Having seen Gangs of Ballet earlier this year at Kirstenbosch I attended the launch of their debut album, yes/no/grey, with high expectations. In sharp contrast to their gig in the gardens that had a slightly rocky start, they were absolutely impeccable at The Assembly. Their performance reminded me a lot of Zebra & Giraffe’s controlled style. It was good to see that the radio hits and cross country tours have not ironed out their rock spirit as seen when lead singer Brad Klynsmith jumped off stage (right in front of me!) and moved about the crowd. Klynsmith is a very tall and solid guy, whose towering physical presence allowed him to simply weave a path through the tightly packed Assembly crowd, where a scrawny hipster lead singer would have been crushed by the hyper fans.
Considering it was a debut album launch of a Durban band in Cape Town the size of the audience was really impressive. I’ve seen launches of second albums in this very venue that did not draw such a packed crowd. Highlights were the beautiful new single ‘Daydream’ and a song penned by drummer Josh Klynsmith, ‘Don’t Let Me Go’.
The Durbanites were supported by the ‘aggressively unfancy’ indie poppers Al Bairre, who had a crazy energy that I would have attributed to a handful of happy pills had I not been right at the front of the crowd from where I could see just how genuinely happy they were to be on stage. Lead singer Nicholas was so busy bouncing about that he missed a line here and there but this did not detract from the overall performance and sound. Their other USP is the lovely string instrumentalist pair, Tess and Julia, who were dressed in matching lacy outfits. This is what indie pop is about. I highly recommend you make your Rocking the Daisies Saturday lunch time plans around the main stage at 12:10. Even if it’s not your genre, it will be worth it just for their cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’.
Don’t miss Gangs of Ballet on The Rocking the Daisies main stage at 6.25pm on the Friday and Al Bairre at 12.10pm on Saturday. Gangs of Ballet‘s debut yes/no/grey is available for download from iTunes here.
This review was also featured on WhatsoninCapeTown.com