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Review: Prime Circle At Kirstenbosch

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Prime CircleA sunny Sunday afternoon and dotting the crowd on the Kirstenbosch concert lawn the Constantia locals could easily be spotted, thanks to their posh picnic blankets and their Woolworths ready-made picnics.

The beautiful Kirstenbosch Garden’s Sunday summer concerts are a wonderful way to wind down a weekend – relaxing in the company of world class acts with friends… provided you don’t mind having your knees around your neighbours’ ears, that is. The performance by the ever-popular Prime Circle was particularly packed, with some concert-goers forced to sit outside the concert area in order to have space to spread their blankets.

Alternative rock group The Rescu provided a surprise opening act, just as they had for Just Jinjer the previous day at Dunes.  Headed by Mike Vaughan, owner of Marshall Music – one of the best known music shops in Cape Town – these three boys are well-connected and definitely up-and-coming, yet they struggled to warm up the crowd at Kirstenbosch, many of whom seemed more interested in scraping the last dregs of hummus from their little plastic pots. A clumsy half an hour later, the group slouched off with a forgettable farewell, and Prime Circle finally took the stage.

The talent of these rockers – together now for 12 years – has been finely polished and their songs were slickly delivered, with old favourites such as the ballad ‘She Always Gets What She Wants’ being particularly well received. A small group gathered in front of the stage and the band’s powerful alternative rock sound proved ideal for the dancing die-hards, yet still mellow enough to be enjoyed as the soundtrack to a family picnic.

The evening was slowly building momentum as smooth power ballads and classic rock tracks captured the audience with their raw honesty. The surprisingly powerful and gravelly voice of front man Ross Learmonth accentuates this sense of genuine emotion. Inevitably there were a couple of attempts at an interactive singalong but this never works well at Kirstenbosch except for those at the very front.  Nonetheless even those towards the back of the lawn were finally warming up as was evident in the enthusiastic response to ‘Out of this Place’.

Concert-goers were to be disappointed, however, by the band’s joltingly sudden farewell and exit from the stage. Although our somewhat bemused chanting was able to recall the group for an encore, the brevity of the performance left many feeling somewhat cheated. For a band so established and with such an extensive archive of hits it felt very odd for them to leave the stage after less than an hour.

by Brynde Fisher-Jeffes

Prime Circle played at the Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concert Series at Kirstenbosch on 23 December 2012.

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