This review is proudly brought to you by our readers and followers on Social Media platforms who insisted we write one. July 16th saw the second edition of the now-popular RRUU HANGOUT, a series of events associated with the Hidden Empire community. Yes. Hidden Empire is not a record label or anything of the sort, in fact, they intend to be more than a music group. The first event was all about the Hidden Empire crew and this time, it was a tea and tee affair. Tea from different manufacturers within Uganda was served, even though a great number of those who attended opted for the two bottles of Soda – call it, quantity over quality. This last comment is a by-the-way. The choice was given and that was left to those in attendance.
In as much as, like the first edition, this RRUU HANGOUT too wasn’t highly advertised (we lent a hand by hosting Ruyonga on #SaturdayTalkUg, that was a great chat), the Papali at the Rooftops was already almost packed to capacity by the time we got there. The open space near the bar area was filled with different local designers of T-shirts, and those who made inquiries on prices. In the main event area, there was a runway that immediately informed you that there would be a showcase of some of what was displayed. This was incorporated into performances by Afrie one of the main acts for the night and other musicians.
If you went for this RRUU HANGOUT expecting the “Hidden Empire” kind of feel, you might have been disappointed. This is not to say the performers were not great, in fact, the artistry displayed by Afrie and MoRoots who was among the last performers was jaw-dropping. You could feel the music penetrate into your soul. Her vocals were pitch-perfect. David Pragmo did his magic and so did Ritah Sabiiti who was steady on her guitar. The blend of this with fashion made it worth the 10,000 UG shillings that we paid at the entrance.
There was a guest appearance by Maurice Kirya who performed his song, Ghost with Ruyonga. This RRUU HANGOUT crowd was visibly excited and moved closer to capture the moment for their friends at home and shared on social media. If you appreciate live music, and fashion, this was your event.
Major surprises at this event involved a praise and worship session which quite frankly felt misplaced. And this is not to say praise and worship is bad, but for an event that was presented as a live music party involving a fashion showcase, it was perhaps not the right place. But we’ll, it was quite enjoyable actually, and apologies to those who will be hurt when we say, it felt like the musicians singing were ambushed. They did not blend to each other but seemed very into the leading.
The other was an appearance by Karama Karmelo who performed Amasanyalaze Negagenda. This performance felt extremely misplaced for two reasons. One, this was marketed as a live event kind of thing. Secondly, it made a good number of people question whether this is a strictly Christian party or a good music party and the song in question does not align with those messages.
Not all was lost. Ruyonga made an appearance on stage to spit some truth. His words, though I do not remember exactly what they were, really resonated with many people’s hearts. He did what felt like a freestyle session that ended with him thanking all sponsors. In this moment, I hoped he had kept going on.
Did the RRUU HANGOUT give us a great time? Yes. Did it give us a unique experience? Yes? Was it a great environment? Yes? Did the DJs Twonjex and Stef do a great job? Of course they did. Was the turnout good? The place was packed. Did they stay true to the theme? Yes?
So, a part from the fact that the event host Tony Smart shared a few stale jokes, and a few performers made people wonder what direction the event is taking, all else went well.