There are many reasons why the annual Mr Price Pro concerts are still one of the musical highlights of the SA music calendar.
Most important is the setting and time of year. One could hardly imagine a more perfect welcome to the start of a concert than the warm golden sands of Ballito beach and the gentle setting sun as it dips over the banana trees and lush vegetation.
Add to this the fact that it is part of SA’s oldest and most established surfing contest and that the Mr Price Pro is also an important competition on the world surfing circuit and we have an international event on our hands.
Another bonus is that the concert is free and old and young, beach bums and rockers flock in their thousands to celebrate the best in SA music. With all that we have an absolute winner on our hands.
The Mr Price Pro has long had a reputation for booking the top artists in the country, thereby guaranteeing world-class entertainment.
There are fond memories from the 1990s when the surfing event and the concert were held on Durban’s central beaches. That was also back in the day when there was some sort of focus by the City of Durban on the event.
I remember quaffing back a few cocktails at Joe Kool’s before the strains of Ready D’s scratching and low-fi rapping beckoned me. The sun was glowing softly on the waves as the maestro of hip hop DJaying took it up a notch. The concert climaxed in a rough and ready set by Springbok Nude Girls who were at the height of their career at the time.
There must have been at least 10 000 people head banging to their hits in free rock ’n’ roll abandon- ment, the boys with their shirts off and the girls screaming vocalist Arno Carstens’s name. That was at the turn of the century.
Almost 12 years later and the music and the surfing fans are preparing to do the same. Except this time the event is at Ballito and the show will be offering two different concerts, on July 6 and 7.
Friday night will be for the head banging, beer-swigging crew. However, the night will also offer the picnic-seated, wine-sipping peeps a chance for some fun. Think Ard Matthews and his iPad and one-man show which offered us his new tracks, Just Jinjer hits as well as interactive fun and his wicked sense of humour. However, says Matthews, this time around he will be playing with his new solo project. It consists of John Ellis on guitar, Matthews on bass and Josh Kleynsmith from Gangs of Ballet on drums. They are known as the Ard Matthews Trio and played their first gig last Friday night in Glenashley, where, by all accounts, they cooked.
In the meantime, Durban’s brand-new favourites, Gangs of Ballet, are set to make the city proud, while oldies Wonderboom still set the stage on fire with their smouldering sexuality.
aKing and Flash Republic have become firm favourites at this festival over the past two years and this year should be no different.
CrashCarBurn are another regular and popular act at the Mr Price Pro and always get the youngsters tripping over each other in a punk pop frenzy.
Then, of course, there is Shadowclub. What can I say about Shadowclub that has not been said before? They killed it at Splashy Fen earlier this year. They were voted Tonight’s Band of 2011 and they are the best live act of 2012 so far. If you have not yet experienced their album, Guns ’n’ Money, or even worse, if you have not experienced them live, you have not lived. They will definitely be the highlight of Friday night.
On Saturday night the emphasis will be on the über-popular dance genre. KZN’s Toya Delazy will perform at her first big event in the province. She has burst on to the scene with her glam hipster look and popcorn rebel yell musical style.
Lloyd Cele will be there for the romantics in the crowd. iScreamstix from Cape Town will also take to a big stage on the KZN coast for the first time. Their reputation as cool hip hoppers with witty rhymes and quirky beats has preceded them. An act to look forward to.
Locnville will be back to please the lasses and get their booties shaking. Pascal & Pearce, aside from being the nicest DJ duo ever, have a big following thanks to their accessible commercial house music, while Goodluck rocked the house last year. They had every person jumping with their hands in the air and are still a hugely popular act.
And, of course, Dino Bravo will be there to make sure those who still wanna party after the live acts have packed up, can and will do so.
• Concerts: at Salt Rock Beach on July 6 and 7, from 4pm to 10pm.