So, I made my way to Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown (in Johannesburg) for Vodacom In The City 2013 on Friday night. I hopped on the Hotbox Express bus from Aandklas in Hatfield and arrived at the venue just after 6:30 PM. I have to say that checking in at the media desk went a lot faster than last year’s Bloc Party show and before I knew it I was already ordering my first beer at the bar. First up were sensational Cape Town act Al Bairre. Their blend of vibey folk sounds had the growing crowd dancing along in no time and I won’t be surprised if their fan base grows significantly after their excellent set at this event.
Next up were UK alternative act Alt-J. Personally I’m not a huge fan of this act, but I have to admit that they really came to the party at Vodacom In The City 2013. I also realized that there were a lot more hipsters in Gauteng than I thought: the crowd of between 7,000 and 9,000 people were chanting and singing along to their songs before you could say “shades”.
Next it was time for the amazing Swedish rock act The Hives. They showed up on stage dressed in black & white suits. The embroided motifs on their jackets could have made any non-fan think they were a country band from Texas. These suspicions were set aside when they struck the first cord on their electric guitars though. The Hives played a mind-blowing set that really got the Vodacom In The City 2013 crowd going. It was such a pleasure hearing “Walk Idiot Walk” (a song that we used to crank up to the max in our campsite at one of the Oppikoppi festivals) and seeing their antics on stage, definitely one of the best live acts that I’ve seen this year.
The last band of the night were UK alternative / rock / progressive metal act Skunk Anansie. I have been listening to Skin and her band since the mid 1990’s and I have to admit that I did not expect an awesome show, especially because they have not been as active as they were back then. I guess this set myself up for a surprise though: Skunk Anansie’s set at Vodacom In The City 2013 just simply blew me away. It was great hearing live versions of songs like “Brazen”, “Secretly” and “Charlie Big Patato Live”, watching Skin walk on the crowd’s hands and hearing them sing along to their heart’s content.
Feeling quite happy about the performances on the night my Vodacom In the City 2013 experience ended with more beers and tequila at the bar while Boys Noise were keeping the crowd dancing into the early hours of Saturday morning. After a dodgy, brisk and quick 4 block walk to the bus I was on my way back to Pretoria again.
Kudos to the organizers of the event. Entry into the venue was a lot faster and bar service was 10 times better than last year’s event. Regretfully there were some reports of crime in the area during and after the show so increased security measures should definitely be a priority for next year’s event. Newtown isn’t the safest area in Johannesburg’s CBD.
How was your experience of this event? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here. You can check out more photos from the event on the Henno Kruger Photography page on Facebook.
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