Words: James Ekron
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit, that in addition to reviewing this performance I got to introduce SA’s hottest house band to a packed-to-capacity Monument audience. A lingering attachment to the Jazz Festival gave me the opportunity to warm up the crowd beforehand so, when considering my perspective, imagine a skinny white boy shaking what little he has to shake in the wings whilst surrounded by disapproving stage hands as they worked around his takkie squeaking.
In fairness, the energy on stage made sitting down impossible as these multiple SAMA award winners grooved and gyrated to an audience already inclined to leave their seats. Performing their stand out favourites – Jika My Baby, These Streets – the band also performed a number of medleys, incorporating Jamiroqui and ‘Titanium’, as they looked for melodies and riffs in between and around their most popular songs.
Lead vocalist – J’Something – was more than welcomed by the crowd as a hometown hero, having matriculated in Grahamstown before taking his talent to the biggest stages Johannesburg, Europe and America have to offer. It was akin to Elvis returning to Graceland and, with respect to the King, it would be quite clear who would have won a dance-off between the two. J’s iconic pantsula moves would send jolts of electricity through the audience so palpable that I was afraid the building would collapse from noise at one point.
There was the unfortunate technical error, however, with the horns being especially overpowering and the band seeming unclear on their set list as different members left the stage only to come back and dance without knowing when to end or begin the next song. These mistakes, however, did not seem to sour the experience for anyone as the sheer playfulness and energy of band shone through above all. Swapping jokes between themselves, the band invited the crowd to share in their verve, to which we all obliged.
Despite my announcer’s bias, Mi Casa are the type of crossover artists to which young South Africans can relate, with our own patchwork musical history, being reflected and celebrated by these talented young musicians. Once they finished, it felt inelegant to close the show with a paltry “Goodnight”, especially when an audience has been brought to fever pitch. As the saying goes “always leave them wanting more” and, truly, what better way is there to finish a gig than with an audience feeling like it ended too soon, that it could have gone on until the early morning when there was no more takkie left to be squeaked?