So it’s the middle of the week, in the middle of exams, on a fairly cool spring night. Who in their right mind would have the balls to book an outdoor show on such an unpromising evening?
There is simply no one act that could pull a reasonable amount of students away from the comfort of their blackberries and apple macs and into the chilly night sky. Then again, after 10 years of Fokofpolisiekar, I might just be wrong, and can’t resist the temptation to find out myself. I head through the unassuming parking lot of Aandklas and head for Klein Lib, on the way I already spot my first passed out patron, and a couple arguing over where they left their whisky in the car. Jesus, it’s only 9pm, the band has even started yet and already the traces of your average Fokof show are starting to show face.
This is by no means an average Fokof show though. Tonight marks the beginning of a 10 year anniversary for the band, and I’m expecting a big effort from the Bellville Rock City royalty. My entrance is greeted with a few Hi’s and Byes from some industry peeps doing the usual small talk, followed by the awkward, “yeah so, I’ll see you around, I’m just gonna go for a walk quick.” Sure bud, because most people who come to these kinds of things do it to improve their general midnight fitness levels.
On the stage, The Very Wicked snakingly warms things up for a mildly interested crowd. The bastard child of blues kids Pretty Blue Guns and their friends keeps my ear tuned in for the duration of most of my conversations with a few of my female friends about how hot my buddy Gerrie is. “I’m aware,” I retort through cigarette smoke, “but he’d probably appreciate it more if you told him with your tongue in his mouth.” Hey, I’m at a Fokof show, I might as well. After a quick visit to the parking lot we head back inside and our calm demeanours are deep fried with the teeth scratching riff from Antibiotika. 50 metres of grass and rested spines suddenly spring to life and a full on stampede throws itself toward the stage.
Fokof are here and have come out with phaser guns set to “fuck”. By the time they hit the intro to Tiny Town, even the sound guys calmly bobbing his head up and down. Staunch boereseuns over my shoulders look as though they’re channelling their inner tween and watching a Jonas Brothers break up concert, desperately trying to sing every word in tune and time with the powerful Francois Van Coke. “Ou Franne” himself is on top form tonight and even after 10 years stills manages to hit his banshee like screams like a pro and throw himself around the stage like a drunken parkour fan, complete with his trademark bass drum handstand. A silence ensues in the middle of the set and his promptly torn apart with the howling lyrics to Aangs Aanval. “Hoooooe lank? Hoe lank voor ons heir kan weg kom!?” he rants. “Frankle, I think to myself mid head bang, “You’ve come a lot further than what you think you have my friend.” He keels over to catch his breath and the looks on the whole bands face tell you everything.
10 years. 10 years of sweating and starving and suiping. 10 years of fights, sleeper couches, blasphemy and countless hangovers. 10 years of never ending growth, perseverance and belief. “10 years!” I calmly state. Raising my now empty wine bottle to the stage, “10 years too little, long live Fokofpolisiekar.”
– Kieron Brown
pic by Michael Ellis photography (Fokof live at Ramfest 2012)