Innibos… Music, art, dust, some more dust and then some more music. A time when Nelsparta’s roads look like peak hour traffic in Gauteng and driving skills are much to be desired. When it’s not strange to meet celebrities from Cape Town. Whether you love Innibos or avoid it like your uncle’s bad breath, it is part of the Nelspartan culture – as much as a beer after work is.
To think 11 years ago it all started as a humble little festival with just a handful of artists singing on a small stage with a small flea market to keep you busy. Now it takes a whole year to budget and plan on which days to attend. A lot of people complained about the costs of Innibos this year, but then again most of these complainers moan throughout the year that there is nothing to do in Nelspruit. Either you are one of them or, like me, you support the arts. What I enjoy about Innibos is I don’t have to fly anywhere nor drive hundreds of kilometers to watch some of the best bands in South Africa. It’s literately all down the street from me.
Wednesday 02 July;
The first day of any festival is always an exciting day, like the first day back at school after the holidays. My good friend Louise Pieterse and I had previously discussed that we would drink each other under the table. It was great seeing her, and having a media pass helped me experience Innibos a little differently. We (meaning my bodyguard and I) arrived at the festival just after 6 pm. The festival grounds seemed busy but it wasn’t a big number crowd. I caught a glimpse of Emo Adams on the main stage. We made our way to the Coca-Cola Rock stage to meet up with our friends. I bumped into Chris van der Walt and Jason Hinch of the Black Cat Bones and Jonathan Peyper. Together they are the Jonathan Peyper Blues Band, and it was their first time playing as a band in Nelsparta.
We caught the last bit of Jessie Presto’s show and I was sorry I missed it. Many Lowvelders were arriving to support Jonathan and he didn’t disappoint us. What we heard was an upcoming blues/rock artist that is going to change the SA music scene. Right up after them was SAARKIE – all girl, all rock. The girls from Pretoria have performed many times in front of their Nelspartan followers and they gained many more new fans.
The teenagers were waiting in their hordes for Matthew Mole and they left their hubbly bubbly’s behind, grabbed their cellphones and headed for the stage. It’s so funny watching his fans because they tend to watch his entire show through their cellphone screens. Anyway, I really like Matthew, he is an extremely nice guy and very down to earth. I’ve never met another person quite like him before. Somebody who calls his first dog ‘Happy’, that says something about a person. “The Wedding Song”, and “I’ll take yours, you take mine” are just two favourites he played and he gave a brilliant show further.
Next it was Zebra & Giraffe, the electronic rock band that is always on time. Not many people liked this band, saying it’s too electronic. Z&G is a fast-growing name and is booked for playing at most of the country’s music festivals. I wonder what an acoustic set will sound like, hmmm?
After the rock stage closed we headed off to an after party. It was nice to see some writers and actors in our midst. Habit To kicked some serious butt on the small stage and had lots of people talking about them for days.
Thursday 3 July;
We didn’t need any fires as the winter’s evenings felt more like autumn ones. Doing a full 8-5 workday with less than 6 hours of sleep was already taking its toll. Could this mean I’m getting too old for this? I was happy to hear from Louise that another of our good festival buddy, Jessica Botha was on her way with her boyfriend, Kobus de Kock Jnr (The Black Cat Bones). I also caught up with Richard Brokensha of ISO who let me in on some good news for their fans.
Habit To was kicking butt again after we came back from dinner and their version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” made a big impression on all of us. Monark was up next and I did not know their music as well as I should have. Even though their Gauteng fans supported them some got bored and found the Jager shots at the bar more interesting. Thank goodness ISO made up for everything we heard before and the boys from Johannesburg delivered an excellent set of original tunes. Richard at one stage jumped down to where the fans were standing in mid song and posed for a photo. Rock ‘n roll baby, rock ‘n roll! “Never going back”, “No Fire”, “Escape” were just some of the songs on their setlist.
Another electronic rock band, Gangs of Ballet made their way onto the stage. If you have never seen this band live either you are really living under a rock that is in a very deep cave. Although I am Team ISO I really appreciated Gangs of Ballet’s set plus it was a bonus that I knew the songs too.
But the biggest band of them all was coming and it was the one band we’ve craving to see – The Black Cat Bones. The regular readers should know the BCB as well because I always end up writing about them and with good reason. Not only is this the one band you have to watch no matter your age, but it’s also the only band you must ever watch. We were ready for them like lime is to tequila and they gave us a mind blow of a show.
We were off again for an after party and another round of The Jonathan Peyper Blues Band not to mention the lovely BCB girlfriends and wives. It was the last night with the girls from SAARKIE and it was truly memorable!
Friday 4 July;
I was honestly happy when I woke up on Friday and realized it was the weekend. Tonight can be a night of partying and way more late nights ahead. As always it became a ritual during the week to chat to Louise about the previous night, the plans for the evening and what’s would be for dinner that night. We were lucky enough to eat in the dining hall and it was fantastic every night. We arrived at the Rock Stage only around 6 pm again so we missed Neon Wolf Experiment and KingHero.
I caught up with two boys I’d not seen in many years, those of Evolver One. After frontman Peter left Dez Lesley replaced him and oddly, he lives right here in Nelsparta (his better half stays in the city). Sean Murphy and Tulsa Pittaway go way back to 2003, to the days of Evolver and Watershed. It was great to see them and to hear the old songs from Evolver, one of them being “Such a pretty thing”.
Tailor was up after them and accompanied by Fabian Seng on guitar this lady just blew me right out of the water… again. My bodyguard and our good musician friend Quintero stood right in front of that stage. Hanging onto her beautiful ruby lips as she performed her songs. Her trademark bass drum was set up and she beat it to prove a pain she wrote about once upon a time. Then she got off stage and sang for the fans in front of her. To stand there and feel that voice so close was like a “When did I get this lucky” moment. She did an acoustic version of “Dreamcatcher” which was something different and to hear her song “New York” made me miss the Big Apple.
Then the sudden storm of ‘local Hollywood’ descended as everyone gathered in front for Dan Patlansky. He stays a brilliant artist and I do enjoy his music. Maybe I’ve seen him a little too much over the last 2 years and felt he plays extended solo’s. But that’s just me… I’m weird okay.
Karen Zoid… what a lady and what an artist – “Sy laat jou na mense verlang wat jy al lankal vergeet het” was one comment on Facebook. To me, I will always think of my niece, Nadya, who is living in Potchefstroom especially when I hear the song “Deurmekaar”. I think the fact that I was soberer than I’d previously been at her shows made me appreciate her show so much more and her drummer is freaking excellent. Karen, you can really make your way up to Nelsparta again, we really enjoyed the show.
Since it was Friday night we planned a big night out with Louise. But since the bodyguard could not go with us to the VIP Room we headed to an after party again. Once there we realized it ain’t party when your friends are not there so we headed home.
Saturday 5 July;
It felt like a summer’s day by the time we hit the main Innibos festival grounds. Let me be clear, I don’t enjoy big crowds; I choose how and where I walk. We caught a glimpse of Joshua na die Reën on the KMIA Stage and my what a good looking boy. Louise caught up with us and we sat down for a great lunch together.
We hung around the Bosmall food court until I finally managed to my Turkish shawarma and then slowly missioned to the rock stage. Just before 5 pm, we headed to the Boma Kuierteater to support our friend, Adriaan van As for his show “Die Damduikers Loftus” with Francios Jacobs. If you don’t know who the Damduikers are, then don’t worry, It’s a movie that has yet to hit the big screens. Besides which I had to get in more culture than just music and I’ve known Adriaan for years. It was great seeing his stage production. After their show, we headed back to the rock stage as K2 Band was getting ready. We missed Cortina Whiplash and found that K2 Band was not fit for the line-up. We used that as a good excuse to get some dinner before the drunks on the grounds realized they were hungry.
Bittereinder was next and my oh my, they shook the ground we stood on. Really! That bass was so deep and so loud you could feel your joints move without you moving either. The bodyguard watched them for the first time and he was very impressed. He didn’t know one Afrikaans word but he knew “Kwaad Naas” and was dancing as much as a rocker can dance to electronic music.
I ducked backstage to catch up with some friends and then got introduced to Dylan Hunt, the new drummer for Van Coke Kartel. What a cool dude, we had a great chat about drumming, music and Innibos of course. While standing with him, (the bodyguard was at the bar) Shortstraw got on stage and turned winter on its face. Everyone who was there was dancing, but the cool moment was when fireworks went off on the main stage as the intro to Shortstraw’s “Bikini weather” started – the kids went nuts. It looked fantastic from where we were standing and was just amazing.
All too soon Shortstraw’s set was finished and the now overfilled rock stage dance floor was waiting for Die Heuwels Fantasties. I had to give it to them, they opened the main stage earlier that evening and still played a long ass set on the rock stage. Suddenly our lekker spot by the stage which we had all week was overpowered by Afrikaans boertjies with their double brandy and cokes. Since I’m a lover of DHF (yes, shoot me later) I managed to find a spot on the left hand side of the stage, which was lekker until one of the dumbass couples in front of us decided to put his girlfriend on his shoulders. Uhmm you like by the stage, what can’t you see? Anyway, this was the cue for every other guy around us to do the same and I ended up staring at girl’s asses for about 20 minutes before their boyfriend’s realised we couldn’t see. Yeah for a moment there your ass sounded like Pierre’s voice. “Beloofde Land”, “Klein Tambotieboom”, “Pille vir Kersfees” are just a few songs that were on their setlist.
After DHF finished a lot of people just left…leaving half a crowd behind for Van Coke Kartel. I was very surprised by this because last year there were a bunch of party animals there for their set. We didn’t mind, ass girl was gone and so was the boertjies, this just turned into a serious mash lab of sweat, blood and tears. Bringing extra security in front of the stage (due to last year’s crazies) it was relatively non-serious. VCK is probably one of our other best live bands and it I felt new energy from them. Dylan was fantastic on the drums and he can sing too! VCK probably sang every single hit including a few new ones and had the crowd hanging on their lips. Francois much like Kobus is a brilliant performer and it keeps him fit from the looks of it.
After their show we helped (where we could) Louise and Aneli (backstage manager) close up shop so an ice-cold beer could be drunk. And this is where I’m going to end it because unlike other media sources I’m a firm believer of “What happens in VIP, stays in VIP”. All I can say is we got home just after 3 am… a new record for me.
To Louise for her awesome, fantastic and delicious photos thank you for allowing us to use them. To Adele for the pass and to the Body Gaurd for the company. See you at Innibos 2015