Kicking off 2018!

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Welcome to 2018, people!

I think it is going to be a smashing year for rock music as I have seen a lot of exciting things happening already!

New Music

Bad Wolves – “Zombie”

First off I want to share a cover song with you that has captivated me for the past week. I have shared this song with everyone I know, because it pays homage to the original but the band solidified their stamp on it. The late Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was meant to lend her vocals to this cover, but then news broke that the singer had passed away before that could happen. The band released their version that Dolores had approved of as a tribute and all profits will benefit Dolores’ three children.

This song affects me in ways that I can’t explain and I could probably write essays about this cover. Vext’s vocals are a major highlight for me, every nuance is perfectly placed and that goes for the instrumentation as well.

Major respect go to “Bad Wolves” for this one.

Story of the Year – “Bang Bang”

An energetic offering from Story of the Year and I find their latest song seamlessly combine different genres within one song. It jumps from an electronic-like intro straight to screamo to punk rock over to a rock chorus. The band’s fans are delighted about their return after their hiatus. Their latest album titled “Wolves” was released in December 2017.

Red – “Gone”

The title track from the band’s latest album is a solid rock song with some electronic beats weaved throughout the song. The lyrics question the legacy that we leave behind and the quality of the impact we made, that stay behind when we pass away.

A valid point to ponder.

 

Black Veil Brides – “Wake Up”

Black Veil Brides have returned! A politically charged video and theme run through the band’s latest single with a delicious guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It is an anthem for the majority to stand up against what they believe to be unfair, corrupt or unjustified behaviour. A great message to share considering the power that politicians/leaders wield.

 

Marmozets – “Run With The Rhythm”

An interesting song that I would never have expected to hear from Marmozets. The intro almost has a folk/indie sound to it, up until the chorus kicks in. The video is captivating and the cinematography is amazing. An artistic release in every way.

Pop Evil – “Colors Bleed”

A great concept for a video which leaves the viewer with more questions than answers and a reflection of today’s society or a reality we might still face. I’m loving every second of the heavier direction Pop Evil has taken.

Three Days Grace – “The Mountain”

It is so good to hear Three Days Grace back on the scene again. The lyrics are inspiring and is the best way to get your year started. Three Days Grace’s latest album “Outsider” drops on the 9th of March 2018.

 

Paddy and the Rats – “Join The Riot”

The strangest and most entertaining discovery I have made in recent history. I wouldn’t have taken this band seriously if they weren’t signed by Napalm Records and if I didn’t listen to their other songs. Different, exciting, funny and a carnival to your ears, enjoy me matey!

 

Jonathan Davis – “What It Is”

Surprise, Jonathan Davis just went solo! I think this will be a very interesting venture for non-fans and fans alike. I’m excited to see what is to come from him in the near future. I liked this song from the first listen which is rare for me. Straight-up good, honest rock music.

 

Local Events

There are some exciting concerts heading to Cape Town’s shores.

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There will definitely, without any doubt be a blog post about Mr Myles Kennedy when I meet him on the 6th of March 2018.

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Have a smashing week and I hope everyone had a good start to their year so far!

If not…we will have to take it up a notch next month!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Best 17 Rock Songs of 2017

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Best Rock Songs of 2017

17: Imminence – Up

Imminence, a Swedish band which took me completely by surprise! The song starts out like any other modern rock song and then escalates, becoming more intense with each verse. The band’s material is diverse and their music often crosses over genre boundaries.

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16: Skarlett Riot – Warrior

A high-energy song that is enveloped by powerful female vocals and some truly impressive breakdowns that is enough to get you hooked on to the band’s material. The band incorporates hard rock mixed with a metal edge into their sound which creates a great experience for rock fans. This song stood out to me, because it has so much heart and the drumming creates a solid support base for the song.

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15: Avatar – A Statue Of The King

A truly theatrical experience, as we have come to expect from Avatar. A spectacle of metal perfection and phenomenal musicianship. Avatar is releasing their new album “Avatar Country” on the 12th of January 2018 and I’m salivating!

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14: I Prevail – Come and Get It

I don’t think the band could have compiled a better video to convey the amount of energy and passion they have for what they do. This live performance video montage conveys the raw energy that I Prevail possess. This song is incredible, because it is heavy but at the same time it has great rhythm to it. Throw me in the pit!!

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13: Papa Roach – Born for Greatness

A great arena rocker and a music video to match the energy of the song. Papa Roach delivers a solid crowd-pleaser with this song. An instant way to improve your mood!!

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12: Incubus – Nimble Bastard

Incubus deliver an undeniable groove with this song and lighthearted lyrical content. The video plays out like a meme and you can see the band members having a lot of fun with this one. A refreshing departure from the rock music genre’s heavier subject matter.

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11: While She Sleeps – Empire of Silence

The only way I can describe this song is by comparing it to a roller coaster, from the use of the strategic silences to the smashing drums combined with the switch between clean and unclean vocals. This song is a feast to any metal head’s  ears.

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10: Seether – Let You Down

The lyrics are melancholy and the hook tends to reel in the listener slowly but surely. I’m in love with the visuals of this video and it has been expertly crafted to be creepy while still leaving a lot to the imagination. Art house horror is the only way I feel I can describe the video.

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9: Escape The Fate – Empire

I made the mistake of reading some comments posted on YouTube below this video, which were very negative. I disagree with all of them. This song has grit, energy and fuels the need to head bang. It is a party song and can get you in the mood for the weekend from the first note. I don’t think fans should take it so seriously, it is not meant to be debated about. It is meant to be enjoyed.

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8: Asking Alexandria – Into The Fire

Asking Alexandria released a video for “Into The Fire” that plays out more like a scene straight from Sin City than a music video. I’m definitely not complaining, because I loved every second of it. The highlight of this song, in my opinion, is Danny’s vocals. The song really shows off his vocal range and versatility, not taking anything away from the band’s performance at all.

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7: In This Moment – Roots

The lyrics of the song is empowering and I can’t help but feel that this is an incredibly personal song to Maria Brink. A blistering chorus combined with verses that hypnotize the listener. A solid delivery by the band.

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6: Fozzy – Judas

A charismatic front man combined with an entertaining video supported by solid bass playing surrounded by flames and Marshall speakers, sounds like a recipe for success to me! This describes Fozzy’s latest music video in a nutshell.

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5: Marmozets – Major System Error

The Marmozets are back! A delicious bombardment of guitars, drums topped off with girl power in the form of Becca’s vocals. I can dance and head bang to this song, a rare combination. 😀

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4: Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

I will start by admitting that I’m biased when it comes to Myles Kennedy. He has been working on his solo album since 2009!! It seems like his solo project will finally see the light of day. Year of the Tiger is different to any of Myles’ previous projects, but that was the goal. Myles loves blues and has incorporated that sound into his solo work. His debut album will be released on the 9th of March 2018. This song is refreshing and the lyrical content tells the deeply personal story of the emotions Myles went through as a child when he lost his father. I’m so proud to be a fan.

PS: Myles is launching his solo tour in my home town of Cape Town in 2018! I can hardly contain myself!

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3: Nothing More – Go To War

Grammy nominated rock song, just says it all, doesn’t it? The song is relevant to today’s current political climate and the chorus is incredibly powerful. Jonny Hawkins never holds back and you can definitely tell with this song, his vocal range is impressive as well. The band managed to nab 3 Grammy nominations and I couldn’t be prouder.

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2: Five Finger Death Punch – Gone Away

All of us are well aware of what Five Finger Death Punch are capable of, but I for one did not expect this. The band released a cover of Offspring’s song “Gone Away” and I’m in love with it. I was not aware that Ivan Moody’s voice was capable of the subtleties of this vocal performance. An immaculate performance by the entire band and an instant classic.

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1: Pop Evil – Waking Lions

I’m delighted with the approach that Pop Evil took with this song. The heavier sound compared to their previous album is a pleasant surprise. A soaring chorus framed by heavier verses is refreshing and I have to admit Hayley’s drumming is impeccable. Bottom line….we need more!

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Cheers to 2017!!

It has been a great year for rock music!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thumping Thursdays

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One day before the weekend arrives I think it is only right that I share some new videos that you can add to your weekend playlist.

Dead by April  – My Heart Is Crushable

Epic lyric video and crushing vocals mixed with some heavy riffs, you’re welcome. 🙂

 

Nickelback – Feed The Machine

A relevant song that is a departure from their traditional sound. The intro builds anticipation and makes way for the song’s strong chorus. I hope Nickelback’s new material is more or less in the same vein as their first single. I can’t wait to hear more.

 

Amaranthe – Boomerang

Amaranthe deliver another one of their deliciously unique songs and a great video to boot. The contrasting vocals are surprising at time, but in a good way. Love the way the video was shot and seeing the director’s vision come to life.

 

 

Twenty One Pilots – Heavydirtysoul

Twenty One Pilots never disappoint and that is definitely true in this case. A nail-biting video that plays more like a movie than a music video. I love watching Josh drum and this video manages to highlight his abilities.

Have a rocking weekend!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

Best 16 Rock Songs of 2016

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The year 2016 has been a bumper one in rock music history. So much so that I had a hard time choosing the Top 16, normally there aren’t so many to choose from. We had releases from major bands, like Metallica, Alter Bridge, Skillet and a few newcomers I Prevail and Kaleo. A few songs made the list as 2016 was nearing its demise. A variety of different sounds can be heard and there is something here every rock fan can appreciate. Rock music is alive and well, if anyone needs proof of that 2016 is the evidence.

16. Kaleo – No Good

The relative newcomers from Iceland, formed in 2012, you just can’t deny the foot-tapping deliciousness of this song. JJ Julius Son’s vocals and the bluesy feel that is pulsing throughout “No Good” is sure to garner the band many new fans.

 

15. I Prevail – Stuck In Your Head

A little punk mixed with metal core is how I would describe “Stuck In Your Head” and it just works. The way Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals) and Eric Vanlerberghe (unclean vocals) feed off one another is captivating. I really enjoyed stumbling across this band this year, what a treat.

 

14. The Pretty Reckless – Take Me Down

The Pretty Reckless doesn’t disappoint, but I was surprised to see a tame release as the leading single from their new album. Taylor’s husky and soulful vocals envelop the song along with some solid drumming from Jamie Perkins. The song is infused with that undeniable Mississippi vibe.

 

13. A Day To Remember – Paranoia

A rock-fuelled injection for the aggressive rock fanatic. “Paranoia” doesn’t let up for one moment and A Day To Remember does not disappoint. This will be the song that concert goers live for. I will let the lyrics speak for itself, “I’m like a time bomb ticking in your head”.

 

12. Beartooth – Hated

I love the message of this song about how you should not allow people to belittle and walk over you. It is one of those songs that you want to hear blasted in a stadium to a massive audience. Beartooth hit this one out of the park.

 

11. Gemini Syndrome – Remember We Die

Aaron Nordstrum’s voice really shines on this track, it creates a sonically pleasing ebb and flow to the song and the guitar work is great. “Remember We Die” serves as a reminder to live each day as if it was your last.

 

10. Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

“Crooked Teeth” is aggressive and hits you like a hurricane through the first listen. The lyrics describe a person who is reliving a terrifying event. I like how they incorporated the electronic sounds into the song and used it strategically. We can look forward to their new album in 2017!

 

9. Of Mice & Men – Real

This song really surprised me when I first heard it, because it is not what I expected from the band. I find it interesting that this is basically a duet between Austin Carlile and Aaron Pauley and the clean vocals surprised me too. The song deals with someone that’s been hurt by someone they love before and is trying to get through it.

 

8. Art of Anarchy – Madness

Scott Stapp took over the role of lead vocalist when Scott Weiland passed away. I love this song as I feel all the members of the band have combined their talents to create something unique. The song is based on Scott’s personal breakdown he had in 2014, which is why I believe the lyrics are so poignant .

 

7. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage

Avenged Sevenfold surprised us all with the release of their latest album “The Stage” which happened unannounced. The title track is an 8 minute long epic journey describing humanity and the way we have treated one another throughout history. The intro slowly introduces each instrument and then they gradually combine until M.Shadows steps in with the vocals. Synyster Gates’ guitar skills will leave you in awe if it hasn’t already. I decided to post the video of their live performance atop the Capitol Records building, because I enjoyed it so much.

 

6. 3 Doors Down – In The Dark

I love the vibe of this song and the subject matter. A good rock song which you can dance to and it is great to have the band back after 5 years between their latest album and the previous one.

 

5. Twenty One Pilots – Heathens

I understand that there might be some dispute about what genre this song belongs to, but I believe that almost each Twenty One Pilots’ song falls within a different genre. Josh’s performance on the drums are impeccable and the bass guitar glues the whole song together. A hauntingly unique song indeed.

5. Skillet – Undefeated

Although this is not one of the singles off their latest album “Unleashed”, it is the heaviest rock song off the album in my opinion. A motivating song that you can definitely add to your workout playlist. The backing vocals add to the power of the song and the talents of Jen Ledger on the drums is undeniable.

 

3. Alter Bridge – Crows On A Wire

My favourite band is back with their first album in three years “The Last Hero”. “Crows On A Wire” is an epic track and the lyrics serve as a warning for all those who believe fame and fortune is a ticket to happiness. Brian Marshall shines on the bass guitar, but the whole band gels together effortlessly on every track.

 

2. Metallica – Moth Into Flame

Normally a Metallica song has to grow on me before I like it, but not this song. I fell in love with this song from the get-go. They really come out of the gates swinging on this one. James has been quoted as saying that “Moth Into Flame” was inspired by the documentary about Amy Winehouse titled “Amy”. Thrash metal at its best.

 

 

 

 

1. Disturbed – Sound of Silence

I was torn when I was picking the number 1 rock song for 2016, because this song was such an obvious choice, which automatically made me not want to choose it. I thought about it some more and I realised how much this one song on its own has done for the rock music genre this year.  I’m sure it garnered Disturbed some new fans and if it didn’t, more people were at the very least exposed to Disturbed’s music. When I first heard the song on the album, I actually went to check the song credits to see if it was really David Draiman’s voice I was listening to. It is one of the best cover songs I have ever heard and I’m sure I’m not alone when I make that statement. There is something to be said for a song that gives you chills every time you listen to it. A musical masterpiece.

2016 was indeed the year for rock fans to revel in, I mean even Guns ‘n Roses reunited!

Here is to a rocking 2017!

Cheers!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

https://twitter.com/MusicMonkey14

 

Skillet – Unleashed Album Review

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SKILLET
“Unleashed”

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(Atlantic/Word)

01. Feel Invincible
02. Back from the Dead
03. Stars
04. I Want to Live
05. Undefeated
06. Famous
07. Lions
08. Out of Hell
09. Burn it Down
10. Watching for Comets
11. Saviors of the World
12. The Resistance

Skillet is one of those bands that allow you to feel astonished when you look at their discography which is equally as impressive as it is lengthy. Two of their past three albums have gone platinum and 2013’s Rise reached Gold status.

Unleashed is truly the most apt name for this album, because you feel that the band poured all their energy into this record. You can really appreciate the fact that every song on this album has the potential to be a single. There are quite a few songs that smack you in the face with its explosive energy and I love it!

“Feel Invincible” is the perfect first single off the album it grabs the listener by the collar and doesn’t let go up until the last note. It is a battle song and a reminder to not give up even when you can’t see the silver lining.

“Back From The Dead” is an unapologetic song about being reborn or reinvented and the possibilities of such a resurrection. The song is the rush of adrenaline when you need it most.

“Stars” in my opinion is the most apparent Christian song on the album and I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of Christian fans of the band. I like how Skillet incorporates religion in their music, if you need it it’s there, but if you don’t you can still appreciate it for the rock music it is. “Undefeated” has amazing energy and dynamics combined in a head-banging track. I dare you not be taken with this one!

“Famous” is a little more upbeat and based on electronic sound than their other tracks.”Lions” is an inspirational song where Jen and John join forces to deliver the message of perseverance and hope. “I Want To Live” is the pick-me-up you never knew you needed.

“Out of Hell” is a song that will make your average hard rock lover happy, due to the frenzied drums and heavy guitar riffs. “Watching for Comets” is a beautiful ballad performed as a duet by Jen Ledger and John Cooper.

“The Resistance” is a call to defend and stand-up for what you believe in, instead of apathy.

The entire album feels like the rush of adrenaline it is meant to be. An intense injection of energy and pure rock music.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

The band’s latest music video for “Feel Invincible” off of their latest album “Unleashed”.

 

Band Feature – KONGOS

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Kongos Perform at JBTV Music Television Studios in Chicago, IL

Kongos Perform at JBTV Music Television Studios in Chicago, IL – Source: Kongos Official Facebook Page

 

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The Kongos’ label, Just Music, presented us with a plaque for Lunatic going Gold! (South Africa)

The youngest of the four Kongo brothers, Danny was born in South Africa. The other three brothers were born in London and moved to South Africa when they were more or less one to two years old. They grew up surrounded by music as their father was John Kongos, a South-African musician who enjoyed two Top 5 UK pop hits in the early seventies.Over time he gravitated more towards the production side of the industry, he enjoyed the studio more than he did touring. His father built his own studio and he worked together with producer Mutt Lange on Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”.

The family moved from South Africa to Paradise Valley in 1996 and this is where the boys had a chance to hone their craft in the basement studio and cut their latest album. All four brothers attended Chaparral High School, only Johnny and Jesse tried college, but both of them never finished. The brothers wanted to earn their living through music and Jesse and Johnny were playing in jazz groups. Danny and Dylan didn’t finish High School and never had the desire to have a career in anything but music, school was viewed as an obstacle by the brothers more than as a means to an end.

The Kongos played their first show at a coffee shop in Mesa in 2003, the place was packed. The Kongos’ friends and family came out to support the band and thereafter the number of audience members dwindled, but that first show gave the band a taste of what it felt like to play to a larger audience. The brothers always had their parents’ support, their dad was in the music business which meant they had access to an amazing facility and mentor.

The band went on to hone their craft releasing their debut album “Kongos” in 2007. The album did not spawn any major breakthroughs. Fast forward to 2010 and the band had a lot of expenses recording and touring, but they weren’t generating a lot of income. They had already recorded a large part of their sophomore album “Lunatic” and were performing the songs live. They were sending songs to record labels and radio DJs, to no avail. The band was starting to doubt the longevity of their music career when they got a break at a radio station in Phoenix and started generating interest. Soon another radio station started playing their songs which reflected in the size of the audiences they were performing for in Phoenix.

The band sent e-mails to various radio stations across the world among them South Africa ,the program director for 5FM (national radio station) responded, because he loved the song and decided to play it to more or less 2 million listeners.

The station played “I’m Only Joking” and The Kongos blew up overnight. The proof of the country’s reaction was evident with the influx of people who “Liked” the band’s official Facebook page and interacted with posts. After an extensive tour in South Africa the band went back to the United States and it took another year for the band to have a breakthrough. In the meantime the band wasn’t being idle and they worked on what would eventually become “Egomaniac”.

Initially their record label Tokoloshe Records decided to push the single“I’m Only Joking” based on its performance on KWSS and 5FM. A DJ called Nerf heard something special in the song “Come With Me Now” and started playing it in it in Denver on KTCL-FM. The single received the biggest reaction for his station than ever seen before. “Come With Me Now” started the fastest climb up the Billboard Alternative Songs chart by an unknown artist since Evanescence did the same with “Bring Me To Life”. They had to set aside the new material they were working on in order to concentrate their efforts and capitalize on their platinum breakthrough. A lot of the material had already been written or was in the demo-ing process, due to the lag of success between South Africa and the United States.

 

The downside of the success of “Come With Me Now” is the high expectations for the band to deliver a smashing follow-up single. The life of the first single was extended due to the success that it experienced.

The brothers’ goal with their latest album was to turn fans of their hit single “Come With Me Now” into fans of the band as a whole. “Take It From Me” is the first single from the “Egomaniac” and it’s well on its way to become the band’s second hit single.

The Kongos care a lot about their sound production and they have invested a lot of money to upgrade their equipment instead of the studio. The band was determined to retain their stamp on their music, while still creating something new, unique and fresh.

The Kongos are currently on tour and they performed in Cape Town last night and they are performing at the Oppikoppi Festival tomorrow.

The Kongos are a unique band with a “flavour” of their own that sets them apart from the competition. If you want to explore your taste in music then this is the place to start.

Follow the band on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KONGOS

Follow Jesse Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseKONGOS

Follow Dylan Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DylanKONGOS

Follow Danny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannyKONGOS

Follow Johnny Kongos on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnnyKongos

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Prime Circle Kirstenbosch Concert Review 10.01.2016

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I arrived to  a sold-out 6000 capacity crowd. It was heart-warming to see the support local music has gained. I have always wanted to watch Prime Circle at Kirstenbosch as I view it as their “home ground” of sorts.

Jono Grayson welcomed the crowd and played two songs. The crowd seemed enticed by Jono’s unassuming, humble nature. He has a charming voice and great potential if he continues to gain exposure and experience.

The Wintyr was up next and their music has an interesting ethereal vibe to it. It is a unique sound, especially for a South African band. I was really excited by the percussionist, the way he played took my breath away. You can view the band’s latest music video for their song “The Water” below.

It was time for Prime Circle to come on stage!

Prime Circle played their inspiring single “Doors”. They changed up their song “Out of this Place” accompanied by “Wild Lettuce” playing the australian didgeridoo, a really interesting take on a classic Prime Circle song.

View the performance here:

One of my favourite songs from the band’s “Let The Night In” album is “I Am”, a really upbeat and aggressive chorus interlaced by groovy verses. Their song “My City” was dedicated to Cape Town and I became really emotional seeing the massive crowd in front of me with bubbles floating through the air framed by the mountains in the background. The radio-friendly “Gone” and the romantic “Satellites” featured on the set list. “Blame It On Me” was performed by the band accompanied by an amazingly talented young lady, Jasmine Minter, who turned 16 years old on the day.

Watch a snippet of the performance here:

Her father Gavin Minter joined the band on percussion during a few songs. Dave Ferguson featured during a few songs and played the harmonica to perfection.

The band treated the crowd to a rare live performance of “My Inspiration” one of their albums off their debut album released in 2002. In my opinion this song shows off the strength in Ross’s voice.

View a few minutes of the performance:

Probably one of the most popular Prime Circle songs is the fiery “She Always Gets What She Wants” and it ALWAYS triggers a sing-along from the crowd. The band is gearing up for their first international release, which is well-deserved and a long-time coming. “She Always Gets What She Wants” will be the first single from the internationally released album and I hope it goes above and beyond what the song has achieved in South Africa.

“Consider Me” is a social and environmentally conscious song reminding us to be less selfish. “Time Kills Us All”, another crowd favourite and a truly ethereal experience. At the end of the set the crowd sang along to a lyric sheet and the band recorded the crowd singing.

The band accompanied by guest artists provided an exceptional evening of entertainment. Ross was in a lively mood and Dale was in beast mode on the drums, a treat to watch!

Follow Wild Lettuce on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WildLettuceZA

Follow Jono Grayson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JONOGRAYSON12

Follow Natasha Meister on Twitter: https://twitter.com/natashameister

Follow The Wintyr on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewintyr

Follow Prime Circle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Prime_Circle

Huge shout-out to Bizcommunity Lifestyle for the tickets!

Follow Bizcommunity Lounge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Biz_Lounge

Rock Regards,

Lauren K