My own band, Sweetwood, practices at The Jammer since late last year and also played its first gig at the same festival. There's one major difference. We are middle aged, play solely for fun and only covers. For that reason it was not difficult to get a response from the audience. The people of Sweetwood had fun and entertained.
At our last Tuesday practice before the festival we met the band in the other room outside during the short break. Late teens or early 20 at most and very enthusiastic about the music they played and excited to play their first gig. But what to expect?
I was totally surprised by the mix of The Beatles and Billy Joel that was played. Very melodic songs, played extremely well, with a good singer with the right sort of disposition to lead a band. A fantastic, supple drummer. "Let's warn Giel", my girlfriend said. "We have found the new 3FM Serious talent". No, not yet is my opinion. For that Fort Da needs to get some mileage, but yes, the potential is there, including the talent to write interesting songs at first listen.
During the show there was a surprise. The band switched instruments and the bass player, produced a saxophone. We went straight into ska music. If I'm honest, this is fun, but also the least interesting part of the show. Fort Da is so much better. For now the band showed its passion for ska/Two Tone music and has fun playing it. After the two song interlude the band went back to what it is better at. Playing melodic songs based on piano and embellished by the other instruments. It is no use being jealous, but wished I could have played this good at that age. Fact is I didn't play anything at the time, but do now and happy with it.
And The Jammer festival? The weather was almost too good, after the hard rain of the days before. There was a good crowd and many friends and family of Sweetwood came out to watch us play. The organisation around it all was great and beer was flowing. Compliments to all in the organisation are well deserved!!!
Next year it's the first Sunday of June. So be on the look out for Sweetwood there and then and if you're lucky you may see a really good Fort Da.