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 February 2010

Rock me, Amadeus

Inspired by the movie, "Rock Me, Amadeus" focussed on some modern interpretations of classics. The concert featured the Imperial College Symphony Orchestra, whose members seemed a lot younger than the average college student. But musical prodigies are often quite young; so it is not that surprising.

The first part of the concert was completely classical - two Mozart symphonies (5 and 37), and was quite short. The second part started off with Mozart's Violin Concerto no 4, with the solo played by the beautiful Lidia Baich, and it was a stunning performance. The second piece was a classical piece, Massenet's Meditation from Thais, but performed not only by the orchestra but also accompanied by a rock band (drums, guitars) and piano. An awesome performance with brilliant piano playing.

But it was the last piece, that was truly amazing. Vanessa Mae popularised the merger of classical and modern musical pieces; and Lidia Baich did something similar with Saint-Saëns' Rondo capriccioso. She performed the violin solo, accompanied by the orchestra and the band; and it was an amazing performance and a great arrangement; thoroughly deserving a standing ovation.

31 January 2010


Thornfest, is a new rock festival, held over the past three days at a farm about 70Km south of Jo'burg. The festival was with camping facilities etc. but I only went on the Saturday; and even then only got there around 5:30.

It was a very well organised festival - lots of space, lot of food and merchandise stands and 3 stages. The only complaint is possibly the lack of rubbish bins; which made the grounds seem like a dumping ground at times. But beyond that, it was well organised, with seemingly no problems.

I think the festival tried to do too much at the same time. I think there were just too many bands and not enough people. I think in future, two big stages may make more sense than three. I am also not sure of the rationalle of smaller bands playing during the headline acts on the main stage. Unlike festivals where the bands cover different genres of music; larger bands would tend to draw most of the audience away from the smaller bands.

Second Guess'd

Apparently, Second Guess'd had got the billing after winning a battle of the bands competition. For a new band; they were quite impressive - with some humorous lyrics and generally good performance.


For me, Knave was the best band of the evening - with the best combination of great music, lyrics, stage presence and performance. I even ended up buying their latest CD. They first came into prominence last year (or year before) with their single "Taunt and Tether", but their other songs are also worth listening to. The promo girls from Jagermeister did use the opportunity to throw out a lot of freebies; but somehow dancing girls do not seem to tie to metal bands - well their type of dancing anyway.


Fuzigish should have been a main stage attraction - and the Stand Firm stage was not only filled to capacity inside; it had a rather large number of people outside craning to see some of the action inside. I have seen Fuzigish a number of times, so after their first song; I decided to head outside to see the visiting band from the UK.

Seven Year Kismet

They were one of two international acts, and at first look they certainly did not fit the stereotype of a metal band. With Fuzigish drawing the large majority of the crowd; they played to a rather small audience. Dressed in white T-Shirts and shorts; they don't seem to have any visible tattoos or piercings. The vocalist had good stage presence; but to be honest they were nothing remarkable.


I had not heard of Agro before, but they have an impressive CV. Easily the oldest band on show last night, they had a really impressive stage show and their instrumental pieces were simply amazing.

I met the vocalist (Cliff) and Bass Guitarist (Robbie) and their roadie (whose name I forget) just before their show while waiting for a pizza. The conversation started around my Nightwish t-shirt; but while I simply watched them; they had played in a festival alongside Nightwish and a few other major bands.

They are also very proud of their metal music, with Cliff commenting that there were too many "jocks with long hair" who don't actually appreciate metal music. He was rather verbose about defending metal on stage too, proclaiming that agro "was not core-metal but metal to the core"; and wanting to proclaim metal as a religion (that should give the bible-belt something to talk about).

All said, although their first song was rather crap; their show just got better and better - with some really interesting lyrics and music. Definitely worth going to see again.

Cutting Jade

Cutting Jade has been one of the "big" South African rock bands; but somehow they haven't been as successful as some of their contemporaries. I am not such a big fan of Cutting Jade - they have a few good songs; and a generally good performance; but somehow I never come away really impressed with the band.


Fokofpolisiekar was the biggest attraction of the festival, and attracted by far the biggest crowd of the evening. The band certainly lived up to their billing as one of the foremost South African bands; and can be enjoyed even without understanding Afrikaans. Incredible stage presence; great music and great performance. In many respects, they were the headline act of the festival.


Pestroy has long been South Africa's leading metal group; and they were worthy headliners, although the crowd had thinned dramatically after Fokofpolisiekar's show. Similar to Limp Bizkit, Pestry features a rapper/singer as the main vocalist, with a very energetic (almost frantic) show. I have only heard their music on radio; and I was quite impressed with both the performance and the music.