Culture January 15, 2013

Metamorph – Fire Hoses & New Cycles

My alarm clock is the devil: no other object or entity has ever been able to incite such hateful intentions within a peaceful humanitarian such as myself. But this time, when it plucked me from my slumbers at 2am, I could have kissed the ticking atrocity: time for Metamorph 2013. Hosted as the result of collaboration between two of the most reliable and esteemed trance-production companies that Cape Town has to offer, I had high expectations for this event.

Whilst the venue was situated just outside Caledon, the drive seemed to go on endlessly. By the time we arrived the sky had turned from black to crimson, and everyone in the car was frothing at the mouth (from pure Organik anticipation, just to clear up any possible misconceptions).

Upon arrival ice-blocks and unhealthy vodka-mix ratios were clunked and slushed hurriedly into Energade bottles, and suddenly we were on the dance-floor. The crowd was small and sparse, but alert and energetic, feeding off the sonic energy that Biorhythm were providing. I took a deep breath of the warm night-air and smiled to myself whilst envisaging the fun that was about to ensue. Psy-conditions seemed ideal: the weather was calm and sparkly, the spacious dance-floor was covered in foot-friendly straw and filled with friendly faces, and the stellar sound-production was crystal-clear and thumping powerfully in my chest. What better way to spend a Sunday!?

As time progressed the night was replaced by day, the dance-floor started filling up, and the birds came out to play (though I didn’t see many of them – I guess they don’t like bass). I relished the opportunity to take a look at the venue that we were in: last time all I had seen was rain and mud (, and I trusted that the combined tastes of Organik and Groovy Troopers had led to the selection of a truly fantastic setting. I wasn’t disappointed: spectacular mountainous outcrops peeked out of low-lying clouds; flowers, forest and shady vegetation provided shelter for the campers, and the rising sun glistened and sparkled over a beautiful, natural dam. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: scenic beauty is what sets the Cape Town psychedelic scene apart from the rest; organizers who take short-cuts in this respect are shooting themselves in the foot.

Back on the dance-floor we were gearing up for an impressive Sunday line-up. First-up was the widely-acclaimed producer Tron, hailing from Mexico. His performance was slightly restrained, but powerful in subtle ways. The crowd seemed unaccustomed to his unique style and sound, yet I found his flawless fusion of textbook-psychedelic and bouncy day-time sounds to be extremely enjoyable. Another thing which stood out was the vocal excerpts: rather than corny pop-cultural references (which seem to be the flavour of the day), Tron samples insightful commentary drawn from prominent thinkers within the psychedelic revolution: Terrence McKenna, Bill Hicks and Tim Leary, amongst others.

Next up was Mr Gandalf Grey: one of Cape Town’s most under-rated and over-skilled DJ’s. With years of experience, Gandalf used his unmitigated knowledge of trance and crowd dynamics to playfully tease, enthuse and build-up energy amongst his fans. Rinkadink followed on from Gandalf, introducing a pronounced progressive element to the day-session; this contrasted with the next act: the DJ Natron. Hailing from Germany, Natron’s sound was far closer to full-on psychedelic, and he did a magnificent job of tweaking the energy levels, just as the temperatures started to soar, and the tired trancers started to get sluggish.

Another form of a respite from the rising temperatures came from a blessed man with a massive fire-hose, who sprayed a powerful stream of water onto the crowd at random intervals. This truly was a life-saver, injecting fun and energy into the desiccating crowd, and also preventing serious cases of heat-stroke and dust-inhalation. Because these showers were periodic, they consisted of an intense and full-on dousing: I actually thought I was drowning at one stage! Forget feeble sprinklers, this is how things should be done!

Before I knew it Connecto had finished up with his impressive closer of a set, and it was time to drag ourselves unwillingly from the beautiful venue. This party was the product of an alliance that was destined to materialize. In my previous reviews I’ve commented on the fact that both Organik and Groovy Troopers represent the ‘big brothers’ of South African trance, setting good examples and striving to maintain the true essence of our beautiful psychedelic subculture. In my opinion this party couldn’t have been done much better: a level of perfection was reached in terms of the setting, the line-up, the crowd, the atmosphere, the decor, as well as general logistics and organization. I pride myself on being a reviewer that’s not afraid to criticize were such criticism is due (a task which I thoroughly enjoy); in this instance, however hard I may try, there simply seem not to be any down-sides for me to dig up. Thanks to all involved (organizers and attendees) for keeping things psychedelic!

Until the next one: keep it unreal!

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