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).

08 October 2011

Symphonic Rocks - Johannesburg

I came across last year's inaugural edition the week it was going to take place in Cape Town. By chance I was in Cape Town that week, but the concert was sold out. So, when I saw the concert pop up on Computicket, I bought the Jo'burg tickets with little hesitation. The concept is simple - take a few original South African music acts, and combine their music with a full orchestra. The result was stunning.

I have a new home theatre system, and have been testing my Blu Ray copy of Within Temptation's Black Symphony this past week - so it was easy to compare the results. The symphony definitely made the music better; and made a better show. Not all songs were suitable for orchestral performance though; but I think that can change if the bands themselves make bands with an orchestra in mind. The electronic instruments on stage also, at times, seemed to be louder than the orchestra instruments; dimming the effect. All together though, it was a great concert, and well produced; and all the credit to Andy Mac for putting it all together.

The first half of the concert featured CrashCarBurn, Zolani Maholo (of Freshlyground fame), Aro Carstens, Loyiso and Tumi & The Volume. Of the 5, I have heard a number of Freshlyground tracks with orchestral backing before; so it was not too strange; and Zolani's voice was stunning as expected. Arno Carsten's rendition of "Blue Eyes" with the orchestra was, in my opinion, the best song in the first half - with Tumi & The Volume's rap songs running a close second.

The second half started with Macstanley (the former Flat Stanley), followed by Locknville, Zebra & Giraffe and finally Ard Matthews. I did not know much about Locknville, but I had heard one of their songs on radio before. The transformation of electronic music pieces to a live instrumental performance was brilliant - and I think the guys could create an entire album in that fashion. Zebra & Giraffe were, apart from CrashCarBurn, the only other rock band, and they really brought out the "Symphonic Rock" vibe. I had not heard them perform live before, and I think I would really enjoy a full set from them. And finally Ard Matthews came to stage with a lot of jibes about his bungling of the national anthem; but he didn't bungle the Just Jinger songs; and it was a fitting end to the show.

I would definitely support an annual event of Symphonic Rocks; but I want some real rock bands. A full Springbok Nude Girls outfit, or a Seether set, or even full sets from bands such as Zebra & Giraffe would be preferable than the current format, in my opinion. The current format is definitely a lot more accessible (a lot of kids and older people in the audience), but then it is not a rock concert ...

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