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Walking up the Manila Bar stairs on Friday I was greeted by the sounds of K$, whose set was solid dancefloor gold: a soulful and feel-good mix of disco, funk and R&B that set a great vibe in the packed venue.
And it really was a great vibe – the night felt refreshingly free of pretension, no small feet in Cape Town.
K$ was followed by electronic legend Felix Laband, who played quite a different set to what I’d expected. It felt more experimental, more erratic and less chilled than usual, with the samples and beats jumping around a lot. I felt very conscious of this while listening and it never really settled long enough for me to fully lose myself. This appeared to cease just before the end of his set however, just in time for Angel-Ho to close off the night with an injection of energy, an edge of aggression and a flawless outfit.
But the night belonged to Lo-ghost. I’d only seen them once before, in a more stripped down and acoustic setting and was curious to hear their fuller electronic sound. The raw sincerity and passion that so struck me the first time around was still very much at the core of their sound, perhaps even somewhat more genuine amidst the drum machines.
Both Shannon Devy and Evan Strauss have such strong and unique voices that it’s almost surprising how well they work together. And it is the vocals that really shine: with a tenderness and pain lurking just below the surface and a proud, defiant delivery, they are compelling to watch and only pause a couple of times to welcome and thank the crowd and supporting acts.
As they returned for their encore, a girl next to me turned to her friends, a look of distress on her face exclaiming, “My hands are all red from clapping so much!” Still, she kept applauding along with the rest of us.