Jo'burg warms up big names for Rocking the Daisy - Meg Roux
Vodacom Live Round Up from Meg Roux
It was already dark and I was late. As I ran from one end of Mary Fitzgerald Square to the other, the loud beat of local DJ Lil’ Bow rang in my ears. Finally, I was inside, and just in time for the ever popular local act, Al Bairre. Consisting of Tom, Nic, Julia, Kyle and Tessa, this band from the Mother City was voted quite enthusiastically to open for Alt-J. The voters for the VITC Open The City Competition weren’t wrong – Al Bairre were fantastic. With determination I moved my way through the crowd and to the front of the stage just as Nic began singing. Soon the crowd and I were one, swaying to the lyrics of this five piece indie prodigy.
Before I could blink, it was time for Alt-J. The moment we’d been waiting for, standing for and screaming for. The lights turned on and the triangles went up. The screaming intensified with each song; it was almost unbelievable. Alt-J were here. In Johannesburg. Playing for us. We danced together, a crowd in motion, to the words of “Matilda”, “Taro” and finally, my favourite, “Breezeblocks”. It’s not often said that a band or artist sounds as good live as they do on record, but it can certainly be said for Alt-J.
It seemed to me impossible that a crowd bigger than the one during Alt-J’s performance could exist, but when The Hives came on stage, the number of revellers seemed to double. Unwisely, I decided to leave my optimum position near the stage during sound check, and found when I came back to watch The Hives, there was no chance of getting back. If it wasn’t for the screens on the sides of the stage, I’d have been judging the entire performance by how much the people in front of me where enjoying it. The Hives can be defined as great by their music, their outfits and their completely energetic, enthusiastic and entertaining stage presence. I’ve never enjoyed watching a group perform as much as I did that night.
Exhausted from dancing, screaming and hugging, I spent a fair bit of the rest of the night listening to Skunk Anansie and Boys Noize from the comfort of the floor. Although my seat didn’t allow me to see the likes of these acts up close, I could tell from the crowd’s reaction that they were excellent, and well enjoyed by the attendees of Friday night’s concert.
Despite the safety, abundance of facilities and excellent organisation of the event, there seemed to be a rather large clash between fans of the more contemporary Alt-J and the fans of Skunk Anansie. Those who’d come to see Alt-J didn’t even know who Skunk Anansie were, and those who’d come to see Skunk Anansie couldn’t understand the rest of the crowd’s fascination with triangles.
One can imagine that in a different venue this would have caused some awkwardness, but the atmosphere at Mary Fitzgerald Square that night only brought the audience closer together. Regardless of the age gap and the different tastes in music, people across the square danced and sang together with one thing in common – a love for live music. I couldn’t imagine another event at another venue that could possibly have the same effect. Thanks to Vodacom In The City 2013 and all performers for turning a possible culture-clash-disaster into a night of unity under the bright lights of a live music stage.
By Meg Roux @Megrouxx