A Day of Chunder
While most good citizens of the Western Cape were puking up the contents of their lungs on Chapman’s peak while chasing the peloton, the rest of us sane people were heading to a hot, dusty bowl on the West Coast to stick our heads in the sand at an ostrich ranch off the N7.
Now despite months of bitching by both cyclists and music lovers, we have been treated to one of the founding Swedish melodic death metal bands live in South Africa, even though as part of a festival it was one day and Sunday here in sleepy Cape Town and everyone had to miss church.
As I sit here in post-Ramfest depression and reflect on all the things that make a one day music festival special I realized something. It doesn’t have special things. It’s just that a normal festival has more days to recover and not get fired (for those who have real jobs and vague self-control).
Next year I propose that we start the procession on a Wednesday or Thursday in Pofadder and then Cape Town can have Saturday night. Otherwise declare Monday a public metal holiday because let’s face it, this isn’t a picnic in the botanical gardens and some people when they get really excited can’t remember how to sleep or stop drinking.
To call seeing In Flames a momentous occasion ignores the euphoria surrounding an act this big actually arriving on home soil and even more so the very act of headlining at the hallowed Ramfest is something earth-shattering. I don’t think I was the only one doing a double take after seeing the line-up all those hazy months ago.
This is also pretty much a breakthrough for other big metal acts to follow and play here. Also a statement we’ve been hearing since Metallica played in, oh wait I can’t remember because it’s so long ago. If it means more one day festivals with great line-ups I’m sure everyone will be as happy as they were in the early hours of Monday morning.
Ok so the music on the Red Heart main stage was rocking and started off at the sound of the noon gun with Sabretooth and their guitar slashing devilry. Lead man, Charles, said that it was so hot on stage at midday that the soles of his feet were burning through his shoes!
Next up were Newtown Knife Gang, Hog Hoggidy Hog, Taxi Violence and Fokofpolisiekar, all class acts representing the fine talents of our local superstars. Quarter past five in the afternoon introduced us to American electronic rock band, AWOLNATION, who neatly summed up a great festival sound with easy going, fun, sing-along tweaked ballads and lead man, Aaron Bruno, showed his dexterity by swapping his guitar for the drums to close their set in style.
The Olmeca electronic stage had its own flavour of drum and bass and dub electronica featuring a jam packed line-up including Niskerone and Haezer with headliner Netsky infecting everyone’s hardware with his liquid funk bass beats and keeping punters bopping.
Back on the main stage The Narrow belted out some familiar favourites as the light faded, which kept all the lonely people awake on a Sunday evening and amped and ready for In Flames chaos.
The Swedish metal machine then took to the stage and Anders Fridén proceeded to deliver the Christmas present we never got at the beginning of the end of the world. Their sound is as unique as a Swedish accent and it was great to hear that they want to tell all their friends about Ramfest and then proceed to start a circle pit and encourage stage diving. Apart from the bass levels being way too high and smothering the vocals the show went off its tits and encouraged by loads of premium SAB products so did the crowd.
The only song I remember singing along to is cloud connected and there was obviously a lot of the Sounds of a Playground Fading, (kind of how festivals are remembered!) which is more commercial but who cares man - In Flames live in Cape Town, how often does this happen? Not very often I tell thee...but then again, there’s always next year!
Long live Ramfest - our beacon of darkness in the light of conformity.
Thanks go to the one per cent, vegan, terrorist ninja, and the car park after party and Ramfest security for tolerating Ken Bloc early in the morning.