Culture, Live Reviews, Pop — April 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

Superstar Akon in Macau, Review



April 8th, 2013
Club Cubic, Macau
A review by Scott Murphy

Pack over a 1,000 rabid partygoers in to see a major, major label act at one of Asia’s best and biggest nightclubs and what do you get? An evening filled with hype, hope and downright strangeness.

The occasion was the 2nd anniversary of Club Cubic at the City Of Dreams in Macau, which is certainly one of the largest clubs in Asia, with the best sound system that money can buy. Outside, the glamour was in full swing amidst the cavernous COD hallways, with Hong Kong hipsters milling about, security guards a plenty and a white entrance way of sorts which lent a hint of glamour to the proceedings.

Inside, it was indeed a party, with heaps of Perrier-Jouet champagne branding (a sponsor) lying about, sparklers in the bottles and interminable waits for drinks. Of course, everyone on hand in the decidedly mixed (Hong Kong, Mainland and Euro-tourist) crowd was there to see Akon, the Senegalese born pop artist with the helium voice, who has been a fixture in every cheesy nightclub known to man for much of the Noughties.

Akon and champagne

Sure enough, following some noodling and dribble by a live bass, drum and keyboard team draped around the stage, a giant silver mirrorball—yes, ala U2 on their Pop tour—descended from the ceiling. Without a hint of irony, out popped Akon, clad in a white suit and shirt.

And this is where the strange part came in. Over the course of the evening it became extremely difficult to tell whether he was actually singing live or not. If he was, then he must surely have one of the world’s best sound mixers, who could seamlessly blend Akon’s unique vocal pitch alongside Akon-lead backing tracks from many of his songs, his live band and his spoken between song patter.

Akon in the crowd

As Akon mowed through his considerable repertoire—every hit and then some—including “Right Now (Na, Na, Na)” and “Lonely”—his distinct vocals seemed so perfect that they were Autotuned. Added into the mix was a band mate, shirtless with a purple Mohawk, whose sole contribution to the event was bouncing around while providing onstage companionship and endless shouts of “Hey!’ “Yeah!” “Make some noise!”

Punctuating the seamless 20 plus song set were snatches of other acts—a Darude riff here and clichéd synth sound there—that kept the standing room audience on their toes. Banter mainly consisted of lines like “Sexy ladies put your hands up high!” and in one deep moment Akon quipped, “I realized something that I didn’t realize before…where are you all from?”

Akon in the dark

Over an hour later, as smoke descended from the ceiling and the video screen continued to show snatches of Akon’s greatest moments, he still showed no sign of stopping. By then he was down to his undershirt, mingling amidst inebriated crowd members who tried to share the spotlight with the smiling singer.

And then, just when it seemed as though he would take up permanent residence at Cubic with his endless supply of hits that ran together in a kind of bubbly blandness, Akon was gone, drifting offstage without an official goodbye.

The audience went back to their drinks. The regular DJ mixed in another club tune. And somehow, the party continued…


By Scott Murphy

Scott Murphy is Head Writer at SIREN FILMS – a HK based independent production and creative house.