Not to be outdone in the December spread sheet of concerts, alternative/soul singer Ric Hassani gathered some of his friends and mentors for an intimate open air session, Friday, at Freedom Park.
Friends would include Tjan, Isaac Gerald while Bez loomed large as the aspiration for the kind of career that Ric Hassani must surely fancy.
Speaking of Bez, recognizing the importance of the night to Hassani’s still blossoming career, the Supersun singer gave an understated performance, doing full acoustic versions of his hits, You Suppose Know and Supersun.
Live and Wavy was less a proper Ric Hassani concert than it was a variety night of mostly excellent performances from some of the brightest acts working in the alternative scene. Ric Hassani was merely glue that held all of the various parts together.
Mavin record act Johnny Drille chose to open his act with a shaky rendition of Seal’s classic, Kiss from a Rose before getting his groove with his own Romeo and Juliet. Other acts who did covers include Byno’s fun mash up set and Isaac Gerald who was generous enough to take requests from the audience, also before playing his own material.
Indie rock artiste, Clay took no chances and gave a stunning rendition of the song, Destiny from her Road Less Travelled EP. Her power packed vocals call to mind Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of the Irish rock band The Cranberries. Aramide was a confident presence with her strong acoustic take on her hit Fun mi Lowo. YBNL princess, Temmie Ovwasa is yet to discover how to translate her act to a welcoming audience such as the respectable numbers of people that came out for Live and Wavy.
Jeff Akoh fresh off the release of his Lokoja disc was a hit with Shokolokobangoshe while Tjan brough the house down with back to back renditions of his biggest hits, Aduke and Meji.
The night was far spent- the show started hours behind schedule- when Ric Hassani strolled up the stage, looking every inch the star in a colorful Ankara print long sleeved shirt and trouser. Surprisingly confident, maybe even cocksure, Hassani soon had the ladies eating out of the palm of his hand with his terrific renditions of Only You and Police from his The African Gentleman album released to considerable acclaim this year.
Just when his set was beginning to settle in comfortably, Hassani performed Gentleman, his biggest hit, invariably signifying the close of the show. The setlist may have been concise, but Ric Hassani made efficient use of it, wowing both with the depth of his talent and his impressive stage craft. He isn’t just an African gentleman, on stage, he is a star through and through.
You should see him live.