Reader review: The urban music festival 2008

2008-04-17 10:30
I arrived at the Good Hope Centre early, anticipating a fervent crowd. I was met by a handful of confused youngsters donning their most blinging G-Unit accessories. I entered the main auditorium which was overpowered with a blaring loop of various MTV base and "Power of 5" TV spots – I took a seat waiting for the crowd and sound quality to improve.

The local acts kicked off with Lungi and Leanne, whose fleeting performances were plagued by poor sound and routinely applauded by an unapologetic Cape Town crowd. Despite this, Loyiso entered to a roar as the audience responded to his signature upbeat singles and appreciated a familiar face.

After various delays the enterprising group Black Violin eventually took the stage and impressed with their display of fusing Hip Hop and Classical sound effortlessly. Then Fat Joe's performance, coupled with poor sound, was mediocre but was saved by the crowd knowing how to "Lean back".

Another delay and enter a kilt clad DJ with a tufted Mohawk, his unequalled energy was immediately consumed by the crowd who remained on a knife's edge with his zany presence and on stage antics. The "Hype-man" magically transformed the gathering into a concert. All at once it seemed like the centre was filled to capacity. Akon’s easy entrance neutralized the atmosphere and the crowd was desperate to be pleased.

The show took the form of a conversation involving his hits which at times seemed corny but engaged the crowd none the less. With singles such as "Smack that" and "Lonely", Akon and his posse performed their function and salvaged some pride from what could have been an otherwise disappointing show. Whether it was worth the wait or not… he handled the meager crowd well and the chemistry between him and his DJ was undeniable.
- Darryl Alexander

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