Win with Arcade Empire!

Name SA  bands

WHO’S WHO? Name the missing bands/ musicians performing this Saturday… Copyright on collage: Vanessa Smeets/ selected pics off Net.

So, you can’t make it to Mozambique’s SIZZLING HOT beach party STRAB (The Subterranean Rhythm & Blues experience)? Don’t despair…

Arcade Empire (next to The Grove shopping mall, Pretoria) is organising their own beach party with some of South Africa’s hottest bands and musicians!

The line-up includes:
– Black Cat Bones
– Bittereinder
– Tombstone Pete
– Natalie Chapman
– Raoul and Black Friday
– Gerald Clark
– Stefan Dixon
– Luna Paige

Would you like to win double tickets to Arcade Empire’s exciting Road to STRAB “Voodoo Beach” Party this Saturday (18 May 2013)? It starts from 3pm sharp…

All you have to do is name the missing bands on this collage (the names are above, just reshuffle them logically). Email your answers to tshwane.people@gmail.com. The first person with the correct five answers will win the tickets! Your name and your plus one will be put on the list.
Please ensure you write 1. name of band, 2. name of band, etc.

See you there!  
Reply to event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/163389610488490/

South Africa goes gaga over Gaga!

VANESSA SMEETS

Despite a staunch stand by South Africa’s Council of Churches labeling her “a satanist” and “bad influence on our youth” as well as a whiplash by SANEF (South Africa National Editors’ Forum) for her refusal to have any media at her Born This Way Ball, Lady Gaga performed for an incredible two hours at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday night.

Gaga_stadium inside

JOBURG MAGIC: The FNB Stadium slowly starts to fill up with Lady Gaga’s fans. PIC: Vanessa Smeets

However, the stadium stood quite empty in comparison to Linkin Park, a few weeks ago. Many fans arrived later, missing out on the opening acts by Lady Starlight (Gaga’s good friend) and the Darkness, best known for their hit “I believe in a thing called love.”

She made her grand entrance on a puppet horse, wearing outrageous headgear, which some rumoured was the reason for her lip-syncing for most of the performance. Another reason could be the incredible stamina and moves she had to display while performing, with some fans calling her the best performer since Michael Jackson.

Gaga_fans

LA VIE EN ROSE: Gaga fans were handed free pink wigs, after doing some wine tasting before the show. PIC: Vanessa Smeets

The stage was mostly taken up by a huge castle, filled with secret rooms and detail that Lady Gaga mastered with acrobatic ease, while being decorated in chains, sequin, lace, latex, etc. It was fascinating to watch her change into at least 30 different outfits in just a few minutes at a time. No wonder she needed six vans to transport her outfits and her rumoured 200-people entourage.

Big Concerts tweeted it was by far the most expensive concert they’ve ever held. By 6pm, “Lady Gaga” and “Gaga5” were trending on Twitter, with 5FM DJs like Rob Forbes and Poppy retweeting the best outfits and pics of the stadium.

The crowd gasped as a giant ball emerged from the castle, with legs on its sides. Yes, she emerged from a two-metre vagina, as the crowd sang in unison. She sang her most famous hits: “Born this Way,” “Pokerface,” “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” “Telephone,” amongst others. Some fans truly believed Beyoncé would make a surprise appearance for Telephone.

Jean Esterhuizen (@jeanesterhuizen on Twitter), a Lady Gaga and Beyoncé fan and celeb-connoisseur, claimed the show outlived all expectations:

“It was beyond epic. She’s such an inspiration. She even came back to do more after the final song, as if she didn’t want to leave. We laughed. We cried.”

She also appeared in what seemed to be that infamous egg from the music awards and also hung from a butcher’s rail as a piece of meat, for another song. She both fascinated and shocked the audience with her religious motifs: she often mentioned “black Jesus,” which happened to be one of her dancers, wearing a crown of thorns and tight top, which he later tore off. She appeared between two lumo crosses for another song and spoke to the crowd of coming to South Africa on a goat.

Some Christian fans were offended by this:

“She claims she arrived on a goat, the sign of the devil in Revelations. Christians know this is a mockery, as Jesus appeared on a donkey. She insisted we say her name many times, claiming we must rejoice her coming to South Africa and adore her forever. Very weird. Maybe those Christian protesters were right after all. We love her, but we don’t need to worship her.”

Gaga_monster pit

DEDICATION: Dylan Jack (centre) and his friends camped since early morning to be part of the Monster Pit. PIC: Courtesy Dylan Jack van Vuuren

Dylan Jack van Vuuren (@dylanjack on Twitter), who queued up since early morning to be part of the Monster Pit, disagrees:

“I really enjoy the religious motifs. As someone who was an Evangelical Christian, along with the rest of the family, letting go of those unrealistic and unfounded religious expectations for yourself is the first step to being and accepting who you are.”

Read more on his blog: Just Dylan Jack

Lady Gaga made the crowd laugh with her safari tale of that morning (which, according to her tweets, looks like it may have taken place at the Lion Park), claiming she cut a hole through her hat to fit her pony-tail and wore fishnet stockings:

“I feel bad for those animals… All day they get people staring at them, I wanted them to have something to look at!”

She made the crowd cry towards the end with her powerful a capella performance, singing her “Princess Di” which she claims was inspired by her dark past of being bullied and abused:

“Some people write a diary, I write a song and keep all the pain there. Healing comes from being honest to who you are.”

She then grabbed a few fans from the Monster Pit and whisked them on stage. One fan shouted, with tears in his eyes:

“That’s what I love about her. She remains true to us. She sees us as equal to her. Yet, she’s not human or mortal… She’s a goddess!”

Gaga_boys

ALL OUT: Lady Gaga has become a huge inspiration to the LGBTI community, fighting for equality for all. PIC: Vanessa Smeets

Lady Gaga has become an inspiration to the LGBTI community, fighting for gay rights in the army and equality for all. In South Africa, her fans seemed to be a collection of all genders, sexual identity, races and religions. You saw children as young as five standing next to drag-queens and happily married couples. Lady Gaga even remarked upon this phenomenon:

“That’s what I love about you, South Africa. We somehow speak the same language. You are all here, whatever your history or background. That means the world to me. I can’t speak South African, but I can if you want me to.”

Her “Don’t give a f*ck speech” was by far the highlight of the evening:

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay, bi, straight… You are born this way. Don’t give a f*ck about what people think or say about you… It doesn’t matter if your parents don’t have a seat for you at their dining table, because they can’t accept you for who you are, you will always have a seat at my table. Look around! You will have a seat at these little monsters’ tables too. What makes me so proud is watching you all grow… Some of you used to copy my style and fashion, now I watch you grow into who you are. You are finally born this way! Now, don’t give a f*ck anymore! Have an amazing evening… Go get drunk and vomit on your friends!”

Oppikoppi 2012: Crazy, filthy, sweet fun!

VANESSA SMEETS

Oppikoppi magic as Eagles of Death Metal play

OPPI MAGIC: Oppikoppi magic as Eagles of Death Metal play Copyright: VE Smeets

South Africa’s hottest music festival during the coldest time of year beat all records this year, in its 18-year existence. Just a few days before, Gauteng was celebrating its first winter wonderland in 30 years, with lions at Joburg Zoo captured playing in the snow.

Happy audience

CHEERFUL CROWD: The audience goes crazy for the Kongos who finally got through their technical difficulties. Copyright: VE Smeets

The theme for this year “Sweet Thing” gathered an estimated 23 000 fans to celebrate over 100 acts in SA’s finest music (including Fokofpolisiekar, aKing, 340ml, Bittereinder, BLK JKS) and international acts like Seether, Bullet for my Valentine, Enter Shikari and Eagles of Death Metal.
Click here for a full list view.

Oppikoppi comes from Afrikaans slang, translated as “on the hill.” Those brave enough to walk up the hill drunk or stoned, are greeted by a beautiful view of the campsite and a few more hidden stages. The festival includes three nights of camping in dust and thorn bushes, surrounded by friendly strangers. You also have the choice of staying at the Kreef Hotel for an extra R1000 and may even bump into your favourite band members. Expect to pay between R600-R750 for a ticket, R500 on a tent and R400-R500 on booze and food.

The Kongos ft Jack Parow

IN DIE F*KKEN HUISIE: Jack Parow does a surprise act with the Kongos, much to the crowd’s delight. Copyright: VE Smeets

This year’s festival even included a collection of short films, an extra stage, a sand-art competition (on audience members’ cars… No, that huge phallus was not sand art, but that beautiful baobab and eye were), colourful couches (apparently if yours was cool enough you could join band members backstage), free pancakes and coffee served by the Red Frogs (made up by members from various churches from Pretoria and Joburg) and the unexpected surprise acts doing duets with others (Jack Parow singing with the Kongos drove the crowd wild).

If you were lucky (or unlucky) enough, you could witness drug dealers getting busted in your camping area. One guy at our site shouted at the cop who was dressed like a civilian: “I’m just a user!” as he removed his back-pack filled with marijuana and other goodies. They even kindly packed away his tent for him. Or, you could even be part of a movie… My friend and I were shouted at with “Cuuuuuut!” for helping out a guy covered in “blood.”

The worst part of Oppikoppi?

The endless queues; whether you’re waiting to go in, come out, get food or go to the toilet. But that’s how you meet people from all walks of life, from the banker in Sandton to the street vendor from Cape Town.

The best part ?

Apart from being part of a mosh-pit or noticed by your favourite lead singer, is the treasure-hunting afterwards. If you wait till noon Sunday (when most people are sitting in their cars in an endless queue), you could pick up an abandoned tent (zipper can be fixed), a cooler-box, a few Energades, the Cuervo ring you really wanted, etc.

Seether Shaun Morgan2

HOME SWEET HOME: Seether’s lead singer Shaun Morgan (aka Welgemoed) plays his best on home soil. Copyright: VE Smeets

The regulars like Henno Kruger (a photographer who has been to 14 Oppis) really enjoyed Wesley’s Dome and the Top Bar: “It was by far one of the best Oppis… Highlights included the international acts, Southern Gypsey Queen tribute, Yoav, Beast, Black Cat Bones and no disappointments.”

As an “Oppi virgin” as they love teasing us, I can safely say it was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life. Be prepared to see yourself at your craziest, filthiest, most joyous self and others at their most raw and naked.

Your friendships may bond over hours of endless drinking or dissolve after one gig they refused to go watch with you. You will probably bump into a guy dressed as Borat, see your best friend’s girlfriend flash her breasts on his shoulders or on stage and hear voices from the heavens.

These tend to be the naked, tripping guys who decided to climb a thorn tree to discuss the weather. Enjoy!

The video to prove it all:

Oppi fashion Borat style

OPPI FASHION: One of the main highlights of the Oppikoppi festival has to be the fashion. Be prepared to see anything imaginable! Copyright: VE Smeets

Highlights:

  • One Night in Cape Town party: Cape Townians got to rock out the night before the actual Oppi festivities started and see most international acts before the rest of us.
  • The old boys from the PBHS pipe-band adding some Scottish tunes to the weekend of debauchery…
  • Bullet for my Valentine playing the national anthem “Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika” on their guitar. The crowd sang along in unison!
  • The crowd cheering “Saron Gas! Saron Gas!” before Seether went on stage. Lead singer Shaun Morgan (a South African) charmingly replied: “Yeah, I always knew that was a cool name!”
  • Seether breaking their guitar on stage, throwing the fragments into the cheering crowd.
  • SA’s favourites Fokofpolisiekar making the earth tremble and grown men cry!
The naked run

TOO SMALL: The Naked Run was a tad disappointing, with only about a dozen guys participating in the first of its kind in Oppi history. Copyright: VE Smeets

Disappointments:

  • “The naked run:” only a dozen or so guys took part because of the changes in time (11h30 instead of 12pm) and distance (from 1km to 500m).
  • The giant floating balls: a nuisance for photographers and tall people. Some people ended up piercing them with their car-keys, causing drunkards to use them as cushions. A scary sight when they looked suffocated, after passing out on them.
  • The Cuervo collection desk. So every time you bought a Tequila slush, you got a ticket. You excitedly go to the collection counter only to be told by some bad-mood blonde to come back later.
  • Lack of communication with the crowd. The black and yellow Cuervo wristbands had an ID number at the back. Apparently there was a huge draw but when and where?!?
  • Last minute cancellations or changes (obviously unforeseen by Hilltop Live, those in charge).

Checklist:

  1. Your ticket and ID
  2. A pair of shorts (it reaches past 30 degrees in the day)
  3. Gumboots (you will end up throwing away whichever shoes you bring with)
  4. A map of the camping site (cleverly print it onto your shirt perhaps)
  5. A few shirts (you will win many more)
  6. A warm jacket, beanie and cool hat (so your friends can spot you from afar. Everyone starts looking the same after two days with the Cuervo straw hat)
  7. Lots of water (for drinking, cleaning, brushing your teeth)

    Creative campsite

    CREATIVITY: Don’t forget something creative to decorate your campsite with… Copyright: VE Smeets

  8. A large water bottle to hold your booze (cans and glass bottles are forbidden in the entertainment area)
  9. An old cellphone (your smartphone will definitely get lost, stolen or extremely dirty). OId Nokia batteries last much longer anyway.
  10. Plasters (those thorn bushes are a nuisance when you stumble back to your tent in the middle of the night)
  11. Snacks. The food stalls are pretty expensive. Expect to pay R50-R90 for a burger and R38 for a pancake (rather go get a free one from the church people!)
  12. SPF cream, sunglasses, money for food and petrol. Money can be loaded on a card for food and more booze. Be advised don’t put all your R500 on a card. It may get lost or slip out of the plastic sleeve. Leftover money can be used next year or be exchanged this year for airtime
  13. Sleeping bag, pillow, extra blankets (brandy will only keep you warm for so long)
  14. A torch and toilet paper (those portable toilets are a nightmare in the dark)

Check out the awesome Oppikoppi site here!

To the moon and back

The South African music industry is bustling with talent, but what makes one musical artist stand out above the rest? VANESSA SMEETS examines Marcia Moon’s determination to stand ground in a world increasingly plagued by mental disorders.

Marcia Moon pain

SURVIVOR: Marcia Moon suffered a lot to reach a point of stability through her music. PHOTO: Margot Scholtz

“Obsession and fear seem to draw near to the place I call home, to the people I owe laughter to. Obsession and fear seem to interfere with my lifeline, my love, with the place I used to rest so. I forgive, I forgive, I forgive… Oh the anger side, visions in my mind…”

– Obsession and Fear, A Gradual Awakening

As a little girl, Marcia Scholtz would sing along to musicals, memorise jingles from television advertisements and fell in love with her parents’ collection of music. It was not a phase or childhood fantasy. Instead, it created a burning desire within her to perform.

Born in 1976 in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, she was born at the height of the Apartheid struggle and the birth of Black Consciousness. At the age of ten, her own musical consciousness emerged, when a family friend taught her how to play guitar. “He was blind and inspired me to see beyond; into the spiritual, ever moving world of music. It was magical,” she says, her blue-grey eyes glistening.

The musical artist “Marcia Moon” may have been born during the years she would serenade her friends at their windowsills, perform at shopping malls and in streets. People were attracted to her haunting velvet voice, not realising how a horrible breakdown had unleashed this creative energy.

“One day, like the moon has its phases, I died. It was dark then. But, I was re-born with an incredible sense of self,” she explains.“Moon” came from the symbol of the celestial body’s madness, yet mysticism and its ability to influence tides and moods.

Moon in phases

WAXING AND WANING: Just as the moon goes through phases, Marcia found a burning desire within her to perform.

Judged by her sexual orientation, Marcia suppressed a storm of emotions: “There was pressure to be heterosexual, feminine and ordinary. It eventually led to a nervous breakdown.”

Raised by Afrikaans parents, she describes her childhood as a constant struggle:

“I never felt male or female. I was someone in between: androgynous. My creativity came from a deep, psychological place. It was a very difficult and dark time.”

Although her first passion was music and she spent more time studying it than anything else, she did three years at the University of Pretoria doing her LLB (Bachelor of Law) in the late 1990s. Law has constantly followed her and she still wishes to pursue criminal law.

Law has also brought her a sense of stability: “It has taught me a lot about people, culture and politics. What makes us, us. Law continues to inspire ideas for songs.”

After living in Sunnyside, Pretoria, for a year, she decided to work in London for two years. There, she would keep busy doing odd jobs as a cook, factory worker, photographer, waitress and butter packer.

“There’s humility in working long hours for little pay,” she says, grinning, “You find yourself.”

She reluctantly returned to South Africa, singing in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Her years as a modern-life gypsy allowed her music to be an interesting mix of soul, passion and desire. Her songs vary from ordinary, mundane topics like washing dishes to more complex philosophical subjects like same-sex relationships.

“I’m more interested in friendships, love stories and daily tales that I go through,” she explains, “I’m a gypsy through the boundaries I’ve created. You can be mentally unhealthy or suffer through unhealthy relationships, but you only grow once you stay grounded. Like a tree, you need those deep roots. I’ve learnt to have both: incredible experiences within boundaries.”

gradual awakening

AWAKEN: Her debut album is a symphony of symbolic elements.

Like her first album describes, it was a gradual awakening.

The CD cover is a network of symbols close to her. The butterfly symbolises the metamorphosis of rediscovering herself.
The spider symbolises the darkness she had to go through alone.
The subtle African print is proof of her love for Africa, its diverse cultures and people.
The dice on the corner symbolise luck by not always following the rules.
The pair of birds come from the nostalgia of watching David Lynch’s Twin Peaks as a teen.

She says, while fidgeting with the tablecloth: “Those birds in the opening of the first season were about mystery, obscurity. It was dream-like yet frightening. Part of who I am.”

Today, she describes herself as someone whose “intense, obsessed, searching, yet balanced.” Her eyes glisten now with tears: “It has been a long journey; one where I have deepened by finding more tools a long the way. These tools have allowed me to bask in spirituality.”

From the depths of despair, as she puts it, she has grown into four successful spheres: singer, performer, guitarist and songwriter.

Her voice is suddenly deeper and confident:

“I want to be one of South Africa’s best songwriters and performers.”

Marcia Moon

PENSIVE: Marcia Moon finds inspiration within the ordinary. PHOTO: Margot Scholtz

It shows. Marcia puts a lot of effort into every gig, capturing her audience not only with her voice, but her potent facial expressions. While watching her fans, it is clear the music speaks to them. Some even cry while singing along.

“I’m not just singing. It’s a performance. It’s theatre.It’s interacting with your audience. I want to take them into the mood. My music may not be political, but it is a form of activism.”

Marcia explains her views on the South African music scene: “In the last twenty years, we have been creating culture: cultivating and moulding it. I want to be part of that.”

Experience has taught her to be intrigued with daily experiences. Playing chords on her guitar inspire future ideas and words for songs: “Sometimes, it will take ages. But it often happens quickly. Like soft rain after a dry thunderstorm, everything just falls into place.”

Marcia believes there’s still a gap in the Afrikaans music scene, especially when it comes to song writing: “Most of them sing without much passion about what they say or feel. They are just words or nice tunes. I don’t want my words to make people dance, but help their souls take flight.”

Her debut Album A Gradual Awakening is available at PLUM CD in Rosebank Mall and Revolution Records in Observatory, Cape Town. She is currently recording a bilingual album and working on songs for a third one:

“People take the writing part for granted. If it sounds good, that’s often enough. I write for fans that want to experience and explore. It’s a psychological process. I see music as the other mind: a different, profound dimension.”

FACT BOX

  • Full name: Marcia Scholtz
  • Date of birth: 20 October 1976
  • Favourite colour: Blue
  • Favourite food: Mexican, Indian, exotic salads and comfort food
  • Favourite place to relax: forests, bushveld and mountains
  • Favourite countries: South Africa, Romania and America
  • Inspirations: mystery, awareness, darkness, dreams, spirituality, signs, love and difficulties
  • Hobbies: photography, hiking, travelling, law, psychology and writing
  • Movies: In God’s Hands, The Others, Mulholland Drive, Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Books: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernst Hemingway
  • Passions: my dog, family and friends
  • Favourite quote:

Buddha: “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”

  • Likes: animals, nature, politics, sports, culture, stories, history and being African
  • Dislikes: sloth, consumerism, over-indulgence, prejudice, conformity, greed, power and when people wear their sunglasses on their heads.