Arriving at Rocking The Daisies on Friday morning is a bit like getting to school after assembly. Everything is there but you feel like you might've missed something important. My first point of call was an escapade to find Tash, and Aidan (honestly, only found them much later) and ended up backstage at the Red Bull electro dome which was where you'd find the Head Spaza last year.
Out of the gates it was Floorslive that blew me away. The first time seeing them on a festival stage since the launch of their EP, and I was left to pic my jaw up off my feet. The intimacy of their launch brought to a stage of this size was awe-inspiring! Protip: watch them live.
Probably the highlight of the whole weekend was PHFAT's set. No word of a lie. There was so much effort that went into the performance, in terms of pre-production, and that made it stand head and shoulders above the rest for me. The cloaks roamed around the festival handing out roses with cards inviting people to the show, there were dancers, cloaked figures, a veritable conjuring of freakiness, and a plethora of new music. PHFAT brought the show to the people, and it's an effigy of what it takes to, "put on a show".
Hanging around backstage always provides you with the opportunity to not only witness some of the rituals, and preparation before artists jump into their performances. It also affords you the tender moments. Speaking to Sibot; it was clear that being a dad hasn't slowed him down - the presentation of a more raw performance saw him serve up what looked like a Helghast sermon from the front of the stage, whipping up a frenzy in the limbs below.
"Snakehips is sneaky AF because their music has infiltrated the ears of people whose music choice might ordinarily be regarded as ‘safe’ or somewhat dull. Unknowingly exposing them to a mix of future bass inspired by the iconic sounds of ‘90s hip-hop, like some kind of happy accident. In reality, their sound is filled with subtleties that often resonate with you long after the track has left your ears. It’s music that’s made with intention. You’re either an avid fan or have heard more of their music than you actually think." - Celeste Jacobs
If Sibot was the sermon then HAEZER was the gospel incarnate! A rousing introduction coupled with bewildering visuals made HAEZER's set stand out at a time when Black Coffee and Flume were dominating the main arena. Despite an awkward timeslot; people streamed into the electro dome in droves for what is arguably one of the most neatly curated journeys in dance music at the festival.
"The combination of eclectic sounds, well-coordinated lights and the energy that flows through the crowd is something that makes live music at festivals so special. You can’t recreate it in your living room, although you could probably give it a solid try. Amidst the chaos, there are dusty feet dancing (somewhat haphazardly) – allowing the music to move them freely. The suns sets giving way to the night and smiles are slapped on the faces of strangers… it’s a beautiful thing an entirely underrated." Celeste Jacobs on Gina Jeanz
"Although they’re incredibly young and fresh, they’ve got a taste for old-school soul, funk and R&B. They reckons they don’t make them like they used to – their theory clocks out when you think about how often a genre like funk is sampled in today’s electronic music age. It’s a form of homage to a bygone era we now think of as ‘classic’. K-$'s ideal is cultivate a sense of appreciation of what was, by bringing it into the now." Celeste Jacobs
"Bruce Loko's sound can be described as fluid architecture. The unconventional nature of his music is a fusion of jazz and euphoric sounds that combine to form a unique style of house music. Seeing him perform live is like watching building blocks come together to form structures – and as his set grows and evolves – an entire skyline lies before you. It’s an audio-visual journey worth taking." Celeste Jacobs
"Given that Gqom originated in Durban and is now spreading, not only locally, but also internationally it’s easy to wonder if it was a sudden hype or long in the making. DJ Lag has been at it since 2013; with a humble albeit unknowing start, he began creating beats for dance crews in his hood. Now he takes Gqom wherever he goes." Celeste Jacobs
I think there's a very special mention that needs to be made about the Trap House. Problematic name? Maybe. Best concept in terms of staging that South Africa has seen in the last decade? Easily! It's a whole house. It had a chandelier! That is levels. Miss Patty Monroe, and YoungstaCPT took that stage to task; tore it up, and left the body strewn across the grass afterwards.
Every year there's that band that you want to see. Artist. DJ. Rapper. Whatever... This year it was The Naked + Famous for me. I didn't get to shoot their set or see much of it because I was backstage with Two Door Cinema Club. Bittersweet. Tragic even, I know. When all is said and done, I think the team that have taken over the Rocking The Daisies moniker are doing a brilliant job building on what they did last year.