The sheer size of the 20 000 capacity crowd along with the 6 stages representing a fairly accurate cross-section of South Africa’s Rock, Dance and Hip-Hop scene, made it fair to say that Oppikoppi has become, bar art festivals like Grahamstown Arts Fest and KKNK, South Africa’s landmark music festival.
Kicking off early on a Thursday because of the public holiday, (Oppi normally runs from Friday to Sunday), it was evident that Oppikoppi 2012 “Sweet Thing” was going to be a record breaker by early midday as the crowd got down in the blazing sun at the Red Bull Studio Live Stage which normally only really gets going on the first day of Oppi when the sun goes down. On the Skellum Stage, AKA represented his two SAMA wins with a spectacular set of live hip-hop performed by a full band while up-comers, the Kiffness, got the crowds smiling with their infectious mash of live-electronica and tounge-in-cheek South Arican vibes.
Thursday’s Red Bull Studio Live Stage was committed to the fours to the floors and a showcase of SA’s House and Techno landscape (to read a slightly more detailed account, check out this review written during the madness).
By Friday, the crowd frenzy that fuels Oppi, was at its peak by daytime. At the Studio Live Stage, Fletcher wound it up early on with a feel-good, expert opening set of Roots and Uptempo Downbeat. The day was followed with left-field Dance and backpack Hip-Hop from Big Space and Raiko, live Electronica and visuals from Mr Sakitumi, & VJ Grrrl and Veranda Panda. Elsewhere the Oppi masses swayed and jumped to Jeremy Loop’s unique Cut-n-Paste, Future-Folk; toi-toi’ed to the ebb-n-flow Afro-Rock of the Blk Jks and thrashed to the shaking, Kwela-Punk of Desmond and the Tutus.
Friday night on the Red Bull Studio Live Stage heaved to the Bass, Rap and Breaks of Mix n Blend, PHfat, Phizisist and Twelv & Thesis leading into the peak-hour Drum n Bass of Rudeone and mosh-pit Electro of Haezer. Baskerville bridged Haezer’s breakneck sound onto Ivan Turanjanin’s closing set, a retrospective of 6 years of SA’s Techno pioneers, Killer Robot, a perfect closing set that brought together half a decade of some of the best and most forward thinking peak-hour Dance and Electronica.
Oppi’s massive Saturday crowd were definitely feeling the weight of their sins the night before, but the beauty of Oppikoppi is the only way out is through: which is to say, there’s no going back to your tent / car for a bit of R&R, or escaping by driving home, the madness and distance from civilisation ensure that the masses keep on their feet, kicking up dust in revelry till the very end. Which is exactly what they did, building up the dancefloor at the Red Bull Studio Live Stage to a steadily growing sonic pallate of Bass, House and Techno. The Frown set the mood for the final night of madness with their captivating, sinister, sultry Electronica, perfect for Sideshow to flex her multi-genre, party-rocking skills leading up to Sibot. Si, in comparison to most DJs and producers, really has machine-like ability.
Not only does he play a live set of all his own production, he is constantly adding and discarding tracks to and from his ever-evolving repertoire. Leading on from last-years gobsmacking set at Oppi, Sibot once again brought the house down his lowslung, electrified mutant-Hip-Hop sound.
Diplo followed with a set that defined what an A-list international DJ who plays almost every night of the week is able to do. Swinging from genre to genre with the ease that he swung from the rafters, playing a selection of music from his own projects (such as MJR LZR), his label (Mad Decent) and every other party-rocking genre you can imagine, the crowd had never been so large, taking up every single available space from the front to the top of the Koppi. Das Kapital and Pascal & Pearce took over with equally charged sets of their own cutting-edge Dance, featuring much of their own accomplished productions. Kid Fonque closed the floor with his trademark eclectic set, balancing chin-stroking with party prowess.
We’ve said it before, the aim of the Red Bull Studio Live Stage at Oppikoppi is to be a showcase of the best local Electronica and Dance. This has been the focus since the first Studio Live Stage in 2010 and will continue to be the focus, especially because SA Electronica is, and has been, on the incline for some time. But this is only possible because it fits into the larger context of Oppikoppi which in itself is a showcase of some of the best local music all round.