I am not a fan of the daunting task to choose between acts at a festival like Oppikoppi, which is so rich in musical talent every year. Most importantly: It is impossible to watch every single act at Oppikoppi. With numerous stages and overlapping sets, Oppi is a pick-and-choose game. So in saying this, these Top 5 lists are a personal view of one music lover’s Oppikoppi 2015 experience. And yes, the international acts were absolutely top notch this year, but this site is all about promoting local talent, so only proudly SA acts are made mention of. Enough with the rambling, here are my Top 5 acts of the festival, in a well-known-legends/veteran-musicians category, and a new-kids-on-the-block/unknown-to-many category.
Top 5 Legends:
This list would simply not be complete without mention of these two legends. Their separate sets were super energetic and epic in their own right. Karen clearly hand-picked her set list with careful precision as to fulfill festivalgoers’ needs. A cover of Metallica infused with an Anneli van Rooyen “treffer” was definitely the highlight of her set. The appearance of Francois was a good tactic to get everyone pre-maturely excited for their iconic duet. But instead the crowd was treated to a roaring Black Sabbath cover. Francois’s set was filled to the brim with songs off his solo debut album, climaxing with ‘Toe Vind Ek Jou’ with Karen.
These old-school rock ‘n rollers from Pretoria had the crowd in stitches of pleasure. The four-piece looks like they started hibernating in the 80’s Glam Rock era and only woke up in the 2000’s. Their latest single, ‘Rock ‘n Roll Pretoria’, sums up what the band is all about: big hair, big voices and big entertainment.
I have something against Parlotones haters. This is a band who has worked their asses off to be where they are, gained international recognition and is still going strong after a decade of consistent performing. The Parlotones had one of the most solid performances I watched at the festival. It was wonderful to see such a big crowd whole-heartedly singing along to every word of every huge hit. I am pretty sure I also spotted numerous “haters” in the crowd chanting along loudly.
These are two of the most underrated musicians and songwriters in our country (according to me at least). Gerald and Luna have shared many a stage across the country. Their strong bond on stage is what makes their collaborative set a special and extremely natural showcase of talent. Their deeply-rooted appreciation for each other seeped through to the audience, creating an intimate atmosphere, amidst the big crowd in front of the Skellum Stage.
Celebrating their decade of existence, Tweak put on one heck of a show. It’s hard to believe that they haven’t been on stage together as a band for such a long time, because every note and action seemed exactly in its place. Including covers of Blink 182 and Enrique Iglesias (your eyes are not fooling you), was a clever move from a band who understands their role as entertainers very well. Of course, every Tweak original song (from ‘Birthday Card’ to ‘House Party’) was received with open arms from the audience. And who will ever be able to forget the tons of genital confetti raining down on the audience?
Top 5 Legends of Tomorrow
The BOS stage returned to Oppikoppi this year, including more intimate performances from big names in the industry, as well as up-and-coming acts. Rob May, Adventure Man, Stanley June and Gerald Clarke were but some of the acts that audiences had the pleasure to see whenever they wanted to escape from the madness of the broader festival grounds. Harry Moyo was one such a hidden musical gem that I discovered at Oppikoppi. With his smooth, soulful grooves and natural performing ability, he wowed the BOS crowd.
I simply cannot comprehend how this band is not rated as one of the top bands in our country…yet. This band lies somewhere in between Four Year Strong and New Found Glory, with a distinctive pop punk edge. Their set is solid oomph from beginning to end. Their band motto might just as well be “150% or nothing”, because every band member was physically and emotionally present during the entire hour. With a raving recent California US tour under their belts, I truly hope SA starts giving them the respect they deserve.
This band is known for being very hard-working and they are well on their way to massive success. Although they had the first slot on the Friday of the festival (while the average Oppikoppi goer is still rubbing the dust out of their eyes), they grabbed the bull by the horns and gave a powerhouse performance on the Main Stage.
David van Vuuren has taken on many personas after winning SA Idols a few years ago. As front man of the psychedelic folk band, Southern Wild, it seems like he has finally found his niche. He is more intense than ever and all I could do was watch him wide-eyed. Although it is sometimes hard to follow his songs upon first listen, his emotional stage presence lets you know exactly how he wants you to feel inside. Dylan Hunt is a rhythmic genius behind the drum kit.
This act is far from up-and-coming, but they are claiming a spot on my Top 5 list, because many people saw them for the first time at Oppikoppi, although they have been around since 2009. I remember my first time seeing this band live in action in Cape Town. I was in totally in awe of their musical talent and lively stage presence, and seeing them at Oppikoppi had exactly the same result. I love watching people watching this band, because you can actually see how everyone loosens up with every passing song. By the last song, the body and the music have become one and you don’t want their set to ever end.