In 2019, I discovered a music video depicting what seemed to be a men’s support group, that broke out into a dance routine to the song Something About You by Elderbrook and Rudimental. I fell in love with it. Over the next four years I kept hearing eletronic music with a melodic sound and good vocals, those songs kept turning out to be Elderbrook.
In 2022, I remember stating that if Elderbrook ever came to South Africa, I would make sure to see him live. Then in 2023, I discovered that my dream was about to become a reality. Still reeling from the disapointment of not being able to afford to see Kendrick Lamar, I made sure to get Elderbrook tickets.
Hosted by Lusso Sunsets at Cabo Beach Club, I was expecting a good time. I hadn’t been to Cabo Beach Club before but in a post covid world it seems to be one of the new “it” spots in Cape Town. I had high hopes.
As the weeks drew nearer to the concert, I gradually got more and more excited. We began to make plans about how the evening was going to look. Predrinks and a braai at my place before we headed out to dance to Elderbrook playing live. It was going to be a good time.
The night arrived, we had a braai with a few drinks. I get time anxiety around these types of events so we left to get to the event about three hours before Elderbrook was meant to play. The first thing we encountered was a golf cart shuttling people from the parking lot to the venue. With the optimism that only ignorance can provide we jumped on the back of the golf cart.
The entry was smooth enough, however, my over active bladder ensured that I knew what kind of night I was about to experience. I walked to the bathroom, only to make a horrifying discovery. What was on offer at one of the so-called “prestige” venues in Cape Town was a urinal. No not multiple urinals, one big urinal. The same urinal every all boys schools in South Africa has where you are guaranteed to get urine on your shoes. To make things worse, the urinal had an automatic flush, so if someone leaves while you’re busy your pants get some splash back. After peeing in a school boy urinal wall, we went to get our first over priced drink. Which would be the story of the night.
We met a with a few friends and spoke for a bit. I was itching to dance, after a second drink we headed to the dance floor. Many will know this, but the dance floor is beach sand. Which has its flaws. Especially if you like to actually move when you dance and not just do the boet shoulder jive. A new dance move I discovered at Cabo Beach Club.
The crowd seemed to predominantly be white people from Joburg or any nondescript Cape Town model C school. Resulting in a severe lack of rhythm. Which to be fair a sandy dance floor may be helpful for. Despite this, one of the opening DJ’s had a reasonably fun set with the occasional song to dance to. The night still seemed promising.
Then another bathroom break and a trip to get one more drink before Elderbrook started playing. A double vodka and Redbull seemed like the perfect thing to get me hyped for Elderbrook. To my shame it cost me R175. It hurt but I was not going to let that stop me from enjoying the night.
What did stop me from enjoying the night was whoever played the set before Elderbrook. I refuse to look up his name because he does not deserve to be recognised. He chose songs that you physically couldn’t dance to, and he didn’t mix between songs. It was like he was playing a playlist of alternative house that studios refused to release. On top of that, the music he was playing did not fit the vibe of Elderbrook. While playing bad songs, there would be moments where the music just stopped. I began to lose my temper.
However, Elderbrook was about to play. Maybe things would pick up. I took another trip to the splash urinal. I got back in time before Elderbrook started playing. He started his first song, I thought I would be elated but I couldn’t get into the mood. I didn’t know why, I was getting more frustrated. The crowd was packed but that I can usually handle under the right circumstances. So, I went to go get water and gather my thoughts.
While waiting in line for water, I heard Numb start playing, a song I really enjoy, so I left the line and went back to dance. It was at that point that I realised exactly what was wrong. The sound setup.
One of the reasons I like Elderbrook is because his music is typically more thoughtful and more melodic than a lot of other electronic music. It makes you feel something. However, somehow a “prestige” Cape Town venue had a sound setup where all you could hear was the bass over the rest of the songs. The music became literal Doof Doof. This was most prevalent when he played Something About You. A song where the bass is a small feature of a much larger piece. Bass was all we got.
I wanted to start writing pieces of live performances, discussing the musicality and audience engagement. The whole package of what makes live music great. However, the setup was so bad that I have nothing to write about in terms of the actual live performance.
The organisers, the openers and the venue disrepected the audience and Elderbrook. I am getting riled up again while writing this. Anyway, we stayed for the first hour of Elderbrook and eventually realised we were not going to experience his music the way it is supposed to be experienced.
So, we left and went to Movable Feast instead before heading to Modular. Both of those venues had better sound setups and cost a lot less money to have a good time at. Ending up at Modular might not position me as the most authorative voice on this issue. However, I didn’t charge people close to a R1000 to get peed on every time they went to the bathroom. So, I feel I may have more authority than the venue.
Lusso Sunsets and Cabo Beach Club have to do better if they are going to host international artists of Elderbrook’s caliber.