The annual Oppikoppi spin-off event took place last night at the Good Hope Centre. As was to be expected with the venue’s reputation, the sound on the whole was horrendous – overpowering drums, muddy bass and hours of ringing ears that followed. Tickets really should be sold with a free set of ear plugs. However, when you can tell that a band is tight despite bad sound, then you know that they’re getting it right. Editors and Wolfmother were the main attractions with local heavy blues outfit, Shadowclub, and Israeli instrumental rockers, Tatran, as supporting acts. Both the supporting acts provided suitable and appropriate entertainment for a crowd which was still very much in its infancy phase for both performances.
This would change exponentially in the 45 minute set-up break between Shadowclub and Editors. It was clear from the get-go that the crowd had its collective heart set on Wolfmother; this makes Editors’ captivating performance all the more impressive considering that only one or two tracks were immediately recognised. Lead singer Tom Smith delivered a pleasantly dramatic stage presence and projected his lamenting melodies with precision. Although, at times, it was difficult to not think of him as a sincere and vocally more creative version of Kahn Morbee.
Anticipation built steadily toward the end of the wait for Wolfmother and burst at the brim as they opened with ‘Apple Tree’ and took the crowd on a whaling riff-heavy set of new tracks and favourites and climaxed with a rapturous encore of ‘Joker & The Thief’. When Oppikoppi announced them as headliners, the announcement came with the thought process of: “Have they maybe not had their day?” This was undoubtedly dismissed by their performance – the fact that they play uncompromising and, to an extent, timeless rock provides them with an equally timeless ability to impress. Despite the highly disappointing absence of a large portion of Ian Peres’ groove-centric bass licks (due to no fault of their own), Andrew Stockdale’s vocals and frontmanship were flawless. It was interesting to note that he praised the Cape Town crowd for providing them with the best reception to their new material that they’ve received so far.
If you’re planning on going to, are on your way to, or are at Oppikoppi, you can most certainly look forward to all three foreign acts (Shadowclub are not playing this year), especially considering that the sound will be better than it was last night. It has to be.