New: We've just partnered with LMG to offer you a national gig guide. Check it out!

In Review: Parklife Cape Town 2017

A top-notch gathering appealing to all tastes marred by sound issues.

21 Apr 2017 / Opinion / written by Timothy Kohler

After enduring a refreshingly chilly few days prior, Cape Town greeted us with an unexpected scorcher of a day in preparation for Parklife.  At Green Point Park, attendees had ample time to pursue everything under the sun (literally and excessively, shade was scarce), whilst feverish anticipation for UK headliners The Temper Trap spread like wildfire.

Opposite The Other set the day in motion. As one of their first performances without former member Matthew Budden, the band exhibited an explosive new set showcasing highlights of their upcoming EP. Although their energy contrasted heavily with the morning’s unruffled energy, the band undoubtingly proved themselves worthy of all the attention they’ve been receiving as of late.

Adding a second stage made Parklife an event of notable missioning and with both stages filled with must-see acts, it was a shame to have to miss a few. Native Young’s authentically-African kwela jive had all heads turning, whilst Benjamin Dey of Ben Dey and The Concrete Lions maintained flawless, roaring vocal lines amidst indie-rock riffs.

The event’s contract in acts was refreshing. Guy Buttery and USA-based instrumental songsmith Kaki King engulfed their devout crowds with sheer awe-inspiring, acoustic guitar technique. San Francisco-hailing songwriter Michael Franti, amid a few strained vocals, pulled cover after cover through a very impressive methodology of soul, funk, reggae and rock, ending off with John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, easily striking a chord with any crowd.

Matthew Mole’s impeccable live dynamic never fails to impress me. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to see him a few times this year, the adjustments he makes to his individual sets never go unnoticed. Although, I don’t blame him enduring his infamous crowd-drum routine near the end. Drummer for Mole, Josh Klynsmith of Gangs of Ballet, shortly joined the rest of the band at the other stage for a particularly striking set, where their older catalogue was received with open arms up in the air. For a group who should be on the main stage opening for the headliner, Gangs accepted their slot gracefully and slaying it, proving why they’re still one of the best live acts to beat.

Naturally, my expectations for Jeremy Loops were high, especially owing to the fact that I hadn’t seen him perform for over two years. Drawing a slightly larger crowd than the event’s headliners, Loops’ particularly zealous set of fan-favourites and a few newbies hit all the right spots. A new track called ‘The Shore’ evoked a positive response as well a track I presume is titled ‘Gold’, complete with a catchy call-and-response. However the sound was dismal and impacted upon the performance more than was necessary.

Just past sunset, The Temper Trap took to the stage. Almost swallowed by admirably-enthusiastic fans in front, the indie outfit’s set was of a noticeable quality that many transfixed, which had been duly noted at Lush Festival. The band’s ambient, U2-esque guitar lines and flawless vocal control somewhat contrasted to their super laid back stage presence. After an impassioned and gracious set closing with fan-favourite ‘Sweet Disposition’, the outfit radiated appreciation and departed. So too did most in attendance.

Francois Van Coke bared the brunt of this year’s event. Not only did he play after the headliner, which meant his crowd was sparse, but for a musician who prides himself on putting on a rock show of the highest quality, the sound (or lack thereof) did him zero favours. The level of sound, which got progressively lower and lower until, if you stood in front of the stage you could easily have an entire conversation, was again dismal. This resulted in the rocker telling the event to get screwed and cutting his set short.

A pretty shitty way to end what was generally a top class event.

Follow Tim on Twitter.