By Marley

There is something about a huge production of a show. It’s lighting, the happy chatter of the people wearing their FVC shirts with pride. It’s the taste of overpriced beer and warm Jagermeister. It’s the smell of action, it’s getting your shoes stuck on the floor afterwards. It’s the feeling of feeling young forever, the ringing in your ears, the blood flowing through your veins and it’s losing your voice between the stage and rafters from singing back. This is just the small paragraph I can write about Francois van Coke en Vriende show that took place on Saturday 15 September 2018.

Some people think I’m nuts for travelling all the way from Nelsparta to come to see a South African artist. South African artists that have built an empire of followers from Francois’s honesty and his flair of being a rebel despite being a family man. There is nothing with wrong with that, I just feel that’s how I see Francois van Coke. Meeting him years ago at Blue Moon I really didn’t think FOPK would go far. I wasn’t a FOPK sheep from the start but I grew up. I grew up more in my late 20’s than I did as a teen. So it wasn’t a major issue to travel the 400 km up to Pretoria to see a musician I admire. If I can do it for Live I can do it for FVC.

My 15-year-old niece came with to the show, loaning her my Die Heuwels Fantasties shirt. Her face was lit up like the lights at Sun Arena at Time Square in Menlyn. I was excited to bring her (again) a small taste of the music that has shaped so many young minds and hearts. Since she is mostly English speaking she knew some songs. Thanks to this rocking aunty. DJ Robfather kept us entertain and had us sing back to hits from Blink 182, Green Day and FOPK. But when the lights dimmed and Martin Bester (Jacaranda FM) and Andy Mac (AMP Events CEO) came to introducing the show. I want to wash Andy’s feet in Jack Daniels and wipe it off with groupies t-shirts. This man is a legend and has kept rock ‘n roll alive the country by bringing the bands back no one wants to take a chance on. Because like Lenny Kravitz predicted “Rock ‘n roll is dead” according to everyone else. Not to Andy.

Andy Mac - photo credit Sean Brand
Andy Mac – CEO of AMP Events
(photo credit Sean Brand)

But sooner than later Die Gevaar took their positions and the man of the show, Francois stepped up. I’ve never heard people scream that hard of one guy. His first friend to join him on stage was Laudo Liebenberg of aKING“Die Skip” and “Spaar my asseblief” which the crowd sang back every single word. Next up was Pierre Greeff and Hunter Kennedy of Die Heuwels Fantasties. Since Sheldon Yoko already drum for Die Gevaar all they needed was Freddy den Hartog.

Laudo Liebenberg from aKING - photo credit Sean Brand
Laudo Liebenberg
(photo credit Sean Brand)

“Neonlig” off Francois’s first solo album was amazing to hear live for once. “Sonrotse” which will forever and always take me to the beach of Ponta Maholgane in Mozambique was of course a crowd favourite. Some guys next to us were screaming for DHF to sing “Klein Tambotieboom”. Not tonight buddy, tonight it’s about Van Coke.

Francois van Coke and Pierre of Die Heuwels Fantasties - photo credit Sean Brand
Francois and Pierre of Die Heuwels Fantasties
(photo credit Sean Brand)

I think what a ‘wow moment’ was for me is when Coenie de Villiers came on stage. Holy cow what a man. Long ago as a kid, I thought he was borning until I learnt how much Coenie has supported the Belville boys. He and Francois performed “Hillbrow”, a song Johannes Kerkorrel wrote and perform. Kerkorrel’s suicide (in 2002) left a major gap in our music industry but to hear these two voices together with just the piano is still giving me gooseflesh. And the 8 500 voices singing with, ah.

Coenie de Villiers and Francois van Coke - photo credit Sean Brand
Coenie de Villiers
(photo credit Sean Brand)

Of course, the following artist had everyone lose their minds – Karen Zoid. It’s so wired for me to have seen Karen from the start and then to hear youngsters that were basically in diapers when she hit the scene, now they love her. I ain’t complaining, her duet on Van Coke Kartel (with the Jason Oosthuizen on drums and Wynand Myburgh on bass) “Tot die son uitkom” was nothing short of amazing.

Karen Zoid - photo credit Sean Brand
Karen Zoid
(photo credit Sean Brand)

“Dit raak beter as jy ouer raak” is one of my favourite songs of Van Coke and he performed this before Majozi stepped onto the stage. The Beatles cover “With a little help from my friends” was a beautiful duet between the two strong male singers. I can’t wait until these two bring out a song together.  Then Majozi went on to perform “Darling” which my niece loved, she finally knew another song. Until now she has only seen DHF live which flew over her head a bit. Luckily for me, she knew Arno Carstens. Or knew who the Springbok Nude Girls songs are, not that I think she would ever actually know how us “old schoolers” would know it. “Ek weet nie” is also off FVC first solo album and something I noticed Arno is really a tall guy. Arno then went on to perform “Blue Eyes” the radio murder victim of the early 00’s. Yes, it was as cool as it was back then.

Majozi with Francois van Coke - photo credit Sean Brand
Majozi and Francois
(photo credit Sean Brand)
Arno Carstens of Springbok Nude Girls - photo credit Sean Brand
Arno Carstens
(photo credit Sean Brand)

Our new favourite, Early B, from PE stepped up on the stage. Oh man, this man’s rap lyrics are tighter than spandex. “Altyd lief vir jou” went from a slowish rap song to one fast rock song. Beasty Boyz “Right to party” is wearing a new jacket when you add Early B. You think you know the second part until Early gooi in die taal. I laughed when some people around me realised he is doing his own thing and not the classic one. If you ever want to see a crowd lift the roof of an arena then you were there for Jack Parow. Wearing his trademark gold long ceps, bright yellow shorts and leopard jacket, performing “Hard Partytjie Hou” which is 10 years old. I’ll just wait a bit while that sinks in…okay, so the roof was lifted. “Dans Dans Dans  I think is one of MK’s favourite videos of its time. This song then ripped the roof off Sun Arena.

Jack Parow and Francois van Coke performing - photo credit Sean Brand
Jack Parow and Francois
(photo credit Sean Brand)

Karen Zoid again made an appearance for “Toe vind ek jou”. I think there isn’t a person that hasn’t heard that song. Fokofpolisiekar, of course, was saved for last with “Hemel op die platteland” en “Skyn Heilig”“Komma” was performed earlier with just Francois and Johnny de Ridder on piano. It would have been a great moment but the drunk guys behind us kept on commenting “Oh dit is p*** mooi” over and over. Eventually I “accidentally” stepped on his toes hard. You shut up for the national anthem brother. It was almost over, of course, we as fans are going to ask for more!

Francois van Coke and Karen Zoid - photo Sean Brand
Francois and Karen
(photo credit Sean Brand)
"Komma" performed by Johnny de Ridder and Francois van Coke - photo Sean Brand
“Komma” performed Johnny de Ridder and Francois
(photo credit Sean Brand)

Then it happened FVC along with DHF came out to perform “Ek lewe, ek belowe”. It was too quick but 2 hours have just passed. Like that. It was like listening to your favourite playlist just before your phone dies on you. And with a well-deserved bow and screams from fans, the lights were switched on and we had to carry ourselves home. Of course, I went to the after party but that’s where my story ends to the show. Because what happens at Time Square stays right there.

Francois van Coke en vriende - photo credit Sean Brand
Francois van Coke en Vriende
(photo credit Sean Brand)

To AMP EventsValkie van Coke, every person that was involved in this show – thank you. Francois, you made this fan so proud and I can’t wait to see what the future will hold for you musically. To my niece, thanks for coming with us, you are such a star. To Louise Crouse for all of her work and dedication to South African music and for the invite. The amazing photos are from the talented Sean Brand.

Tot die son uitkom, vrede.

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.