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As soon as we arrived at the Voortrekker Monument it was clear that this was the biggest Park Acoustics that I have attend thus far. My partner in crime, Christelle, and I decided to trade the traditional bus ride for a brisk hike up the koppie to Fort Klapperkop, which got us into the right mood for the day.
Even though they have strong following and there were tons of excitement around Spoegwolf, the closing act of the day, I was the most disappointed by them. Everyone knew their opening song and happily joined in. Their set was energetic and emotional, creating strong dynamics throughout their set of mainly ballads.
Front man, Danie du Toit, is somewhat intimidating with his almost aggressive and animated style on stage, although this seemed to please part of the crowd. But these antics are at times distracting and become the focal point instead of the music. His heavy vibrato vocals added a theatrical edge to the set which became a bit overbearing and difficult to deal with. Overall the band was tight and embraced the energy on stage.
In contrast Grassy Spark, were thoroughly entertaining and they are fast becoming one of SA’s biggest acts. During the early stages of their set guitarist, Yanick Bathfield, snapped a string, but this did not derail them. Kevin Kok took charge and laid down a killer groove with the rest of the band joining in, while Josh Riley hyped the crowd with a simple call-and-response. Grassy Spark have a natural ability to capture and hold an audience’s attention. They masterfully integrate and interchange between jazz, reggae, blues, pop and rap, making for an exciting blend of music.
Bad Peter have played this stage a few times before and the acoustic duo (Alwyn Bekker and PG Badenhorst) consistently showcase a contagious energy on stage. Heavily genre focused and restricting themselves to guitar and vocals, the duo used tempo and energy as a creative tool for their dynamic set. Their vocal abilities complement each other well and adds to the fullness to their overall sound.
It was great seeing AKING live again, it’s been a while. It was a classic masterclass performance from start to finish – tight, energetic and to the point. AKING have a very distinct sound, a great mix of African and Western influences even though their songwriting is firmly grounded in standard rock ‘n’ roll progressions. The twangy, slightly overdriven guitar tone and strong emphasis on rhythm reminded me of Johnny Clegg at times. It’s great to see bands stick around for so long and still have the same drive as they did when they started out.