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Day 3: Johnny Clegg, Gogol Bordello and Karen Zoid bring Oppikoppi to a fitting close

2015-08-10 11:41

Northam - The third and final day of OppiKoppi 21: THE FANTASTIC MR VOSVOS arrived in the same style as its first two days, with the hot Limpopo sun punctuated briefly with a cool breeze as festival-goers sported the consequences of two days of hard partying.

By 09:00, there was only so much respite trees and buildings provided against the sun, in stark contrast to the night, where being near a fire was smart business. These extremes fittingly characterised day three's line-up, which started slowly but ramped up several fold as OppiKoppi reached its business end.

Durban's Black Math were the third act of the day to play at the Main stage. They played to a surprisingly sparse crowd given their track record in this part of Limpopo, but those that did brave the walk from Mordor were rewarded with a show full of intent and endeavour.

Exciting Scottish imports Twin Atlantic were bracketed after the Durbanites at the James Phillips stage. While not drawing a crowd as big as Tweak's from day two, the Scots were precise and polished, their show covering their growing catalogue and suggestive of a band who must be watched going forward.

The Johnny Clegg Tribute was next up on Main stage, the musical warrior making his first, and saying likely his last appearance at the festival. Clegg took the buoyant crowd across his career, playing favourites Impi, Woza Friday, Scatterings of Africa, and the especially well received Great Heart.

The crowd was also blessed by a two-song guest appearance by Clegg's Juluka running partner, Sipho Mchunu, the pair playing amidst a stunning red African sunset.

Johnny Clegg owning the Main stage @oppikoppi #OK21 #MrVosVos

A photo posted by Channel24 (@channel24_sa) on

Local rock royalty Karen Zoid kept the good times rolling at the James Phillips stage after Clegg's show, her Afrikaans material in particular drawing a strong response from the eager crowd. Shortstraw then continued their upward trajectory by drawing an excellent crowd and setting a jovial mood with a fine show at the Main stage.

@karen_zoid rocking it @oppikoppi on the last night! #OK21 #MrVosVos

A photo posted by Channel24 (@channel24_sa) on

Arguably one of the finest shows of the weekend followed at Skellum stage, where OppiKoppi great and blues maestro Albert Frost teamed up with Toya Delaze and Lee Thomson in what Frost referred to as a meld of blues, jazz, and hip-hop. It was enchanting, haunting, and engrossing, a real reward for festival-goers who had stuck it out over the last three days and more.

American rockers Brand New played after Frost and co at the Main stage. The Long Island natives did not disappoint, playing it hard and loud before a big crowd digging deep to get themselves over the festival's finish line, the event's three days by this point noticeably dragging down the less energetic.

Another OppiKoppi veteran Francois van Coke followed at the James Phillips stage, where a huge crowd roared with approval to Van Coke's distinctive voice and on-stage energy.

It served as ample preparation for gypsy punk group Gogol Bordello, who simply put were outstanding. Their eclectic mix of personalities, instruments, and cultures all came to the fore as they somehow managed to get a crowd at the tail end of three days of hard rocking to let go one last time, and throw their bodies and limbs in the air. For those who had seen Gogol Bordello as the prime motivator in attending this year's festival, they got value for money in bucket's worth.

Gogol Bordello. (Photo: Adam Wakefield, Channel24)

The festival came to a fitting close, excluding the machinations of the ever present Red Bull stage, with Frost popping up for his second show of the day at the Top Bar with brother-in-law Robin Auld. The pair, ably assisted by the band, put on a real treat of blues and rock in the relaxed surroundings.

It wrapped up a three day period which perhaps will be remembered most fondly by those who were willing to move between stages and really work hard to see as much music as possible.

The big names did as was expected, Gogol Bordello especially worthy of praise. However, the true heart and soul of what Oppikoppi arguably seeks or wants to be is found at the Bruilof and Skellum stages, with the Top Bar stage, for this writer anyway, the culminating piece of the puzzle.

It is at these stages where listeners are rewarded for their curiosity (most of the time anyway). It is where the brothers-and-sisters-arms attitude pervasive in Mordor comes to the fore, an attitude which is difficult to locate especially in South Africa's metropolitan areas, as people become immersed in their daily lives. Strangers talk to strangers that would otherwise never meet. Friends reminisce with friends they sometimes only seem to see at Oppikoppi.

Was OppiKoppi 21: THE FANTASTIC MR VOSVOS worth the time and hassle?

Oh yes. Bring on next year.

Read more on:    oppikoppi  |  local music  |  music

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