Little Dragon returns to South Africa


The Second Coming

The city feels lit up. It’s all coming from an unfamiliar territory. Situated behind or maybe more like along the highway, Founders Garden is calling on the fandom of Little Dragon. As the bass picks up from the opening acts, serious calls are being made to the grounds that the band will make their presence, to another stage, another gig, and another visit to South Africa.

Since the announcement early this year of a possible return to our nation, I have been riveted with the news. An active listener to all their albums, with a serious crush on their latest album Nabuma Rubberband, I watched their every move on social media leading up to this point. Before me is a pioneering collective of eclectic visionaries. Their humble and cheerfully bashful take on their music making process, which I noticed in their press conference, I see the total opposite unveiling itself. With sharp shapes of lights framing the stage and a united front in each segment they take on, I am vibrating off frequencies I am unsure exist. The energy, due fully to Red Bull’s token for media drinks, and a sensitive reaction to caffeine, put me jabbering like a chipmunk as I made my way from stage left, middle and eventually the back, so I could find the best levels of sound.

The performance is so alive. With bold contours outlining their movements and Prince-esque high paced, eighties revival mood, the audience has found their happy place. As we move, wiggle and two-step to the beats, our neighbours are in it together. I can’t be sure if it was just me (or the Red Bulls), but every stranger I ran into was more than pleasant, they were nice- and to have a entire crowd of nice means one thing- the environment lived up to its mood. And I think about the ambience as it passes me by- the red, purple and green shadows of artificial light highlight the garden. As you walked into the area, the entrance immediately gave presence to the band, with a lit up Little Dragon neon sign creating a beautiful silhouette of the people who entered the space.

Their set was just over an hour, with a balanced selection of all their albums. Two tracks made it out of Nabuma Rubberband, which I found quite disappointing, but it couldn’t matter because all their material is so strong. So instead of letting the emotion sway me, I danced. I danced enough for a week’s worth, and went home feeling as excited, or maybe even more, than the first time they performed in South Africa. Seeing that my first experience was fortunately at their free gig at Chaf Pozi in Soweto, and their second coming, also an outdoors experience, made it really come to life.

All photography by Sydelle Willow Smith / Red Bull Content Pool


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