Neptunez wins 'battle of bands'


Neptunez delivered a great performance that saw the band win the contest./ Photo by Timothy Kisambira.

Neptunez band once again proved its credentials as the leading live band in Kigali, beating two other bands in a live duel at the Kigali Marriott Hotel on Saturday night.

Dubbed Battle of the Bands, this first-of-its-kind event (locally) pitted three popular live bands in Kigali; Micho Band, Best Beat Band, and the night’s winners Neptunez Band which tussled it out musically before an audience that eventually chose the best band. The fourth band, the Million Dollar Band, did not show up for the competition.

Micho band took part in the competition.

Band music lovers turned out in large numbers for the event, at an entry fee of Rwf5,000 and 10,000, for ordinary and VIP seats, respectively.

Best Beat Band was the first to take to the stage, at a time when the revelers were still trickling in. This placed the unenviable task of warming up the crowd from scratch on their shoulders.

Each band was allotted 90 minutes on stage, before they took a break to allow the audience to vote.

Micho Band was next on stage after Best Beat, putting up a spirited performance that left the audience torn between the two. When the night’s MC asked the crowd to vote for either of the two bands by show of hands, it was 50-50.

The Neptunez Band came on stage with not only a bigger repertoire of musicians, but also the confidence to boot.

Thanks in part to the loyal following it has garnered from its monthly flagship event, the Kigali Jazz Junction, it was soon obvious the night would go to Neptunez.

The band did a medley style fusing old classics, reggae and African rhythms, peppering this with more familiar contemporary sounds like Yemi Alade’s ‘Johnny’ that got the audience in dancing mode.

By the time the band paused its performance for the audience to vote, everyone knew who the night’s winners were. From the crowd, the incessant cries of “we want more” could be heard.

After the voting, the Best Beat and Micho Bands returned to stage, each performing about four songs, before the crowd’s favourites – Neptunez Band – returned to crown the night. This second segment lasted about 40 minutes, and was the climactic moment for the band, with the entire VIP section taking to their feet to groove away.

At stake was a contract that would see the winning band perform at the hotel’s Iriba Bar and Terrace on Thursday nights.

The winners also pocketed Rwf250,000 in rewards.

“Bringing different bands to battle on stage was a good idea. I am a regular fan of Igisope (oldies live performances) but usually the bands play only old Rwandan songs but it was great to have three different bands playing music of all genres,” said Natacha Kamikazi, a reveler.

A guest takes a photo with a saxophonist from Neptunez band. Timothy Kisambira.
Kiki Toure’s band, Best lost to Neptunez. Timothy Kisambira.
The ‘battle of bands’ competition at Kigali Marriott Hotel attracted many live music fans.