All words: Lu Makoboka
Images: Josh Stein
In my mind, Endless Daze has always been one of those festivals that’s synonymous to a mystifying folk tale… I’ve never experienced it, though friends have returned to the city packed with not just their luggage, but with stories that are so mind-boggling that I’ve had to write some of them off as fiction. A few weeks ago was my first time at the showcase and in many ways, I feel like I’ve become that person spreading enchanting stories about what goes on at Endless Daze. You’re not going to find a ‘crowd’ at Endless Daze, that’s a community. And some of the performances didn’t even feel as if it was just about music. A variety of artists provided a deeper sense of connection with the audience which travelled way beyond “having a good time”.
In this article, we go through our top 5 acts which electrified the community of Endless Daze Festival for this year.
“Don’t talk to me for the next 45 minutes”. That’s what I should’ve said to my friends the moment BCUC started playing as this is the kind of group you DO NOT want to miss a single second of. Paired with a set of drums, a bass guitar and a powerful vocal performance strong enough to lift your soul… BCUC literally introduces minimalism to new heights. With those core musical elements and a stage presence like no other, they are able to captivate the mind with their thought-provoking words and the heart with their furiously passionate delivery. Their performance wasn’t all ‘political’ as some may think; the basis of it was more unifying than rebellious. If you think you need to lose a couple of Kgs, go to a BCUC show and you’ll walk out feeling 10kgs lighter. You’re bound to be moved in some way or another, not just physically but also spiritually.
To be honest The Gluts had quite a slow start and the audience seemed to be idly watching with approximately 40 people in attendance. If I told you that in the next 30 minutes the crowd would be packed and a ginormous mosh pit would break out (yes, it was so big that I have to use a big word to describe it), the chances are very slim you’d believe me. The roar of the vocalist pain-infested voice and the gruelling energy of the instrumentation literally summoned the angst, frustration, unknown pleasures, and overall latent emotions within the high spirited crowd. “Escapism” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of The Gluts as that is the epitome of what their performance supplied.
Sun Xa Experiment
Origin: South Africa
Something that I truly appreciate about Sun Xa is the fact that after their show, one is left with some kind of an ‘afterglow’ by virtue of the range of positive messaging embedded within their lyrics. Even if you’re attention wasn’t placed on the words which spilt between the vocalists’ lips, there was this beautiful man blessed by air of mystery that danced and charmed his way across the stage, wonderfully conveying the vocalist’s message. I loved that Sun Xa blurred the fine lines of the genre since elements of Jazz, Afro-Soul, Rock and many others were delicately blended all into one. Their unorthodox musical passages and their colourful (literally and figuratively) stage presence is among the reasons I believe they are so astounding.
I wish I had witnessed more of their performance, although in the short time I was there to catch them… My gosh! It felt like I was struck with a surge of energy which had me dancing like the great James Brown, and that’s not a joke. YAK embodies the spirit of Rock ‘n Roll (the fact that the lead vocalist looks like Mick Jagger also plays a role) with the attitude behind their sound. What I found extremely compelling though was the addition of Funk on top of that, in a manner which summoned people to get groovy instead of mechanically swinging their heads. Not only was their performance energetic, but it came with some pleasant surprises. A moment which launched a portion of the crowd into an uproar was when Desmond Kannemeyer from Runaway Nuns joined the band on guitar. In many ways, YAK was that cooling breath of fresh air at Endless Daze.
Origin: South Africa
I recall murmurs fluttering around endlessly throughout Friday and Saturday of “how emotional their performance is going to be”. Well, the people called it as it truly was. This isn’t even taking into account how they are well known for their deep and “ritual-like” shows. It was the fact that it was their last performance as a band. Like Cape Town’s wayward weather, the energy of the crowd quickly changed as Medicine Dolls and The Last Light Orchestra appeared on the stage. When I looked back, a sea of faces stretched until the edge of horizons. PEOPLE WERE KEEN BRUH! And sure enough, we were introduced to a range of moments that made for a stunning performance. I believe it was the orchestrated cohesion of energy throughout the show that captured the emotions of the audience. The musical roller coaster ride provided us with times where Andre Leo (lead vocalist and guitarist) was veraciously swinging his guitar around during his raging solos, and the serene vocal passages by Lucy Kruger (accompanied by backup singers) would hold the crowd in a state of awe. All in all, it was the kind of performance that’s wholesome, to the point where plenty are left speechless and inspired.
If you were at Endless Daze, we’d love to hear your top picks and favourite moments. If you haven’t gone yet, it’s perfectly fine. I’m not here to tell you that you NEED to go, the right time will find you when you’re ready and when it does… You’ll never forget it.