Pretoria-based rockers Isochronous play at Synergy.
Pretoria-based rockers Isochronous play at Synergy.
GoodLuck will perform electro swing at Synergy Live in Franschhoek this weekend.
GoodLuck will perform electro swing at Synergy Live in Franschhoek this weekend.

Terri Dunbar-Curran

IF THERE’S one thing most of the bands on the line-up at this year’s Synergy have in common it’s that fans can expect something new and exciting from them. Whether it’s new music, stage gimmicks or a band performing on South African soil for the first time – the fest has a lot to offer.

From Friday to Sunday, Boschendal Wine Estate will be transformed into a non-stop party zone with three music stages, a dedicated comedy stage, a market area with merchandise and food stalls, and even a fun fair.

Headlining on the main stage is Los Angeles rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) performing in South Africa for the first time.

“We didn’t think twice about coming to play there,” says Robert Levon Been, bassist, pianist and vocalist. “And we’re still kind of in disbelief to be honest. These last couple of years we’ve been real lucky to go to all these places we never dreamed of seeing, like Israel, Russia, Beijing, Cambodia, Brazil and Cape Town. I guess we should start thinking about doing this professionally soon.”

They have been working on a lot of new songs for their next album, some of which Been says are “pretty powerful” when performed live. “But we’re of two minds on whether we should debut them quite yet. I’d like to just play as many songs from each album as we can, since people out there have never seen us before.”

Apart from the opportunity to play for local fans he is also looking forward to just enjoying the festival itself. “I like outdoor festivals at night, getting to stare at the stars with the music raising you up off your feet. I know there are a lot of DJs playing, so I’ll probably just grab a bottle of wine, lay down somewhere and daydream.”

Unfortunately this trip won’t allow time for any other BRMC gigs. “We just wrapped up our last gig in South America the other day. So we’re actually showing up in Africa like five days before the festival, but our equipment won’t be shipped there until later,” he says.

“It’s a drag because I would’ve loved to play Joburg as well, but we won’t have any guitars. I could try just doing my tap dancing routine, but that usually only goes over well at funerals.”

Also on the line-up is Pretoria rock outfit Isochronous who are promising fans a great set. “Fans can expect something completely different to any of our shows,” says drummer Marko Benini. “There’s big preparation going into the set and how it runs and the music. What we’re doing with the vocals and lights… but I don’t want to give away too much. It’s going to be really exciting.”

He says that performing at festivals allows for longer sets and also gives them a bigger stage to work with, so they began preparing long in advance. They are also hoping to spend some time enjoying everything else the festival has to offer. “We’re quite keen to see the international acts, but in general the line-up looks very interesting.”

If you enjoy electro swing then don’t miss GoodLuck, the duo behind hits like London Sixteen66 and Hop On Hop Off, on the main stage. “We’re going to be giving the best show we’ve given for a long time,” says Juliet Harding. “We have a good, happy, uplifting positive set planned. We want to get everyone dancing and involved. It’s all about having a fun, non-pretentious, good time.”

GoodLuck will focus on adding some new visual elements to their performance having returned from overseas brimming with ideas to make their live shows “as awesome as possible”.

Harding is also looking forward to the great line-up at the festival and is hoping to get some time to watch some of the other performances. “Jax Panik have a great get up and jump around vibe. And The Rescu have a fantastic, international sound. They’re one of those ‘bands to watch’. There are so many. I’m looking forward to everyone for different reasons.”

Catch GoodLuck after Synergy at Trinity when they perform with Yoav on December 8.

This year’s comedy line-up promises to keep festival goers entertained with a variety of tastes, from improv to Afrikaans and musical. Head over to the Comedia stage to see Peter Sserwanga, Kurt Langeveld, Lazola Gola, Kellyn Coetzee, Rustum August, Chris Steenkamp, Piet Potgieter, Melt Sieberhagen, Rob van Vuuren, Louw Venter, Paul Snodgrass, Warren Robertson, Siv Ngesi, Martin Evans and The Brothers Streep. Then check out a variety of the circuit’s newest comedians on Saturday including KG, Oliver Booth, Angel Blythe Campey, Carl Weber and Dylan Skews.

l Three-day tickets are R440 online or R450 at the gate. Saturday and Sunday tickets are R395 online or R400 at the gate. Sunday tickets are R100 at the gate. See www.synergylive.co.za