This weekend saw the The Design Indaba collaborate with Redbull Studios to host an after party, namely A Taste of Sonar (modelled on the festival overseas) for the expo at Cape Town City Hall. Those not included in the Design Indaba were able to buy tickets to the event, which featured international acts Massive Attack and ModeSelektor, for R250 – a very reasonable price.
I had never attended a dance party at the City Hall, but had always understood the main auditorium to be out-of-bounds. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised when the main dance floor was in fact in the concert hall! Home to a grand organ, beautiful gallery and chandeliers that reminded me of tiered ship wheels, the concert hall is a gorgeous venue for a party and A Taste of Sonar did feel special.
Apart from the exquisite architecture of the concert hall, City Hall is filled with marble lined passages, large stairwells and multiple “secret” balconies. The second dance floor hosted DJ’s provided by the Redbull Studios. The main bar was too crowded, but this was remedied by a second bar upstairs. It doesn’t seem that too many people did much exploring because the upstairs bar was easily accessed, while downstairs was packed all night. The bars were reasonably priced, except they didn’t stock Hunters or Savanna cider – nor Black Label, tequila or Jagermeister! Can you spell kill-joy? So it was headache inducing Sarita, brandy and coke or vodka Redbull filled evening for the ladies.
The decor the event was awesome. Helium balloon floated from the balcony and lit up like planets when the lasers struck them. The light show and sound was really good. Upstairs, a long passage decorated with mannequins draped in yellow cloth (the colour of the World Design Capital of 2014, which happens to be Cape Town) lead to a film room. An old school pop corn maker filled the passage and visitors with the yummy smell of fresh popcorn – on sale for the movie. On the large external balcony there were a few food stalls offering hotdogs and finger foods for those feeling a bit peckish.
Initially the main dance floor had been empty at 9:00 by but 9:40 it had filled up with a stark contract of excitable party animals versus a more serious/curious design expo crowd. Although many chatted pleasantly, it seemed to be their big night out as they patiently stood still, seemingly anticipating a “concert” opposed to a dance party; whilst the party animals bopped their heads, whistled, cheered and danced in anticipation of the internationals.
But, was anybody else as disappointed with Massive Attack’s performance, on Friday night, as I was? Perhaps my expectations were too high, but how could they not be when they wrote one of THE most iconic electronic songs of the 90’s? Unfinished Symphony is one of the few songs on the planet that remains timeless today. The Guardian even voted it as one of the top 10 songs of all time (Wikipedia.org), but sadly the same can’t be said for Massive Attack’s DJ set on Friday night.
The audience was very excited when Massive Attack walked on stage. They had a long intro then melted into their ever popular electronic lullaby “Tear Drop”. This sent the audience into overdrive, but sadly the energy never seemed to go anywhere. This left me with 2 thoughts: 1) is Massive Attack just too mellow to rock a party or 2) were they just there for the money? For example: if Burial was playing, then surely the organisers would have to give them an appropriate set time to suit their style of music? A morning or sunset set? So perhaps MA just doesn’t suit a 10pm set at a dance party. Or did they just not care to rock the party? They did play a dubstep remix of their latest single Paradise Circle from their Heligoland album, but after a slow first half hour, it felt too little too late.
Modeselekor won the performance of the night. From the moment they entered the hall the energy instantly changed. I don’t usually listen to techno, but I have to note that they picked up the energy ball and ran with it. They had a vocal intro, the one man played the vuvuzela for a laugh and they addressed Cape Town as the audience. These may seem like small gestures but engaging with an audience is so important. Massive Attack hardly looked up from their equipment 🙁
I think the over all star of the night was the City Hall and the decor. The lights were AWESOME! There was text running across the gallery and white helium balloons had been tied to the gallery benches. When the lights and lasers hit the balloons it created a 3D bulb effect that looked beautiful! Like a 3D sky full of planets! I was really impressed with the light show and graphics used during the sets. The silver lined globe with continents during Massive Attack’s Paradise Circle as well as green and purple lasers were incandescent. I believe UVA were the artists responsible for the graphics but I’m not sure about the hall decor. A job really well done there. Take a look at the video for yourself:
P.S If u would like to share this footage, pls have the courtesy to share the entire blog link. Thank u 🙂