Until about a decade and half ago, handful indigenous artistes and bands could manage to stage live concerts at select city venues. The options for music enthusiasts and patrons looking out to jam along to homegrown melodies and original tunes were limited to occasional, one-off performances.

At one point, the bulk of venues - whether in trendy hotels dotting the city centre or out-of-way pubs and clubs situated in the capital's suburbs, would be saturated with bands fronted by Congolese instrumentalists.

For the artistes or groups, fortunate to earn resident band stints in mostly up market establishments, their musical performances were restricted to a clearly stipulated repertoire. According to a veteran sessionist guitarist Banko Ochome, "the management required we play cover versions of 'old school' songs and grill music to entertain clientele often comprised of visiting tourists or resident foreigners".

But over the recent past, performance artistes' fortunes are taking a turn for the better. Numerous live concert venues have for instance mushroomed across parts of the city. They serve as regular and much-in-demand podiums for live concerts. A quick glimpse through the current showbiz event diaries in the city, points towards an emerging trend, wherein local artistes headline the live gigs.

For the last three years, the trendsetting Thursday Nite live music concerts held at the Choices Pub situated off Bunyala road on Nairobi's outskirts has consistently built a following of music aficionados. On a weekly basis, a mixed bag of popular and little-known-about bands/artistes have graced the pub's performance stage, thrilling audiences.

Fairly modest or often houseful audiences, who turn out and almost religiously attend the gigs, get to dance along to urban-pop, folk, afro fusion music they can sing along to at the concerts.

"The truth about local music scene is that for years, it was a challenge to secure venues to perform regularly. This scenario was aggravated by the fact the bulk of indigenous songs were often accorded sporadic airplay on local airwaves," says afro-fusion artiste, Abbi Nyinza.

But over a decade down the line, Kenyan songs get to be featured on numerous stations. Hence the landscape and stakes have raised a notch higher. Next weekend for instance, Nyinza is slotted as the headline act at the OktoberFest event to be staged at The Elephant grounds on October 30th.

It is indisputable that live concerts offer significant exposure for skilled artistes and instrumentalists, most of whom constantly seek platforms to showcase their prowess in during performances.

Afro fusion singer Abbi Nyinza