Doors opened at 8 PM, and by 8:10, I was contemplating my options: stay at home or venture out solo to the Fokofpolisiekar show at Foul Play. The allure of live music won, and I found myself at the venue by 8:25, beer in hand, watching a diverse crowd filter into the dimly lit space. This was my first live show in Cape Town, and attending alone made me a bit apprehensive.

I found a spot against the wall, waiting for Cistamatic, the opening act. As the first beat hit, my apprehension began to melt away. Cistamatic’s performance was spellbinding; the lead singer’s voice was hauntingly beautiful, paired with well-crafted lyrics and a solid band. They’re definitely worth adding to your playlist. The crowd began to pulse with life, setting the stage for the next act.

The crowd engulfed in the atmosphere. PHOTO: Pierre Rommelaere

Hellcats followed, building on the momentum. Despite a towering individual blocking most of my view, I could feel their energy and appreciated their harder sound. Even though I could barely make out the lyrics, the band’s intensity was palpable. By this point, both the crowd and I were fully warmed up. The movement spread from the heart of the audience to its edges, and my initial worries about being alone faded away.

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the sheer chaos that ensued when Fokofpolisiekar took the stage. Familiar with their music and having seen them live before, this crowd was unlike any I had experienced. As the band prepped, anticipation electrified the air. The moment Francois van Coke gripped the mic, the room’s energy exploded.

Francois van Coke hanging from the ceiling beam at District. PHOTO: Pierre Rommelaere

The crowd was a unified force, with fans knowing every nuance of every song. By the third song, I no longer felt alone. We were all connected through the music, moving, swaying, and moshing together. Francois van Coke commanded the crowd like a king, and the energy was infectious. The music pulsed, and the crowd surged—singing, dancing, and losing themselves in the moment. The world outside faded away, leaving just the rhythmic persistence of a truly connected audience.

Leaving the show, I was in shock from the experience. Drenched in sweat and alcohol, with ringing ears, aching muscles, and a hoarse voice, I was washed in adrenaline. This was truly one of the most exhilarating live performances I’ve ever witnessed.

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