About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

02 May 2007

My Coke Fest 2007

Last year's concert was going to be hard to live up to, and not surprisingly, Metallica's performance still remains the best live performance I have seen. That said, this year's festival, was not bad at all - and the South African bands were particularly impressive. And so was the event organisation - plenty of space, plenty of facilities, plenty of food and drink, and hardly any queues. That said, things seemed to be more expensive (R150 for T-Shirts!) and the set up times seemed quite long. Also, with the absence of Guns N' Roses, it was expected that some of the bigger SA bands, especially the Nudies to play longer sets. Sadly, they were all limited to 20 minutes, with the Nudies playing for 30 minutes. So, a festival billed as 12-12, ended up being 12:30-11! Also, the advertised last band, "Lonehill Estate" did not even play.

But the best part: after 4 days of rain, there was no rain, little wind and quite a warm night, under a full moon. What else do you need for a rock concert?

I have always enjoyed the Bed on Bricks, and have seen them live a number of times. Their live act is superb, and have some interesting songs, especially Humanarium. A great performance, to start the show.

I have always wanted to see them ... but manage to have conflicting commitments every time. So, Taxi Violence was always going to be a highlight for me; and they did not disappoint. They seemed to have a lot of fans in the crowd, and they played well. Although, to be honest, I can't remember too many specifics of their performance ...

Love Jones is a very quirky band - weird style, some weird lyrics ... what Sam described as very kitsch. I don't know if kitsch is the right word, but they are a crossover between 70/80s style with a very indie feel. A very energetic performance, and really cool songs; plus a nice bonus story about a band being sponsored by a green airline to fly to Cape Town :P I would love to see a hour gig from them!

I had previously seen them perform live, for one song at Obz Fest (they were about to finish), nothing to form an opinion (and it was over a year ago). The Dirty Skirts were really impressive , and I think they have a very similar sound to Kaiser Chiefs. Very good performance, and very good music; and I think they were the best South African band on show.

After a hard rock band, the Parlotones' soft/pop rock was a bit of a downer ... but the thing about pop rock - almost every one knows the songs, and everyone can sing along. In that sense, the Parlotones were brilliant, and really started to get the crowd going.

This was meant to be the last stop in their relaunch tour. With that in mind, I was really expecting the new music. But understandably, with their time constraints, they could only play 3 old songs, before they launched into their old, crowd favourites. I think a lot of people were disappointed with the short time given to the Nude Girls, and on a performance level, they were miles ahead of the other SA bands. They could however take a leaf out of Evanescence on how to interweave old and new songs together in a show.

Definitely the best band when it came to interacting with the crowd! Really great stage show, and great performance. Played a number of their big hits, together with some less well known (as in frequent radio play) music. And, they asked everyone to get their music, even if it is downloaded from the Internet. It seems, like many others, they have chosen to follow the path of getting money through shows rather than album sales. Maybe, it's time I expanded my Hoobastank collection.

IMO, Staind was the second best band on show. Like Seether last year, their on stage performance was rather static - not too much jumping up and down etc. But that was all made up, with the quality of their music. Their songs are really good, and musically one of the best bands on show yesterday. I have heard a few Staind songs on the radio, but never a complete album. I think it is high time I acquired a their albums ...

After the heavier Staind, 3 Doors Down was a bit more pop, and they also interacted well with the crowd, and generally had a good show. They also played two songs live for the second time (first being the Coke Fest in Jo'burg) and had a good mix of old and new songs. There was also a swipe at Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses for not making the trip, with some verses of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". Personally, I think a cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine" would have been better. They ended of with "Looser" and were joined by Aaron Lewis (of Staind), something I think more bands should have been doing (collaborating with others).

Evanescence was the band I wanted to see from the beginning, and I was not disappointed. Amy Lee is a fantastic singer, and the blend of her voice with heavy rock music is simply brilliant. Amy Lee did not interact as much as Hoobastank with the crowd, but their set was brilliant, and the inclusion of a grand piano with heavy rock was just impressive. Their playlist was brilliantly set up with a good combination of their older songs from "Fallen" and their new songs from "The Open Door". A brilliant performance, and well deserving of the headline act status.

30 April 2007

Theatre: A Lie of the Mind

So it was a bit of a cultured weekend - I read "A life of Pi" and watched a theatre performance ... effects of the rain I suppose. The Baxter Theatre hosts a "Play Ground reading" - basically, actors get together (for a week) to read a play - not a fully polished performance: actors still carry their lines, the sets are crude and costumes are hardly perfect; and given a week, accents and other details are not perfect. But it allows the actors to stage plays that are interesting, and may not become commercial success.

I have been to two of these before, and thoroughly enjoyed them. A friend of my house-mate Donal was performing, so it was a good way to spend a cold wet evening. And the performances were brilliant - and yes unpolished. But for the play itself - written by Sam Shepard, it is a convoluted story of miscommunication in Middle America. Funny dialogue, brilliant banter; but I left wondering what it was all about - there were story plot lines that just did not seem complete; and the story itself did not make much sense. Entertaining yes - but what was the story? Not sure ... maybe it was at a higher intellectual plane ...

The Cricket World Cup Farce

Australlia, deservedly, won the World Cup. Regardless of our number one ranking, we never really deserved it, neither did we ever feel comfortable saying that we were the number one team in the world. And, with respect to the world cup, we can't say that we are the number two team in the world - Sri Lank, were deserving runners up, and gave Australlia their closest match.

The fact is, the organising and the format of the World Cup has been a farce. A 7 week tournament? Cricket tours are sometimes shorter than that! How many people have the time to watch all the matches? And then there was the number of mismatches. In fact, it would be fair to say, that there were only a few really close or exciting matches - a small percentage. In hindsight, it all started with the "super" stage nonsense ... bring back the format of 1996! And if you want less of a knockout, then use the 2003 format without the super stage.

It is sad that some of the best players had to end their careers in this farce. Excet for Glen McGrath off course. He took the most wickets, didn't have to bat, and walked off with the player of the tournament. He went off with a high, and deservedly so. But, to see Brian Lara's last game ended with a run out, or Flemming's last match in a thrashing by Sri Lanka? They deserved better; and the cricketing supporters deserved better.