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Top Live Acts of 2008

2008-12-23 10:45
It was a very good year...

2008 was another bumper year for brilliant live music. A slew of international superstars strutted their stuff: Celine Dion kicked off her first world tour since leaving Las Vegas. Old school soul pop loverman Lionel Richie and Rocking Rod Stewart proved that age is a state of mind when you've got chutzpah. As did the slew of jazz and soul stalwarts who graced the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Of course, it wasn't just the international contigent who wowed SA's live music arenas though. Homegrown heroes such as Jimmy Dludlu, Seether, Goldfish, Karen Zoid and Dan Patlansky all dazzled audiences across the country with their consistently dynamic performances.

The Top 10
1. Simphiwe Dana
When SA's premier soul jazz songbird invited legendary maskandi queen Busi Mhlongo on stage for a duet at the recent Kirstenbsoch Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concert you actually started to believe in Mbeki's African Renaissance. Watch: Live at Kirstenbosch
2. Seether
What sets Seether apart from every other South African rock band? No, not the Sama-winning size or Billboard Top 10 polish of their post-grunge cocktail of radio anthems, nu-metal dirges and symphonic rock seizures. It's the unbridled intensity of lead singer, Shaun Morgan's Dionysian drive. Watch: Homecoming Tour: Live at Grand Arena, CT
3. Dan Patlansky
"Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel" said Jimi Hendrix famously. Yep, watching SA's top blues rock guitar god running the Mississippi blues voodoo down with a blistering re-imagining of Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" was a mind altering experience. Watch: Live at Up the Creek
4. Karen Zoid may be a 30-something stalwart, but at Oppikoppi the SA rock diva proved she's still got the rock recipe with a flamboyant performance that got the boys whistling and the girls bouncing at her epic gig on the James Philips Main Stage. Watch: Live at Oppikoppi
5. Jimmy Dludlu
This year's Cape Town International Jazz Fest boasted a heavyweight old skool cast of top notch performers including Sergio Mendes, The Manhattans and more. Ultimately it was funky smooth jazz guitarist Jimmy Dludlu who really got the party started with his funky Afro-jazz rhythms. Watch: Live at the CTIJF 2008
6. Muse
Muse may not have bothered to banter with the My Coke Fest crowd, but they sure had the kids in raptures with the sheer pyrotechnic majesty of their progressive space rock spectacle. Watch: Live in CT. And hey, let's not forget kilt-sporting nutter Jonathan Davis and Korn, who rocked hard and heavy. Watch: My Coke Fest 2008
7. 340ml
Pedro's haunted vocals, Tiago's deconstructed jazz-rock runs, and Paolo and Rui's reconstructed reggae rhythms made their live renditions of songs off Sorry for the Delay some dangerously subversive Diaspora dub. Watch: Live at Oppikoppi
8. Goldfish
The electro-jazzy house hipsters continued to redefine what dance music means for 5000 applauding fans at the launch of their impeccaby funky new CD, Perceptions of Pacha. Watch: This is How it Goes (Live at Kirstenbosch)
9. Inge Beckmann
Ever wonder what's missing from so-called alternative music? Watching ex-Lark siren, Inge give traditional Irish ditty "Danny Boy" an avant-cabaret overhaul was one of the most supernaturally sexy live experiences of the year. Damn, does this babe have some serious pipes or what!? Watch: Danny Boy
10. Kwani Experience
Catching the Afro-jazzy-funk-hop jammers channeling the ghosts of Kuti, Marley, Makeba and Mabuse on the Sipho Gumede Stage brought a wlecome dose of Proudly Pan African fire to the Oppikoppi bushveld this year. Watch: Live at Oppikoppi

Honorable mentions:
Albert Frost
The SA blues-rock guitar guru burned up the opening night of Oppikoppi. Watch: Live at the Indie Armchair
Rod Stewart
Rocking Rod may be perilosuly close to being a pensioner, but this doesnt mean he's ready for his pipe and slippers just yet. Watch: Live in CT
50 Cent
Yes, yes, Kanye's slicker and The Roots are funkier. But until they come back to SA, 50's bling rap brilliance will do, thank you very much. Watch: Review
Still one of SA's most mesmerising freetsylers. Watch: Live at the Indie Armchair
Farrell Adams and his rap rock pioneers returned to show the skinny-jeaned jokers what real rock is. Watch: Bandslam Reunion
MaxNortmal.Tv Wad-e and Yo-landi kept the holy grail of hip-hop self-expression alive with their ongoing adevntures in leftfield rap. Watch: "The Tik Song"

And lest we forget (amidst all her concert chaos)
Celine Dion

The French-Canadian diva once again proved why she's in a class of her own with a medley of her classic Vegas-friendly glitz pop hits. Watch: Live in CT

From Celine Dion's pop spectacle and Simphiwe Dana's Afro-jazzy soul to 340ml's subversive dub melting pot & more. Watch the cream of 2008's live crop in action.
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