Professor, Magesh, TKZee, AKA, Big Nuz, Kabomo, Thembi Seete, Zakwe, PRO, Khuli Chana, Bucie. It was the best Arts Alive Festival ever. In fact, it was so good I forgot to go to the Bassline and watch my favourite rock act of the moment, The Shadowclub. Mary Fitzgerald rocked out on Friday and Saturday night.
Unfortunately, Friday was freezing, which meant that most Jozi kids stayed home. Sorry for you! The night of beautiful music was worth every frozen moment!
We arrived just as Bucie was getting started. It was the first time I had seen this woman perform. Dressed in a black corset and tight leggings, she was the image of a diva. Bucie is a talented musician who has a fabulous mixture of insanity and just the right amount of cheeky skankiness to make her a potential superstar.
What is really cool is just how many artists are turning to live instruments on stage. Gone are the days when the DAT (digital audio tape) ruled über alles. Leading the trend is none other than the legendary TKZee. It is quite amazing that after all these years they are still trendsetters. Well done, old men.
The trio ended the concert on Friday night with another huge performance. The chemistry between them was as electric as always. With Zwai anchoring the set with his beautiful voice, Tokollo firing on all cylinders lyrically and a physically charged up Kabelo adding to the fire, it felt good to be a South African that night.
Another kwaito trio who impressed were Big Nuz, although, that night there were just two of them as R Mashesh apparently has a fear of flying.
Saturday night saw more South African big guns blazing away.
There was Thembi Seete who was vintage Thembi Seete. She is one of the best live performers in SA. Her strength lies in her ragga rapping, which is rare for a woman. But then again, we are talking about an artist who has pushed more boundaries than most.
AKA and Khuli Chana’s performance also took a new angle. Using a live band, they had some solo songs and then collaborated on a few. It was also great to see how close they are as friends and performers.
PRO just oozed sex appeal. He wears ghetto like Maori wear tattoos. Grrrrr. KZN rapper Zakwe continues to prove why he was nominated for so many MTN Samas earlier this year.
Tokollo’s heist on stage as Magesh also rocked it, although he didn’t perform enough tracks from his latest album, which is his best to date.
And, unfortunately, the only weak artist was Professor. After enjoying artists who love to perform live, Professor decided to go old- school kwaito à la Mandoza circa 1999 and mime to his music. Tut-tut. How sad. It was a pointless performance, so I left.
If Arts Alive continues with these concerts every year, they will surely become some of the biggest and best concerts on the SA music calendar. Most impressive.