I once encountered a meme that said something to the effect of:
“Sure the world didn’t end in 2012 but, to be honest, has anyone felt alive since?”
Lucia Nomafu Nokonwabisa Gcingca
I come from a generation which, many may agree, peaked in 2012. It was a wondrous time unsullied by the ramshackle despondency of the “dirty thirties” that I can best describe as a free trial of adulthood. Nothing reflected our candid optimism quite like the upbeat twang of the Telecaster indie riff, which provided the soundtrack to those serotonin infused days. Afro/indie pop was the order of the day and very few served a better dish than Beach Party.
Miso broth electric air greeted me like an old and dear friend as I stepped into the sold-out Raptor Room to be greeted by a wealth of old and dear friends. “The ballies are out tonight!” I thought as I half wrestled, half swam my way through a lukewarm ocean of bodies – all dying to get a decent view of the band. A familiar riff cut through the lush air, whipping the sleepy crowd into a harmonious swing. Cape Town’s prodigal kids had come back home. And you know what? They’re all right.
The band delivered a cascade of fervent, well executed songs without missing a beat. It was like they’d never left. It’s funny how time passes without paying us any mind. That’s the magic of music. It takes us three dimensional beings and places us (sometimes gently) into the otherwise impossible to reach fourth dimension. We can be the cosmos, if only for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Time stood still and flew simultaneously, giving us sneak peaks of the present, past and future. All while engaging in full combat with ourselves (but most importantly… to reach the goddamn bar.)
Raptor Room is one of the few venues that can match not only the band but the audience’s temperament with such refined benevolence. Providing a safe and open environment for one to just be. Just vibing bro, you feel me? A problem (I find) with most venues is that live music tends to be a secondary thought and this becomes loud and (maybe, not so) clear when it comes to the quality of the sound during live performances. This, however, was not the case on that eve. Having heard my share of live performances, I must admit that the sound was (as we say in the business) awesome. The kick drum thumped; the bass boomed; the gueetars wahhhed and the vocals were crisp. And most importantly, we had a damn good time.
The nausea that comes with nostalgia is just our bodies getting accustomed to time’s aloof inertia. Time did march on and, shit, so did we. It was special to be in the presence of all the fourth dimension’s constituents. A certain world did end as a new begun. It happens every second. Maybe more often on a quantum level. But that’s a conversation for another time. However, I can say without irony that – as we hurled through space, knee deep in a late capitalism dystopia – we did, for a at least an hour, feel alive.