Concerts, concerts, always a flip the coin situation. More for the uncertainty of what will be coming your way, one should have expectations especially when they have paid money for it. Now you are patiently waiting for the entire ordeal to go well, hoping it will all be worth it. Concerts offer something you wouldn’t experience when jamming alone or with headphones on your way to school/work, very much a surreal feel of the music itself.
There is a certain level of effort put in by the artists during a performance, as a fan you want to see when they pour themselves into their music. Something you can only see live. For some, the atmosphere itself is what wins them over, how great the act is able to engage with the crowd, giving another aspect which adds to the music. Certain international acts don’t give their all in their performances. Mainly big names (will not name drop), key word was certain. As not all artists have this inferiority complex about South Africa, Africa as a whole actually. Probably seeing a big international act give us his/her all on stage, wanting to make our money worth spending on them. Especially when one we’re to exchange our currency into their currencies, they wouldn’t be making much profit but that’s when you gauge an artist who is in it for the art. The people who appreciate their art. Instead of it being a selfish gain, how they are doing South Africa a favor.
Before I continue a few concert rules need to be set;
1. Tall people should not be in the front of the damn audience. I mean you can easily see above most heads, now why be “that guy” who wants to see everything impeding others’ view. Where is the damn decorum!?
2. Don’t by any means stand next to the speaker, no matter how psyched you are feeling that night. The next morning will definitely be a horrific one.
3. Can the opening acts not be a platform for organizers pushing their friends’ Mixtapes. Especially when the music is so experimental, it feels weird. Yeah yeah I get intimate crowds are open to new things. But not all new things need to be experimented all the time you know? No? Okay.
I recently went to a concert by a Canadian jazz band by the name of BadBadNotGood (styled as BADBADNOTGOOD, BBNG for short). They were initially only performing at The International Cape Town Jazz Fest. But, someone probably getting God on the phone, Kool Out managed to bring them to Jo’burg. Something I personally have become a huge fan of, is how these small bands can get a crowd (granted I’ve only been to two concerts) it’s about how music can travel through many countries. Good music will always be found and heard. It shows when these relatively small acts, who aren’t known commercially can sell out the works, without losing the main theme of an intimate setting with the audience. The ability to engage with the crowd, without feeling you aren’t having the same experience as a person three places behind you. Maybe this is dramatic but, you feel how it is to be in studio with them jamming.
Generally from the comments made by the “Beyoncé” of BBNG, who was very surprised as to how energetic the crowd was, it could be that us being in another country. We hardly get acts constantly coming back, as we have come to know that a world tour equals every place besides anywhere in Africa. The crowd knows they have to make the most of this opportunity. Getting an artist at their peak, whereas most legendary artists see South Africa as a ticket to enjoy their glory days who come way after their own buzz has died down in their own country. I personally don’t want to be at a Big Sean concert when his raps are all corny and he isn’t rapping songs I would like him to right now before he stops performing ever. Probably this forms my biased need for an intimate performance, making it feel that the artist is purely trying to please me or one person even though they aren’t (I probably sound narcissistic but I’m not).
Back to the concert, it felt as if I was back at Puma Social Club (a social event which Puma used to host in different cities around Gauteng), and I never wanted it to end. From the opening sets that were playing music you wouldn’t hear when you are out but should. Opening acts got a bit weird (remember point umber 3). Past the clustered crowd, being close to the speaker, sweating a bit from all the cigarettes. Concerts have this feel that music can bring anyone together for about 2-6 hours. Fine, fine we not saying music is changing the world. We can say concerts are the one place where world peace can be seen.
I recommend to vibe out to BBNG, they’re really worth having a listen to — SOUNDCLOUD
Author: Njabulo ‘Thube’ Nkutha