Riding to New York

We are freshly returned from the Passenger concert at Kirstenbosch, and it turns out that Mike Rosenberg (for he is it) is a great raconteur as well as a fantastic singer/songwriter. He kept the sold out audience entertained for 90 minutes with jokes, stories and music. A really great show.

Song of the concert was this one though – sung to 5 minutes of utter silence from the 6,000 people present; that’s a massive ask for the generally very disrespectful South African crowds and something I’ve only ever seen once before in SA with James Blunt’s No Bravery. Mike tells the story of meeting a guy near a gas station in Minnesota at 3am one morning, while heading out to buy cigarettes. They strike up a conversation after the man tells him that

This is best cigarette I’ve ever smoked

and from there it transpires that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, doesn’t know how long he has left and has sold up on the West Coast, bought a motorcycle and is heading to New York to go and spend his remaining days – however many there may be – with his family. Riding to New York is the song that Mike wrote about that meeting and the man’s journey:

It was one of several thoroughly depressing numbers, for which Mike apologised. There were many upbeat moments as well though, some really good banter with the crowd, some singing along and a whole heap of swearing.

Great evening. Make a plan to go and see him (although, as so many Cape Town gigs do, this marked the end of his current tour, so, sorry for you).

Flowers

We decided that it was time to get the kids out and about again after a whole week (and a bit) of sickness. They’ve been hit hard and we’ve been forced to keep them at home and relatively calm and still. This hasn’t gone down well with the two of them, because inside, calm and still are not things that they enjoy. Thus, they went a bit demob happy around Kirstenbosch this afternoon. No harm was done, but they may have over-exerted themselves a little; a fact indicated by the manner in which my 8 year old boy had to be carried into bed this evening.

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Kirstenbosch is great whenever, but it’s especially colourful at this time of year: something I know my parents will be jealous to be missing. So this post is for them, although you too can see some flower (and alpaca, obviously) photos in this album here.

Jason Hayden Cape Town storm pic is wow

There were thousands of tweets and much general sharing and admiration of a photo, apparently taken by one Jason Hayden, of the storm which hit Cape Town early on Saturday morning and woke up all the children in the city by about 5:30am.

[EDIT: Nov 17 2017 But then, suddenly  3½ years after I wrote this post, Jason got in touch, angrily demanding that I tell him where I had got the photo from (the hint’s in the first line of the post, mate) and objecting to my sharing it, so here it isn’t:

 

[nowt]

 

 

Ugh.]

 

What followed for anything south of Hospital Bend was a day of high winds, heavy rain and general seeking of shelter, blankets and red wine.

If you’ve checked the forecast for this week, we’re going to do it all again on Wednesday!

Things were much quieter this Monday morning, so while we’re doing a blog post of borrowed photos, how about this one from the new Kirstenbosch Treetop Canopy Walkway – “the Boomslang”?

ksr

Two very different mornings in Cape Town.

Photo credits: not Jason Hayden & Adam Harrower via twitterttp://

The Bastille in Cape Town review

Finally, he gets around to it – just in time for the Friday night revellers to know that they’re going to have a great time tomorrow night.

The grey clouds over the mountain disappeared and took with them any worries of rain, leaving a pretty peach sunset as support act Bed On Bricks entertained us for a good 40 minutes.

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It’s always a bit sad for support acts, but no-one goes along to see them. Still, great exposure for the Cape Town outfit who have been around for 10 years now and you probably know more of their tracks than you think.

But then, much to the delight of the screaming female hordes, Dan Smith, his grey hoodie and his hair – oh, and his three chums, of course – emerged to the theme from Twin Peaks. And even the annoying Afrikaans girl next to me shut up for a couple of seconds as they launched into a powerful rendition of Bad Blood, which set the tone nicely for the rest of the evening for the band, although sadly not for the annoying Afrikaans girl.

Each song was performed precisely, professionally, energetically and individually. No fancy segues here, we had a song, we had a break of sound and light and then we had another song. And the light show was excellent, backlit silhouettes moving purposefully around the stage, while Smith smashed drums and headbanged his way through his performance up front, with such energy that he often seemed breathless in the interludes. Still, he managed to please the audience with the usual (but honest) “most beautiful place we’ve ever played” line (Joburg, you might not get this bit) and he seemed genuinely humbled to be in SA.

Overjoyed was ruined by our irritating neighbour talking loudly about her economics book, before we moved on to The Silence (song, not annoying girl) and then into a new song, Blame, with a heavy rock’n’roll theme coupled with the almost monastic Bastille vocals. Weird, but it really works and almost had a Depeche Modey feel to it – and that’s no small compliment. Laura Palmer was followed by These Streets and then another new one: The DrawDecent stuff it was too, although Dan needs to sort his repetitive, weedy, computer-says-no “I hope you like it” introduction out.

Cleverly, (because we’ve covered this issue of bands playing their established hits versus the need to showcase new music before) each new song was followed up by a couple of well-known numbers – Icarus and Flaws in this case.

And then they were off, ahead of the three song encore of the quiet Get Home (shut up, just SHUT! UP! Afrikaans girl), Of The Night – in which the audience were invited to pogo at the appropriate time and the grand finale, obviously, Pompeii.

A great night, a really professional performance and just one of those concerts when you could simply enjoy the musical genius of the guys on stage. Smith is obviously very into his music and the technology surrounding it, even more interesting when juxtaposed against the raw power of his drum beating, but the presentation of the songs was utterly flawless. It was odd, because this very clinical approach – no extra decoration or fuss – would usually have completely spoiled any gig, but here, it made perfect sense.

Bastille are a very listenable band and the new stuff shows only a very slight variation from their already established form. The next album, therefore, should be full of promise, but in the meantime, if you have a chance to see them live, do yourself a favour and get there – it’ll be well worth it.

Some very atmospheric photos here.