You’re sitting on the beach with your friends watching the sunset, gin and tonic (or kombucha if you are so inclined?) in hand. A cool sea breeze blows through your hair, carrying with it the not-so distant sounds of an awesome band’s set. This is Endless Daze and it’s a damn good time.
Small enough to feel intimate while still big enough that you probably won’t be able to find your tent if you get too drunk; Endless Daze is the epitome of ‘just right’.
Arriving at Endless Daze this year felt like getting a hug from a long-lost friend (especially after the traffic on the way) and, after putting up what I can only say is the sliced bread of tents (it pretty much puts itself up), it was time to dive head first into making the most of the amazing line-up that Friday evening had to offer. Dublin-born, Berlin-based Candice Gordon wowed with her energetic performance and striking vocals; followed by Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys who turned down the tempo as she sang along to the sunset with her characteristically cool voice.
A crucial part of any festival is the drinks and in my humble opinion Gin and Tonic is the way to go. So, I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I waltzed up to the G&T bar only to find they had a “gin and kombucha” option. Hailing, as I do, from the 011, I have yet to truly embrace the wonders of fermented tea and certainly would never have thought to add gin. That’s definitely a Cape Town thing.
The Brother Moves On was (of course) amazing but the real highlights of the night have to be Black Math and Kidofdoom who performed one after the other and ensured I woke up with a stiff neck the following morning. I’d been looking forward to both sets and they definitely didn’t disappoint: Black Math’s deafening, dynamic and deliciously raw set had the crowd in a frenzy, while Kidofdoom took to the stage, announced that they hadn’t ‘done this’ in five years and proceeded to bring the house down with one the most exciting live performances ever (which included an INSANE cover of the ghostbusters song).
The night ended on a slower note with Swedish band NONN and their unique electro/post-punk sound cooling off the crowd with their haunting set.
Day two dawned with a fresh sea breeze and a hangover that was anything but. The day promised to be one for the books with magnificent weather forecast and a line-up to die for. The Velvet Morning Stage was posed to provide entertainment for those on a breakfast run while I, a serial late riser, only arrived in time to enjoy the tail end of Msaki’s soulful set, AS Fanning’s truly extraordinary performance (that voice?!?) and an ice-cream.
The rest of my afternoon was filled with numerous visits to the gin bar, Julia Robert’s undeniable awesomeness, some laid back psych surf rock from The Dinosaurs, a nap, a surprise encounter with a snake and some gin-fueled swaying to the dreamy sounds of LUMA. Diamond Thug’s ethereal performance was one of the best of the festival, as singer Chantel van Ts distinct voice captivated the crowd and the addition of some brass instruments added the ‘je ne sais quoi’ we didn’t know we needed. Their set ended memorably, with an enthusiastic thank you to Rocking the Daisies. Black Lung’s grungy set injected some much-needed energy into the crowd and set the tone for what was to be an insane evening. Hailing from Lesotho, Morena Leraba performed next, bringing something completely unique and exciting to the table. His unique blend of afro-electro was complemented by live drums, a marimba and guitar; rousing the crowds and ensuring his place as a ‘must see’ on any future line-up. Next it was the ever-raucous Runaway Nuns who took to the stage and (excuse the very lame phrase) rocked our socks off. Those guys really know how to rile up the crowds and get a party started.
The now Berlin-based Medicine Boy’s evocative set came hot on the heels of the release of their new album “Lower” and was a testament to their uniquely intimate, dream noise sound. International headliners, Dead Meadow’s set continued the slower pace set by Medicine Boy, as the crowds swayed along to their psychedelic rock songs.
The real excitement came when “the loudest band in New York”, A Place To Bury Strangers, took to the stage in what was one of the most unforgettable live sets I have ever watched. Giving new meaning to ‘interactive’ their set saw bassist Dion Lunadon playing from deep within the crowd, alongside a button bashing Lia Braswell; and neither missed a beat despite been swarmed by people. Their ear-splittingly manic sound seemed to turn the festival on its head as they whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their unashamedly loud, wild, guitar-destroying performance. Following APTBS’ climatic ending, DJ duo Holy funk took the reins, bringing that disco goodness as those brave enough to stay up past the 2am mark danced the night away.
Characterized by its (almost) complete lack of electronic music, consistently good vibes, eccentric Cape Town fashion (that makes me think, in the words of Jeff Goldblum, that when it comes to fashion, “[they] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should”) and insane levels of gin consumption; Endless Daze is a truly special festival and one of the highlights of my year.
A massive thank you must go to everyone involved in the organising and running of the festival. It’s so unbelievably well organised, boasting squeaky-clean bathrooms and litter free grounds, amazing lighting and pristine sound; that it’s very hard to find fault with Endless Daze. In fact, I can’t.