After seeing the Instagram pics of the Jo’burg leg of #FutureMusic Rising, I was excited for the Cape Town one. Yes, and the fact that I personally knew some of the three contestants did add to my excitement about the night. #FutureMusic saw six acts (three from both Cape Town and Johannesburg) contesting for a slot to perform at The Roundhouse in London.
Kicking off the event, while the crowd was still picking up, was Cold Turkey co-founder and DJ, Blotchy. He rendered some dance floor-ready electro and house sounds behind the decks. He was only laying the foundation for a night of eclectic exhibition of talent and skill.
After an hour of Blotchy, one of the contestants, emcee Andy Mkosi was up next. Backed by veteran producer, Arsenic, she brought with her on stage, long time friend and partner in rhyme, Supreme Soul. Her energetic yet chilled performance did somewhat prove that dynamite does indeed come in small packages. She performed some new and unheard songs, most of them from her upcoming collaborative project with Arsenic. She also took her old fans (I doubt there were any present at the event) down memory lane when she performed some of her old jams; the likes of the battle-ready “The Further We Go” and “The Meaning”. She did a great job interacting with the crowd, which, speaking to one of the judges, was one of the traits the contestants needed to possess. Overall, she gave a solid performance and managed to maintain the same energy throughout the whole 45 minutes she was on stage. I, however felt brevity would have done her performance some justice. I picked up some sprinkles of monotony which is nothing new to rappers who perform with nothing more than a DJ. I felt she could have incorporated more features to her set. She did great though.
Right after the organic boom bap sounds of Andy and Arsenic, we were introduced to the Bateleur band with their hypnotic sounds. Their surreal music can put one in a trance. Yes, I was aware that the dudes don’t have a lyricist even though they have some vocals in the form of murmurous chants thrown sporadically along their sets. I personally enjoyed their set even though I strongly feel that they need proper vocals (at least with lyrics) for audiences to connect with their music more. Overall, their performance was far from a lacklustre, the dudes aren’t novices at all. Every piece contributes to the fantasy they seem to be trying to create on stage. I thoroughly enjoyed their refreshing approach to making music and performing and I understood why they have performed in the festivals they have performed in and why they were short-listed to contest for #FutureMusic Rising.
Right after the hypnotic sounds of Bateleur, it was back to heavy synths and 808s in the form of one of Cape Town’s most promising electro acts, Wildebeats. Talking to one of the judges, photographer Chris Saunders who witnessed both the Jo’burg and Cape Town acts, he expressed some faith in Wildebeats. “I see potential in Wildebeats. If you put him with a bunch of mentors and cool people, he’ll grow and gain a lot of knowledge because he has the right attitude,” he said. And I can’t say I don’t agree. He dished out some serious basslines putting lovers of electronic music and the likes in a frenzy.
After the contestants was the UK headliner, dubstep and grime DJ, Plastician, who dished out more colossal basslines and painfully pleasurable synths that kept one shazaming a majority of the tunes and some to no avail, as they were exclusives and others impromptu. He did a few live remixes of a few international hits like Kanye’s “Black Skin Head”. In general, his set was electrifying and the crowd seemed to like each and every moment of it. The variety of tunes – from grimy aggressive dubstep sounds to some airy, padded, mellow beats sounding like something out of a Kendrick Lamar album – his set did not disappoint at all. His interaction with the crowds – hyping up some of the beats he rendered and giving concise commentary to some pieces before feeding them to the masses – was exemplary to the contestants.
Overall, the acts brought their A-game. It was hard to pick who did better out of all the contestants because of the diversity of the genres. Going from hip hop to Lord-knows-what Bateleur does and straight hard-hitting electro was somewhat a great juxtaposition. Until now, I still don’t have a favourite as I enjoyed and appreciated all three acts. I can only imagine what tough a task it was for the judges to pick one winner out of all six acts. I heard the Jo’burg acts were equally great too.
On a sad note, Jo’burg contesting group, The Brother Moves On lost one of their members, Nkush Burnslow on Sunday. No details have been released regarding what the cause of his passing was. Condolences to the band, their fans, his family and friends.
More images of the event can be peeped here: http://theassembly.co.za/events/british-council-connect-za-live-sa-present-futuremusic-rising-cape-town