I don’t know if this is just me, but I do feel like watching bands and live music in Pretoria is a particularly popular past-time, maybe more so than clubbing.
Either way, since I really like music, I’m always listening out for it. I’ll often take out my phone and Shazam a song in a random public place, and most of the time the song name and artist will come up.
But sometimes, when I’m outside of Starbucks, and the music is very local, it doesn’t. So in this case, I’ll need to do a bit more digging to find out who made it.
Luckily, there are ways and means to find good music in many different places in Pretoria, even if the songs aren’t always available on a global database.
Here are just some of the ways I managed to expand on and reaffirm my experience of local music this last weekend.
Where to Find Good Music in Pretoria: A Brief Guide
In an Uber
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten into an Uber and asked the driver what music is playing, because I’m really enjoying it.
Most of the time, Shazam can’t help me, and the driver can’t either because the music is from a mix that he got from a friend on a USB drive.
I’m referring specifically to local house music from Mamelodi here, which Shazam definitely hasn’t heard about, and is quite difficult to get hold of if you don’t happen to be carrying a laptop.
This last Saturday night though, I was determined to get hold of the very laid-back, chilled house music that was playing on my way to Jarr Bar in Weavind Park to watch a live show.
So much so that Tumelo, the driver, and I spent about ten minutes after we arrived at the venue trying to figure out how to transfer files via ShareIt.
(Which definitely reflected on my Uber bill).
Unfortunately, as I think we all know, the global tech is way more geared towards Android, so we couldn’t get the app to connect to iOS.
So for now, I’ll just need to download the mixes he’s posted on his Facebook page, DJ IVY-I LamusiQ (which I eventually found after he spelt it out for me more than once).
At small live music venues
Thankfully, I wasn’t too upset at not getting the mix because I was just about to go and watch my friend Cynthia’s band, Half-Sister, which I was really looking forward to.
And even better, Jarr Bar is also the perfect venue for this kind of event. Tucked away just behind the Botanical Gardens, it’s a small venue with leather soundproofed walls, which makes it the perfect place for a small and more intimate music-listening experience.
(Which is something I way prefer, especially after feeling a bit violated when sweat condensation rained down on me from the Ticketpro dome at a Live concert in high school).
To get back to the gig, Half-Sister describes themselves as synthwave, but I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to very specific music genres, so in my mind I was just expecting something electronically-influenced. Probably with some guitars.
Well, regardless of what I expected, it was mesmerising, With Cynthia very appropriately on synths, some incredibly diverse drum sounds, and three strong vocalists, one with a guitar and one with a keyboard, the combination of sound was very unique, and impressive.
There was a background of synth, some throaty male vocals (that I grew up on and realise that I might miss a bit), as well as a beautiful range of strong, pretty and melodic vocals from the duo of sisters in the front.
I don’t know how else to describe it, but the most enjoyable part was how much they were enjoying themselves on stage.
So after seeing them live, I’m looking forward to listening to them again, and their album (when they finish it).
At regular live music events
As many people know, I’m a huge fan of Park Acoustics, an event that takes place on the last Sunday of every month.
This last Sunday was one of the busier ones I’ve been to, so much so that we decided to climb the hill to Fort Schanskop (where the party is), instead of waiting for the bus to take us up.
Unfortunately, drinking more Jarr Bar beer than I could really manage, and stealing a few rolled up cigarettes the night before, meant that I wasn’t on top form when I got to the top. So, I definitely wasn’t that excited about watching Desmond and the Tutus and Shortstraw, which are both pretty good bands live.
On arrival, I was more enthusiastic about finding food, and thankfully, the pulled pork roll from Braaiboy hit the spot. The fact that I had to get an extra serviette to wipe off the oiliness just says it all.
(Even though getting a burger from the Capital Craft stand on the way in would have been a good idea too, and would have prevented my Jewish friend Jen from having to wait a ridiculously long time for a pizza).
As tired as I was though, the minute Van Pletzen came on stage towards the end of the afternoon, I was ready to dance. Even with a hangover, I immediately transformed into a shameless groupie in my “SWAAI MY DAAI ZAAB” shirt.
(Which took too tries to get successfully, having drunkenly lost the first one I bought at a previous Park Acoustics in November).
So, even though I was inhaling brown dust by the mouthful, I just couldn’t help but stay at the front of the stage. I just needed to be as close as possible to the lekkerness.
In fact, I’m such a fan that I don’t really understand why no one else around me is as enthusiastic about finding this kind of sexy Afrikaans electronic pop with such vet baselines.
However, since I’m sure that it’s probably just because some people haven’t heard of them, I invite you to take a listen and let me know what you think. Just play it on some good speakers.
Where do you find good music In Pretoria, if you live here? Or, where do you find good music if you live somewhere else? Let me know in the comments.