As usual, the standout performer was AKA
A beach party in the middle of the city? Who needs the actual beach when you have sand, palm trees, water guns, inflatable pools, beach balls, sun dresses, surf shorts and a volleyball net on a sunny afternoon! Sounds like fun right? Well if you weren’t at the Braam Beach Party last weekend then you missed out on one hell of a party.
Saturday marked the second day of the now three-day Superbalist In The City Festival and after the disaster that was the Braam Street Fest the weekend before, along with advice from the metro police, the Virgin Mobile Braam Beach Party was moved from Juta Street in Braamfontein to the more spacious and secure Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.
Despite the gloomy weather, the show went on with a beach set up and was kicked off by sultry vocalist Melo B Jones. She started of her performance with some unreleased songs from her upcoming EP before getting into what has propelled her into internet stardom, covers of famous SA raps songs. She’s clearly a Khuli Chana fan because along with her trusted Desktop Loop Station she belted out acoustic versions of the Motswakoriginator’s famous hits “Freshe” and “Tswa Daar” before closing out with the AKA seminal collabo hit “I Want It All”.
Next up was house wizard Jullian Gomes, as the clouds started getting heavier and heavier the crowd got lighter on their feet as Jullian brought the uptempo beats. Shekhinah then rolled on stage and went straight into her SAMA award nominated breakout hit “Back to the Beach” with fellow Idols alum Kyle Deutsch before getting into her Sketchy Bongo-assisted new single “Let You Know”.
Next on up was DJ Capital who was joined on stage by drummer Daniel Kudzayi Mhlanga, taking a page out of fellow hip hop DJ Ms Cosmo’s book who also incorporates live instruments into her DJ sets with her “Violins & Vinyls” show alongside violinists Mia Snyman and the ladies from The Muses.
By the time house legend Atjazz got on stage, the clouds looked like they were holding onto a thunderstorm only befitting of the tropic theme of the day. But giant inflatables were still bobbing above the crowd as they danced the late evening away and seemed completely unphased by the imminent rainfall. Stilo Magolide got on stage around 8pm and by that time we had a full on storm on our hands, but none of us could resist dancing in the now muddy sand when Stilo got into crowd favorite “Mr Party” – a mixture of rap and qgom that had even him doing the vosho on stage.
Stilo was immediately followed by his Boys N Buck$ crew mate Riky Rick, although they didn’t interact at all, could there be some tensions in the group? Anyway King Kotini jumped on stage and ran through all the hits from his platinum selling album “Family Values” including Nafukwa (Fok Julle Naaiers) and Boss Zonke before stage-diving into the crowd shirtless not once but twice as a sign of appreciation to the rapturous crowd for withstanding the unrelenting rain, who also seemingly didn’t want to let Riky leave them.
As the night started started to wind down, p.H got on next and inserted some much needed energy into the night’s proceedings with a versatile mix of house, hip hop, kwaito and qgom all neatly tied together by his expert mixing. If you’ve ever experienced a p.H set then you know you need to get your dancing shoes on. I should know – he once played a five hour set at Great Dane in Braamfontein and I danced for every single single minute of it. DJ Tira made sure not to let the energy levels dip when he jumped on and put together one of his now legendary trademark sets, an eclectic blend of mixing, adlibbing and dance choreography that’ll make you absolutely envious that a 40-year-old father of three can still move like that.
As usual the standout performer of the night was AKA, he proved that he doesn’t call himself the “Showstopper” for nothing by putting one of the most energetic and sonically refined live performances you’ll see on this side of the border. AKA is by far not just one of the best artists in the country, but one of the best live performers too. His stage presence is ineffable and the attention to detail on his performance production is infallible which just makes the quality of his songs even better than the recorded versions.
He opened his performance with the infectious “Sim Dope” before running through all the hits on his sophomore album LEVELS including “Run Jozi” and “All Eyes On Me” before looking to new hits “Composure” and “Dreamwork” to round off a breathtaking set to mark the end of a (literally) breathtaking night.
The guys at In The City should be commended for putting together a memorable concert. Same goes to the people that came out and packed Mary Fitzgerald despite the gloomy weather; they should be commended for their commitment to the cause. Despite sloppy work with the media accreditation process which could’ve been handled better, like a pre-collection point for accreditation prior to the event or opening the gates an hour earlier for media accreditation, the stage production was world class and the party should be etched into people’s memories for the foreseeable future… Or maybe until the Pyjama Party next month!
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