After rough rains forced the organizers of Large on the Lawn to cancel their February event, the day festival was back in full force for their March edition, with headliners Al Bairre and Mango Groove. A rather interesting combo, seeing as the groups’ fan bases are generally on different spectrums of the age chart. Not even daunting clouds looming over Jo’burg skies could stand in the way of families and friends to enjoy a fun day with top-notch local music.
Photos by Stanley June
Apple Gule, originally from Swaziland, took to the stage first to warm the crowd up for what was ahead. Although his style of music (soul and R&B mixed with electro) is not a style I particularly enjoy, it is clear that Apple has natural talent. I wasn’t blown away by his music or performance and he seemed a bit unconvinced and overwhelmed on stage – lack of stage experience perhaps being a major reason. That being said, he is trying something new by mixing his soulful voice with electronic beats. It’s always refreshing when new artists emerging try their hand at something completely new. John Legend meets Avicci, if you will. He particularly grabbed the audience’s attention when he performed Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Rihanna’s “Stay”. His original songs (which are on his debut album SWAZiKiD, releasing 21 April 2017) are full of very raunchy lyrics, which wasn’t suited for a family style event like Large on the Lawn.
Al Bairre has had an out-of-this-world successful career these past five years and much to the disappointment of their fans, recently decided to call it quits to pursue other interests. Large on the Lawn was their last ever JHB show and fans streamed to the stage in their masses to bid this hippie-funk band farewell. In their signature matching tie dye shirts, the five-piece gave it their all for the last time – crazy dance moves and teary eyes filled the stage. The group has a very young fan base, as school kids and students competed to be in the front row and belted out every word, smart phone in hand, trying to capture the magical chaos that ensued. Their show proved and re-instated their massive appeal: they are genuinely one of a kind and super talented. Their energy, their musical precision and their fun-loving presence made this a memorable show, which will surely be replayed in the hearts of all Al Bairre fans that were lucky enough to experience their last ever JHB show. We bid you farewell, Al Bairre, and we hope you find what you are looking for in your personal capacities. The world awaits your reunion show in five years’ time.
In vast contrast to a band that decided to call it quits after a mere five years, the legendary Mango Groove ended off the event. How do you capture in words a band that has been around since the early 1980’s and who still manage to stay relevant amongst teens and pensioners alike? I have no idea, but allow me to try. Mango Groove pulled a crowd so diverse in age, culture, race and gender and truly encapsulated what it means to be a South African in today’s day and age. All eleven band members showcased their individual talents and personalities, whilst staying one force throughout. Powerhouse front woman, Claire Johnston, takes the centre stage, but allows all her band members to have their moments of shine in the show. Her voice is still as rich and unique as when they just started out decades ago. The group performed old classics such as “Moments Away”, “Special Star” and “Hometalk”, as well as songs off their latest album, Faces To The Sun, such as the brilliant title track, “From The Get Go” and “Kind”. This band is like a bottle of red wine – they simply become better with age. May this iconic band live on for many decades to come!
The next Large on the Lawn event is taking place on 30 April, with The Parlotones and GoodLuck. Don’t miss it!