Its no lie that Sunday started on a depressing note with the devastating Rugby game that saw SA lose to Australia. If people were already feeling rough from two nights of hedonistic abandon, a frustrating loss like that was the final nail in the coffin to the last day's enjoyment. Nevertheless there were enough revellers left behind, keen on seeing the weekend through and an additional amount of Sunday party-goers fresh and ready for some Daisies partying.
Despite being much smaller than Friday and Saturday, Sunday's lineup on the Red Bull Studio Live Stage at Rocking the Daisies featured some of the biggest legends of local Electronica, Fletcher, Markus Wormstorm and Felix Laband. Fletcher, the man behind African Dope, the label that first released these luminary artists onto the world, kicked off the day with a narcotic, hypnotising set of his own Dub production. Space-out and minimal layers, coupled with skanking rhythms, it provided the perfect soundscape for the morning providing a heady escape for those on the come-down and slow-building opener for those on the come-up.
Next up Markus came on to deliver a set of glitched-out, ambient Electronica peppered with ancient South African voice samples and hints of his early experimentation with Kwaito. Markus has had a fascinating journey across the local electronic music landscape and its great to see his sound truly mature into something catchingly rich and confidently obscure. Take a listen to this illuminating interview with Markus for our "A Discussion With..." Series recorded as a lead up to the Daisies:
Its no secret that Felix Laband has developed a reputation of being a wild-card over the years with gigs canceled or poorly performed, so it was a treat to see one of South Africa's most influential Electronica musicians drop a set that had the midday crowd joyously on their feet for the full length of what must have been one of the highlights of Rocking the Daisies 2011. Playing out a combination of his new, to-be-released production alongside classic cuts like "Donkey Rattle" and interspersed with hands-in-airs tunes like Professor's "Jezabel", it was perfect Felix on form. His sound was always an amalgamation of South African urban music such as Kwaito mixed up with his own brand of quirky Electronica and his new music and DJ sets (playing often as DJ Snakehips it would seem) sound as relevant and vital as ever. Keep and eye and ear out for his Daisies sets recorded live for Red Bull Music Academy Radio.
Phat Jack followed with his unique, always fresh soulful House sound, a perfect compliment to the weekend's incredible music. The Red Bull Studio Live Stage was closed by the Afterlife DJs who ended the event with a rib-shaking progressive blend of rolling beats and soaring synths. Afterlife are in fact the VJing crew who are responsible for the visuals at many of the top electronica and dance stages at many events including the Red Bull Studio Live stages. This year's stage at Rocking the Daisies featured skyscraper-shaped, 3D mapped LED installments that looked like LA's city skyline in Blade Runner on steroids. It is no doubt that the visuals on a large stage make up at least 20 to 30% of the entertainment and as always, Afterlife provided the most incredible display of images, shapes and light to compliment the performers. Read this interview with the Afterlife VJs to get more of an idea of what goes into being a visual magician.
The Red Bull Studio is a space designed to find up and coming talent and give that talent a platform to grow. It is also about working with and acknowledging those who have found success, whether they're still in full swing or whether they're moving on to new things in their career. This is what the Red Bull Studio Live Stage is about, in its essence, aside from providing a mind-blowing line-up and stage to party to: Giving those newcomers we've discovered such as the Ruffest, those currently rocking it such as PHfat and those who we take out hats off to like Felix Laband, a platform where they can show off their amazing ability. The addition of the likes of Kevin Saunderson and Mustard Pimp are a way of connecting with the international scene and showing that we're of the same calibre. We look forward to many more festivals to come where we can show what local Electronica and Dance is all about.
For more of a low-down of the Studio Live Stage at Daisies, watch this video roundup: