This past weekend got my small town talking… “Why?” you might be asking. Well, it was the last Blue Moon shows, the last time in 14 years that music lit the mountains around Nelsparta. And man, it was one hell of a party. I was packed into the car along with my human to the mountain for one last time.
The Friday night was a private, VIP, invite only dinner that went down as well as bottle of Tassies on the Blue Moon mountain. I can’t say too much but it was good to see our Nelspartans, No One’s Arc, without making an effort to fly down to the Mother City. A private show by Jack Hammer and the Fake Leather Blues Band set the mood for the weekend, but the highlight was a surprise sunset gig by Akkedis (the first band that ever played at Blue Moon all those wonderful years ago).
Saturday the day started early with some Vitamin water and a beer and we had a casual braai by the dam. My human said some the staff named Blue Moon “Tortuga” (the island of misbehaving and drinking). We enjoyed a performance by Hoot and Annie, Kobus from the Black Cat Bones and Akkedis brothers and we all gathered a sun tan (even though it was cloudy).
The evening was finally upon us as we took the long walk up the mountain with some Jagermeister (to enjoy one of the last sun sets over Blue Moon). The first band was the now grown up teenager, Café Wha? with their excellent covers of well known songs like “Purple Rain” and “Kryptonite”.
The number of people pilling into the venue was quite high and I haven’t seen it that full in a very long time. The next band to grace us with their presence for the 4th time was The December Streets. I just simply love this band. They are so vibey and so pretty. After them the small crowd turned into a monster – fans started piling into the front for No One’s Arc. Before I go on with my review, I just have to congratulate Mimi on the birth of her cute little boy just two months ago.
Let me tell you something, No One’s Arc played that stage on fire. I smelled hot bodies, smoke, weed, beer, bass strings and broken drumsticks after their show. They were at Blue Moon in September last year but nothing could have prepared us for their explosive show. I remember my human saying “Holy cow, that was so hot, even my eyeballs are sweating” (actually saying that she cried a little). To the person who told me “No One’s Arc bore me.”: You should be left on an island with Leanie May music on repeat with no ear plugs. Yes it was a slow reality for all of us, but the party spirit was taking over and up next were ISO.
My word. Every time I see the ISO boys, they rock our faces off. It was a blur of fantastic live rock music. Richard standing up, silhouetted by the lights on stage with his guitar held up high. After them it was time for the one and only Wonderboom, and as I typing this I sit with goosebumps as I am thinking back to that performance. Wonderboom has been part of the Blue Moon family almost as long as the Moon has been open. And I can tell you even the teenagers were drawn to Martin and Cito’s stage personalities.
By this time it was one “poespas” (an Afrikaans word describing a mix up or deurmekaar spul) on the dance floor. There were people dancing, jumping wild and some hippies slowly swaying to the fast beat, but the best was hearing the crowd sing “Africa” out loud. Yes, it was so loud I think the people in White River could hear us. During their song “Charlie”, they were joined by their old drummer Danny De Wet and it’s still one of my favourite Wonderboom songs. This band might be getting old, but they still got soul and rock ‘n roll running through their veins and they deserver a “bra-bloody-vo” and a loud “moo” from my side.
Of course by now I needed a 10 minute break but somewhere Milla (our friend from Finland) bought Jagermeister and that was the last bullet for us. The rest was almost a blur of out-of-breath jumping and singing loudly. The Black Cat Bones came on stage and Kobus (with his body paint, porcupine pins and Swazi sarong) got the crowd going wilder than a bunch of metalheads at a RAMFest mosh pit. It was an off the wall, jumping, magic mushroom filled, day dreaming, Bones infused show. My human sat down since she took a tumble after some doos drove her off the road as she was walking with a friend, but I was jumping with them all the way. Chris DangerVolt threw his bass in the air again and luckily he didn’t miss the catch and missed the ceiling by a few centimeters. Fantastically drunk by the end of their show, I was busy looking for my voice on the ground.
The rest of Saturday night was spent drunkenly happy and sad in between the gardens, veld and rocks of Blue Moon. A sleep bug caught me around 3 AM, but the party continued.
It was 07:30 AM on Sunday morning. The sun was shining merciless on our tents, reminding us of Up The Creek and reminding us that the last day of Blue Moon has arrived and that it’s time to face facts. It was sad day, but we all put on our brave faces as we drank our coffee and made breakfast.
It was great greeting lots of friends that had to leave early morning, but sad to realize that we might not see them around again on the Blue Moon. The sun was now as hot and my humans got sunburned whilst breaking down their massive tent. Yes I was enjoying the shade with an ice cold drink that I found in the fridge. Being a cow has its perks.
The show was meant to start at 13:00 but Naming James only made it to the stage at 14:00. At the last minute SAMA nominee Nakhane Toure and Tailor had to pull out, but I didn’t complain when my STRAB honey Jamie and his boys was put on the stage. The 4 people dancing in the front on tired legs gave them a smile on their face. Even the pretty lady, Cathlin (from Up The Creek) was swinging to their tunes. I didn’t expect the crowd to be big but a lot of the old rock and rollers of Blue Moon was present with their kids (who were happily running around). Even Mimi bought her little baby (who quickly built up his own fan club).
No One’s Arc was up after Naming James and we soon realized that we all partied to hard the previous day. They delivered a show with less energy, but magically turned a crowd of 4 people into 20 people. Now my legs were so tired, but I figured I had to jump to their song “Stanley” one more time on Blue Moon soil, so I did – gotta love Goophy (on trombone/keys/vocals) for being so hyperactive. After their performance my human disappeared to have a little cry but I stayed for Matthew Mole.
I don’t give a shit who says what about this guy but you can’t deny it, his music is good. His songs relate to everyone. All the teenagers held up their Samsung phones and iPhones to watch the show through their screens. Many people had a little cry and I have to say that hearing “Wedding Song” brought some tears to my eyes.
Matthew left us and it was The Wrong Kong’s turn to entertain a small yet powerful crowd. Danny de Wet with his craze Alice Cooper hair entertained us but I sadly wasn’t paying attention to their performances. However I hear that they weren’t as bad as people expected, but you can’t have bad music if Danny is involved.
The final rock band to play was the Afrikaans trio SAARKIE, my craze beautiful girls. Fuck it, it was hard to know that they were the last act and the sun quickly disappeared to remind us that it was time to bury the legend. So we stood for every last note, every last core out of Adele’s guitar, riffs out of Lourene bass and every beat from Lila’s drum set. It was tears, it was sweat, it was lots of long hugs. We just couldn’t even lift our arms anymore for the tequila, that complete numbness you get when your sadness just overpowers you.
We left Blue Moon soon after SAARKIE finished playing and we greeted them. My humans were over emotional now and we were hungry for pizza. As we stopped at Pappas Pizza to catch the last of No One’s Arc acoustic set, if felt like stepping back onto earth after a space mission. It was back to the fact that Nelsparta just said goodbye to the beautiful smile of Blue Moon.
In the words of Mark Paxton, the MC for the weekend, he dedicated these lyrics from “The Sound of Music” as his tribute. If you were there, you will understand this.
“My day in the hills has come to end I know
A star has come out to tell me it’s time to go
But deep in the dark green forest
Are voices that urge me to stay
So I pause and I wait and I listen
For one more sound for one more lovely thing
That the hills might say”
Highlights of the weekend: Friday night’s private dinner, to see Cito Martin, Martin Schoefield (Wonderboom), Jonathan Peyper (Fake Leather Blues Band), Adele (SAARKIE), Arthur Dennis performing all on stage with the Black Cat Bones playing “Rocking in the Free World” and experiencing something as awesome as this weekend
To Blue Moon entire team: Thank you so much for hosting our crazy asses there. Thank you to Royal Lens Photography for the use of his fantastic photos again. And to Henno: We missed you there brother. Don’t forget us world, down here in Nelsparta, we are still here, hungry for good music.
A green cow, part of a heard of plastic / latex cows, spread between Nelspruit, Sabie and Cape Town. My owner adopted me when I only could speak Chinese, now I’m fluent in Afrikaans, English second language and cow.