For her first column as our resident social butterfly party girl, Patricia Kihoro throws us a curve ball and spends her evening at an exciting open mic night: stone cold sober.
I’m always on the hunt for a great new musical act in Nairobi. There’s something about discovering a mind-blowing budding local artist that reinforces my strong belief that Kenyan musicians have enough talent to shine bright anywhere in the world. The argument that our “local” talents just don’t have the quality, or the creative guns, to stand their ground against international artists is really played out in my opinion. Kenya is teeming with talent.
Which is why, while lazily browsing through my Twitter timeline the other day, a poster for an open mic gig caught my eye and got me pretty excited. It had been a pretty long time since I’d been to one of those, so I quickly made a mental note to show up. I was excited to check it out, especially because the hosts are also some of the geniuses behind the raved about show “Too Early For Birds”, Abu Sense and Ngartia.
On the day of the gig, in the evening after a long and grueling Tuesday at work, my regular, just-go-home-and-chill-on-the-couch-with-your-tea “instagran” instincts, tried to get in the way. Halfway home, after ten minutes of being stuck in the same spot in Westlands, I disembarked the cab I was in and preceeded to hop on a boda boda to enjoy an exhilerating ride down Waiyaki Way. Turns out this was just what I needed to get out of my lazy mindframe and hastily shout my change of plans to the driver. It was thus that I found myself at gig venue Number 7, an hour and a half before the start of the show.
There I was, with ninety minutes to kill, settling in for some reading and casual people watching before the show. Now would probably be a good time to add at this point that I had also made the decision to not drink on weekdays some time back. Some time back being a few minutes earlier as I walked into the venue. These days for some reason, even a whiff of alcohol is enough to set off powerful hangover symptoms the next morning. I was not trying to tempt fate, especially with a 9-5 job, so despite the vast array of delicious looking cocktails at some of the cheapest prices I have seen in Nairobi, I ordered a cup of lemon tea and lauded myself for nailing it at this responsibility thing.
About a half hour later, as pretty girls in branded beer tshirts pranced around my table, I will admit my resolve started to wobble. The funny thing is I don’t even drink beer yet for some reason, the thought of it filled me with longing. I did, however, manage to perservere and held on tight to my cup of tea. I’m proud to say I’m not doing so badly at this adulting thing guys.
Eventually Abu Sense, the host for the night, made his way to the stage and the long wait was over. There were all sorts of acts, from spoken word, to stand up comedy and musical performances. One of the absolutely amazing performers that night was June Wangari, who took to the mic with her guitar and hauntingly beautiful voice. There was also Ryan the guitarist, who was wonderfully adept at finger picking popular songs. All in all I really felt happy to have had the opportunity to listen and discover such great, young talent.
I left early, because, well, I don’t handle late nights well, especially when sober. But I plan to be returning every Tuesday from 7pm—tea in hand of course, to Number 7 in town for Open Mic night.