Billy Talent at the Post aKOPPIlyptic Punk Picnic in PTA

Review by Roy Bouwer (@Roy_booy)

Photos by Christelle Duvenage Photography  (@StellaTeleur)


The South African music scene goes into August with a lot of anticipation for Oppikoppi and after that one glorious weekend in the dust the rest of August is filled with moping and a heavy case of Post-Oppikoppi Blues . This year Pretoria’s blues were nursed by a powerful dose of punk courtesy of Canadian punk band Billy Talent.  The Canadian band who played at Oppikoppi Sexy Crooked Teeth 3 years ago wanted to come back to play Oppikoppi but due to conflicting tour schedules the kind folks at Hilltop Live organised the Post aKOPPIlyptic Punk Picnic at The Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens welcomed the band with the warmest weather whilst the beauty of the natural flora of Pretoria encased the thousands fans in the perfect natural arena. The punk picnic was not only an opportunity for Billy Talent’s fans to see the band but also a great way for South Africa to show our potential as an arena for International bands to play a show which is a little different to what they used to. The band describes hearing about the gig and thinking “That’s sounds weird, We’ll do it!”

The supporting acts for the punk picnic were two of Pretoria’s finest rock bands. The First band, City of Heroes, took naturally to the large stage and despite playing at probably the hottest part of the afternoon held nothing back and won over the mostly unfamiliar crowd. The rock band was a welcoming sound for everyone arriving as their music echoed through the garden peaking the anticipation for the day’s events. From their well known singles, to their lessor known songs and their clever covers for songs like MGMT’s “Kids” the band was not only a suitable opener but an act the crowd will remember and look out for in the future.


City of Heroes - photo by Christelle Duvenage

City of Heroes – photo by Christelle Duvenage


When one of the biggest international punk bands are playing in Pretoria, there is no better opener than Pretoria legends Fuzigish. The band that generates almost as much excitement as the actually international headliner in Pretoria, epitomizes what a punk bands is from the moment they walk on stage and the trumpeter offers the crowd a funnel. The band whose been providing the scene with their own brand of skank for quite some time is still providing fresh material which keeps the fans committed to the skank pits of any Fuzigish show. Even though Fuzigish generated a great deal of excitement and substantiated this build up, nothing could take away from the excitement of Billy Talent.


FUZIGISH - photo by Christelle Duvenage

FUZIGISH – photo by Christelle Duvenage


Without any kind of embellished announcement the band walked onto stage looking completely natural and began playing ‘Devil in a Midnight Mass’ while the fans below were screaming at their mere sight. The band was pleased with more than just Pretoria’s warm weather but also the warm reception of the crowd. Lead singer Ben Kowalewicz joked about moving to Pretoria and expressed how the band felt inspired after visiting South Africa leaving the fans feeling quite chuffed with themselves.  The encore was definitely the highlights of the show, from the moment the band walked off stage and the sound guys walked on stage to retune guitars it was obvious the band had some more tricks up their sleeves. As if the band had anticipated that the crowd craving more the band came on stage with songs like “Red Flag”, “Devil on My Shoulder” “Fallen Leaves” and “Viking Death March” which has the crowd squealing in ecstasy. Even though the band reserved their biggest songs for their encore the majority of their set was accompanied but loyal fans singing along. The bands one and a half hour set almost flew by and as sudden as the show had started it ended, leaving no fan disappointed and all who attended filled with the bliss that you can only get from attending a really epic live show.


Billy Talent - photo by Christelle Duvenage

Billy Talent – photo by Christelle Duvenage


The Post aKOPPIlyptic Punk Picnic, intended to be the officially Oppikoppi afterparty has created a new precedent for the aftermath of any South African Festival. Some great local acts supporting a international in a uniquely South African gig is exactly what Pretoria needed to fight their Post-Oppikoppi Blues. Despite the fact that, with the exception of the merch tent, there was no actually Oppikoppi memorabilia or anything to point to the event being related to the festival, the atmosphere and talk of the day was definitely likened to that of Oppikoppi. From now on August may be about more than just Oppikoppi itself!



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