets entitled everyone to a free Club. And Clubs were pretty cheap so that was my fuel for the rest of the night. I’m not sure why the people at NBL are reducing the bottle sizes though. Whoever decided we need smaller bottles at the same price had better make sure their identity is never leaked to the drinking public. It’s like they are trying to wean us off alcohol. Let’s just say I enjoyed the beer but with some busungu undertones.

When I walked in Kampire was doing her thing on the decks. The only female DJ of the night, she represented the fairer sex real good. It’s not easy being a curtain raiser. People are not yet drunk on alcohol/mood and it’s your job to get them there. And she did it with just the music. No hype man to give the crowd instructions on what to do. Kampire has risen quite fast in the DJ’ing circles ever since she started playing sometime last year and seeing her up there opening for Diplo is a testament to her talent. If you didn’t know about her, it’ll be hard to ignore her after this.

#diplouganda Thanks @talentafricagroup for the spotlight #girldj

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This is the point where I give a shout out to whoever did the stage for this show. The visuals on the screen behind the DJ’s was dope. There is this trick were they’d show the DJ playing and the audience in real time, but with some trippy filter applied. Neat. The lights were fuckin insane too. By the second set, I was properly blinded. Don’t know why the organisers forgot to inform us to come with sunglasses. In my mind, I think it was a trick to blind us so our ears and other senses could compensate and absorb the mubimba bulungi. If my theory is right, it totally worked. By the time Diplo got on stage, I was one with the music. It was me and the rhythm was coursing through my veins.

After Kampire, BK and RPM came on. BK was like a lion that had been uncaged. Prancing up and down the stage, fisting the air, telling us to do things. Yo, me I just followed instructions. BK is intense. I think I preferred him when he used to put on a mask. Now, he reminds me of a gym instructor. Like he’ll give you a talk down if you don’t jump when he tells you too. Banange. Ate he was even recording us following his instructions with a GoPro attached to his forehead. I wonder if he goes home and shows off to his girlfriend. ‘See how all these humans respond to my bidding.’ And then she’s like, ‘Kyoka BK, you are muchamu!’ And then he blushes because he did all this because he likes how he feels inside when she complements him. Or he has many girlfriends. The infamous farm Abdu Mulasi educated us about. And he also instructs them to jump and do whatever he wants them to do while he mixes nonstop music in the house. I ronno, people that put on masks give you plenty of leeway to invent things about them. RPM, on the other hand, was smiling goofily through his set. Dude was having a blast. Ate he has this good guy look. Like he gets friend-zoned a lot. This contrast between BK and RPM worked and our collective hype levels were significantly boosted by the time they handed over to Aludah.

Now, Aludah is a badman! From the first time I heard him play, I allowed that guy yasoma. Which he did, literally! Aludah actually went and did bizamu on how to spin music. I used his set though to take a moment to catch some air. I needed to pace myself otherwise I’d be worn out by the time Dipo, as one friend of mine called him, arrived on stage. It’s not like I have anything against him. He has earned all his props, but the two set’s I was looking forward to the most were following and I didn’t want to be worn out when they arrived. Still, you could tell he was bringing it, as usual, from the way the crowd inside was screaming their lungs out. The good Sir never disappoints. I walked in again as his set was ending and the energy in the room wiped away all my recouping efforts. By the time Dark Meme stepped up to the stage, it felt like I’d gone outside to snort cocaine instead of taking a commercial break.

I’ll just put it out there, Dark Meme is going to make it to the levels of Diplo, Inshallah. I have listened to him play live a couple of times and I’ve probably contributed half of the listens on his mixcloud account and the thought I always have after is why didn’t I discover this awesomeness earlier. Dark Meme brought it. And there’s a way he plays. Like this ain’t a thing. Like, I just jumped out of bed and came straight here to play this set. There we were, screaming our entire respiratory systems out, jumping up and down, inventing new strokes, even, thanking his mother for producing such talent, and for him, he could have been brushing his teeth for all he cared. Focused on the job, like he was a high school chef preparing posho in those humongous saucepans. Such a guy. Combined with the complimentary drumming from Ejuku Hitter Mark, the spirit of dance was strong in the area code. It’s at about this point that the floor vibrations began to get worrying. Like subconsciously worrying because the conscious mind was more focused on how much of a blast this was. Had I been a paying attendee, this is the point where I’d have allowed that my dime had been exhausted.

At midnight, I think, the main act, Dipo himselefu arrived on the stage. By this time, the sensory overload was real. I’ll be honest with you guys. I don’t remember much of Diplo’s set. The parts I remember are that Pana part, and another when some girl was on stage gyrating like her rent depended on it. I remember Walshy Fire not being impressed with her bone shaking efforts and asking more serious people to come on stage. I remember saying ‘Teacher me’ to the bouncer nearest to me so he could allow me to get on that stage to show the people how it’s done. I was determined to do kitaguliro till the floor allowed and we took the party to the floor below ours. Then I was going to kusooma some more will we ended up in the basement, Turn Down for what style. But the bouncer, wise man that he is, looked at me, looked at the stage, looked at me again and shook his head in solemn rejection. He saw the potential I had to be an upstanding citizen capable of leading this country one day and decided this was not the kind of thing I need on my CV. Bless his soul. I also remember thinking to myself how much my mother would disapprove of Diplo’s mannerisms. White boy jumping around on tables and stripping in public. Why can’t he be like the others by staying clothed and respecting the tables, she’d probably say and follow up with a loud ‘tsk’

I have since checked my phone and it looks like I managed to record some footage of Diplo in action. As the days go by, more bits and pieces of it keep on coming back to me. I remember at a certain stage ladies were being carried on the shoulders of various gentlemen. I remember wanting to be a gentleman too and asking a random lady that next to me if she wanted to test how comfortable my shoulder are. I remember her thinking about it and then saying no. Such a wise person. The last time I tried to put someone on my shoulder, which was ironically in the same hall at Wizkids concert (the time he didn’t fox), my legs decided they were not part of this plan so the unfortunate lady and I ended up rolling on the floor like we were doing some intricate breakdance move (Hi Vanquisha). I remember looking around to see if anyone was complaining about the heat anymore, but no, people were just sweating rivers of sweat fwa. The rave was on!!

Guys, when they said this wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience, I finally get what they meant. If there is anyone in that hall, EDM fan or not, that left unsatisfied with the experience, they are beyond salvation. I for one probably lost 5 kilogrammes, in addition to my eyesight, from that place. For the first international EDM act in Uganda, Diplo represented and proved that there this particular brand of music is ready to shine in the country. I hope to see more EDM concerts in the near future.


Written by Byagaba Roland

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