Daniel Baron’s Latest Album is Finally Here

2009 Top 10 Idols SA finalist, Daniel Baron has made quite the career for himself. Despite not winning the singing competition, Baron has gone on to release numerous singles and albums and has become more successful than most of the Idols SA winners. I was fortunate enough to attend the Weekend of Mass Destruction album launch and man… what an experience.

The Launch

I’ve been a fan of Daniel’s since 2009 so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first to preview his new album. The event was held at the luxurious penthouse suite of the Da Vinci Hotel in the heart of Sandton. Guests were invited to indulge in signature cocktails and canapes as the sun set over Sandton CBD. Like most South Africans, I have such an appreciation for our sunsets, and this event was the absolute perfect way to view it.

Da Vinci Penthouse Sunset
View of the sun setting over Sandton as seen from the penthouse suite of the Da Vinci Hotel.

Model Sculpture

The interior of the suite was decorated with electric pink, gold and black making for a strikingly edgy and elegant setting. In addition, there were live-sculptures wearing daring outfits displayed throughout the venue. These ladies didn’t only look like pieces of art but they stayed frozen for about 2 hours until Daniel’s performance began when they then came to life and danced amoungst the crowd.

The event was pretty intimate with a guest list of no more than 80 people. This made for a wonderful social setting where it was easy to meet and get to know other guests. The conversation was accompanied by smooth saxophone music and it was lit.✨ No, but for real, for certain songs, the musician had fireworks spraying from her sax!

Saxophone with Sparks

Shortly after the sun had set, Daniel made his entrance. To my surprise, he didn’t go straight to the stage but instead took his time to walk around and greet every single person there and take the opportunity to introduce himself if they hadn’t met before. He wasn’t in a rush but rather stayed chatting for a couple of minutes before moving on to the next group of people. I thought this was particularly refreshing given his success and talent.

After he made the rounds, he took to the stage to give us a taste of his latest masterpiece.

The Album

Daniel Baron is no stranger to pushing the boundaries and Weekend of Mass Destruction is without a doubt the most experimental he’s been. While the album is classified as pop, Baron uses African deep house beats and cinematic strings to create unique tracks that push the envelope of the pop genre while staying true to his sound. Elements of EDM and rock are used to convey the overarching theme of celebrating love and destroying hate.

The songs are both catchy and masterfully produced. Before the album was even launched, two of the featured tracks (Children of the Sun and Beautiful Noise) were local chart toppers, giving fans much to be excited about. The craftsmanship that went into producing this album is undoubtedly evident. Daniel and his team worked tirelessly to make this the best of his albums yet.

“I have never been as proud of anything in my life as I am of this album. I have never worked this hard. I’ve put everything behind this project, and I have all faith in it.” – Daniel Baron

Not only did I get to hear some of the songs live (and get a sneak-peak of an unreleased music video!) but I’ve got the album and have been listening to it on repeat since last week.

Weekend Of Mass Destruction Album CoverWeekend of Mass Destruction released on 16 June 2017 and is available on Apple Music and iTunes, with 1 000 limited edition autographed physical CDs up for order.

I am constantly amazed at the calibre of local talent we have in South Africa, and Daniel Baron is without a doubt one of the leading pop artists truly shaping his craft while producing world-class hits at the same time. Do yourself a favour and give Weekend of Mass Destruction a listen and show your support for local talent by following Daniel Baron on social media.

Hashtag: #WeekendOfMassDestruction

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Mitech Direct Officially Open – Africa’s Largest Music Store

Africa’s largest musical instrument and technology store has just opened and is something every muso should be excited about. Introducing Mitech Direct – a premium music instrument and pro-audio outlet.

Although officially open to the public from 16 March 2017, a lavish launch was held at the premises on 15 March, where music industry professionals were invited to get an exclusive peek at the store. Guests were welcomed with drinks and a selection of finger snacks that looked more like pieces of art, which almost made you not want to eat them. Almost.

The Sweet Resistance Band
The Sweet Resistance opening at the Mitech Direct Launch (15 March 2017)

Shortly after, The Sweet Resistance took to the stage and absolutely killed it with some original pieces as well as an exceptional acoustic version of Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive. After a brief speech and video highlighting the store’s offerings, the floor was officially opened and guests were invited to explore the store.

The Store

Mitech Direct Officially OpenThe store is spacious and laid out with the customer experience in mind. The space has been put together impeccably, with modern finishes and state of the art technology. The layout and features of the showroom clearly indicate that the entire visitor experience was the main focus. Other than musical tech and instruments, branded gear and merchandise is also available for purchase. The facility also includes recording studios, showroom, and surround-sound viewing rooms. What’s also impressive is the lot has a stage that is kitted out with top of the range audio equipment.

Hang out at Mitech directMitech Direct is not only a place to purchase music-related apparel, but it is also a space where individuals can relax and hang out. There are several workstations and seating areas for visitors to use, which is made all the more appealing with WiFi access and coffee shop.

Instruments

Mitech Direct boasts a wide variety of instruments and music-related paraphernalia. While some items are displayed neatly in glass cabinets, most instruments are arranged throughout the showroom for visitors to test. What’s more is individual breakaway rooms allow customers to test drive instruments before making a purchase.

Audio Equipment

Any imaginable piece of technology for music production can be found at this store. Whether for live performances or to use in-studio, Mitech Direct is sure to stock it. Visitors are able to get hands-on experience with many of the tech items, and consultants are always nearby to assist.

The store is also home to one of only two Sennheiser Experience centres in the world, where customers can test headphones, speakers as well as a range of microphones.Sennheiser Experience South Africa

Mitech Direct is officially open for business and is sure to be a game-changer in the instrument and audio tech industry. Although you are able to shop for the products via Mitech Direct’s online store, I urge you to visit the store in Midrand to experience the full effect of what is certain to strike a chord with any music lover.

For more information, visit their website and be sure to follow them on social media:

Keeping Up With the Kandasamys (2017) Review

Last night I attended the premiere of Keeping Up With the Kandasamys and was beyond impressed with the whole experience. It’s not often that I rave about a South African film, but this one is well worth the watch.

The Premiere

Kyle Deutsch and DJ Deemo movie premiere
Kyle Deutsch and DJ Deemo being interviewed by ANN 7 and SABC News.

I’ve only been to a handful of premieres so I didn’t quite know what to expect, but last night’s event was impressive. The Johannesburg event took place at Ster Kinekor in Cedar Square (Fourways). Guests were welcomed with a red carpet, photographers, film crew, grand spread of food and drinks, which certainly made me feel like royalty if only for the night. A great playlist kept the vibe spirited and lively creating an atmosphere of excitement for the night’s festivities.

 

Jailoshini Naidoo Premiere
Jailoshini Naidoo who plays the meddlesome Jennifer Kandsamy

About an hour before the screening, the talented cast made their entrance and were nothing short of glamorous. To kick things off, guests were treated to a performance by Kyle Deutsch who sang one of the main songs from the film’s soundtrack. DJ Deemo also made an appearance and spent quite a bit of time being interviewed by news reporters and taking pictures with fans.

 

Mariam Bassa
Mariam Bassa who plays Aya

Then the cast took to the red carpet dressed to the nines, posing for photos with true movie star prestige. The cast includes some familiar faces from the Indian entertainment industry including Jailoshini Naidoo, Maeshni Naicker, Mishqah Parthiephal, Madhushan Singh, Koobeshen Naidoo, Rajesh Gopie and Mariam Bassa. The entire event came together perfectly, making for a wonderful evening.

 

 

The Movie

I’d seen the trailer and was hopeful it would be good, but it exceeded my expectations. Set in Chatsworth, the film opens a window into the lifestyle and subculture of modern-day Indian South Africans; their aspirations, dreams and challenges. The plot centres around two rival mothers who discover their children are having a secret relationship. They then decide to take matters into their own hands and work together to try to break the two up in a number of hilariously conniving ways. The light-hearted narrative is funny, charming and relatable to all. Not only is the story endearing, but I was blown away by the overall production value proving that the South African film industry is certainly alive and well. This is without a doubt a movie that everyone involved should be proud of.

Keeping Up With the Kandsamays is an absolute must-see for all South Africans. The film will be officially launched in cinemas nationwide on 3 March 2017. Do yourself a favour and go see it!

Watch the Trailer here:

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @kandasamysmovie

Instagram: @kandasamysmovie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kandasamysmovie

Did Lady Gaga Dominate the Super Bowl 2017?

Since the beginning of the year, there has been an immense amount of online conversation about the 51st NFL Super Bowl game that took place on 5 February – 15 925 871 mentions to be exact. While the focus is typically on football, the event is known for new viral commercials being aired for the first time, epic live performances and entertainment news is typically a popular talking point as well. This year was no exception. With all that goes on, it’s confusing to pinpoint exactly what the hype is about.

Well, after the latest Super Bowl event I decided to do a bit of digging and here’s what I found.

Firstly, about 56% of individuals who participated in online conversation about the #SuperBowl2017 were male, while the remaining 44% were female. This is almost an equal split.

68% of total mentions (posts, tweets, likes and retweets) about the event for 2017 were generated from 4 – 6 February. The remaining 32% can be attributed to promotional content before the event.

#SuperBowl2017 Trend

Surprisingly, the majority of mentions were in the form of original posts, however, the volume of retweets was a close second. This is unusual as mentions are typically dominated by reshared posts. This indicates that people were actively contributing to online conversation to share their views on the festivities as opposed to simply resharing content.

Although the #SuperBowl2017 took place on 5 February, the most notable spike in mentions was on 6 February with 8 752 300 mentions – 55% of all online Super Bowl mentions since 1 January.

The top 3 hashtags used from 4 to 6 February were #SuperBowl, #SB51 and #PepsiHalftime.

Super Bowl 2017 Popular Social Media Hashtags
The Top 10 Most Used Hashtag for Super Bowl 2017 Conversation

Fans who commented on the game,  including US President Donald Trump, shared their support for their team or individual players. Conversation predominantly centred around the teams that played (Patriots and Atlanta Falcons) and Tom Brady, who led the team to victory.

As is tradition, the ads during the Super Bowl were a popular talking point. People commented with their thoughts on the ads as they aired, and since then, several media outlets have shared lists of their favourite commercials and ranked the best and worst ads of the year.

A number of trailers for upcoming movies and series were dropped such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2., Pirates of the Carribean 5, Stranger Things and The Walking Dead. These trailers generated excitement from fans who have continued to share these video with their social communities.

Lady Gaga has been one of the most talked about topics globally over the past couple of days. Gaga’s performance wowed spectators with an unbelievable drone light display, on point vocals and elaborate choreography. Hashtags such as #GoGaga, #LittleMonsters and #GagaBowl were trending for several hours as fans praised the artist for her memorable halftime show. Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan, you can’t help but be impressed by the spectacle. Furthermore, Lady Gaga’s sales surged over 1 000% in wake of the halftime show.

So, what were people speaking about the most?

The Top 5 Online Conversation Themes

  1. Patriots (1 358 750 mentions, 13%)
  2. Lady Gaga (1 057 729 mentions, 10%)
  3. Falcons (821 820 mentions, 8%)
  4. Tom Brady (694 670 mentions, 6%)
  5. Commercials (690 031 mentions, 6%)

Conclusion

The Super Bowl is more than just a sports event; it’s just as much about the commercials and halftime show. It’s no secret that Super Bowl Sunday has become a patriotic event, one that brings the US nation together if only for a few hours. But it’s not just Americans who join in the conversation – people from all over the world chime in with their opinion of the festivities. Although the final football match of the NFL championship triggered the most conversation this year, the contribution that other themes brought is nothing to scoff at. Despite football being the main focus of attention, there is something in it for everyone and I think that’s what makes the event so l engaging. 2017 was certainly an epic Super Bowl. Let’s see how 2018 fairs.

Forget the numbers for the moment, what do you think? Do you think Lady Gaga stole the show or was it all about the football?

Life Begins – Riaad Moosa (Cape Town)

Riaad Moosa invites the audience along to his brand new one-man show, Life Begins, to join in figuring out whether life really does begin at 40. The tour kicks off at the Golden Arrow Studio at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town from the 27th of January to the 25th of February.

Even though I am turning 40 this year, in many ways, I feel like I’m still crawling and I’m looking back at my journey from being an aspirational doctor, coming from a relatively conservative Muslim background, where both my parents were doctors, and how I actually journeyed to becoming a stand-up comedian,” says Riaad.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most popular and acclaimed funny men and he happens to be a qualified medical doctor too. Known as the “Comedy Doctor”, he certainly seems to have the remedy for the nation’s ills – a healthy dose of laughter, straight up – and hold the aspirin!

Life Begins is a snapshot into the life of Riaad Moosa – being a father of three kids, a husband, comedian, actor and with all the current cultural and political issues thrown in.

The show is very philosophical and existential.  It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head – with Trump, with Brexit; In South Africa, the ‘State Capture’, ‘Fees Must Fall’, ‘DOOM’.  And it’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude.  Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement,” Moosa adds.

Get your prescription of laughter with Riaad Moosa’s side-splittingly funny one-man show, Life Begins.

The show is rated PG for Language.  Tickets cost R150 and are now open at Computicket online and various outlet stores.  The show starts at 20h15 (16h00 on Sundays) and with an extra show on Saturdays at 17h00. The Golden Arrow Studio is located at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch.

Follow Riaad Moosa on Twitter (@RiaadMoosa) and Facebook (Riaad Moosa).

Why Everyone Is Talking About La La Land

There has been an immense amount of buzz around Summit Entertainment’s latest release, La La Land. The film was highly anticipated and after watching it this past weekend, I can see why. Here’s what you need to know, with no spoilers.

The film cleaned out at the 74th Annual Golden Globes winning all seven of the categories it was nominated for!

  • Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
  • Best Screenplay: Damien Chazelle
  • Best Director – Motion Picture: Damien Chazelle
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Emma Stone
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Ryan Gosling
  • Best Original Song: City of Stars (Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)
  • Best Original Score: Justin Hurwitz

Not only was it a top performer, but the opening musical number of the ceremony made reference to the film. The opening has received over 6 million views on YouTube in just 2 weeks! This is not surprising as it was superbly executed.

Not only has it won numerous awards already, but the film has made history as being one of the most Oscar-nominated films ever with 13 nominations.

Conversation on social media has been nonstop, peaking at 300 000 unique tweets and 63 500 retweets on the day the 74th Annual Golden Globes aired. Since then, people continue to talk about it, generally raving about the film after seeing it. Although mentions have trailed off, two weeks after the spike in conversation, there is an average of 175 tweets and 242 retweets per hour regarding the film.

#LaLaLand
Online mentions of #LaLaLand over a 30-day period.
Although set in modern times, the film is made in the style of classic 1930s and 40s productions. This is evident throughout the movie. Production design, costume design, music, choreography, shooting style, editing techniques and lenghty takes are all used to give the sense that you’re watching an old MGM classic. This is a major production with complex dance scenes, including the first scene which they had to shut down a Los Angeles highway to film!

Not only are the technical aspect of the production on point, but audiences got to see the cast show-off new talents as seen in this scene where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sing and dance together:

The score, in particular, was something I really enjoyed. I first heard clips of the music in the trailer and knew instantly that this was going to be an epic production. I hadn’t heard of Justin Hurwitz (the composer and writer) until now, but I am now an absolute fan. The film’s soundtrack is currently at number 2 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, climbing 15 positions from the previous week.

Having seen the film, I can confirm that the movie is certainly worth all the hype. I loved it and cannot wait to see it again. The film was scheduled for release in South Africa on 27 January 2017, but is already out, likely due to its success at the Golden Globe awards. If you love musicals and classic movies, La La Land is an absolute must-see!

Not convinced? Watch the trailer here:

Still not convinced? Hear my thoughts:

References and Additional Reading

Kings and Queens of Comedy

Kings & Queens of Comedy began in 2012 in Johannesburg and has since grown to be one of the leading comedy brands in South Africa, promoting and showcasing local talent from around the country.

This February, Durban will erupt in laughter as the biggest comedians from all over South Africa hit the stage for the 2017 kick-off of the world tour of Kings & Queens of Comedy on 11 February at the Durban ICC.

Guaranteed to be a show of hysterical proportions, comedy lovers can look forward to a bigger and funnier stellar line-up.

Leading the evening’s proceedings is Durban’s favourite comedian, Darren Maule with a special guest appearance by Morgan Beatbox, but who will be performing?

  • Marc Lottering
  • Tumi Morake
  • Loyiso Gola
  • Celeste Ntuli
  • Leeanda Reddy
  • Krijay Govender
  • Schalk Bezuidenhout
  • Joey Rasdien
  • Tol Ass Mo
  • Khanyisa Bunu
  • Rory Petzer

Don’t miss out on the laughter – get your tickets today to the funniest show in town. Tickets range from R185 and are now available through Computicket online and leading outlets.

Date: Saturday, 11 February 2017
Time: 20h00 (doors open at 19h00)
Venue: Durban ICC, 45 Bram Fischer Road, Durban

KAQOC 2017

Tickets can be bought at Computicket with prices ranging from R185 to R325.

Facebook Page: KNQComedy

The Best Mashups that Perfectly Sum Up 2016

I love mash-ups. Always have, always will. There are several artists and DJS who have made a name for themselves by having an ear for perfectly remixing and mashing-up popular songs, which often go viral. Remember Norwegian Recycling?

Well, with the end of the year, there have been numerous posts claiming to be the best mash-up of the year. Being the music lover that I am, I’ve listened to a few and chosen my top 5 mash-ups of 2016 and ranked them from most epic.

1) AnDy Wu MUSIC LAND

2) T10MO

3) DJ Earworm

4) Yabinci Müzikler

5) SuperScreamRock 2

What do you think? Did I miss any I should hear? Let me know.

 

Beauty and the Biebs?

We all know dolls of movie characters don’t often look exactly like they do in the movie, but a new doll has set Twitter abuzz. Disney recently released dolls for the highly anticipated live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. While the doll for Belle is meant to look like Emma Watson, many have said the doll looks more like Justin Bieber.

William Herrington was the first person to post pictures of the doll after stumbling upon it on sale. Since then others have surfaced with the consensus that the doll is a complete fail. Regardless of who it looks like, it doesn’t look particularly beautiful (the very meaning of “belle”). The doll reportedly looks like she has a skin disease because of the freckles on her face. Not only that but the proportions of her head, her ears and forehead are off, making it look almost like a caricature.

Here’s what people are saying:

https://twitter.com/I_Dont_Know_Her/status/817644858328367104

There has been so much hype around this film, particularly as the release approaches (March 2017), but I don’t think this is exactly the type of publicity Disney was hoping for. I don’t know who to feel more sorry for – Justin or Emma. What are your thoughts?

References and Additional Reading

An Honest Review of Janice Honeyman’s 2016 Pantomime

I haven’t been to many pantomimes, but the ones I’ve been to I’ve enjoyed. Unfortunately, I’ve got to admit that this year’s Janice Honeyman production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood was a bit of a dud for me.

Theatre review

Wins:

The sets were incredibly done – something you can’t fault these productions on is the amount of work that goes into designing and creating the costumes, props, and sets. In terms of production, the play was top notch.

Reference to topical news – as we’ve all come to expect and love, the classic fairytale was brought to life with humour, and often made reference to recent news and pop culture in clever ways. Incorporating recognisable popular songs was also a lot of fun.

The villains were great – the characters were so over the top and hilarious that they really stole the show. More than the characters were the actors who brought them to life. Both the male and female villain were perfectly cast, which made all the difference.

Losses:

The storyline was weak and ridiculous – there was no even semi-logical format for the story. Not only that, but the story was unnecessarily complicated with ‘plot twists’ that didn’t make a significant impact to the story, while others could’ve easily been explained but weren’t. In addition, certain parts of the story were absolutely random. The main villain is conquered by the random appearance of characters from pop culture that he has a phobia of… Surely there are more creative ways of concluding the story.

Robin Hood was by no means a hero – although Robin Hood is the main character of the story, his merry men seemed to do most of the rescuing, and as mentioned, he didn’t defeat the main villain in the end either.

I’m all for productions aimed at a younger audience, but this year’s pantomime was a disappointment. That’s not to say there weren’t elements I enjoyed, but overall I expected more. Usually, there is something in it for children and adults alike, but Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood seemed to not quite fit into any category. Let’s see if Honeyman can defend her title as the pantomime queen in 2017’s production.

Final thoughts: If you go to watch the pantomime every year, go and see it, but lower your expectations. If it’s a first for you, rather give it a miss.