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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Band of the Month – Prime Circle

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As a South African and as a South African rock music blogger I believe that I should feature some local talent. So this month I’m honoured to present to you, Prime Circle. A band that has changed the landscape of the rock music industry in South Africa. When Prime Circle formed in December of the year 2001 in the mining town of Witbank, Mpumulanga the South African rock music industry was very different to what we experience at the moment. Finding talented, dedicated musicians was a challenge to say the very least. Prime Circle is currently based in Johannesburg and was originally signed to The David Gresham Record Company. Since early 2008 Prime Circle has been signed to EMI Music South Africa.

Prime Circle consists of Ross Learmonth (vocals&guitar) , Dirk Bisschoff (Guitars), Marco Gomes (Bass Guitar) , Neil Breytenbach(Keyboards) and Dale Schnettler (Drums & Backing Vocals).

Prime Circle has played at most major concerts and they have opened for US based band Live during the South African leg of their Birds of Pray world tour. In 2005 the band performed at Nelson Mandela‘s 46664 concert. In 2006 the band played alongside Metallica, Seether, Collective Soul and Simple Plan at the Coca-Cola Colab events in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. Prime Circle was invited to join 3 Doors Down on the European leg of their tour and they performed in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart on the 7th, 8th and 10th of June 2011. Both bands were joined on stage by Alter Bridge.

In 2003 Prime Circle released their debut album Hello Crazy World, which reached Gold Status in South Africa. The singles off of this album “Hello”, “My Inspiration” and “Live This Life” was in heavy rotation on South African radio stations. They started building a solid fanbase that has stood by them for over a decade. I still consider these singles as rock classics, because when I listen to it now, it still makes me feel the same way I did when I first heard it…in awe.

In October 2005 they released their second album “Live This Life” which reached gold status in 12 months solidifying their position as South Africa’s biggest selling rock act of 2003/2004/2005/2006. In July 2006 a DVD of their performance at The Function in Johannesburg was released and it was called Living in a Crazy World. In 2007 David Gresham Records released a CD/DVD Best of… box set which followed the success of the previous two albums. The CD featured 17 tracks including acoustic, live and remixed versions of previously released favourites including a new track called Moments which reached number 1 on numerous local radio charts. I was slightly baffled by the release of the Best of… box set at the time it was released, because the band had only released two albums up until that point. Initially I didn’t know different versions of the tracks were included. My personal suggestion would have been just to give the box set a different name.

After signing with EMI the band released the album All or Nothing in 2008. This album in essence was just a taste of things to come, it was the most important step in the band’s evolution. The album was recorded at Bellville Studios in Cape Town the album changed their musical direction from post grunge to a more anthemic rock sound. The band was nominated at the South African Music Awards for Record of the Year and Best Rock Album for All or Nothing. With the success of All or Nothing the band released a live DVD of the same name in early 2009 which coincided with the international release date of the album. The first single off of the album called “She Always Gets What She Wants” is a really special song and received 810,932 views on Youtube to date. You can view the video below:

It is the most viewed South African rock song on YouTube. Follow-up singles from the album include “Consider Me” and “Out Of This Place” which are listed among my favourites.

In mid 2010 the band started working on their 4th album “Jekyll and Hyde” which had a lot to live up to. The album was mixed in Los Angeles by Kevin Shirley who has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Silverchair and Journey. Mastering engineer George Marino who is famous for his work with Guns ‘n Roses and Ozzy Osbourne added some final touches to the album. The first two singles released from Jekyll and Hyde was the power ballad “Breathing” and the thoughtful “Turning In My Sleep”. Both of these songs were nominated for the SAMA MTN Record of the year. In March 2011, Prime Circle won the Best International Breakthrough Act at the MK Awards. Both singles from Jekyll and Hyde still enjoy heavy rotation on South Africa’s regional radio stations.

In July 2012 the band entered the studio once again to tackle their fifth studio album called “Evidence”. Their first single off of their latest album is the title track. On the 11th of January 2013 the Official music video for the track was released and its pretty intense. Check it out!

Here is an alternative link if the video above doesn’t work: http://vimeo.com/57280650

After being part of the music industry for the past 11 years Prime Circle has cemented their brand and they have put their stamp on the South African music industry. I just wish them all the success in the world and I believe they will only grow from strength to strength in the future. Ross Learmonth’s voice has become one of the most recognisable voices in the South African music industry, but the band still remains humble and continues to be dedicated to their fan base.

German fans are in for a treat, because Prime Circle are busy finalising some German tour dates which should be released soon, exciting things to come for Prime Circle fans.

You can follow Prime Circle on the following social media sites:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Prime.Circle (Like)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/prime_circle (Follow)

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102173999209147308575 (+1)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/primecircleofficial (Subscribe)

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Please note, I do not own any of the photos listed below and these photos were sourced from Prime Circle’s official Facebook page, credits go to the photographer respectively.