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Dance the Bus Stop

by Phumlani Pikoli, images by Adam Kent Wiest / 05.08.2010

Cool – going to a show for music that you enjoy to stand around and look
disinterested. It’s no longer about being there – it’s about being the coolest person at the blow out. Covering yourself in mystery and intrigue. Are we turning Japanese? Apparently people there don’t dance. They just stand around and wait for the gig to finish and applaud politely afterwards. We have so many different kinds of dances here in Mzansi, I’m surprised that we don’t indulge more often. There’s the Ngwazi.

The Vuma.

And who can leave out the Bus Stop?

We used to dance. I’m speaking about us music lovers. We danced all the time. Saturday July 31st, Albert Hall. In the Words of Frankie Valli: “Oh what a night!” The lineup said it all. Mr. Sakitumi, Markus Womrstorm and the Dutch internationals themselves. C-mon and Kypsky kept the crowd well entertained. Arms and legs everywhere. The energy was palpable. People made no secret about wanting to enjoy a show.

Too often in Cape Town I go to gigs and end up getting fucked out of my mind and dancing by myself. If Kool and the Gang were still around today they would hardly play gigs in Cape Town – since they ask a very important question, and give an even more important instruction in the song “Get Down On It”:

“How you gonna do it if you really don’t wanna dance, by standing on the wall? Get your back up off the wall!”

This Saturday there was none of that. No restraint. People got dressed up to get down and it was beautiful. Described as a “hipster-electro” party, thankfully it was one where people didn’t bring their usual pretences. Mr Sakitumi tells me he enjoyed his set and that the crowd responded to his music the way he wanted them to. Finally.

The Dutch internationals had people shaking their limbs in all directions with glad-hearted abandon. This was wonderful – where have they all been throughout my Cape Town experience? The bands’ energy and flow seems to be transferred to the crowd, or does the crowds’ energy transfer itself to the band? The hipster or the egg? Either way it was a good exchange.

The venue itself isn’t all that big but the size worked. The bar is no hassle. The “back on the wall” crowd are banished to the outside – at one with their toxic tobacco cylinders. I join them from time to time. People are actually smiling and greeting each other. There isn’t the usual aloofness and the “do you know who I am?” Julius Malema mentality that one usually encounters at these sorts of gigs. I decide there and then that the gig has done its job.

Markus Wormstorm then proceeds to make the crowd really get down. Using electro, circus swing, bass and hand claps. (It’s hard to pin down his sound). We dance, we laugh – we make the circle but it doesn’t grow. The energy is unmistakable and it’s all in the name of fun – which is why people go to gigs. It was worth waking up in the car the next morning. We danced.

All images © Adam Kent Wiest.

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