Don’t find yourself, create yourself
The earth is in transit. Our lives are made up of passages, passing from one state to next. The years end and the new ones come. A sense of closure. The onset of something new. The shift is dynamic. It never occurs when we want it to. It’s unconscious and sublime. It occurs when acceptance overrides control, and that’s often well into the light of a new year. I registered this change while I was staring up at Schanskop Hill, mindful of the force of nature and the beauty it composes, and I knew if I got on that bus and drove all the way to the top, 2015 would be over forever.
At the top, we padded behind strangers as they left the bus and followed them down a narrow archway that led into the inner rim of the Fort. The speakers were filled with strummed chords and the voice of a young girl. Maddy Behrens was already on stage. She was sincere, innocent even; she spoke to the crowds like they were her newest batch of friends – the kind of friends that become family. We descended down the stairs and found a spot right under the large Acacia tree whose leaves shadowed the sun but not its heat.
Having been to a reasonable amount of Park Acoustics’ events in the past, I was disappointed by the turn out. I searched for the faces of my fellow music lovers, for the overriding cause- was the economy really keeping us from supporting our local acts or was it something else? I searched the faces of my fellow music lovers to find out why they even bothered to come, when it dawned on me, it was more beautiful than the love of music; it was a love for the artist, the hours of effort, the amiable presence, the curated sound – not to find yourself, but to create yourself, and in conjunction, to express yourself.
Mind Pool took the stage and showered my revelation in a coat of ambience. I want to say they took my breath away, but the truth is they took my mind away. The nature of their act was unlike anything I had ever seen or felt. They made me increasingly aware of how good the quality of sound at Park Acoustics really is. Their performance played out like a lucid dream – one I can’t wait to rejoin again.
Josh Kempen also surprised me. In the first three days of its release, I lost count of how many times I listened to the Midnight Ship EP, but as the show played out he was introducing new music, and dare I say it, a new sound. His songs were more upbeat, guitar move lively, drums whipped to make you shake, and his voice had evolved into something more capricious without losing the quality that makes it so bewitching. Check out his Vimeo to find videos of the unreleased songs.
MonArk got the crowd moving, but at the cost of playing covers, which isn’t something you expect from a headlining act and left me a little disappointed, especially because their Negatives album comes with such serious acclaim. However, they more than succeeded in getting the crowd riled and ready for Matthew Mole.
It was my first time seeing Matthew Mole live and I was shocked to witness him operate on stage alone. Not the bad kind, but the good kind. A drum set was moved to the front of the stage and became a sort of podium from where Matthew could direct the driving kicks that had the whole Park Acoustics clapping and jumping and bobbing to the beat. It was by far the most fun and one couldn’t keep from smiling, mainly because Matthew was smiling his head off.
Michael Lesar led the aftermath with his electro swing, as is custom whenever he’s at Park Acoustics. As far as food stalls and drinks are concerned, the queues were efficient and moved along smoothly. If you find yourself at the next one, I highly recommend trying the coconut milk mixed with Jack Daniel’s. Park Acoustics also implemented a new rule that forbids glass inside the Fort while promoting paper and/or plastic cups, mainly for safety reasons, I suspect.
To close, after six years of providing us with a venue to showcase and enjoy our favourite acts live on stage, Park Acoustics is still going strong, with promises of many more. Through their onset, they’ve adapted to the music scene without losing what makes it such a constant and cultural success. We as fans and consumers are just as responsible for the prosperity of the event as are the promoters and artists. So keep in time. It’s beautiful up there. The music never stops evolving. Let the freedom of its motions transform you.
All images courtesy Christelle Duvenage