I almost want to humm Eninem’s song “Guess Who’s Back” since it’s been six months since my last article on Running Wolf’s Rant, but I’m happy to report that my sexy green cow butt managed to make it to the STRAB festival in Mozambique.
Despite having the whole of Jozini striking over water shortages and driving an extra hour we did not mind the road via Hluhluwe. It’s such a beautiful and unseen part of South Africa and my humans were so excited that they forgot about the road trip food. We also forgot a few CD’s and only had The Black Cat Bones’ “Beatipillar” in the car, but that’s what’s making memories are all about, right?
We arrived at the border and it took forever on both sides of it, but it was great to smell the fresh, rainy air of Mozambique. Two of the humans in our group were STRAB virgins and arriving at camp and enduring a rain storm must have been a pretty hectic welcome for them.
Unfortunately we missed Stefan Dixon’s much anticipated set, but then we heard horror stories of how the Wednesday’s rain did not only damper moods but also flooded tents, destroyed car keys and drowned torches, so we felt relieved that we had missed that commotion.
We managed to watch Akkedis (who is just a must see at STRAB) and bit of Greg Georgiades and the Ultra Natives before the hunger set in. We listened to Willim Welsyn & die Sunrise Toffies from our camp before heading back for After Robot.
As I’m typing this sentence, the After Robot boys are in California, USA busy recording an album (which is super exciting stuff). I’m sad to report their Nelsparta born drummer Roan has left the band, but they delivered such an explosive set at STRAB.
After munching some Bioplus energy saches it was time for Cutting Jade. I was still being made in China when they were around in the early 2000’s, but a little bird told me that they were damn good back then. I must say I was impressed! After them we headed up for a night cap on the Acoustic Deck stage. The Cottonfields were a pleasure to watch but we were simply just too tired and headed to camp.
The next day it wasn’t exactly STRAB weather like I remember but the rain had at least stopped. Everything felt wet – even the beach dogs looked gatvol. After a bacon and egg brekkie we made it to the beach and by midday managed to catch Janie Bay on the Acoustic Deck stage. I was drooling over some musicians, but my humans took it easy.
We joined the crowd at the main stage that night for SAMA nominated Saarkie, who performed a lot of new songs. We missed Medicine Boy, but I did however recognise a lady I have not seen in years, Lucy Kruger. Sune told me that they are a band to keep an eye out for.
The Barbosa Experience really brought out the Portuguese fiesta in everyone and got the crowd going in the semi winter weather. Wonderboom proofed again why so many girls and I drool over Cito (he’s just so hot). STRAB even gave them a pirate ship to show them their gratitude.
The Black Cat Bones were up next and we expected our usual jumping up and down session, but it was more of a jam session (as one friend described later on that evening). Not that we mind them doing something else, we will see them in July again. After this we headed up to the deck and partied until the sun almost rose.
I could not believe Saturday morning showed up with the sun already blazing down us. A camp cat adopted us by snoozing in our camp chair. All she wanted was some rubs and bacon to eat – best camping buddy ever! Our one friend made it to Andre Kriel’s solo show (which he reported was “fantastic”) We hit the waves and at first I was freezing my utters off, but we soon adjusted and just drifted listening to Deon Dee.
After the swim we headed up to the bar for R & R and to watch our neighbour Roan van As. What kief guy and musician. He was joined by Nelsparta’s very sexy Jonathan Peyper on guitar. Yes ladies, Jonathan is single so throw your bra’s at him! We watched a bit of Hatchetman before we headed back to camp and then to the village. There is just so much to do when you are at STRAB and because we waited extremely long for our food at the restaurant we managed to miss the whole afternoon’s line up.
I made everyone in and around our camp watch Andra. Everyone sat on their butts in the sand listening to her full band playing songs and intense story telling. It was like being a kid again, listening to the story telling lady in the library or the classroom. We went back to camp to dress warmer and realized someone with long fingers tried to break into our tents. Sadly this made us miss Nathan Smith and most of The Jonathan Peyper Trio.
Whoever the thief was I hope you get a cramp so hard that you can’t move! After this all of this I needed a beer and we ended up having a phat kuier with The Cottonfields on the deck. We met people from Bellville and realized that it was almost time for Basson Laubscher and the Violent Free Peace. I haven’t seen Basson since the last time I went to Up The Creek and I think he is well deserve addition to the STRAB line up. He picked up where Jack Hammer left off and the last act of the evening on the main stage was Albert Frost playing his new album (which is just fantastic). He was definitely a highlight of STRAB 2016.
No STRAB party is the same without a Saturday night party on the deck. The Full Swing band got everyone jolling and dancing on tables and made us feel like we were under dressed. They’re such a kief band and I hope to see them again.
I can’t tell you all that much of what happens during a festival like STRAB, because it’s like the golden rule “What happens at STRAB stays at STRAB”. All I can say is that these were my highlights:
- To watch the stars at night on the beach with one of the Akkedis boeties, After Robot and my humans.
- The low tide allowing us to see marine life.
- To see all our friends again that feels like family
- The bands (all of them we managed to see).
- The beautiful people of Ponta Mahlongane who made us wish that we can live there just to be in their presence.
So am I a little deep? Yes, so what? It’s STRAB and it’s beautiful and I want to book my camping spot for 2017 already. If you haven’t been there before, you should too!
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.
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.