I woke up on Friday morning, two hours before departure, with a massive list of pre-festival to-dos. How typical of me.
I made it with minutes to spare when my road trip buddy, Henry Engelbrecht, rang my doorbell. It was great getting to know the lad behind the lens, and we were there in no time.
Our first festival interaction was with BCUC, and while Mritho Luja (vocalist) and Nkosi “Jovi” Zithulele (lead vocalist) were playing on the merry-go-round, we joined them to shoot the shit about world-touring.
After hustling ourselves a camping spot with the Endless Express Gautengers, Henry and I caught up with them about their woes. They’d not had the smoothest ride — cable theft saw the Endless Express come to halt in Klerksdorp, two hours out of Joburg. Luckily for them, Henk van der Schyf (Park Acoustics, Capital Craft) was the captain of that shit – he can hustle his way out of anything.
Reverend Reverb kicked off the beats to an empty Main Stage, but Dazers were taking their time, warming up. Others were swimming. And I was running around looking for Richard Liefeldt (Dr Lovefield himself) and Nicolaas Rossouw (Dangerfields) for our beer date with Newlands Spring Brewing Co. and their main man, JP Britz.
I’d never struggled to get them to drink before. But they were in full-on professional muso mode, taking it easy before Richard’s performance and Nick’s double whammy with Dr Lovefield ft. Kayla & the Crow and Dangerfields.
A small crowd had assembled by the Main Stage about halfway through Filthy Hippies’ first set. It was not the right band to kick off the festival. They were loud, uncoordinated and a bit sloppy. And the keyboardist, whose weird pelvic thrusts and gyration was uncomfortable to say the least, ended off their set by smashing his keyboard onto the stage, repeatedly, completely pissing off the sound engineers. And completely misreading the room. Awks.
Luckily Dr Lovefield and Kayla & the Crow swooped in and saved the day with a beautifully curated performance. Dr Lovefield’s song-writing is as clever as it is catchy, and backed with a solid band and Kayla Crow’s strong vocals — which totally caught me off guard — they were right on the money and a definite festival favourite of mine.
Jolling is hungry work, so I was off to manage my munchies at the food court, which presented a tasty selection. Everyone knew each other around the food court, making it gees central set to Amsterdam-export, Blue Crime’s moon-psych-noise-folk soundtrack. I may have eaten a chicken shwarma, a pizza, and a double buttermilk chicken burger in one sitting. So worth it.
Sunset on the beach was, as I’d been promised by like a hundred different people, absolutely majestic. The wind played along and behaved… for a change. It was a beautifully romantic festival moment but sorry, you just had to be there to fully appreciate it.
It took a lot of strength for festival goers to tear themselves away from the beach but Julia Robert’s bouncy, playful set of bangers made it worth it. I’ve seen them play before, but never like that. They completely owned the stage and between their music and their carefully curated wardrobe, they got everyone turnt. A unanimous festival favourite.
The temperature dropped just as Julia Robert hopped off-stage. Coincidence? I think not. Like clockwork everyone made their way back to their tents for triple top-ups and layers. Bouncing between campsites was like flitting from table to table at The Shack. With just as much alcohol in-between.
Beer jackets and extra layers in tow, it was time to take on night 1 of Endless Daze. By now, everyone had at least three new besties.
Around about the fourth time that the security guards between the campsite and the festival area stopped me and forced me to down my almost always full, almost always staunch dop, I realised I was playing an involuntary drinking game with myself. And I was on fire!
Dangerfields took to the stage. The last time I saw them perform was at the second instalment of #AfterDark19 at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Their sound was the perfect dreamy soundtrack to the TOA by dark, but having never seen them in a festival setting before I wondered if they could dominate. They proved, very convincingly to me and to everyone present, that indeed they could, filling the expansive stage with their all-encompassing, broody soundscape.
I hadn’t heard about L.A. Witch before the festival announcement was made, but they were the name on literally everyone’s lips. Wrapped in fairy lights, I made my way to the Vans B-side Stage. It was positively teeming with Dazers and the energy in the audience was cheeky. At some point I think every fifth person in the audience was passing a spliff to the left. L.A. Witch were conjuring up all kinds of reverb-soaked punk rock magic and the timing of the set couldn’t have been more right. The sassy female trio from L.A. baptized the new Vans B-side Stage, and they baptized it good.
Back on the Main Stage and BCUC’s festival return couldn’t have gone smoother. They’d played the festival once before and, as they told me earlier, fell in love with the culture. Their homecoming couldn’t have been better received, as their powerful and passionate, funk-style African-soaked set us all humbled. It was Afro-psychedelia at its best and a not-so-gentle reminder of why the world stage keeps calling them back for more.
As much as BCUC gave me life, they left me feeling emotionally drained. A combination of fatigue and dislike for Chilean band Follakzoid’s monotonous trance experiment, had me thinking that perhaps it was time to tap out, even though the rest of the festival was jolling in full force.
It was a tough internal battle, but eventually the granny in me won.
I made my way to my tent, fixed myself a Rehidrat cocktail (seriously, these are the best), smoked my final entjie, and turned off my fairy lights.
Goodnight Endless Dazers. Day 1, you treated us so well.
Check back tomorrow for Day 2.