In Review: The Dollfins at Mercury Live in Cape Town

Nostalgia is one hell of a thing.

One minute you’re standing at the bar deciding between a double G&T or a vodka Redbull and the next you’re transported back into the garage-rock glory days of yonder – which is basically what Friday night was like in a nutshell.

Filled with equal parts garage-infused rock and punk, dirty guitar riffs and the perfect balance of exceptional male and female vocalists, the line-up had me thanking the music gods for letting me have my cake and eat it too.

So how to I adequately paint the night for those of you who made the (clearly bad) decision not to attend? Think sweat, screaming and serious guitar riffs.

And that’s my review, folks. That covers just about everything.


It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed getting hot and sweaty with strangers on the Mercury dance floor and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a tiny bit apprehensive at the thought of doing it all again (and the hangover I would undoubtedly have on Saturday). Luckily a few gin and tonics were all I needed to get into the mood and the first act of the night, Runaway Nuns, were the perfect ingredient to get the party started. Why, you may ask – well to be honest, they’re just really damn good. Their distinctively gritty garage rock sounds throw you right into the thick of things and they’re not here to ease you in slowly. One minute you’re sipping your drink and talking to your friends, the next you’re inexplicably head-banging to the sounds of lead singer Sean Baron belting out the lyrics “It’s fucking white like cocaine” – very Cape Town, I know –  but you certainly don’t need any drugs to help you enjoy their performance.

Up next were the Jett Screams, fronted by the inimitable David Thorpe who you will undoubtedly know if you’ve ever liked good SA music – namely The Dollfins (see below), Beach Party and Gateway Drugs. He’s all raw talent and dynamic energy and you cannot help but gravitate towards him when he’s onstage.

I was super excited for Julia Robert whose performances are never anything short of amazing. Their high energy, loud and pop-infused garage rock sound has been the highlight of many festivals and events that I’ve attended in the past and, well, they certainly didn’t disappoint on Friday night.

It was an absolute treat to watch The Dollfins perform again. The crowd lapped up their iconic, gritty vibes, while shirts came off and sweat was sweated as everyone sang along, reliving the good old days. It became apparent during the course of their first song that the best place to be was in the heart of the mosh pit and while I really don’t like being covered in my own sweat, let alone someone else’s, being squashed into the sweaty crowd, moshing like my life depended on it was the best decision I’d made all night. Nothing makes a set memorable quite like getting doused in a random stranger’s beer as everyone in the crowd sang along at the top of our voices to “In My Head”.

Between the electric vibe, sweaty bodies, smoky air, mosh-pitting and being surrounded by more guys with longer hair than mine than I ever have before, Friday night was every bit as crazy as I thought it would be – and then some.

And although it feels like I can’t get the smell of smoke out of my hair and I can’t shake the lingering feeling that I still have someone else’s sweat somewhere on my body despite all the showers I’ve had; well, that’s all just part of the charm of what can only be described as a damn fine jol.

Check out our exclusive gallery from this event.