It was the day we had been waiting for and excitement was running high at Carnival City for 16 000 rockers for Rock on The Lawns, featuring The Pixies and local support acts.
More than 150 000 drinks consumed and a large variety of food stalls catered for different tastes as well as the merchandise stand. The new cashless payment system, Howler, also proved to be very successful - just ‘tap and go’ and any unused cash was refunded at the end of the night. No mess, no fuss. Amp Events certainly proved that they were very well organised, clean and very safety conscious.
Due to time constraints, we missed new-comers to the SA music scene, Richard Stirton, winner of the voice and The Sweet Resistance. However, the word around the campfire is that they lived up to all expectation and have gained new fans for sure. ‘Local is Lekker’ and the spoils were shared evenly among all performing bands.
Shortstraw, have definitely earned their stripes on the SA music scene and rocked the crowd into the afternoon with their catchy “Indie-Bele” tunes and my fav “Couch Potato”. They will be spreading their South African vibes on the other side of the pond, heading on the UR OK UK/ Euro tour in April.
Crash Car Burn took to the stage to rock next. They need no introduction and never disappoint. They have been around for many years and showed their love for close friend and upcoming artist Justin Serraro whom they invited to collaborate with. He joined them on stage to sing 'Winding Road'. Justin too has made his mark on the scene and is one solo musician to keep a close eye on. Crash car played their new single “Juliet” that has been making waves after their release just over a week ago. Later into the Crash Car set, the band released massive balloons into the crowd that raised the rocking energy.
Of course, by the time,A-Kingand Prime Circlemade it to the stage, the crowd became much more rowdy and defensive about who was standing where, and even moving around between the crowds was becoming rather difficult.
Prime Circle delivered a stellar performance as usual and how to deliver rock to their fans. Their production standard is world class and pour their soul into their performance. They brought the masses together and lifted the energy before the Springbok Nude Girls took over.
The most loved alternative rock band that SA has ever seen, The Springbok Nude Girls still know how to rock the stage. Theo Crous on guitar, ‘the main man with the hair’ illuminated the stage with his head banging energy as Arno lead the vocals and the sounds of the trumpet gently reminded us that the Nudies were in the house. Rock on the Lawns saw solidarity of the people as the Nudies pulled the crowds along finishing their set with “Bubblegum on my boots”. Some people we spoke to had not seen them since the late ’90s and this was the ultimate opportunity to see them in their mature years and rekindle their youth.
More people were crowding the stage after SNG as they were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Pixies, the ultimate headlining act.
The Pixies can still rock after 31 years. The crowd sang along to the all-time favourites – “Hey”, “Monkey Gone to Heaven”, “Where is my Mind”, “Here Comes your Man”, “Gigantic”. Rob McLennan of No Friends of Harry was in awe of the Pixies performance, stating they are one of the greatest bands of all time. There was some disappointment as the Pixies did not communicate with the crowd. They got on stage, played their set, strutted their stuff and left, however, the music was great and delivered what the crowd was there to see.
As a true rocker, you need to get trolled at least once in your life at a concert (but that's a story for another time). Taking a look around, I was already amazed at how many people were already passing out and just thinking, “These guys are going to miss the highlight of the show.” I felt a little remorse for some of these young lads who obviously couldn’t control themselves.
In true rock ‘n roll style, some parents brought their kids to see the Pixies too and experience the diversity of our S.A music scene. Bands likeThe Sweet Resistance,Shortstraw,Crash Car Burn and A-kinghad done their part by attracting the younger crowd, just so they could experience rock icons such as thePrime Circle, Springbok Nude Girls andThe Pixies.
Let us not forget how the music reached us. The man behind the airwaves, Barney Simon brought alternative music to life by playing these iconic bands on the radio. He was the first DJ to play SNG and Pixies on radio. (Take a bow Barney, the music industry owes you a place in the Rock N Roll Wall of Fame for your contribution to the music scene).
“Here Comes your Man"
To add the cherry on the top (or the diamond), the highlight of the evening, just beforePrime Circle, came most unexpectedly for one lady from Durban, when John Mathers proposed to Michelle De Faria Marques, over the big screen.
The Happy Couple - John Mathers & Michelle De Faria Marques
It is quite apparent that S.A music had certainly come, a long way and thanks to event organisers AMP Events, for putting on a great show. Thank you, Andy Mac, for you continued support and effort in providing us with some of the best entertainment from around the globe. S.A is certainly more entertained with you around. Keep the dream alive and we can’t wait to see who you will bring out next!
Feel free to tell us about your Rock on the Lawns experience, we would love to hear!
Thanks to bands like this that keep events like this coming!
Chief Whip at UP