Live Concert Review – Grand Arena, Cape Town 7.11.2017

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Our evening started off with a long walk to the venue, due to the long queues that stretched for meters past the entrance to the casino.

We eventually arrive with quite a good view from the Golden Circle. I was eager to see what the opening band would be like, especially since I know that they have a female lead singer. The name of the band is The Sweet Resistance and they are a South African alternative pop rock band, but the lead singer Tash hails from Canada. They released their debut album in September 2016, titled “Where There Is Hope”.

The band opened up their set and the crowd was silent, trying to gauge the band’s performance. It didn’t take me long to realize that this band was a solid unit and not intimidated by their position as the supporting band for Live’s Reunion Tour.

The Sweet Resistance performed an impressive cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”. View their performance here:

The band ended their set and I was so glad that I got introduced to them as I would definitely go and watch a performance of theirs if I get the chance.

The crowd naturally couldn’t wait for Live to take to the stage. You could see the happiness on each of the band members’ faces as they came on, grateful to be doing what they are doing, together again.

Live currently consists of Ed Kowalczyk on (lead vocal, rhythm guitar), Chad Taylor (lead guitar, backing vocals), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass) and Chad Gracey (drums).

The band  brought along two touring band members Zak Loy (rhythm guitar) and Adam Diaz (drums). The two drum sets on stage were a real treat and I can honestly say that I haven’t been to a live performance with a similar set-up.

The excitement in the air was tangible as the band opened their set with “All Over You”. The sound was incredible and honestly the best sound quality I have experienced at the Grand Arena.

“Pain Lies On The Riverside” is such a melodious song, due to the skillful layering of each instrument that the band plays and it translates so well during a live performance.

The band performed the ever-popular “Dolphin’s Cry” early on in the set, to my surprise and utter delight. Personally I think hearing this song live alone is an honour and worth every penny of the ticket price. It is such an iconic song of my youth and one of the songs that my generation use to relate to the band.

“Selling the Drama” did exactly that, the breakdown when the chorus hits is magical and it is a great song for the band’s guitarists to indulge in.

Live even treated us to their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line”, which was a refreshing addition to their set and certainly one I didn’t expect.

Live performed “Sh*t Towne” which is about the town where the guys grew up and hated it at the time. The excitement on their faces was evident when they played that song and you could see the bond they share over that song. They like visiting their town in the current day, because there is more life there now in comparison to when they were growing up.

“I Alone” has become one of my all-time favourite songs and I can’t get the song to play loud enough. It is a raw and powerful song on all fronts, lyrically and musically. The song emits an energy, which you can only convey when you mean every word of what you are singing. I find that this song is more aggressive in nature in comparison to many of their other songs and it is one that will defy age. I was privileged to witness this song performed live and I couldn’t absorb that moment long enough.

“Lakini’s Juice” is a delightful, gritty piece of music, with that signature rift threaded between the lyrics and drums. A song that hits you right between the eyes and doesn’t let go until the last note.

After another song, the band left the stage and the audience had instant separation anxiety and started chanting for the band to return.

Ed lead the encore on his own for the first part of “Heaven” where he forgot the words to the song, it was an endearing moment and the audience actually seemed to enjoy it. I felt for Ed, but he handled it extremely well and I’m selfishly glad that I caught the moment  on video.

“Run To The Water”, is an invigorating song and one of the highlights of the band’s discography. I always find the song refreshing, because it is about seeking solace.

The band performed a tribute to Chris Cornell with a cover version of Audioslave’s “I Am The Highway” which was touching.

After the encore, the crowd could not wait for the band to play “Lightning Crashes”, because I heard quite a few audience members becoming impatient. Once the band played the first few notes of that song the crowd went hysterical.

Live Setlist Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino, Cape Town, South Africa 2017

me

My friend and I at the Live Reunion Tour Concert at Grand Arena, Grand West Casino, Cape Town, South Africa

Photo from Lauren Kruger 🎼
It was a fabulous night of quality performances!
Rock Regards,
Lauren K
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Alien Ant Farm Review – Cape Town, South Africa – 4th of November 2017

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The evening started off calmly, up until a notorious South African band called “Half Price” took to the stage. I was impressed by their skills, because my first impression was that I shouldn’t have any expectations at all. Half Price proved me wrong. The band impressed with enthusiasm, attitude and solid musicality.

In 2016 they became the first South African punk band to sign with an American digital record label, Punk Outlaw Records. Prior to that the band remained independent before that.

You can view a snippet of their performance below:

The second support band that took to the stage at Mercury was Made for Broadway.

Made For Broadway is a four-piece pop, rock, and punk band from Johannesburg, South Africa. The band formed in 2014, released 2 EPs and launched a local tour within the first 10 months. The band self-produced their debut album and created a tour to support it, which took them to California, USA.

I love the band’s energy and songwriting abilities.

You can see the band’s performance below:

By the time AAF was due to perform the excitement from the crowd was palpable. The audience started chanting for the band to start.

The band entered with a bang and launched their set with “Courage” which I find is more aggressive in comparison to the other songs on their “Anthology” album. It is a great song to get the crowd going.

“Sticks and Stones”, “Attitude”, “Whisper” and “Flesh and Bone” were the deeper cuts off of their debut album that they chose to perform. In my opinion those were great set list choices. I love the guitar intro to “Attitude” as it is really unique and instantly recognizable accompanied by structured drumming.

“These Days” was understandably another crowd favourite and AAF didn’t dissapoint with their performance of the song.

I wish I could tell you that I held my composure when the band performed “Movies” quite early on in the set, but I would be lying…

I had to record a second video, because I couldn’t stand still any longer and started jumping way too much, while recording the first one. A total failure, but totally worth it!

Needless to say the band ended their set with “Smooth Criminal”, hearing it live and seeing the crowd’s reaction was incredible. Added to that I think the crowd enjoyed every single song and wasn’t just waiting for the most famous song of all, which makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

Leading up to this concert, I think I was in the same boat as most people when I say that only “Smooth Criminal” came to mind when I heard the name “Alien Ant Farm”. At the time the band was at their peak I wasn’t listening to the rock music genre except for what was in the media at the time. Leading up to the concert I downloaded the band’s debut album and I enjoyed it immensely, although it made me feel like I had missed out on a great part of the punk rock era. This night made me feel like I could at least relive a part of what I had missed.

Shout-out to a friend who made this possible.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K