If there’s one thing that is immediately synonymous with Kenyan youth, it has got to be their insatiable ability to party like the proverbial rockstars.
Every weekend, thousands upon thousands of hot blooded youngsters flock the numerous clubs and lounges littered in their respective urban dwellings with one agenda on their minds; to have an “epic” time.
As is the case with most things Kenyan, Nairobi epitomises the Kenyan party scene with its colourful and adrenaline charged activities that are the stuff most youngsters live for.
Fancy automobiles, short skimpy outfits, multicoloured tees and skinny jeans, flashy bling and a constant supply of liquor.
For the longest time, Kenyan youth lived out this picture perfect scenario every weekend on the 100 metre stretch in the city’s “clubbing district” Westlands that has aptly been branded as the ‘Electric Avenue’.
Covering the entire area along Mpaka Road and branching into the adjacent Westlands Road and Woodvale Grove and the environs, the “Westie” rave was considered the ideal night out for many a party goer.
Clubs such as Rezorous, Bacchus, Psys, Black Diamond, Galileos Undecided, Changes and their ilk were constantly on the lips of every young urbanite who considered themselves hip being the “it” places to be at on Friday nights.
It was after all, the ‘up’ side of town, hence birthing the ‘uptown’ reference.
Thursday quickly took over as the ultimate party night and theme nights such as “Bendover Thursday” hosted by Codered DJs at Changes and “Uptown Thursday” with Homeboyz presenter G-Money at Rezorous became the most anticipated events in town.
It was in fact this “Thursday night madness” that propelled the likes of DJ Kaytrixx and DJ Mr T who have both since parted ways with their former stable, Codered, to pursue their solo careers.
Fast forward to a Thursday a few weeks ago when Buzz toured the now infamous locale hoping to catch a glimpse of the high octane nightlife that once characterised the area.
Instead, only a handful of college students could be spotted in the vicinity with most nightclubs which would be teeming with revellers on past occasions literally empty.
With the exception of one of the discotheques which has managed to retain a small fraction of its once bustling clientele, most joints in the area are mere shadows of their former selves with some having shut down or under new management.
As fast as it came, the Westie Thursday night frenzy seems to have died a quiet death punctuated only by the occasional boom of the speakers resonating in the empty dance floors.
However, a quick survey reveals that Nairobi’s party scene is far from dead. As a matter of fact, it couldn’t be livelier.
With the advent of the “swag generation”, “uptown” seems to have got a new meaning and with it came the exodus from Westlands to what are considered more swanky locations.
“The thing about Nairobians is that they cherish exclusivity,” says DJ Kamjo who has witnessed the rise and fall of Westie within the span of the last two years.
“Crowd tastes are very dynamic and the moment something new pops up everyone switches to it so as not to be left behind.”
According to the new school DJ, the emergence of new, sophisticated joints in the more upmarket locations is to blame for dulling Westie’s short-lived shine.
It doesn’t help that today’s youth have a knack for flashy things and ever changing tastes which make it hard to hold on to their market for long.
“Before Westlands it was Village Market,” he observes, “now everyone seems to be heading towards Ngong Road where joints like Club Volar, Brew Bistro, Christie, Steak & Ale and Club Barn have become the new craze.”
Casey Gikunda, who is in charge of Events & Marketing for both Club Volar and Barn located in the exclusive Ngong Racecourse believes the secret behind the sudden shift in tastes lies in the establishments’ ability to engage the different audiences effectively and appropriately.
Furthermore, she cites establishing a niche for themselves and avoiding clichés as some of the factors that have endeared revellers to them.
For Shiko, a frequent reveller at the Brew Bistro Lounge located further down Ngong Road, it’s all about security.
“Westlands has become too crowded and you can hardly trust anyone who goes there,” she notes. “Before it used to be a place for cool people but as more people started realising this, it became a place where thugs go to prey on party goers.”