They say good things take a while to mature… or is that wine? I couldn’t remember but this cow does certainly still have the memories of Rock of the Bushveld fresh in her membrane.
Rock of the Bushveld (in case you missed the previous article) was a one day gig that took place at a beautiful venue named Kwanyoni Lodge (which is located about 14 km from Nelspruit). It was the first time I was at the lodge and the green grass alone made me hungry for the day. The winter was almost just-just over (even though I’m sure the Capetownians will disagree) and the sun was shining brightly. What excited me the most was of course the line-up which had two headliners: aKING & The Black Cat Bones.
Arriving the picnic-like atmosphere was awesome. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this kind of vibe in Nelsparta. Not since the closure of Blue Moon just over a year and half ago has Nelsparta had this awesome vibe going for itself. However when I got the running times for the bands I did scratch my head (because it was itcy) and it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense.
The first 5 bands were all from Nelsparta: The Ian Man Show, GoatnHare, Halfmas Middernag Blues Band, The 3 Beans and Gibraltar. Then it was Jonathan Peyper which I felt should have been later on stage, Jan Blohm, Saarkie (first band of the eveing), aKING, then Bright Lights Big City and then The Black Cat Bones. Ja, I couldn’t understand why the organizers placed a band with a very small following smack right between their two headliners. Plus they were about an half hour ahead of schedule which made it feel rushed – sometimes you have to be late in rock and roll/
Gilbratar is one of Nellies longest running bands and they managed to pull a crowd of just under 10. You see here in Nelsparta everyone is shy to go stand in front of the stage and actually support the band (which is a habit that seems to be passing down through the generations). Me and my human are of course different and we were in the pit taking photos (we were late and saw only 3 of the 5 who played). Of course we have so many friends that we needed to greet it almost takes a full day.
After Gibraltar it was another local lad but now Snorstad inhabitant, Jonathan Peyper. Missing Chris on bass (due his stunts at Oppikoppi) his awesome brother, Heine stood in. He managed to get almost everyone on their feet and draw them in like moths to a flame. No one can miss this blues man which you can almost place next to Dan Patlansky when it comes to skills. We love Jonathan – I think his biggest groupies are based here in the Lowveld.
Jan Blohm moved in behind the mic after Jonathan strung his last cord and this old school Afrikaans rocker with the colourful and well known history was quite an attraction as well. Everyone, from the youngsters to the old ballies had a look at Jan. A lot of people however have asked me what I thought of his show and I will be honest: 1. I couldn’t hear what he was singing which is unlike Jan. 2. He made plently of mistakes and he blamed it on being too tired 3. After his show, he and his guitarist hit the road again to their next gig (which was 3 hours away). I’m happy that Jan is out of rehab and his cave but I just think he mustn’t over do it too much without causing a burn out.
Our favourite rocker girls from Pretoria, Saarkie was ready to melt the faces of their newfound fans. Can you believe despite them being here multiple times so many people at this event have never even heard of the girl band? Yes that is the Slowveld for you. They had the crowd rocking out to their tunes and covers which only the Saarkie girls can bring. “It’s like listening to your favourite record but being turned on at the same time” one fan remarked.
My confusion started when I heard that aKING was next. I personally would have place Bright Lights Big City after Jan Blohm but that’s just me. aKING who were last in the Slowveld in 2013 set up and the excitement in me was like Christmas lunch. I love Laudo, he is one of my favourite SA frontmen, but dude: “Save your beard!”. You are so handsome, why do you want to hide that? Anyway the crowd was there in numbers for them but were slow to start.
It took their old hits like “Know your bones” and “Safe as houses” to get the crowd to respond. For my human it was one of the biggest bands that she ever had the chance to photograph. The Bones were of course the bigger one!
I don’t know what happened to the sound at aKING because when I stood at the back of the crowd you couldn’t hear Laudo, but in the pit you could hear him perfectly. Maybe it was just me? Bright Lights Big City (another blues rock outfit) failed to pull the people who were all in the beer tent getting warmer on the cool night with some tequila and brandy. It was first time watching them but they failed to pull me in. I rather strolled off to the VIP bar for some vodka and coke, the drink of choice in the evening.
The Black Cat Bones needed no introductions and the MC seemed to have disappeared somewhere, but Kobus, Andre, Jason and Heine brought it as always. They had the crowd jumping up and down for days to come. Every time they play here there is just more and more fans following them and I’m truly happy to see that! Finally! I felt like pretzel that was bent in all kinds of positions after their show and the crowd just wanted more. What sucked half was there was a midnight curfew so last rounds were called about 15 minutes after the Bones played.
The party didn’t stop though. People were kuiering around the fires and in the beer tent till late. The VIP bar delivered some interesting things but then again I’m not the one who is going to say too much. What happens in VIP stays in VIP.
The one thing I will mention that is funny as hell was that my human who head banged a double brandy & coke and thank goodness that the cup was plastic otherwise she would have carried the scar, but I couldn’t say the same for her echo.
Rock of the Bushveld was a pretty awesome experience for a first timer. It was well organised but there was a few points for me that they can improve one next time:
1. Make sure your line up plays according to their popularity. Not because you love them means others will do so. The line up was awesome and they made the goal high for next year.
2. The food stall sucked balls. R30 for almost everything but it’s the size of a slider burger. Not cool, next year try to get more than one stall please. Offer a bit variety.
3. To hype the prize of liquor that non-brandy drinkers might enjoy. R25 a shot of vodka is a bit mal especially Pushkin vodka. Not everyone drinks brandy & coke and yes I understand you were sponsored by a certain brand. Just a thought.
4. Your gate is very important, the cars wasn’t check for cooler boxes or private liquor. You need to do this for such an event.
The rest was good, the lodge was amazing. The security, the cleaners and bathrooms was also top notch. Just please bring in camping options next year, it sucked driving back home after an awesome day. Hope to see ROTB next year again!
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