Australian rockers of proggy awesomeness Karnivool were welcomed to Cape Town by the storm of the year, but that did not stop faithful fans and curious music lovers alike to come and witness one of the greats of our time. Kevin Rule was there to take in the sights, the sounds and the smells as Karnivool unleashed their heart-warming music onto a wet and cold audience.
As I’ve mentioned, the weather was shit. In fact, the first time Dead Letter Circus (another fantastic Australian band) were here the weather was quite similar. Perhaps Cape Town knows that Australia are sometimes considered rivals and wanted to give them a welcome to remind them they are in the Cape, but by the time Karnivool had finished their set, the weather had cleared – almost as an apologetic submission.
The hype surrounding Karnivool’s visit certainly showed as the line at Mercury’s doors before they opened was already a telling factor that no-one would let the weather ruin this night. Once inside, the atmosphere was rich with anticipation and warming effects of a good drink was starting to calm the beating hearts.
The opening band, OhGod, needs no introduction. They have become such a finely tuned machine of inspirational music and they got the audience pumped with a performance consistent with the energy they have been wowing fans with for the last few years. They are, without a doubt, the only band in Cape Town that are a perfect fit to open for Karnivool. Their songs ebb and flow to a crescendo of pure light. Truly, if you haven’t heard these guys yet…then…yeh, you will be left speechless.
With OhGod’s set done, it was nearly time for a dream of this reviewer to one day see Karnivool live to come true, but not even my wildest ones could have prepared me for the spiritual journey that I was about to be taken on. Opening with ‘Simple Boy’ assured all of us that tonight was going to be special. The band ripped through such classics as ‘Goliath’, ‘Shutter Speed’, ‘Mauseum’, ‘All I know’ with such flawless precision it’s no wonder they have begun to take the world by storm. We were also treated to songs from Assymetry like ‘We are’ and ‘The Refusal’ and some new songs from their forthcoming album ‘All it Takes’ and ‘Animation’ which were reminiscent of the vibe from the Sound Awake album. As they cleared the stage after playing ‘Themata’, the loud and hungry crowd chanted for more and Karnivool came back for ‘Roquefort’ before signing off with ‘New Day’. It was all just so beautiful and surreal that when the show was actually finished and my voice was gone, I felt a deep sense of complete satisfaction fall over me.
Ian Kenney’s magical voice did not slip once. He has truly mastered his instrument and I cannot wait for the next album to hear more of his
stylings. Guitarists Drew Goddard and Mark Hosking were so on point, complimenting each other’s riffs and licks with no effort whatsoever. I spent a lot of time watching Steve Judd’s drumming and I am in awe at his consistency and ease of providing the band’s backbone while still breaking normal drumming patterns. But, it must be said that the glue that holds this band together is bassist Jon Stockman who lays down the foundation that allows the other members the freedom to play. Collectively they are a truly well-oiled machine whose performance can only get better and better.
To end off this review, I want to share a personal moment for me that was the highlight of the night. The song ‘C.O.T,.E’ was the first Karnivool song I heard and it remains my favourite. As the chorus swells to the beautiful line ‘It’s so good to see this world is alive’ I felt the emotions inside me boil up and I could not help let out a few tears – and I am not embarrassed to say this. It was the culmination of a long-time of wanting to see this band and they delivered every beat to perfection. Thank you Karnivool. Thank you for everything you are. And thanks so much to the fantastic team at Turning Tricks Entertainment for making South African fans consistently happy with the bands you are bringing out.
Reviewed by: Kevin Rule (more from Kevin)
Shots Fired by: Snake Eyes (more from Snake Eyes)
Date: 4 May 2016