After the last of the flower crowns have been safely locked away and glitter extracted from eyebrows and newfound wrinkles, I had a closer look at a few of the performances that stood out for me on the Main Stage, Electro Dome and Green Village this year at Rocking The Daisies.
Bam Bam Brown
I have no qualms in saying that not nearly enough praise can be lavished over this group, who took to the Green Village stage early Friday afternoon. The band is headed up by Keiron Brown and backed by an eclectic collective of musicians who seem to endlessly circulate the Cape Town scene. This is a live act which, although could take to a Main Stage slot and simply dominate, almost seemed better suited to the rather more humble – and far more wrapt – Green Village crowd.
Humbly triumphant returnees from their overseas endeavours, Beatenberg pulled out all the stops in their sweet, albeit short, set. Main Stage slots were excruciatingly brief this year, allotting barely half an hour to each performer so one barely had time to settle into the set before it was over. Nevertheless the carefully crafted pop music which has come epitomise genre-bridging, cultural-navigating local sound was a treat to catch once again.
Although perhaps better suited to an Electro Dome slot, there’s no denying the power put in place by this homegrown performer taking the world by storm. Reeling out home-brewed house music at its finest, he dominated his Main Stage slot on Friday evening, as the opening act for Flume. He commands the crowd from behind his decks with a magnetism few DJs possess.
Pic by Tash Montlake
The first time I saw these guys it was on the River Stage at Up The Creek, and in a way their set almost took me back. Decked out in matching branded caps and a solid dose of city-influenced indie-pop nuances, this group are a vibe where ever you may find them. Quirky originals (“That Damn Zebra Is A Horse”) meet equally idiosyncratic covers throughout the set. This time around it’s a Disney mash-up, followed by a touching original love song. You can’t beat that.
This year, in a fit of generosity, Rocking the Daisies ran a competition for up-and-coming bands and selected six acts among the finalists to play. Among those was Floors, a dream-pop duo who had the honour of opening the Electro Dome on Friday afternoon. Mikhaela Faye and Greg Abrahams (Nomadic Orchestra) blended soulful vocals which oozed from beneath floating synth soundscapes, with live guitar-work contributing an almost acoustic backbone to the usually electro-dominated stage.
Brand new on the block and a fascinating amalgamation of the weird and wonderful, this is an Afro Funk energy train from Cape Town who took over the Green Village stage late Friday afternoon. Bedecked in orange tunics and fluffy pigtails, they effortlessly put forth an energy-fuelled blend of isiZulu and westernized stylings.
Pic by Hylton Boucher
Alice Phoebe Lou
Yet another SA wonder who is making waves abroad, Alice returned for a charged set this year – her second such one at Daisies. The Kommetjie-born musician found her niche in Berlin several years ago, and hasn’t stopped since. Goosebump-inducing vocals sweep over the wrapt crowd as she navigates the human condition along inimitable paths as she introduces her latest, intriguingly sultry track ‘Something Holy’. She is power in a small vessel. She is the unique voice of a generation.
Bringing back the African roots into the mix – and right on time – Bogeziwe Mbandla drew the Main Stage crowd in just before the rugby screening on Saturday afternoon. His is an expertly blended amalgamation of traditional Xhosa influences, backed by enough heady folk stylings easily navigate the cross-cultural musical bridges with his unique, earthy, starkly African tunes.
Perhaps the best bands are the ones you find quite by accident. A pit stop at the Green Village after the Beach Bar turned into a thirty minute boogie courtesy of Cape Town hailing indie-rock outfit, Red Handed. Boasting the perfect early evening energy to pick up the ante before the headliners took to the stage, the little group had no limits to their liveliness as they kicked off the final night in style.
With a freshly released music video under their belts, and their synth-infused dreamscape sound ever more cosmically influenced, Diamond Thug returned for their third Rocking the Daisies set this year. Chantal Van T’s vocals ooze sophisticated psychedelic influences and haunting melody, a perfect late morning set to ease Saturday into play.
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Pic by Hylton Boucher