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Reliving the '90s with a party

 DJ Pinye. [David Gichuru,Standard]

The year was 2004. That was the first time visitors were able to access The Junction, then a swanky destination and experience entry into the market. The year was also dotted with key milestones - the height of CMB Prezzo and Homeboyz as a production company of note.

It was also a year after E-Sir died, and a glorious time when music lovers could not choose between which hit to play, dance and sing to from the competitive Ogopa DJs and Calif Records.

So it was only appropriate that American-based DJ and promoter, Fully Focus chose The Junction as the location for the international festival, Passport Experience (PXP), a block party of sorts themed around 90s and 2000s music.

And true to form, the party largely stuck to the theme, DJ after DJ taking us down memory lane with hits we grew to love, jams that rocked dancefloors when clubs had space for just that, and wearing baggy jeans was the norm, not an oddity.

Fully Focus opened the party with an array of jams, mostly international hits, as Nairobians kept swarming in, the cold weather not stopping the bareback and thighs from trying to find some sunlight in the gloom.

Kenyans seem to have adapted to early parties, Corona’s curfew hours having given us some sort of timely character development, as the place was buzzing by 4 pm.

Next on stage was Jamaican import, G Money, who took us through a Caribbean cruise, playing jams from the era of Beenie Man, TOK, Sean Paul and a vibrant and still-free, Vybz Kartel. He dropped a few homophobic songs that would raise eyebrows if they came out today, but the party was too gay to notice. His set was to be the high point of the party.

The reclusive DJ Pinye took the reins, dashing in and out of the local scene, where he made his name. At some point, the darkness already heavy and the rain coming down fast, the revellers chanted "Pinye! Pinye! Pinye!" maybe in recognition of the legendary music man.

Before Fully Focus got back on stage to close the show and preview his latest jam with Bien, DJ John did his thing, taking revellers through his set, which included some songs he had ‘remixed’. Coming at the end of the party, it was a decent set that got fans to shake off the chill.

Hits

The location was perfect, with the mall’s intricate security system ensuring the revellers would be safe and secure as they partied. With rising cases of mugging and rape at events, the choice of location was sensible.

It also meant an intimate experience, with everyone fitting perfectly inside the tent.

The two watering holes were strategically placed to reduce a hold-up, and the food on offer was too good. Good points there.

The DJ selection reflected the era, all of them appropriate, believable and storied in the local and international music scene.

Misses

The DJs made the experience underwhelming, to be honest. Other than G Money, whose set was themed around a genre, the rest repeated songs played before or chose genres that had already been featured.

There was a massive disregard for local content, not enough hits from the era featuring, the DJs staying away from the likes of Professor J, Jose Chameleone, K South, Ukoo Flani Mau Mau, or even Klepto. Any DJ could have played the music that was coming out of the speakers.

Seats were for a selected few, and revellers were forced to stand for long hours causing irritation for many.

Mobile toilets were placed two floors down, too far for people high on alcohol. There was enough space on the rooftop to cater for the restrooms.

Finally, being a theme party, maybe the organisers should also have tried to push an attire theme to complement the music and the state, which had era props like an old TV set. Dungarees, bandanas, baggy jeans, Ogopa DJ T-shirts and even dad sneakers could have been encouraged.

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