Whoever it may be that controls the weather in Cape Town, they sure do smile upon the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts. Sunday 11th March was another perfect day for an evening in the gardens, being entertained by the finest in local music – Goldfish.
A regular sell out at Kirstenbosch is not a rare event, but Goldfish are the one act that can guarantee to get a notoriously laid back Sunday afternoon crowd up on its feet within minutes. Sure enough, the prime spot which we had acquired did not stay prime for long. As soon as Goldfish appeared on the stage, a small group of pre-teens leapt up and began dancing in front of the stage, quickly followed by people of all shapes and sizes: the American hippies, the mom with her young child, the oh-so-cool twenty-somethings…everyone was dancing and jumping up and down unashamedly, and who could blame them? Goldfish’s energy was irresistible, and the vibe just got better and better with each song.
A little magic (some young people holding cardboard cutouts) made the stage come alive with ‘goldfish’ that seemed to frolic in ‘waves’ on the edges of the stage. The stage was also livened up by a big screen backdrop which alternated between live-streaming the performance and showing clips from black and white films, classic cartoons and disturbingly accurate animations of the band members. As if the stage needed livening up, though! And as if the crowd needed to be told to jump and waves our arms! We were doing it anyway. Not a single person was still sitting by the time Goldfish launched into their hit ‘Get Busy Living’. Another highlight was one of the band’s first hits, ‘This Is How It Goes’, the first verse of which was stripped down to its jazz roots, with beautiful results.
Members David Poole and Dom Peters were enthusiastic about every song. Although not vocalists themselves, they could be seen singing along heartily, clearly enjoying themselves just as much as the audience was. And how impressive is it that they can play so many instruments? Excellent musicians abound in Cape Town as in the rest of the world, but where else do they combine their instruments with a groove box and mixing desk? Peters demonstrated some virtuoso jazz and classical skills on the keyboards, and occasionally pitched in some cool vibes with the double bass, whilePoolegrooved on the tenor and soprano sax and on the flute.
Vocals were performed by three talented artists, Monique Hellenberg, Sakhile Moleshe and Emily Bruce, the latter of whom was an absolute treat to watch on stage, a truly energetic and engaging performer.
Ending off their set with the ever-popular ‘Soundtracks and Comebacks’, Goldfish stayed true to their lyrics and came back for an encore of another crowd favourite, ‘Cruisin’ Through’, before thanking the crowd wholeheartedly for coming out to support them. During this song, they were joined on stage by a goldfish mascot – the sort of hideous veloured man-sized puppet that makes small children cry, but by then the crowd at Kirstenbosch would have loved anything thrown at them… and this fish had some fantastic dance moves.
Goldfish have done something which I would have deemed almost impossible: they’ve managed to make dance music beautiful. In a market saturated with mainstream, commercial singers who don’t feel their music, it’s clear that Goldfish do. They’ve taken their passion for entertaining and combined it with their qualifications as jazz musicians, and created a brand new genre pulling together dance, electronica and jazz. It sounds crazy but it works. The platinum-selling albums, the SAMAs, the residency inIbiza, all of this makes perfect sense after seeing them perform live.
I could name some international stadium rock bands that would battle to sell as many tickets as our very own Goldfish did this weekend. These guys are Cape Town music at its very best – they give an extremely entertaining performance, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must live by their mantra and get busy living.
Goldfish performed at the Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert Series at Kirstenbosch National Botantical Gardens, on 11 March.
Click here to see our photos of the performance.
If you liked this review, read our review of Goldfish at St Yves.