SOWING THE SEEDS REVIEW
Are You Guys Poachers?
Friday night felt a tad bit like the Thursday Music Conference at Gin as it was characterized by the minimalistic repetitive 4/4 beats of house music.The diehards arrived on the Friday and they weren’t let down by the Goldfish-esque vibes brought by Maoriginal with his Mexican-swing brand of house.
American outlaw namesake James Copeland followed briefly with his self-titled vintage swing-tech. An audio bandit by his own right, fedora-clad James Copeland took the opportunity to enlighten our narrow minds with the jazz-swing sounds of the 30’s.
A fitting opening for Sowing the Seeds as the crowd bounced all night to the Balkan beats.
Not sure if Friday’s debauchery stole Saturday morning or the centigrade measurement kept revellers couped up at camp. The early crowds were small with the performances experienced in a botanical-gardens-sit-down-picnic manner
Afrocoustic folk sensation Nakhane Toure then took the stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a black electronic pad. It was an intimate performance carried by his voice which conveyed Thom Yorke as he whispered falsetto melodies. However, the absence of live supporting instrumentation was slighty evident. The highlight of the performance was his chilling rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Things You Said”.
Sowing the Seeds officially started as the vibe transformed from a Sunday picnic gig to a full-on festival as Matthew Mole took to the stage. So endearing his stage persona one may have confused the dazed demeanour for herbal intoxication, but he ensures us, “That’s just how I am”. The second solo folk performance on the bill, except this time the performer was encircled by a mac, a kick drum, a snare drum, two sticks and an acoustic guitar held close to his body. The cape-import delivered a champion performance as Jealous Joburg spitefully bowed its head. The atmosphere intensified when he bluffed a ‘Sugarman’ cover, instead providing a stripped-down folky rendition of the MGMTs’ ‘Kids’. ‘Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine’ is Matthew’s answer to the folk anthem, ‘I Will Wait’. But it was his idiosyncratic cover of ‘Heartbreaker’, originally by man-under-fire Will.i.am, which stole the show. Matthew’s Lumineers-meets-Owl-City appeal created an atmosphere which was going to be tricky to sustain for the following act.
Circumstantially, the feat was left to indie-skandi darlings and good friends of Matthew, Shortstraw. The Joburg group has been touring consistently in the past year, and if you’ve been to any of their shows, you’ll know that the laid-back themes, extremely catchy melodies and electrical energy of their performances always makes for an enthralling experience. Their set was a mix of essential anthems like ‘One Long Day’, ‘Underfed’ and ‘Bikini Weather’ and new songs from their recent release, “Good Morning, Sunshine”, like the Beach-Party-esque surf-rock title track. Shortstraw have expanded their sound offering on this release but they are still the best at capturing that summer of 09’ adolescent spirit. Once their set was over, Shortstraw came back for another hit with ‘Mary-jane’ at the request of the crowd.
Listening from the campsite during Albert Frosts’ set having never heard of him before you may have envisioned an aged blues legend who was a recipient of a lifetime-achievement award. At only 36 the unsuspecting Frost is relatively young. Having started playing guitar in 1990 he spent an entire lifetime in music, touring the world as South Africa’s best blues guitarist. A genuine living legend, and his performance was a testament to his rock royalty as he captivated the audience with technical prowess. If you didn’t know, now you do.
Frost was even called upon at the last minute to stand-in as lead guitarist for Hot Water’s performance. The excessively South-African-Tourism-Campaign vibe of Hot Water was dignified by cameos from Albert Frost and Jeremy Loops & co.
Fresh from a 3 week tour of America & the UK, Jeremy Loops revealed once again why he was recently crowned as the Best Solo Act for the MK Awards 2013. With a loop-pedal, harmonica, saxophonist, hip-hop lyricist, beat-boxing and even a childrens toy in his arsenal, Jeremy’s music is not only the most distinctive thread of folk, but also the freshest output of the local scene in recent times. The genre-bending collage of southern-country-folk and hip-hop in songs like ‘My Shoes’ makes it plain to see why Jeremy Loops is a rising star down south.
Whilst all this was happening at the main stage, the line-up balancing act was reaching critical mass with notable performances from Christian Tiger School, Gateway Drugs, Lil’ Bow, Sassquatch and Mix n Blend on the electronic stage.
Gravy alumni Christian Tiger School filled the EDM marque with their almost-jazz psychedelic dream-pop sonic infusions. Incorporating live electronic guitar and a synth pad into their performance the cape-chillwave-connoisseurs are the future…now.
Beach Party side-project Gateway Drugs literally opened for themselves taking us back into the 80’s with their fluorescent synth-pop.
Lil’ Bow recalibrated the time machine to land us in the 90’s as she exhibited a nostalgic curation of 90’s west coast hip-hop featuring the likes of Snoop Lion Dogg and Xhibit. At certain points the suburban girl was skilfully flowing with the gangsta hooks and you could tell this was no gimmick.
Multi-talented creative genius, Ben Rausch of Sassquatch guided the audience through a solid 2 hour set of indie-electro gems. This was just another feather cap for the blogger-slash-designer-slash-musician-slash-DJ-slash-VJ.
With great camaraderie the duo from Mix n Blend had the crowd jump up for joy with their blend of 174 BPM Breakbeat Drum n Bass; in what was the heaviest electro on offer for the weekend.
Back on the main stage the soaring orchestral compositions of another Cape export, Bateleur, entranced the audience.Without a vocalist, the post-rock ensemble provided a vivid canvas for the audience to fill with their personal interpretations. The infectious jazzy inclinations made each audience member feel like the conductor of their own orchestra.
Durban representatives, Fruits & Veggies kept the doctor away with an infusion of maskandi-punk. Armed with a blazing stage presence, the commanding vocals of Purity and an anarchic attitude; it is easy to see why Fruits & Veggies are the best thing out of the Zulu kingdom since bunny chow.
When Beach Party entered the scene early 2011, one was forgiven for thinking they were styled by the neighbourhood costume store. But the brazen wardrobe served a practical purpose; leaving the audience bewildered even before a chord was struck. Fast forward two years and the band has somewhat subdued the flamboyant wardrobe and released their second EP, “For Now We’re Young”. Their set was a balanced mix of some new and old as the group simulated an upbeat-psychedelic-punk form of the Beach Boys. With their surf rockabilly sensibilities, Beach Party transported the fruging crowd by means of a 1966 VW panel van to a surf café in California with their guitars shimmering reverb tones, 4/4 rockabilly rhythms and an adolescent Cape lifestyle as the cultural backdrop.
ISO recently repackaged themselves to improve their mass appeal. Although they may be getting lots of airplay on the radio, the crowd was left nostalgic. Yearning for the progressive Isochronous of old which created the layered, jazz-infused, emotive outpouring that is ‘Beauty Queen’.
Laid-back hemp-ambassadors, Dune Rats were the only international act on the bill. With an improved performance on their Kitcheners show the previous week, for a moment, it was summer fun as the audience was immersed in their playful fast-paced surf-punk forgetting it was well below 15°C on this winter evening. The affable Aussies were fun and energetic, but this festival was an appraisal of our local talent.
As the moon reached the highest point in the sky, rock ‘n roll Dionysus, The Stella’s took to the stage for their headlining slot. If you know any of the members then you’ll know that it is not just music for The Stella’s, rock ‘n roll is their way of life. The gang describes their sound as “1970’s punk-scene combined with the swagger of Iggy Pop“. The swank was on full display in their highly charged performance. It was one last chance to lose inhibitions and get dirty in a raw, adulterated kinda way. The journey reached the pinnacle when they were joined on stage by Dune Rats and Fruits & Veggies for a mega-collab which felt like the final fireworks display at a closing ceremony.
There is something unique about a virgin experience which you may never again experience. On this, the second instalment of Sowing The Seeds, that principle prevailed. This year was no virgin experience but Seed Experiences has briskly set-up Sowing The Seeds as a premier festival on the local calendar.
The size of the festival only added to the appeal as the neighbourly feel meant that everyone knew everyone. It was a weekend ritual with a secret cult and only the cult will ever know what really happened.
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