Synergy 2011 FUll Event Review

Synergy CrowdWhat can I possibly write that could ever do justice to the fucking awesome time I had at Synergy this past weekend?

After building it up in my head to be this epic event that was going to change my life forever, I was pretty sure the actual experience would never live up to that, but after a bit of a rocky start, everything came together in the best possible way and we had a truly epic weekend.

The Good…

I actually started writing a full, blow-by-blow account of the entire weekend, but after I got to 2000 words I realised I need to keep this punchy.

So instead, here are some bullet points on what was awesome about the festival:

  • Boschendal is STUNNING! Surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and flanked on the one side by a river perfect for dipping your toes in or, further down, jumping in for a swim, the whole area is really beautiful and perfect for a festival


  • The organisation is pretty damned sick. At festivals you expect to spend a fair amount of time queuing for food and booze and holding your breath as you walk into porta-loos that look like hell, but Synergy was really well organised that way. Every toilet I went into was actually spotless, even right at the end and the food stalls were plenty and not too expensive either


  • TAXI VIOLENCE! These guys put on the best fucking show I’ve seen them play EVER! It was fucking electrifying, the crowd was loving every second of it and George and the guys were giving it their all. Great job, you blew everyone the fuck away!




  • LMG STAGE – a great place to discover new talent. These are the bands that will one day be tearing it up on the mainstage, no doubt. We caught snatches of bands playing here, but to be honest were too busy missioning around to remember who any of them were. DEFINITELY should have spent more time there, big fail on my part


  • The rides! We never went on them, but DAMN they looked like fun!



  • The river! On Saturday morning we went down to the river and spent a long time sitting or rocks slowly getting drunker, talking shit and splashing around in the river. This is what festivals are about, getting away from it all and doing something as simple as sitting with your feet in a river, not giving a shit about anything


  • The sun cream girls! Spraying everyone that needed sun cream with sun cream. VERY cool idea, a nice touch to make sure people didn’t get fried in their own natural juices



  • Our gazebo. This, more than anything, is a festival essential if you’re going with a big group of people. The gazebo united us. It provided much needed shade when the day started getting baking hot and it was the perfect thing to lie under and drink cold Bloody Marys all afternoon



  • Playing the messiest game of Kings ever! You know it’s a good one when the cards end up all over the camp site once the game has disintegrated into random shouting, laughter and drunken chants of “Down it!” All thanks to the genius “every time someone pulls a black card, everyone drinks” rule. That’s a recipe for awesome right there…


  • THE COMEDY TENT! Who goes to a music festival to listen to comedy, right? What a total waste of time, right? WRONG MUTHUFUKKAHS! On Saturday night we wandered randomly into the comedy tent and caught Dylan Skews’ set (who also happens to be a friend of ours) and basically spent the next hour crying with laughter. I’ve known Dylan for a couple of years through friends of ours, but never heard his stuff – it was the funniest comedy I’ve seen in YEARS. Great job man, J-Rab and I love your work


  • JAX PANIK! Possibly the biggest crowd I saw at the main stage all weekend – not really the kind of music I go for, but they were fucking AMAZING! The crowd went crazy for them and they delivered the goods. Definitely watch out for this band, they put on a great live show, one of those moments that makes you proud to be South African



  • ISOCHRONOUS! Ok, anyone who was at the festival is probably starting to pick up a general trend here – yes, we basically missed all the bands on the opening night except Taxi Violence (a lot of tequila happened. I blame you Ebz, I blame you… Joking! We had a badass time, sorry we missed you the rest of the festival!). But we caught Isochronous, who have a strong Muse-flavour to their material, and are face-meltingly awesome to watch live


  • Morning bacon and egg rolls for R15! That’s all we need to say about that one


  • VIP bracelets – thank you to the festival organisers for hooking J-Rab and I up with these, we put them to good use on Saturday night when, on a random mission to arrange a photo pass, we headed backstage to the production office and ended up…


  • MEETING BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB! Well, actually we didn’t really meet them so much as round a corner and find them sitting literally five feet from us being interviewed by MK89. For this BRMC-obsessed fan, it was fucking surreal to see the band so close, but we were asked to please leave by the band’s manager, not in a shitty way, in fact they even listened to me gush for 15 minutes about how amazing I think they are even though they’ve probably heard it a million times before. It was a perfect moment seeing them so close in this quiet, random corner of the festival and one I won’t soon forget

The Bad…

Of course, it can’t be all sunshine and lollypops, there are a few bad points about the festival that I feel I need to mention, namely:


  • The fact that I had to wait for over 2 HOURS for those aforementioned VIP passes! Thank God I managed to win a ticket to the festival through Bangers & Nash or I never would have gotten inside to find the festival organisers in the first place. It was a kak way to start the festival, but things were chaotic for the organisers so I understand, but still, 2 HOURS waiting alone under the Synergy arch?! That was painful


  • The nights. They were FREEZING cold! Friday especially – you could see your fucking breath it was so bad. J-Rab was practically crying she was so cold. Next year we’re taking backup blankets, that’s for DAMN SURE!



  • The drunken douchebags camping near us. Who, at 6 in the morning, think it’s cool to shout “Show us your pussy!” to the girls walking past their camp site. Don’t be a “show us your pussy” kind of guy, no one likes guys like that, especially not at 6 in the morning


  • The Redbull Stage. Not that the music was bad, the music was pretty sick for the most part, but the people listening to it, phwoar! Ease up on the MDMA guys, you look like a bunch of Gummi Bears bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventures beyond compare…


  • The trek from the parking to the campsite. I guess this is to be expected at festivals, but you had to lug your shit for a good 20 mins before you hit the campsite and then at least another 10 before you found a spot to camp


  • This is a bit of a sad one, but after all that hype, after building it up for so long, it pains me to say that one of the bad things for the festival for me was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. We fought our way right up to the stage, about 5 metres from the band and stayed there, basically in the mosh pit for the next hour before finally leaving before the band had even finished playing.


I mean, they NAILED some of the songs – “Conscience Killer” was INTENSE! They banged it out full of sound and fury, “Ain’t No Easy Way” was also fucking brilliant, as was “Six Barrel Shotgun”, but to be perfectly frank, for the most part the band looked a bit bored.

Leah (the drummer) came alive for one song maybe, the rest of the time she stared ahead with the same blank expression on her face, Peter (singer, guitarist) played like a fucking MACHINE, tearing his fretboard to pieces and banging out some seriously badass bluesy rock, but was also expressionless throughout.

Robert (singer, bassist) was the most animated of the three – he has this cool way of playing his base guitar like he’s aiming a rifle and MAN can he play that bass. He also swapped it out for a normal six string a couple of times, he’s a fucking talented musician.



In fact, they all are. You cannot fault them on that point and I will always, always love BRMC, but I just feel like their performance was missing something. I’m stoked I got to see them live and like I said, I loved a lot of songs they played, but they fluffed a few tracks too, which was a bit sad.


The Ugly…

And then there are the moments you kinda wish you hadn’t ever seen, like when…

  • It was 5pm on the OPENING DAY OF THE FESTIVAL, and I watched a girl falling all over the place, drunk as a mineworker and splashing white wine everywhere while her buddy tried to walk her back to her tent


  • One of the drunken douches camping next to us passed out at 6pm on Saturday night with his head out his tent so he could have a nice, hearty chunder while J-Rab and I were eating our sammiches not 10 feet away from him. Yummy.


  • On Saturday night, a guy ran straight into a car. It was actually hilarious. There was one solitary white polo parked off to the side the main stage, you couldn’t miss it, but this genius ran right into it, BANG! Hahahaha!


The Amazing…

I don’t want to end this on a shitty note, so let me sum up by first thanking everyone who made our festival experience possible, Tchavdar and the crew at Synergy Live, New Sound Artist Management and of course Mr Dan Nash.

Our plan came together in the best possible way and we had a fucking amazing time!



Sure, I didn’t catch half the bands I wanted to see, but there will always be time to watch them play in and get the interviews I want to sometime in the future.

The bands were amazing, the organisation was top notch, the good times kept rolling and the shower and nap we had after we got back home yesterday was fucking glorious!

You bet your ass we’ll be at Synergy 2012 and so will you guys because it’s a brilliant festival.

Here’s to an amazing weekend of sick bands, sunshine and good times Winking smile


20 Responses to “Synergy 2011 FUll Event Review”

  1. 1 Dane
    November 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    You say you are a “BRMC-obsessed fan” and “I will always, always love BRMC” but couldn’t even stay to the end of the show to witness an epic climax to a brilliant show (of a band which may never be here again). Were you seriously expecting the band jumping around for your amusement? Is that what you need to appreciate music, a bunch of cheerleaders?

    Ive not heard one bad thing about the show from anyone which was there, in fact everyone has been saying how much better it was then they expected (even people which had never heard of them before). Seriously, you call yourself a fan and expect people to take your ‘review’ and blog seriously, but you couldn’t even stick around for the whole show. WEAK.

    • November 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      I strongly disagree with your comment because it is complete and utter bullshit.

      Since when the fuck did I EVER say I expect people to take this blog seriously?! How dare you come to this site making fucking bullshit accusations like that (hahahaha!).

      But yeah, jokes aside I do feel like a douche for not staying for the whole set, especially after I basically dedicated EVERY post on the site to them last week, but I wasn’t feeling it dude. I don’t need a bunch of cheerleaders to appreciate music, but like I said, it just felt like something was missing.

      What was the end of their show like?


  2. 3 Andre
    November 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I’m with Dane here, man.

    I cannot actually believe what I just read.

    I’ve seen many bands – The Stones, Portishead, Grinderman and more, but this was the best show I’ve EVER seen!

    Did you happen to notice their lighting and what was on the screen?
    No disco/firework gimmicks. It was even hard to see who they were at times.
    It was drak, moody and real.
    That’s their vibe. And for an ‘obsessed’ fan, you should have been in your fucking element.

    Also, Peter Hayes is probably one of the most busy players when it comes to his pedals.
    The guys feet are constantly moving. No time for power slides across the stage, I’m afraid.

    Also, as an ‘obsessed’ fan, you should know that BRMC are not about singles, videos etc. They are about making records and playing live.
    Records that are crafted to be listened to from beginning to end. A lot of work goes into that. Same with their live set. All the songs are chosen to form one living, breathing entity.
    Not staying to witness the end is just fucking rediculous.

    I know this is your opinion, but if you want your writing to have credibility, you’re gonna have to do a bit better than stories of awesome drinking games, bacon rolls and the weather.

    PS: I am with you an the drunken douche bag part. Never had to deal with so many fucking dimwits at a festival.

    • November 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for the comment, and yes as I mentioned in my write up, I was in my fucking element for some of their songs, but still think something was missing.

      What I find pretty hilarious though is the fact that I spend a week writing posts about BRMC and how much I love them and my regular readers write a comment or two and that’s that.

      Then I write one post saying I found BRMC’s performance lacking and NOW all of a sudden a bunch of randoms come running, brandishing torches and pitchforks and telling me what I should and shouldn’t say or think about this band, hahaha! Too awesome!

      Where were you when I was singing their praises man?!

      Also, thanks for the tip about my writing. Please feel free to send me examples of yours (tellthetiger@gmail.com) or send me a link to your site so I can return the favour.


  3. 5 Lische
    November 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    You sound like a tool. end of story.

  4. 7 Caren
    November 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I would be fooling myself to believe that anyone describing Jax Panic as “fucking amazing” could produce anything else than your mediocre review of BRMC. Your review only makes clear your raging indifference to, and ignorance of the band, their music, and what it represents. Your leaving before the end of the show reveals, apart from your under-par abilities as a reviewer, the fact that you are obviously not a fan of the band. You are one of the reasons why incredible acts such as BRMC wastes their time even considering SA as a venue.

    • November 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Caren, I find your outright attack of what is essentially just my opinion and the fact that you regard my abilities as a reviewer to be under-par hurtful and discouraging. It is because of people like you that I doubt my abilities as a writer, my worth as an individual with interesting and relevant insights and my place in the world at large.

      I can only apologise for writing what must have been one of the most insulting and outright ignorant reviews that you’ve ever read, and make this solemn promise to you that provided you never, ever come back to this site ever, you’ll never have to be subjected to this fucking pointless, ridiculous, badly written example of puerile garbage ever again.

      Have a nice life Caren and once again, let me apologise for destroying everything you hold sacred, you were perfectly justified to do the same to me.


    • 9 Civilian
      November 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Caren, kindly jump face first off your high horse please. Do you have some hidden insight into what “…the band, their music, and what it represents” that makes every other listener and fan of their music indifferent and ignorant?

      Your choice of words in your comments screams “fanboy” and that reduces your credibility to nothing more than that of a troll.

  5. November 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Is that Mr. Andre Wilkinson in the third pic?!

  6. 12 Martin Janse van Rensburg
    November 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I am not the greatest fan of BRMC, but regardless, writing a review about a band that you did not finish watching just means that you have lost the plot my friend. What would people have thought about bands like Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd had they not stayed till the end, and taken the journey with those bands.

    I agree with Dane and Andre that you are not a fan at all. You only like some of the singles, when they fit in with the mood you are in at a particular time, and when you are surrounded by people who would agree with you. You don’t experience music in any way beyond that which you already believe. You do not let them influence you, you want them to be your servants.

    • November 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      I’d take this comment seriously, but you’re not the greatest BRMC fan so I’m just going to mentally file it under “things retarded people say” and carry on with my life.

  7. 14 paula
    November 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    i´m always stunned how the same gig can generate completely opposite reviews, but that´s different people for ya – eh? some get it, some don´t.
    when you didn´t stay til the end you definately missed out. and a bit of a bold thing to do, since they hooked you up with tix.
    oh well.

  8. 15 Armine Iknadossian
    November 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    BRMC, even at their weakest, are exceptional to see live. This is a fact. They are known as a stellar live band. They don’t just go through the motions. They give every show their all. I know. I’ve seen them live many times, and I’ve written about them a few times. They “fluffed” a few songs? How so? You don’t explain how they mess up? Also, in the same sentence you claim Peter “tears up the fretboard” yet also plays like a “machine”. Um…which one is it? Finally, there is a chance, of course, that one of them was ill or something, because yes, they are also known to play a show while suffering from stomach flu and food poisoning. THAT is how seriously they take their jobs. I understand this is just your opinion, and you are entitled to one, but a good review includes more specifics. A VIP Pass is a privilege. In return, you repay the band by producing a well-written piece, not just writing a couple of vague paragraphs.

  9. 16 Storm
    November 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Nice write up dude, wasn’t there so this was a very nice read.


  10. 17 Jax
    November 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Wow some anger in the comment section there!
    I enjoyed your review, and aren’t reviews just about that particular person’s opinion anyway? Plus I’m a journo and I don’t see any issue whatsoever with how you wrote it up…how can one really sum up a whole weekend festival experience and please everyone in any case?
    Besides that, I feel your pain. It always sucks when you build a band up in your head and believe because their music is epic, they’ll be epic onstage too. Take Disturbed for instance…they have some fucking cool songs. I mean “Down with the Sickness” need i say any more? (Okay newer albums a bit meh), but they are seriously disappointing live. No stage presence at all. I never thought that band would be boring live.
    But yeah, it sucks when you expect so much and its a disappointment…and probably people who like/know a band less, would possibly like their live shows more, as they have no preconceived notions/ideal of what it should be like…
    Keep on bringing us the reviews Mr Tiger! Guess people just feel protective over their music 🙂
    Rock on!

    • November 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Thank you! Means a lot that you took the time to defend your Tiger pal, could sure use a friendly voice or two amongst the caucophany of haters.
      You’re right, people are protective over their music, who knew SA had so many die-hard BRMC fans?
      I’m definitely no longer one of those though. Despite what I said in the original article, I’ll never be able to listen to this band without remembering how fucking shitty everyone’s been about what is essentially just my opinion.
      Live and learn right? In future I’ll just lie 😉

  11. 19 Seerower
    November 29, 2011 at 6:01 am

    To all the comment-haters: The post was about Synergy which was more than just the BRMC show. Now go read the full post. Again. Slowly. Google the big words.

    You should have stayed until the end of the BRMC show. It sucks donkey ass when bands look like they are doing some menial job instead of living up to the expectations we have built up for them. In shows like that you have to change your focus to appreciate the little things – take what you can get and stay to the end to get as much as you can.

    • November 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

      You’re right dude, the only thing people can really fault here is that I left before they were done, but when I say I missed maybe three tracks, that’s a lot.
      Thanks for stepping up to the haters though, if you lived closer I’d definitely buy you a round or five.

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