Being a 90’s baby is cool and all, but Odunsi the Engine has a story to tell about the 80’s… and you will pay attention!
Two years ago, after the release of the joint tape ‘War’ with Nonso Amadi, the pair scheduled a show in London. Sadly, Odunsi couldn’t make it due to circumstances out of his control. As great as that show was, it was exciting to finally have him perform to his ‘innit’ fans on this side!
On Odunsi’s just-ended UK tour for his debut album rare. (yes, small letters, and yes you need the full stop), the 22 year old Nigerian youngster crafted a multi-layered immersive experience, serving solid looks, sounds and vibes in a rainbow lights discothèque environment. rare. was brought to life with a live band, the eclectic DJ Femo on the turntables and supporting acts such as Tay Iwar, 234Jaydaa and Hamzaa; all of whom were featured on the album.
At the ultimate London show, Hamzaa introduced the album with a sweet crooning of the legendary opening line “it’s my time, and nobody can tell me nothing” – and when The Engine burst onto the stage in an arresting and sparklu turquoise two-piece, we just knew we were in for a great time!
Every song Odunsi performed felt like a crowd favourite. The audience sang along every lyric word for word. Each set, enhanced by his second costume change: a bright red and yellow Michael Jackson-inspired number, had an energy of its own. The top three songs that got the most reactions were ‘Take a break’, ‘Divine’ and ‘Alté Cruise’. However, my favourite moment was the instant mosh pit created when the DJ dropped Gangsta Fear and Rapid Fire! Shout out to the boy Santi – the love was expressed even in his absence.
A feeling of community was very present throughout the tour. It was evident that lovers of diverse alternative sounds felt seen and appreciated, and that was special. For that alone, Odunsi deserves all the credit for creating an album that in itself is a party – and then bringing the party straight to the fans.
Having studied in Ghana’s Ashesi University for while, Odunsi’s journey is one that reminds me strongly of Mr. Eazi’s success story. In fact, Odunsi’s first ever performance was opening for Mr. Eazi in Ashesi! UK shows were a clever element in growing Eazi’s fanbase and reach, and will undoubtedly be instrumental in Odunsi’s blow – I can smell it!