Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We should have known by now, we were on their list

Yes, the rumours are true. The Killers will indeed be coming to South Africa! They will play one show in Johannesburg [Coca-Cola Dome, 4 December] and one in Cape Town [Val De Vie Estate, 6 December]. Get your tickets as soon as you can at Computicket. Prices range from R269 to R526. And that's all, really. Everyone is excited, it is moments away from becoming a topic as trending as Semenya, so... now you know.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Love is a Mizer

City Bowl Mizers at Bohemia, 13 August 2009
Ever since they played our gig for free to raise funds and boards for the Mahala Surf Co., we’ve held a soft spot in our dark little hearts for the City Bowl Mizers. And it’s not often we are graced with the presence of Durban bands in Stellenbosch. So when I heard that the City Bowl Mizers would be playing, I knew I had to go, and apparently everyone else in Stellenbosch shared my thoughts...
Read the full review on Mahala here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We Wanted More...

Taxi Violence Album Launch with 3rd World Spectator
Klein Libertas Theatre, 15 August
On a cold, wintry night in Stellenbosch, the thought of remaining indoors with a DVD, duvet and [hopefully] a human heater, is an appealing one. I myself was tempted to do just that, to have one night of doing nothing. But this one was simply too good to miss...
In light of the number of gigs happening that night in Cape Town as well as the chilly weather, I did not expect a very big crowd, simply hoping to be pleasantly surprised. But it was not to be; turnout was a little disappointing. But what the crowd lacked in size it certainly made up for in enthusiasm; every person there sang along, rocked out and pleaded encore.
3rd World Spectator played a set that was characteristically dramatic, theatrical and well-rehearsed without having become tedious. I remain amazed at frontman Peter Crafford’s haunting voice and seemingly endless vocal range. Keep an ear out for some recording happening soon, and an album [hopefully] to be released closer to the end of the year. Also [and it excites me greatly to report this], 3rd World Spectator will be playing at Klein Libertas Theatre with Wrestlerish at the beginning of September. Be there!
The Taxi Violence guys put their all into the live show, as they always do. It is impossible to take one’s eyes off frontman George van der Spuy [or Riaan’s hair!] and by the end of the set everyone in the crowd was as exhausted as the guys on stage. Ever-engaged with his crowd, George connects with everyone and makes a full, smoky, dark room seem intimate to every person watching. Some older favourites were left out of the set, but only to make room for a taste of the new material, and it tastes good! The new album has had nothing but good reviews thus far and it seems to be the must-have for the month. Adding more of their well-liked acoustic endeavours, The Turn is sure to satisfy all fans. Make sure you get your hands on it as soon as you can, and make an effort to see what is undoubtedly one of the country’s best live bands.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Collected Memories: Calendar Girl

It has been a rough, rough week. I am finally going to class [four weeks into the term I realised I had averaged one out of 20 per week!] and I feel as though I am slowly getting back on top of the mandatory things like taking the meds and graduating at the end of this year. But in the more personal spheres- in those inside circles you find yourself wandering around and wondering about and eventually get lost in but as alone as you are you try not to drag others in with you, those are the pieces that aren't quite as awesome as others may seem. On the other hand [where there are more fingers], work is going well, with great opportunities coming my way.
Sometimes you'll feel hopeless, or alone, unhappy, perhaps hating yourself a bit when all along you were hating everyone else. We are human, and even the bravest faces can't be strong all the time. Sometimes admitting that one needs support, of confessing one's weaknesses, is the greater strength. And nothing lasts forever. You just have to believe it will pass, it will get better, and in the end everything will be alright. Other times you need to look in the mirror, shake yourself and know there is a solution, potentially within you.
If I am lost for a day; try to find me
But if I don't come back, then I won't look behind me.
All of the things that I thought were so easy
Just got harder and harder each day.
Calendar girl who's in love with the world, stay alive.
Calendar girl who's in love with the world, stay alive!
I dreamed I was dying; as I so often do,
And when I awoke I was sure it was true.
I ran to the window, threw my head to the sky
And said, "whoever is up there, please don't let me die!"
January, February, March, April, May- I'm alive.
June, July, August, September, October I'm alive
November, December, all through the winter, I'm alive!
I'm alive...
-Stars, Calendar Girl

The Music Never Stops

Barely unpacked from Oppikoppi, and already beginning to plan Rocking The Daisies, I have received news that the first of the RAMfest 2010 bands have already been confirmed! True story. You know they'll have a great line-up, but for now you can look forward to definitely seeing LARK, Fokofpolisiekar, Desmond & The Tutus, kidofdoom and The Realist. It's going to be another good one!
RAMfest 2010 happens in Nekkies [Western Cape] in February, and heads up North to Pretoria in March.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smoorverlief op Oppikoppi

Okay okay, I know I have spoken of nothing but Oppikoppi for the last... Month? Maybe six... But do check out http://www.mahala.co.za/ for a good read on all things culture- music, art, movies, you name it! This is the kind of site you want to have a look at often, trust me.
And while you're at it, check out my Oppikoppi words and pictures contribution here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

At The Foot Of The Weekend...

I am sitting on my livingroom floor with a piece of paper in front of me, writing down all the gigs I would like to attend from tonight until Saturday night. My problem being that I cannot attend them all. I hope your dilemma is not mine, but here are some of the ones I thought were worthy considering attending:
Thursday, 13 August:

Captain Stu and Zinkplaat at Zula, Cape Town

Captain Stu and Zinkplaat seek to bring English- and Afrikaans people together. This is Zinkplaat's first EVER gig in Cape Town. Srsly.

City Bowl Mizers and Mr Cat & The Jackal at Bohemia, Stellenbosch

The Mizers have trekked all the way from Durbs, bru. They don't come here all too often, so you may want to catch them while you can.

Friday, 14 August:

GeROOSter at Paul Roos Gymnasium

This year's line-up includes... Well, you can see from the poster.

Taxi Violence at Mercury

Launching their new album, and I have heard many a good thing about it! Plus, they're always worth seeing live.

Saturday, 15 August

Pretty Blue Guns, City Bowl Mizers and The Revelators at Mercury

Also launching their new album, you can catch the Cutting Heads Stellenbosch leg next week at Klein Libertas Theatre if you can't make it to Cape Town.

Chris Chameleon and Foto Na Dans at Assembly

An interesting combination, certainly, but definitely two top local acts. A must-see, in my opinion.The Dirty Skirts and The Problematiques at Zula Bar

There's a good chance you haven't seen The Problematiques yet. Well, here's your chance. And I'd be interested to see what The Skirts do on such a small stage after Oppikoppi and other bigger crowds and -stages.

And that's about it. Good luck making up your mind! If you have any suggestions foe me, let me know, please.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day The Last Part The Final

After yet another late night, cold as ice, we shivered back to our tents for the last round of getting our hips bruised by the hard earth. Up early, and then the packing began. Between the left-over food, garbage, clothes everywhere and even more Oppikoppi dirt, this is not easy feat, especially being three girls in one car! And finally we were homewardbound, but not before Wimpy coffee and a few last minutes of talking kak... Home meant the longest shower of my life, the warmest, and then passing out before the plane even started moving. Back home, saying prayers for my wonderfully soft, warm bed, but hoping I can do it all over again next year...
A last round of looking-backs:
17h00: Tidal Waves, Most Amazing Myn Stage
South Africa's hottest reggae-rock band, and without doubt one of the tightest acts in the country. This year, certain band members knew better than to attempt to jump from the stage over the pit in the crowd, knowing from experience that gravity always wins. But they still had a great show, and they had their many fans jamming their hearts out along with the band. You have to love how slow and soulful their music can be one second, clashing so artfully a moment later with all-out rock! I have never been let down by Tidal Waves, and so it continues...
18h00: The Dirty Skirts, James Phillip Main Stage
Opening with what I have to claim to be my song, Wake kicked off the Skirts' gig with unicorns and pegasi, and it only got better from there. Everything from the older 'classics' like Feeling The Pressure to their latest video release, Rolling Like Thunder, and the crowd sang along to it all. Frontman Jeremy de Tolly had his usual rockstar moments blended with that Zen approach, sitting on the edge of the stage and reaching out to his zounds of fans, and it turns out that spirit really is the new black...
19h00: Kidofdoom, Most Amazing Myn Stage
Beginning the set with a full introduction of the Doomers team, everyone from band members to Liam Lynch behind the lens, this was probably the most mind-blowing kidofdoom performance I have ever seen! Yes, the boys rocked out and yes, their music is impressive and innovative in a country largely lacking instrumental bands. But the thing that is even more beautiful is watching the connection between these boys. They are like brothers, and their love for the music mirrors their friendship. And then, for the first time ever, we heard kidofdoom with vocals: Bertus from Havoc Vultures joined the Doomers on stage for The Power of Love. And in true ironic fashion, there are no words to describe what happened. But bar this once-in-a-lifetime event, kidofdoom continues to prove that music does not need words.
19h50: Oppikoppi Monument Declaration, James Phillip Main Stage
Yes, the rumours are true. Oppikoppi, after 15 years of existance, is a national monument. The ceremony was performed by the true legends of the festival, like Francois van Coke, Hunter Kennedy and Albert Frost. It was a moment that will go down in South African history, and am sure that everyone there felt a surge of pride for it all.
21h00: Die Heuwels Fantasties, Most Amazing Myn Stage
I was still in the camping area, heading to the stage, when I could hear the crowd begin to chant for Die Heuwels. I am quite sure that the Most Amazing Myn Staga has never seen so many people! And Die Heuwels rocked it. On drums was Phil Erasmus of Thieve, and I saw a showcase of just how much talent this boy has. He sat behind the drums grinning like a child, but mastering the job with ease. Joined on stage also by Francois van Coke and Jack Parow, this performance was not only one of the most anticipated ones at Oppikoppi, but also one of the best received. The crowd knew every word and every silence, and their electro rock set was done with vigour enough to feed the masses before them.
00hoo: Fokofpolisiekar, James Phillip Main Stage
Finally, the summit of it all was in sight. Fokofpolisiekar began as a Bellville rock band and turned into a revolution. I had the honour of being on stage while they played, and it was all awe-inspiring. I am sure I don't have to say much about the actual performance: the energy, the larger-than-life crowd, the zealous fans singing every single word with Francois- their music is an experience and they are a great part of South African music. Words cannot do it justice, but to say that this was the right way to end the fifteenth Oppikoppi, and the right way to begin dreaming of the next 15.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day 3 Part Deux

After just a few hours of sleep, I woke up in a tent that was far too hot, and was forced to get up and go, if only to escape the heat.
First up, after pizza for breakfast and a colder-than-cold shower:
12h00: Wrestlerish, James Phillip Main Stage
Pretoria boys Wrestlerish have some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a long time. One of their tracks is on the Oppikoppi compilation CD, and the album is on its way, so keep your eyes open for that! Even the daytime suited the indie bedroom-folk sounds, and you have to love that members jump around playing a range of instruments, not limiting themselves to their primary instrument. The crowd loved them, and for a relatively new band I was surprised, but pleasantly so, to hear many a crowd member sing along!
13h00: Jack Parow, Levi's Bushveld Originals
With the filthiest mouth in the industry, Jack Parow was a much anticipated act. Joined on stage by Yesterday's Pupil's Peach, the mixing was, of course, of a superb standard. Wearing his trademark too-long black cap, Jack had the crowd in hysterics at some of his lyrics, and even those not so into this kind of music had to appreciate his zef Bellville-rap. You may not play it over and over, but this is definitely an entertaining act.
15h00: Ashtray Electric, Most Amazing Myn Stage
One of my favourite local bands, I was definitely not the most excited person watching. The crowd went crazy, and the boys put on one helluva show! Joined on stage by Thieve's Andrew Davenport, everyone was bursting with energy along with their eager fans. Lead vocalist Andre Pienaar even jumped down from the stage and joined the crowd; you can only imagine the reaction he got from the ladies. Come to think of it, the boys seemed pretty eager to touch his hand too! Having seen this band countless times and at various venues, I can confidently say this is one of the best Ashtray Electric shows I have seen. The boys put their everything into the performance, and the crowd saw that and gave it all back.
And now, it's time for the marathon. Later.

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day 3 Part Une

Today is the main day at Oppikoppi! With bands including Jack Parow, Ashtray Electric, Fokofpolisiekar, kidofdoom, Die Heuwels Fantasties, The Dirty Skirts, Tidal Waves and Wrestlerish, everyone is happy! But first, where did we leave off last night?
17h30: Koos Kombuis, James Phillip Main Stage
Boasting one of the biggest crowds at the festival, Koos Kombuis can be seen almost every year at Oppikoppi. But there is a reason for that- the crowd loves him, and even walking around today I keep catching snippets of conversations retelling the set.
18h30: Balthazar, Most Amazing Myn Stage
All the way from Belgium, this band has been one of my favourites so far! Their music is uplifting and easy to get into. With four males and a female, their music is anything but repetitive. They got well into the South African vibe, and we got well into theirs! As they put it, "This is one to dance upon". And did we dance! These guys have won over their entire home country, and did a good job of winning over ours too. I speak for many fans when I say I hope they will be back soon, before Europe wakes up and ships them to the stars to make it big.
20h30: Taxi Violence, Most Amazing Myn Stage
The boys have been working exceptionally hard to bring us their new album, and I am hearing very good things about it! The album is tour is happening, but for now we indulged in some of their older material. The crowd was big, and everyone put as much into their watching the gig as Taxi Violence did on stage. Their shows are always jam-packed with energy, and this time was no different.: they jumped, and screamed, and rocked out like the true rockstars they are. Their live shows match their music to perfection and this was a case of the crowd doing it too.
20h30: Riku Latti & Albert Frost, Levi's Bushveld Originals
Albert Frost is the ultimate Oppikoppi susperstar! Having played at every festival over all these years, he is without a doubt one of te country's most talented musicians. No one could put it better than Liam once did in a debate over Albert and another blues musician- 'He can play the blues, but the blues play Albert!' Joined by Riku Latti on stage, their music was beautiful and they possessed their crowd without effort. Fans were mesmerised by this duo, and the press pit was a platform for a proposal! Yes, you heard me. And to top it all off, the song Smoorverlief.
22h30: Foto Na Dans, Most Amazing Myn Stage
As dramatic as always, these winners of last year's MK Award for Best Live Performance had their crowd going wild for their music. LeRoi's voice and stage presence were as powerful as always, and he interacted with his rabid crowd all through the set. Playing a mixture of old and new material, the slower tracks and the vociferously theatrical, I maintain my opinion that they one of the country's best bands to catch live.
23h30: aKING, James Phillip Main Stage
Their live performances are consistent, but why change a winning formula? With an enormous crowd, aKing played a great set. They filled the space before them, booming out all the favourites. They have an enormous following, but while their music is easy to get into it oozes musical talent, and they are gaining fans by the second. Headlining yesterday, it was a wonderful way to hit midnight and begin official birthday celebrations.
And what after that, stays at Oppikoppi. But I did get to bed at the same time I usually get up for work. Nice.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day 2 Part Deux

A beautiful sunset here at Oppikoppi. My feet are aching and I am dirty like never before. But it has been a great day. Bellville has arrived and the team feels more complete!
I have to interrupt this and say how perfect the weather has been. Many expected the worst, but in true bushveld fashion the days are warm and sunny and the nights are not even all that cold. Even Mother Nature supports Oppikoppi.
Mooi sexy
14h30: The Plastics, Most Amazing Myn Stage
Since winning the Red Bull Radar competition at 2008's Rocking the Daisies, these guys have grown a lot in their music, progressing towards a sound that is more their own. They maintain a great attitude towards the music scene and music as a career, and they played a good show, tight as always. Despite being fairly early in the day, they got the crowd on their feet and dancing. Just like it should be...
15h30: Isochronous, James Phillip Main Stage
Festival organisers need to stop putting Isochronous at daytime slots. While the boys played a set that was as amazing as always, theirs is a show that is complemented by lighting effects to match their stellar music. But they had an enormous crowd, and these Pretoria boys were well appreciated. Richard Brokensha shows kidofdoom is not instrumental for the absence of vocal talent; his voice is powerful but soothing at the same time, at almost unparallelled in the local music scene. As always, keyboardist Alex Parker was the energy source on stage, though Richard and bassist Franco Schoeman did their fair share of rocking out to music that transports listeners to another universe.
16h30: Van Coke Kartel & Gerald Clark, Levi's Bushveld Originals
Playing an acoustic gig, Van Coke Kartel was immensely powerful! The boys hit the stage in collars and ties, a cleaner look for a more chilled version of their normally-harder rock. Joining them was one of South Africa's most talented musicians, Gerald Clark. He added a new dimension to their sound, and thus was born Van Coke Kartel playing blues. Believe it! The crowd was large and loving every minute of the set, singing along to every song. A perfect way to end the day, I found myself holding strangers' hands and belting out Wat Het Van Ons Geword as the sun went down.
It has been a great day. Don't expect more updates- my birthday is at midnight and I will now begin to celebrate.

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day 2 Part Une

After planning an early night, I got to bed at around 03h30, as did the rest of Oppikoppi, it seems. Up before 08h00, and woken up good and proper by loud music from The Mean Streets. Most people have had their first night sleeping in a tent, and most seem to have survived it. Others, like the poor couple who were looking for their tent all night and had to ask Liam at 07h00 whether he had seen 'die boom met die ligte', didn't quite make it. But everyone seems to have survived, and it only gets better from here.
A few updates from last night:
20h00: The Black Hotels, James Phillip Main Stage
Kicking off my Oppikoppi music time was The Black Hotels, whose music I have always enjoyed thoroughly. Though I can't say they are the most exciting bunch on stage, they pulled their music off almost flawlessly, and seeing as it sounded just like it does on disc we jammed just like we always do when we hear it. Bassist and vocalist Lisa Campbell has a sugar-sweet voice, and lead vocalist John Boyd has no problem pulling off his music on a live stage. Perhaps not the most memorable live performance I have ever seen, but that is their vibe and the indie beats were cool enough to keep us more than happy throughout the set.
23h00: Crash Car Burn, James Phillip Main Stage
While I can't call myself the biggest fan of their music, I was well impressed by the former Tweak boys' performance. I stood at the back, talking to strangers and old friends rather than getting right into it at the very front of the stage. But these guys caught my eye as they put everything into their show. The set was short regarding original music, but they kept the crowd happy with radio hits like Serenade. And then, to make their time on stage worthwhile, we were served a platter of covers; everything from Kelly Clarkson to Bryan Adams, and the crowd loved it! I admit the covers did get a little tedious after a while, but how often do you find a bunch of guys entertaining a crowd with Since You've Been Gone? All members rocked out from start to finish, and they loved being on stage. Whether you're into their music or not, the live performance is one worth experiencing and they're guaranteed to get you into it all, if only a tiny bit.
00h00: Bed on Bricks, James Phillip Main Stage
Last year it was a little weird seeing my History lecturer on stage at Oppikoppi. And it remains a little weird. [Yes, I may have failed History 244 last and yes, he may be my lecturer. AGAIN.] This year, bassist Schalk van der Merwe was not in a lion suit, but Bed on Bricks' performance was as good as ever. The crowd loved them as much as they always have, and they got the masses going crazy for more. Their live shows are consistent, and by that I mean consistently great. The big stage and even bigger crowd did them justice, and that is why Bed on Bricks can always be seen at Oppikoppi, playing a prime timeslot.
Things get ugly at Oppikoppi sometimes.
Today's highlights are predicted to be Taxi Violence and Foto Na Dans, undoubtedly two of South Africa's top live acts and two bands who can fill the enormity of it all witBoldhout even trying. The Plastics have also made their way up north from Cape Town, and theirs is always a vibe that will get you moving your hips. Isochronous falls in with Taxi and Foto for me, and other acts I will be sure to catch include aKing, Cassette, Van Coke Kartel with Gerald Clark and the Oppikoppi blues master, Albert Frost, who has played at every single Oppikoppi since 1994 and will be joined by Riku Latti.
It's going to be a good day. But for now, I need a shower, coffee and breakfast without meat in it. Impossible? Watch me do it. More news later, I promise.
Oh, and as I write this I am asked by Ninette whether she, in Stellenbosch, should be insanely jealous. The answer is yes, and the same for anyone else who isn't here. Start saving, put in leave at work, screw varsity and get to Oppikoppi next year.
If you are in Stellenbosch, be sure to keep your radio tuned to MFM 92.6 tonight as I will be doing a quick update on Conrad and Terry-Faye's World Wide Top 40, which airs from 17h00-21h00.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oppikoppi Smashed in Love: Day 1

The trip started yesterday as such, but we are here as of today. After work, last-minute packing and excitement overload, Team Lilac [myself + The Nash] boarded a plane to cold and crispy Jo'burg. After Nash nearly wrote off the entire luggage trolley and caused major jams at the airport thanks to being on the phone to her boyfriend every five seconds, Lize had to turn an entire bus around and the plane was delayed, we were A for away. Family catch-up time and a decent meal later, we were in bed with early alarms at the ready.
Yes. Pink. It is not mine.
7am alarm, and this, for me, is sleeping late! Fantastic. The sun is up AND there is time for coffee and a cigarette. Breakfast, and then the mission to stock up on junk food, alcohol and cheap shoes. Then, it was time to pick up the third member of the team: The Fulton. She is the ultimate party animal of craziness, and I am not lying when I say she WILL out-drink most of the guys I know. Car packed, and we set off on the two hour trip [on the kakkest road ever] to Oppikoppi. With no music in the car, it was all talktalktalk with much excitement over an epic weekend to come. A quick stop in Randomville and somehow I got us here sans accidents or getting lost. If you know me, you will understand what an amazing feat this is.
The first day has been spent getting into the vibe. After setting up our very cool tent [it has a foyer (now dubbed foyay!)], we have spent the day getting into the vibe and into the liquor. People everywhere, and I for one am happy to see many a familiar face and catching up with the Capetonians who undertook the great trek or the Northerners I don't see often enough. I haven't paid much attention to the music, but I have never heard so many covers, or songs that sounds like copies, in one afternoon! Some time with Irish, setting up contacts and work stuff, and we feel settled in. One cold shower later, I am typing this in the dark before I get smoordronk and struggle to spell. For now, I am off to check out The Black Hotels, The Sick Leaves, Bed on Bricks and Crash Car Burn. Reports to follow tomorrow. Sleep well, and shed a tear for not being here.
You know you love me.