Since its inception Metal and Romance aka MnR (brainchild of RockNationNG) has grown to become the biggest Rock party in Nigeria and one of most prominent gatherings of Rock lovers in West Africa. An event that creates an electric atmosphere using rock music, band performances, karaoke, competitions and rock trivia as tools; it is no surprise that the event has recorded success after success.
Metal and Romance IV (MnRIV) was held on Saturday the 6th of August at the Sailor’s Lounge on Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The event kicked off properly at about 4:30pm although it was initially supposed to begin at 1pm. Before this time the DJ (DJ FLAMZY) already got the crowd moving by playing some favorites from iconic rock bands like Linkin Park, Asking Alexandria, Parkway Drive, System Of A Down and 3 Doors Down to mention but a few.
The music continued for a bit with the host of the event Efa coming to the mic at intervals to get a feel of the audience and get them pumped for things to come. We later proceeded to a karaoke competition between the guys and ladies which was very exciting as the ladies were better singers (or maybe the guys were in it just for the fun) and the guys kept trying to make a comeback to little or no avail. At about 7pm, the karaoke came to an end and the DJ played more songs till the event finally came to a close at about 8pm.
MnRIV didn’t fail to deliver in terms of the excitement and energy that it’s been known to always bring. A lot of factors come into play to create this atmosphere, ranging from the music played to the fact that people who haven’t seen in a very long time or probably only related online get to meet each other physically. It’s a formula that has worked over time and will probably work again but this doesn’t mean I don’t have my fears for future editions of this event.
Pros and Cons
Personally, I think much more planning went into the third edition of MnR and it left this one lacking by comparison. The first thing I noticed was the obvious disorganization in the way the event played out. There were no band performances and this created a major hole in the execution of the event. I asked the organizers and although they had a cogent reason for this, it didn’t change in that previous editions they had time to breathe and figure out what to do next during the times that the bands performed. It was a very much-needed interlude that helped cover up even the most obvious flaws and its absence in this edition left me wanting.
The venue also presented two major flaws that affected the event; we were upstairs and the floor was wooden. Before I continue, I’d like to point out that I am aware of how difficult it is to find a venue for events especially an event like this one. That being said, this is a rock party and being what it is, one can only expect that people will jump, scream and stomp. Telling people to keep calm or not to jump when they hear their favorite tunes totally kills the mood and defeats the purpose of inviting them in the first place. I cannot stress enough how much this affected the flow of the party and I can only hope that the organizers don’t repeat that kind of mistake again.
In addition to these, the event felt like a shadow of the previous editions in so many ways. There was no order of program (at least it didn’t seem like there was one), the Karaoke songs that were available were very limited and it made the activity quite monotonous, an air guitar competition got cancelled and finally the playlist for the event was lacking in content. MnR is in many ways a reflection of the level of exposure that the rock community in Nigeria has, and it saddens my heart to say that we are still stuck in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This is not to say that I have a problem with the classics or the songs that we already know and love, but I fear that MnR will lose its unique feel if all we do as a community is to recycle the same old songs.
To be totally honest, it’s not entirely the fault of the organizers. The community itself needs to make a conscious effort to get new material and keep themselves up to date with what is happening in the world of Rock now. One thing I think can help with that is the organization of listening parties by the various smaller groups in the growing rock community. Getting people together in a relaxed atmosphere to listen to new material, sample songs and share information I believe will help our rock library as a community expand exponentially.
All in all, Metal and Romance IV was a lot of fun and I would do it again a million times over. I can only hope that the event has a lot more structure in later editions so it can reach its full potential both nationally and internationally.
Support your local rock events and rock on \m/