Review: Jack Parow Lives Up to His Superster Status

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jack parowSummertime, and the chilling is easy…

The picnic blankets are out, and so is the sun. Groups of beautiful people sitting on the lush grass chatting, laughing, sharing wine and Woolies food while the summer sky changes colour behind the backdrop of the mountains. Our favourite season is back, and so are the Kirstenbosch Sunset concerts, the perfect way to end off a weekend of bliss.

Last weekend, the grass-hugged stage saw our homeboy from the Northern Suburbs take the spotlight. Jack Parow in his signature leopard-print long cap, black wife-beater shirt and knee-high red board shorts took the sunset stage. And though he was the headline act, he shared the sunlight and the limelight with a boatload of other locally brewed talent.

Atypical to his own shows Parow pulled up a chair and sat down. Acoustic shows seem to be the in-thing these days, he explained, and he was going to try his hand at an acoustic show. Self-admittedly sceptical as to how well this would work he apologized for any potential mistakes and fell into a ‘Last Laugh’ from his album Eksie Ou, backed by some gorgeous Arabesque female vocals.  The crowds cheered with hands in the air as he brought it home with ‘Byellville’ and then moved into his own unique rendition of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. The more songs he sang, the more bodies jumped up from the grass to shake some ass. Fun times were running rampant.

Given how unique he is, Jack Parow is a great collaborator. Each song saw another artist join the front to share the space. Francois van Coke was there in skinny jeans and a moustache to sing ‘Dans Dans Dans’, while Le Roi (Foto na Dans) gooi’ed sexy melodies with Parow in ‘Hier’s hy nou’. The most epic moment of all was when local legend David Kramer ran onstage dressed in a full red suit with red vellies on his feet and jammed ‘Biscuits and Biltong’ while hopping around like an impish bunny rabbit on one leg. I was wondering who was having the best time – the crowd who had gathered in front of the stage or the family of a musical crew onstage. Either way, there was a lot of jumping around going on.

Though Parow calls himself a lekker romantiese Afrikaans superster rapper, it’s hard to pigeonhole him into one specific genre. He would jump from heartfelt ballads to Cypress Hill-esque hard rap only to bring in DJ Naaldekoker and fall into a whole different direction by dropping langarm style Afrikaans music – ‘Kaptein span die seile’ – and then override the cheese with eardrum-popping dubstep. Try classify that mix.

With his ironic rapper overconfidence and intentional bad taste, Jack Parow still strikes me as a good ouk. He was continually chatting to the audience, telling stories and making jokes. He bummed cigarettes from the crowd and stopped between songs to lead the whole of the concert lawn into singing Happy Birthday for a random fan. He sang a beautiful song dedicated to his 1-year old daughter, Ruby Tuesday. He’d be the kinda guy you could take home to meet your mother, if only he wasn’t such a potty mouth. Though, filling spaces with swearwords probably comes with the territory of you are a superster rapper. Still – he throws a great show, makes the audience feel like friends and knows how to share a stage. Kief, Parow, very kief.

Marilu Snyders

Jack Parow performed at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on 1 December.

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