Stop Frame Sleep Oversby Phumlani Pikoli, images by Rowan Pybus / 15.10.2010
What is it about sleep over parties that make things okay when they get out of control? What makes them so different to the everyday run of the mill weekends in the city? Is it the communal living of the different coloured tents that sprawl the fields? Is it the fact that everyone becomes nice to each other because they’re constantly on a buzz? Is it the music that lulls them into a tranquil surrender to forget that they are usually ants that concern themselves with only their business in the city. Are the colourful make shift houses really enough to invoke a spirit of community, like those in the townships they’ve passed to get to the place? The music that keeps them swaying all weekend long? Wake up in a state to stay that way. It’s all like a dream really, the events unfurling around as if you’re in a stop frame animation. Nothing is linear it’s a mish mash of memories strung together reminding you that you had fun throughout the three days of carnage you put your body through.
The giant albino peanut that is the Red bull stage is where most of it happens. Shoes go walk about, the T-shirt’s follow, jumping higher than the Masai and pulling themselves up onto the railings and screaming . The days melt into luminous red and blue nights, these sirens should be a warning to all those involved. A hellish atmosphere is constantly being cooled down. Sedge Warbler brings it from the beginning starting at the bounce of the beats. Already people are sweating from the re-heat of the music. Disco’s presence shouts them into a whirl, they respond by trying to rap along. He shouts they shout back, Dank drops the beat and they stomp in defiance. Once they get off stage the new comers on the scene Voicetag are given the opportunity to rock the tent as hard as they can. They do despite having to swap mic’s during verses due to bad-sound preparation. No one cares the beats are hot enough, and the choruses are being sung for them.
Dam. The beauty that is usually at the Old Biscuit Mill is milling around the dam. They wear Bikini’s and our tongues flap. Attempt conversation, say something, the slur is too hard to translate into words, walk off like an idiot. Back to the Peanut. Mix ‘n Blend drop bass that will kill. A set harder than any rock wrestler. Swinging between break breats, bass and ending by losing us in the “Bear Necessities” of the Jungle Book we pretend to be Mowgli for that moment. How’s the next act to measure? They handle the pressure with due decorum. Hit us with the bass and we’re enslaved. Twelve and Thesis rock the set between themselves by pretending to disregard the audience in the beginning; drawing us to their enigmatic allure. Between Thesis (the lively but calm MC) and Twelve( the bass junkie and manic DJ) they pull the crowd onto stage with them. The T-shirts are lost again and there’s a jump in the crowd that the House of Pain and Criss Cross could never have made possible. Next up, Sibot’s fingers do best. Somehow the crowd don’t tire and the jumping continues. Between the kwaito inspired beats and the technical kicks and cuts put together the dances begin to follow some sort of rhythm. For some anyhow. The sweat in the tent does not become overbearing for anyone to stand. Just like LCD Soundsystem “We Dance Ourselves Clean.” In fact the sweat spurs them on in their free love to people and they hand out, share or spill their drinks each other. This is the vision of a rainbow nation Tutu had in mind with the TRC. Except they’re not forgiving one another merely accepting in their loss of control and rationale. Stop. Next frame, next day.
Sunday: Animate: between the shit talk and watching men hitting foreign women on their asses with frying pans you can’t help but get the feeling that only the cretins can carry on with the destruction of their bodies on the Sabbath. The Peanut is now my drug and I am drawn not by choice but craving. Honey B plays her swing jazz set. She starts off the morning in a good fashion. She has a bored look on her face as she plays but, sings along to the music at random parts proving that she enjoys what she does, she’s just confident up there. 7FT Soundsystem, bring the reggae element with the bounce of the bass as well as a saxophonist carrying melodies to that can only be labeled as sweet. The dance is reignited. This is church for us. The tent begins to fill up once again and one can’t help but get the feeling that by the end it might be back to last night’s passions. Foreseeing Funafuji’s set the excitement mounts, and the dancing to 7FT becomes more feverish. Finally she appears behind them and we wait to be blown up by the bass that she carries in her work. Her mixing at the beginning of the set is off. Disappointment doesn’t take a hold of the body entirely but a small bounce to the step is lost. She eventually gets her groove back and the jump begins once again. This time another anticipation is mounting in the stomach. Named after a King it’s not hard to see why. Wiping the sleep from his eyes on stage as he sets up a nervous anxiety for what is about to hit chokes our limbs. The cramps in my calf muscles subside for this one set. Richard the 3rd begins and we are ready to die. Between the Dubstep, the remix of the song Hip Hop and and Waddy’s “Super Evil” I’m surprised no lives are lost. “We the cretins dance for you!” once he finishes someone says “ Well now that Rocking the Dasies is over where’s the after party?” Cretins.
Losing two pairs of shoes, a towel, having a pair of sunglasses stolen and calves cramping, is that what you call a success? Or is that what it is about sleep over weekend parties in tents that make things okay when they get out of control but steady in their chaos?
All images © Rowan Pybus.