One thing is certain: a Fokofpolisiekar gig is guaranteed to be packed with high energy and crazy antics. You can’t help getting caught up in the excitement, as last week proved when the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts hosted the renowned Afrikaans band. When Fokofpolisiekar took to the stage I was charged with energised zeal, regardless of the fact that I had been awake since 4am. I sang and cheered with enthusiasm, along with the rest of the audience. I’m an ardent fan and have attended many of their gigs, but never in a setting like this. I was curious to see how a notoriously wild act like Fokofpolisiekar would play out in the tranquil surroundings of Kirstenbosch. But due to their electrified presence and remarkable showmanship, you can place the band in any context and the result will be fantastic.
Another level of entertainment was added by the inevitable mosh pit that had people abandoning their picnic spots to join the jam in front. Burly security men perched on the edge of the stage did not take kindly to people’s attempts to clamber up to join the band. One successful audience member promptly stage-dived back into the throng, but the rest were not as fortunate and were thrust back into the mosh pit, rather unceremoniously.
It was a diverse crowd that attended, as far as age was concerned. The audience consisted mostly of exuberant 20-somethings, but a fair amount of older folk milled around, along with children who revelled in the open space and freedom to run around. Even the band’s guitarist, Johnny de Ridder, had his son attending his very first Fokofpolisiekar gig.
It was a pity that there were no support acts. It would have been great to see new acts propelled forward by Fokofpolisiekar, especially if they had been hand-picked by the band members themselves, because it would be an assurance of quality. They did, however, treat fans to a new song, and all the firm favourites featured as well, including ‘Hemel op die Platteland’ and ‘Monoloog in Stereo’.
The foreigners in the crowd could be spotted by their bewildered expressions. That they were unable to understand the lyrics was a pity as Fokof’s insightful and often envelope-pushing lyrics are renowned. Even an English-speaking South African was inspired to urge his friends to teach him Afrikaans, saying “ I love what they’re doing, but I don’t understand any of it.” Nevertheless, the power of the band’s performance and the pull of their presence left everyone impressed, local and foreign alike, and in such good spirits that many lingered long after the sun went down.
Fokofpolisiekar performed at the Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts on 2 February 2014.