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Belville Botanical Gardens

by Bianca Fernandes, images by Duran Levinson / 18.01.2011

Last Sunday Jack Parow and The Van Coke clan took to the small Kirstenbosch stage for their turn at entertaining the grassy slope of picnickers. Goodhope FM’s DJ Cheese (or so he should be called) kept the crowd amused in the build up. And while the field was expecting the mellower acoustic sounds of Francois and his guitar, invariably Van Coke Kartel plugged in their amps, and within a few songs started to belt out the old Fokof crowd-pleasers. Fokof sing alongs always give me chills. So I wasn’t complaining.

If you’ve seen Jack Parow before you’ll know what to expect. No surprises. Just him, his DJ and some live collaboration on his most popular songs with Die Heuwels Fantasties and Francios Van Coke adding a bit of variety and getting everyone hyped. Jack’s looking a bit ropey at the moment. Maybe all that hard living and pop fame is having an adverse effect on his body, even if it seems to have little effect on his stage show.

It was kif to see all the Northern Suburbs boere who made the journey across the lentil curtain bringing with them their lingo and DIY home decorated shirts. “Bellville kinders innie huis!”, “Hoss ja!”. Kids wearing Jack Parow caps rocking their proud-to-be-stupid Bellville Breker attitudes. Loud and proud, unlike the group of Southern Suburb wasps seated at the top of the hill quietly humming along, consciously hoping no one was watching. Barefooted head bangers with pouted rock lips, Castle Lagers in hand and the last of the afternoon sun on their backs. Bringing Bellville to Kirstenbosch, as always, gets everyone involved in the atmosphere. That’s the beauty of open aired concerts and tightly packed crowd sitting together and appreciating.

Jack PArow, Van Coke Kartel

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the lyrics, because the passion of their delivery and the barely concealed pain Francois gives off will carry you through the set. Every performance of “Ek Skyn Heilig” and “Hemel Op Die Platteland” always get me moving and feeling that lump in my throat, regardless of the fact that I don’t fully understand everything he’s singing. Their cover of “Maniac” from Flashdance, that a very in love and recently engaged Francois dedicated to his wife-to-be, didn’t quite fit the set and wasn’t the most appropriate cover for a band like Van Coke, but the drunken underage t-shirt savages and their parents didn’t seem to care as they got up and jumped around anyway. Those highlighted faux-hawked kids will dance to anything that the Belville paragons produce.

When you hear “Dis kak fokkin lekker”, you know Parow is on stage with his hat and gold rings and all the young fans screaming his name try and keep up with the pace of his rap. He’s entertaining and energetic, but soon every song starts sounding the same.

The Belville hit machine have so many fans and followers, it was always going to be an easy gig. Pairing up Jack Parow and Fokof-B, uh, I mean Van Coke Kartel will always make for a good show, especially when it’s performed at an outside stage in a beautiful garden on hot summer’s evening to an audience that knows the songs and can sing back all the lyrics.

Jack Parow

Francois Van Coke

Van Coke Kartel

All images © Duran Levinson.

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