Name: Dominique Rollino

Student number: RLLDOM003

Lecturer: Evan Milton

Publication: The Good Weekend, Cape Argus

 

Entering a club in Cape Town is like entering your home. You immediately feel a sense of comfort knowing what to expect in the music, the people and the vibe. Until that one night you walk in to a venue and instead of hearing the thumping bass line of electro at The Assembly, or screamo-metal at Mercury and Gandalfs, you hear the likes of PRINCE’S, ‘Purple Rain’ pouring out the speakers, or the psychedelic sounds of trance. Or you drive past Fiction on a Sunday night and see, instead of the usual drum ‘n bass hipster kids, there loiters instead, a group of 1920’s flapper girls and mobster-looking guys enjoying the sounds of Swing music filtering onto the balcony. What is this new phenomenon that is sweeping through the club scene of Cape Town? This is the changing of music stereotypes in clubs…and it’s fantastic.

 

Cape Town is certainly not short on the club-scene supply. It can be said that there is easily something happening every night at some or other venue around the city. From the oldies that have stuck around like Monday nights at Shack and Mercury and Thursdays at Fiction, to the usual festivities that occur on the weekend, and more recently Tuesday and Wednesdays claiming some fun in the form of events at Fiction, Assembly and Trinity, there is never a shortage if you want to satisfy a party craving.

People gather en masse at these various events because they know what to expect and they are happy with it. So why has there suddenly been an influx of ‘new’ music in the clubs on certain nights? Well, definitely not new music, as it is often something you would find in your parents music collection, or in the various remixed trance from a few years back. So this change can’t be successful right…well wrong, Cape Townians are notoriously cliquey but at the same time they thrive on new and innovative ideas so this is, in essence, a brilliant idea. The masses feed off being chic and trying new things, regardless of what it is, just so that they can say they tried it, so of course an idea that is so wildly different to what they are used it would go down well. Parties need to satisfy the need of the person before the person even realises the need is there. New music at the same, comfortable, known venue, it feeds all the right senses of the self-proclaimed ‘cool kids’ of Cape Town and it has therefore enjoyed huge success in the previous few months.

 

A perfect example of this new idea is the After Hours parties that have taken over The Assembly one Saturday a month. As Phil Kramer, the co-founder of this idea says,

“I felt like you couldn’t go anywhere in Cape Town to hear people play rock, pop, old R ‘n B records or whatever anymore. Certainly not on a good soundsystem…Lots of people tell me that it’s their favorite thing at the moment.”

You walk up the stairs of The Assembly and instead of electro or the live music that is showcased on some Saturdays you are can expect to hear golden oldies…and the venue is busy. “I think people were hungry for something like After Hours when it launched,” says Kramer. Attendance has been on the rise every month since its inception and there are always rave reviews about the good times after the event finishes and the sore heads pass.

Therein lies the answer as to whether this event is successful but it also shows the idea of cliché Cape Town. It’s an idea that is liked for now but who knows how long it will last. New ideas rely on clubs that will take a chance on music and ideas that are not part of the club culture and, especially, in a city like Cape Town the industry thrives on such ideas. New is good in Cape Town, but different is even better.

 

Whilst the idea of these new ventures with different music genre’s in the Cape Town club scene is being happily received at the moment, there is always the question of how long it will last. Although it is indeed a positive thing, there is always the worry of whether it ha the following to go all the way. The reason for this concern can be placed upon the fickle character’s that frequent the venues or it can be placed upon the organizers, but regardless of who is, or isn’t allowing for the change to stay for a good long time for the moment, it is a positive aspect to the club scene of Cape Town. The real question now, with the introduction of this new and welcomed idea is why has it taken so long? Why have the venue owners and events organizers not seen this niche market before and followed through? What has been marketed over the past few years in and around Cape Town is safe but, as Kramer says, “being able to see what people want, which they aren’t getting, that you can provide with a high level of quality is important.” Yes it is, and having people who are willing to listen to the wants of the Cape Town party seen are saluted for their efforts and success.

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