Synergy Live 2013!

Posted by Aileen Raymond Sunday, December 8, 2013 0 comments

To go to a festival on a Friday afternoon is nothing less than a treat. Any festival lover will agree: Arriving early on a Friday, while everyone else is at work or class, is a rare experience (for us anyway). So, we planned to arrive at the closed gates of Synergy Live 2013 early on Friday, but things don't always turn out the way you plan. After we had breakfast just outside of Grabouw, bought food and drinks, stopped for petrol and to buy a warm jacket, we arrived at the beautiful Theewaterskloof venue just after 2 o' clock - 5 hours later than planned. We wanted to go prepared... But we all know, no one can ever fully prepare for an outdoor festival.

The venue for Synergy Live 2013 is quite something. Hidden in the Elgin Valley amongst the banks of the mighty Theewaterskloofdam, it is spectacular. Trow in a jam-packed line up and one strong wind and you are sure to loose yourself (or your friends/wallet/tent) somewhere over the three days.

We arrived and walked over mountains and through rivers to eventually set up our little tent between two trees and two other large tents in the hopes that it would be sheltered from the looming breeze. After we were done, we opened our first beer, made friends with our neighbours and enjoyed the scenery. Anyone can tell you that the moments after setting up camp at a festival, is one of complete euphoria. Synergy Live 2013 were upon us.

This year Synergy Live boasted with a line up that would make any music lover freak out a bit. From Afrikaans wunderkinder Bittereinder and rockers Van Coke Kartel to upcoming electro spectacle Das kapital and a whole bunch of talent at the Marshall Music Freestyle Stage. It was tough to choose who to see, but it was sure that the entertainment was broad and plentiful.

The festival got kicked off by Woodstock Mafia on the Main Stage around 4pm. All the eager beavers that arrived early, gathered on the grass around the stage. As they played their first song and I opened my second drink, I knew we were in for a wild weekend - that feeling of complete freedom with one of your favourite local bands on stage. They had a decent set, but I struggled to find that mad energy that we normally get from the guys. Now, I am sure there is a logical explanation for this and I am very glad they played Synergy, but why were they given such an awkward slot? Yes, the girls still went crazy over frontman Joe and at stages they got the small crowd dancing, but Woodstock Mafia needs a late night slot where they can show off their full potential. Nevertheless, it was more than enough to get the party started! By the way, we loved the intro guys!

We slipped away to the Marshall Music Freestyle Stage and found a hyper crowd dancing... or rather bouncing to the music. Some looked excited, others euphoric and some just plain stoned. The Rivertones and their Bob Marley covers were the reason the party started very early for some people. I actually really enjoyed that half hour and I think they were a good addition to the line up. Happy vibes, smiles and good vibrations from everyone.

Every year at Synergy my eyes get twice the size at the sight of those carnival rides. They are marvelous and I, for one, can never stay away from them. Like a true adrenaline junkie, I normally drag my festival companions to the rides when we are long over the legal limit to be in or on any mobile mechanism. And then it feels like your stomach wants to explode through your mouth, but it's nice. Thank you Synergy for having these every year!

After a few wild rides, we pulled our stomachs together and went to the Main Stage for Bittereinder. If there is one thing Bittereinder can do, it is to bring the energy. I love the whole concept of this Afrikaans, electro, hip-hop act, but it strangely freaks me out just a little too (in a good way). The whole set is a bit absurd, but I believe that's why it works and with that they got the Synergy crowd jumping, screaming and dancing. I especially enjoyed Jaco van der Merwe's energy and the way he used the whole stage to cover the entire crowd. Bittereinder works even better when it's dark - give them a better slot!

The real Main Stage magnet was probably Jack Parow. He drew a fairly large crowd and for an Afrikaans act, he sure has a lot of appreciative English fans. Hearing "jy dink jy's cooler as ekke" in a heavy English accent is not a strange sight at any Jack Parow show and Synergy Live was no exception. But then Francois van Coke joined Parow for Dans Dans Dans and Hard Partydjie hou. Marvelous! Thanks for that. I look forward to Jack's new album, for I've seen this specific set at least 5 times this year.

We then briefly went to the Redbull Electronic Stage. Upon arrival we were greeted by a small sea of bouncing wife beaters and neon crop tops. I like going to the electro stage at festivals, for when you are in the right mood, some of the music will definitely get you dancing. I think it's safe to say that electronic music is really swallowing Cape Town's youngsters by looking at the crowds at the Freestyle and Main Stages and compare it to the Electronic Stage. I can't exactly place my finger on why kids turned their heads, ears and wallets towards this hyper genre that seems to outlast all other stages at any festival, but it's massive. At Synergy Live it was even more evident than at any other festival I've been to this year. Like I heard some guy said on Saturday, "we came for the Electro Stage, we don't even know who's playing on the Main Stage".

We didn't stay long. After we murdered our intestines just a little more on the carnival rides, we sprinted to the Freestyle stage for McCree. I love this band. I really do. They were the first band on Friday to make me spontaneously dance and sing and forget about the chilly wind. But, why McCree, why do you not have hundreds and thousands of fans? On Friday they gave a brilliant set that I hope got noticed by the right people. Well done!

Back to the Main Stage and it was time for Cape Town rockers Van Coke Kartel. There is something deadly suspenseful in the moments before a Van Coke Kartel set. These guys are so comfortable, that you know you will see a good show, no matter the venue or crowd. Their new album Bloed, Sweet en Trane is bloody brilliant and the new songs make their set even better. There was a fairly small crowd for a Van Coke Kartel set, but they were energetic and all around me people were screaming along to the songs like true fans.

After Van Coke Kartel we were no more and no less than exhausted. So we had vodka and redbull and waited for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Synergy got a lot of critic for their choice of international headliners, but the critics got shown differently. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was surprisingly good and frontman Ronnie Winter was brilliant. He gave the crowd an impressive performance, it almost seemed near perfectly choreographed the way he moved across the stage, but comfortable and with a good amount of attitude. Everyone waited in anticipation for Face Down and straight after that, the crowd disappeared to the Red Bull Stage.

Saturday we woke up to clouds looming in the distance and an ever present wind blowing the hangovers away. We had our first beer, like true festival veterans and headed to the Freestyle Stage for Digby and the Lullaby. We saw them a while ago at their album launch and they really impressed us, so I was excited to see what they were going to do at Synergy. We arrived to a decent crowd and the musical duo performing their love songs. The atmosphere was a little awkward; people were talking and laughing loudly through their performance (which is rude by the way!). The couple looked a little tense, but what can be expected by any act 10am on a Saturday morning at a festival? I enjoyed the performance nonetheless.

Lucy Kruger was on the Main Stage next. Lucy is a darling. She has such a unique voice, that even during her sound-check people stopped talking and noted, "Lucy is up next! Let's go!". Her performance was beautiful as usual and her cover of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang was a treat! I believe that Lucy is now a regular at most music events and rightly so, because she brings that true festival folk sound to the weekend.

A few hours later The Very Wicked played on the Main Stage. Talented rockstars, I say. It was the first time I saw them, but I was mighty impressed. It's something different and I have yet to think of the right words to explain the band, but I loved the visuals on the back screen and Andre Leo and Lucas Swart are brilliant on their guitars. I look forward to the album they're currently working on.

I was excited to see Wrestlerish once again. Where have you guys been? It feels like ages that I've seen them live, so this was one act I wasn't going to miss. Gracious and beautifully they led the festival into sunset. Werner Olckers's vocals are solid and familiar, while Candice Armitage sings like an angel to create the perfect sunset act. Their performance of Oliver Tambourine and Sleep were especially beautiful.

We finally trekked to the Freestyle Stage for Frank Freeman's set. What can I say about Frank? Well, he is most definitely one of the best up-coming, rock acts to come out of Cape Town. He has immense passion for his guitar and music and of course plenty of talent. A small crowd gathered near the stage to appreciate the young rocker's set. I saw Frank and his band once or twice before and I must say that he is definitely becoming more confident and interactive with the crowd. I was impressed by his set and would like to see how his band and fanbase will grow in the coming year.

The Do Work record label takeover were much anticipated at the Electronic Stage. We witnessed a little bit of Leechi and Das Kapital's sets and they had the crowd properly freaking out. With beats gnawing through the icy air and into hundreds of warm bodies, they had the entire festival wrapped around their fingers.

Unfortunately international act Everything Everything got the short end of the rope with crowd support. I don't know if it was because the crowd waited almost an hour for them to show or if most people were to bothered by the Electro Stage, but the crowd was small. Nevertheless Everything Everything blew minds anyway and gave that small crowd something to remember.  Energetic, interactive with the crowd and brilliantly musical, they brought their all for Synergy Live. If ever you get the opportunity to see them, do it.

After a day properly filled with music, carnival rides and wind, we crept back to our tent. We found it looking a lot like something out of a horror movie. It was terribly bent and twisted and what was suppose to be the roof of the tent, were miserably drooping just above our faces, but we didn't care. For one night it was the best bed ever.

The festival turned their mistakes of last year into lessons learned. The food area was large with plenty of seating under a great, colourful tent. The showers were warm (or was that only my experience?) and the Redbull Stage were a hundred times better. In between the music, we enjoyed comedy and short rests inside the main bar area and even made a turn at the very windy Mainstay Beach Bar, successfully guarded from the wind.

Well done Synergy Live 2013. It was rough, but so worth it! 

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Judul: Synergy Live 2013!
Ditulis oleh Aileen Raymond
Rating Blog 5 dari 5
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