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Punk went Pop

11 Jul

As y’all know, life can get a little bit busy sometimes. Now, add a new girlfriend, 3 major campaigns, and Pokemon GO to the mix, and you have no time to write anything other than an email to your boss saying that you found Pikachu on date night.

I am, however, home alone tonight; and the Pokemon GO servers are experiencing problems. So, I decided to catch up on some writing.

As you may, or may not, know, there was quite an interesting tour doing the rounds in SA over the past couple of weeks. Yes, I am referring to Punk Goes Pop. An awesome collection of punk bands taking Top 40 pop songs, and teaching them what life is all about.

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The tour stopped by Aandklas Hatfield on the 1st of July, and as you should know by now, Aandklas is where I spend most of my time (when I’m not in the office, at my girlfriend’s, or walking after the ever elusive Growlithe).

The trio of bands that made up the show was CrashCarBurn, Held On Till May, and Made for Broadway. Now, the last two I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing live before this show, and boy, was I missing out!? These young guns nearly brought the house down with their unquenchable lust for life. An utter pleasure to see, was how these kids breathed new life into a genre whose survival has been the topic of many conversations. So let’s set the record straight right now:

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Held On Till May must have been the highlight of the show for me, with their straight-out-of-a-Sex-Pistols-documentary stage presence and their interactions with the girls in the front row, many of whom I saw trying to get their underwear off to throw on stage. The drummer reminded me most of Iggy Pop and his ilk, losing his shirt halfway through the performance, and chucking wood-chippered drumsticks into the crowd.

The headliners brought a massive tweak* to the way we know pop songs. CrashCarBurn has always been an awesome pleasure to see live, always taking me back to 8th grade, with the sneakers that were too loose to do anything but drag your feet. Any show where you get to see these guys will always go down as a ripper of a performance. Hearing them having a go at Jacaranda’s Highschool Hits was absolutely astounding!

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All in all this was an amazing night out. I got to experience an awesome gig with my gorgeous girlfriend (no seriously, she is breathtaking!) and many of my friends, getting to experience the future of the punk genre in SA, which I am honestly extremely excited to follow, and getting taken back to the days of House Parties* and halfpipes.

I am seriously looking forward to the next installment of Punk Goes Pop, and I hope that the line-up will one day grow to a full three-day festival, where we can mosh, get drunk and pass out, you know, like the old days…

 

 

 

 

*See what I did there?

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Van Coke Does it Again

30 May

DSC_0182A lot can be said for the progress that Francois van Coke has made personally in his own career, and style of music. But, it’s when you look at the impact that he has had on the South African music scene, that you realise how amazing this guy really is. Francois recently scooped up 5 Ghoema awards for Afrikaans music, 3 of which were for “Toe Vind Ek Jou”, that he did with Karen Zoid.

The impact that he has on the next generation of musicians in SA is also extremely evident, with more and more bands emerging in the Afrikaans Rock genre. One of the new kids that we should most definitely keep an eye on, is Werner Oli4, who was chosen as an opening act at the Aandklas Open Mic Nights, that take place every Sunday (except the first of every month) at Aandklas Hatfield. Another such an act, with probably the deepest voice this side of Narnia, is Nick May, who is also a regular at the Open Mic sessions.

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These guys were the perfect choice to get the crowd going on the 28th of May, when Francois did his thing at Aandklas. This show was absolutely mind-blowing, with Nick May setting the tone with Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, and then getting everyone to confess that they got high. Unfortunately, I missed Werner’s set, since I was caught up at a friend’s Bachelor party (congratulations again, Fred), but I have no doubt that he was every bit as amazing.

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Francois van Coke’s got a way with a crowd that is near impossible to emulate. When he gets onto a stage, every eye in the venue is on him, and every ear is pitched to hear him perform. Saturday was no different. The rocker gave the crowd exactly what they had been expecting, with a little bit extra, as always. My personal favourite moment was when he did “Toe Vind Ek Jou”, which was very different from the version that we are used to with Karen, but still every bit as impactful.

It was an amazing show, giving a platform for young and upcoming musicians to open for great local artist, after being fairly selected (*cough* jasper dan *cough*) by the guys from Aandklas. I believe that we will soon be just as amped to see Werner, Nick, and all of the other talented kids from the Open Mic Nights performing at shows like this, and possibly festivals like Oppikoppi, but for now, join us on Sunday evenings from 19:00 to celebrate the next generation of South African music.

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Article by Michael King.

P.M.D.S. [Mr King’s Mieliepop Post]

16 Apr

I have a hollow feeling in my heart. It is a feeling I’ve only experienced once or twice in my life, but never before to this extent. I know what this feeling is called, but I still don’t know how to get rid of it. People who have never experienced this feeling will go out of their way to convince you that it’s not real, or that it is all in your mind…

I am suffering from Post Festival Depression. More specifically, Post Mieliepop Depression.

I went to Mieliepop 2016 with my own set of expectations, based on what I’d heard from others, and what I’d read and seen online. None of that could prepare me for what I was about to experience. This was by far one of the best weekends of my near-26-years of existence.

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The drive to Lothair, in Mpumalanga, had turned into an epic road trip for two, after we had to make two U-turns (forgetting your own bed is a definite no-no for a festival). I had the privilege of sharing my ride with Christo Baas de Beer, a festival veteran who knows the roads like the back of his hand. There were sing-alongs to Phantom of the Opera, random videos being made, and one very serious discussion regarding going back to Delmas and saving a beautiful girl from spending the rest of her life there.

Admittedly, the best part of the drive was when we got to the gates of the Tolderia Resort, where we would spend the weekend. Upon arrival we were greeted by a couple of guys who had the immensely tough job of working the gate at the festival, without leaving their posts other than going to sleep for four hours. We got our wristbands and directions to our camp, the road to which was very well laid out, with clear indications of the best places to drive in order to avoid any nasty surprises.

When we got to our camp we were greeted by familiar faces; friends who had arrived before us and had set up camp already. Baas and I quickly got our tents pitched and settled in for our first beers of the weekend, watching the campsite on the other side of the river slowly filling up with eager festival goers.  There were already floating devices of every imaginable shape and size in the river, supporting jovial individuals, not yet sunburnt and still relatively sober.

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Close by, there was the Sun Bear Yoga tent, where peace and tranquillity was the order of the day. I have never seen anyone as relaxed as the individuals who were in that tent. Personally, I wanted to try the paddle board yoga, but after seeing how these yogi managed to contort their bodies on flat ground, I knew I had absolutely no chance of staying afloat on a paddle board while trying to touch my nose with my left pinky toe.

After a couple of drinks, and the resting of tired bones from the trip, we headed out for a bit of a walk-around. The food stalls outside our camp were amazing. Every flavour that you could imagine was represented at Mieliepop. From the Vegetarian stand at the Willow Tree Stage to the meat-packed sandwiches for which Braai Boy has become so well-known at Park Acoustics, there was something for everyone. The main bar was also well placed, next to the food stalls but still close enough to both stages to be able to navigate your way to either one without hassle.

From the main bar it was a straight shot through to the Main Stage, where the magic happened throughout the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the first three bands to play, so the first act I got to see there was Gerald Clark, whom I hadn’t seen before. The band owned the stage, marking the beginning of an epic weekend of music.

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One of my favourite acts for the weekend was The Shabeen. They came all the way from Cape Town to deliver their quirky style of music in such a way that they were almost having a conversation with their audience at the Willow Tree Stage. As I was sitting on the stoep at the Media House, I watched these guys performing, and thought to myself that this is what made South Africa great; we had musicians from Cape Town entertaining an audience from Gauteng in Mpumalanga.

As a matter of fact, the whole of Sunday’s line-up was what I had been waiting for since I saw the bands that were performing. Adele Nqeto‘s cover of Gangsta’s Paradise was my personal favourite moment of the festival. She put a completely new spin on a classic and made the song her own. After Adele, there was The Lectric Monks on the main stage. The love I have for this band is impossible to describe. The first piece I wrote on this site was for their first live show at Rafters in Pretoria, and they have grown immensely since then.

The rest of the afternoon and into the evening we were treated to amazing artists like Coelacanth, George Town, Blomtrein, Albert Frost, The Black Cat Bones, Art Snakes and of course The Oh So Serious. George Town served as quite a pleasant surprise. I did not expect to see someone play a washboard at the festival! Another band that impressed was Art Snakes. If their style is anything to go by, South African music is heading in the right direction.

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Special mention goes to Mr Cat & the Jackal for the way they closed the main stage for the festival. They have an amazing sound that captivates anyone who is close enough to hear, while also being some of the most humble musicians that you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

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Mieliepop is an amazing experience, even for those who do not necessarily like going to festivals for fear of dust and dodgy showers. Tolderia Resort is a beautiful green valley, completely equipped with warm showers and proper ablution facilities. There are swimming pools and a river/dam to cool down in when the days get too hot. There was some mud, but with some careful navigation it was never a problem. All in all the best festival weekend I have had in a very long time. Well done to the new management for keeping the festival clean, safe and awesome!

 

Written by: Michael King

Photos courtesy of Henno Kruger Photography

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