Review: Shadowclub And Gangs of Ballet At Kirstenbosch


With a demographic that seems to be pretty much anyone that can make it to the venue on time, it cannot be easy to arrange the line up for the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert. ­Yet somehow they get it right each season, filling up Kirstenbosch’s lawn on days such as last Sunday where the weather could have gone either way. But for Shadowclub and Gangs of Ballet it was worth the weather gamble.

Rather bashfully Gangs of Ballet’s Brad Klynsmith (vocals and guitars) professed their excitement for their Kirstenbosch debut, describing it as a “first date”.  As it was the first time that I had seen them live I also had some nerves. Yes they sound great on the radio, and offer catchy lyrics with depth, but could they cross the country to Cape Town where audiences have been known to treat live music as background ambience?

The opening song was a little rocky with Klynsmith’s falsetto not quite hitting the right pitch. But this was merely a blimp in an otherwise rocking performance.  No surprise then to anyone attending that later that same evening Gangs cemented their stake at the South African Music industry by winning the MK Awards for Best Newcomer with their shockingly good ‘Hello Sweet World’.

Though I have never gone out of my way to see Shadowclub I always find myself enjoying them to the extent that the band I originally came to see becomes a sideline.  And sure enough Shadowclub at Kirstenbosch delivered. ‘Hello Killer’ was fast tempo and irresistible, and the charm was turned on with a few surprise slower songs.

While I’m still deciding where my relationship with Gangs will go (a definite Like on Facebook, wearing the shirt still pending), Shadowclub remains my sure thing one night stand.

Jana van Heerden

Gangs of Ballet and Shadowclub performed at the Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series on 24 March 2013.


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