A number of factors lead to the dismal turnout at the inaugural Road2Rock festival held last weekend at the DKH Estate in Malmesbury. However, those who did brave the icy kiss of winter were kept warm by a quality experience that included two glorious bonfires!
I imagine that a lot of effort went into organising the event; the bands were on form, the venue was lovely, the sound and lighting were great, and the service was fast and efficient - enough to have any regular festival-goer drooling at the thought. While the unpredictable weather did play its part in putting people off, and the distance may have seemed far to travel for some, I think Road2Rock lacked adequate advertising, marketing and some essential hype.
The one-day music fest featured some of Cape Town's up-and-coming bands, as well as some industry stalwarts. Andrew James' acoustic melodies have that girl-next-door feel - simplistic yet undulating, friendly yet unexpectedly seductive. Considering that he had to leap a few hurdles on the day - "got hopelessly lost on the way, was sick, and my guitar tuner broke on stage"
- this opening act's rich sound did swoon me over.
Introduced by the more-heard-than-seen MC, Gary Cool, Mr Cat & the Jackal injected some life into the party with an invigorating performance that had even the promo girls stomping to the rhythm. MCATJ offer a theatrical sound strung together with an assortment of unconventional instruments. They're unique, fun to listen to, fun to watch, and an all-round entertaining band. Their sound may be eccentric, but it's oh-so soulful.
Wild Eastern Arches
The Wild Eastern Arches and Woodstock Mafia are both new additions to my SA band library, and while the latter has not quite grown on me yet, the Wild Eastern Arches have a sound and presence that's captivating. They're not a loud and in-your-face band that demands your attention, they're a stand-and-deliver band - and they deliver raw guitar-driven rock 'n' roll.Singing with reckless abandon
I've seen 7th Son a number of times since they first hit the scene back in the D, and I'm happy to report that they haven't lost an ounce of the energy they arrived with! They're one of the bands that keep ska rocking in SA. Those at Road2Rock let loose their happy feet and worked up a sweat stage-side. Wolftown, formerly known as The Ragdolls, formerly known as Just Sarah, owned Road2Rock. Their howling fan base sang with reckless abandon and even joined the band on stage during the only encore performance at the event. It's the untainted husky voice of Sarah Pope that pulls you in and with every drum beat you're wrapped tighter and tighter into the music as the pitch rises and falls.
The Plastics and Taxi Violence were saved for last as Road2Rock reached its climax. The Plastics indie pop vibe is so enduringly light and fun that it's difficult not to get swept up in the music. But behind the scenes, you can be sure they take their music seriously - Jeremy Moyle, the band's manager, is always spotted here, there, and everywhere, making sure that The Plastics are delivering their best. Fans should look forward to a new album that the band are set to unleash this year. You can follow their recording progress via The Plastic's blog
.Unrestrained Taxi Violence
You may have noticed that the unrestrained Taxi Violence has been part of a recent movement in CT music circles in which band members are mixing and matching. George van der Spuy now also fronts new band on the block, Goodnight Wembley, while Louis Nel and Rian Zietsman bring the bass to Beast. And, if you know Taxi Violence like I know Taxi violence, you'd never imagine them whipping out some reggae. At Road2Rock they made Nic Gaud proud as he beamed from ear to ear when they performed a rendition of one of 7th Son's popular tracks - the name of which evades me.
It may have not been intentional, but Road2Rock turned out to be an intimate showcase of some good, and some great, local talent. Logistically, I'm not quite sure whether it was successful or not, but the annual event has the potential to become one of the top rock fests in SA.
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