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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Crumbs & Cream Now in Johannesburg

South African ice-cream sandwich shop Crumbs & Cream has been so successful in Cape Town that they’ve just opened in Jo’burg! I visited the new store as soon as it opened and it certainly lived up to the hype leading up to its launch.

Got to try #crumbsandcream that opened just yesterday! What a treat. 🍪

A post shared by Dan (@fantomdan) on

 

Crumbs & Cream in a Nutshell

Crumbs & Cream‘s claim to fame is their delectable ice-cream sandwiches. The business was started quite recently (2016) by sisters Shahar Ben Artzi and Or Lahat who combined their skills to begin what has become a very fruitful entrepreneurial venture. Crumbs & Cream’s first premises was actually on wheels and was typically found at the V&A Waterfront or Watershed Market. After a very successful start, the Sea Point flagship store was opened. With the increasing success of the business, Crumbs & Cream set off across the country to open its first Johannesburg-based store in Illovo.Crumbs & Cream Illovo

What I Loved ❤️

  1. The Experience: I’ve always enjoyed feeling a part of the process instead of simply ordering an item off the menu. This is why I particularly like going to places like Happy.MeRocoMamas and Andiccio 24 where I can select whatever I want to create exactly what I’m in the mood for. At Crumbs & Cream, customers can make the perfect ice-cream sandwich to suit their heart’s desire. Pick your cookie and spread, then choose your ice-cream and topping(s).
  2. The Selection: Crumbs & Cream boasts a range of cookies, ice-cream flavours and toppings. Customers can choose more traditional favourites like chocolate chip or hazelnut, while the more adventurous can try unique cookie flavours such as red velvet, milk tart and more. Similarly, traditional and more artisanal flavours of ice-cream are available depending on your preference. Something that impressed me was that vegan, banting-friendly and sugar-free options of ice-cream and cookies are also available.
  3. The Store: The decor of the store has stayed true to their Cape Town-based branch, with bright colours of pink, yellow and blue everywhere. The look is brought together with accents of wood, which is reminiscent of a tree house or jungle gym. The swing seats at one of the tables also add to this idea.
  4. The Convenience: You can also order the cookies and ice-cream individually or in DIY Kits to take home, which is a fantastic idea as a dessert option or for a birthday party. In addition, ready-made sandwiches are also available for your convenience.
  5. The Price: While you might expect something like this to cost much more than its worth, a basic ice-cream sandwich will cost you R38. This isn’t bad at all, in my opinion, considering the size of the sandwich and its deliciousness.

 

Crumbs and Cream

What I Didn't Love So Much

My only critique is its location. Although Illovo is a very trendy area, the shop is quite small with very limited seats. There are 4 tables seating 2 to 4 people, and with the amount of customer traffic in the store, there isn’t actually space for additional seating. Beyond that, the shop is surrounded by restaurants so there isn’t really anywhere to browse while eating your ice-cream sandwich before it melts. Despite this, it hasn’t seemed to stop the crowds. I’ve seen queues out the door on some days so maybe it’s just me. Either way, the prize is worth it so I definitely recommend popping in soon.

Ice-cream sandwiches are definitely the in thing at the moment, and while other stores like Paul’s Homemade Ice-cream and Milky Lane also make ice-cream sandwiches, Crumbs & Cream is arguably the best option.

For more information, check out their website and be sure to follow them on social media. You can also browse their menu here, or better yet, go and experience it yourself!

Crumbs & Cream (@icecreamcrumbscream)

crumbs_and_cream

@CrumbsCream

Don’t Miss the Amazing Mo Magic!

After years as an Engineer, ‘Mo Magic’ decided to pursue his dream of entertaining by turning his passion into his full-time career. He now entertains audiences through magic, mentalism and comedy. Following the success of the weekly prime time TV show on SABC3, South African magician Mo has embarked on a nationwide theatre tour. From the 20 to 23 October 2016, Mo will be performing at The Fringe at The Joburg Theatre, and I was astounded by the show.

Mo Magic and Fantomdan
Mo even gives attendees the opportunity to meet him after the show!

Not only was I, along with a highly amused audience, genuinely amazed by the magic tricks he performed, but his personality was a key contributor to the show. His charming demeanour and witty sense of humour make the experience incredibly entertaining and engaging. Nothing about the 90-minute performance is predictable and will undoubtedly leave you astonished and amazed.

I also enjoyed the intimacy of the theatre. The Fringe, located at The Joburg Theatre, allows for a very personable experience, which is exactly why Mo started his theatre tour. The size of the space is perfect for seeing everything that happens on stage, without feeling closed in. I always dread shows that involve audience participation, but if you were selected, you were not embarrassed or made a fool of at all.

I’m glad Mo decided to leave the engineering profession because show business is definitely his calling. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the performance so don’t miss the opportunity to see the show! It’s running for a limited time only so if you’re looking for a night of magic, mentalism and comedy, Mo Magic is a must.

Tickets for Mo Magic cost R150 per person and can be purchased through www.webtickets.co.za or www.joburgtheatre.com. If you use the word “Magic” when ordering, you get R50 off your purchase! No under 6’s permitted and no admittance after the performance has begun. The show runs from Thursday to Saturday at 19h30 with a Sunday matinee at 14h00. The Fringe at Joburg Theatre is located at 163 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein.

Visit www.momagic.co.za for more information. Also, be sure to follow him on social media.

Mo Magic Joburg

ZARIS Espresso Bar Review

While everyone else was swept up by the hype around Starbucks launching in South Africa, I had the privilege of attending the unofficial opening of the new kid on the block – ZARIS Espresso Bar. 
ZARIS review
ZARIS is situated on the corner of 4th Avenue & 11th Street in Parkhurst.

Located in Parkhurst, ZARIS offers fair trade, organic African coffee, as well as exceptional service at an affordable rate. What sets ZARIS apart for me is the atmosphere. Many other restaurants and coffee shops on 4th Avenue have seating on the pavement, which can sometimes be a part of the Parkhurst experience, but can also be somewhat unpleasant. ZARIS is located away from the busyness and allows you to enjoy Parkhurst without feeling like you’re in the way. The premises also has plenty of plug points for patrons to use, making this the perfect place to hold lunch meetings or get work done away from the office.

There are a combination of sweet and savoury eats on offer. Whether you’re in the mood for the cake of the day or are just popping in for lunch, you’ll find something to satisfy your hunger. Not only is the food great, but ZARIS prides itself on top quality coffee and other warm beverages – perfect for those chilly Joburg days.
love lock
Visitors can make their experience memorable by attaching their very own Love Lock to the wall.

The decor is fresh and modern, combining organic textures with industrial elements. Something I thought was a nice touch is that the wall in the upstairs area has a fence mounted onto it where visitors can attach a Love Lock! The look and feel of the space is inviting and comfortable while still being edgy, which is no surprise as the shop’s owner and director, Schalk du Plessis, comes from a design background.

Not only was I one of the first to experience 4th Avenue’s latest addition, but Schalk was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

1. What inspired you to start ZARIS?
The idea of ZARIS started when we were visiting South Africa (after living in Europe for two years), we were dying for a specific type of Iced Coffee we came to enjoy on a daily basis. But we couldn’t find it anywhere here. So we made a joke about opening an Espresso Bar. Then after a few months of fooling around with the idea (never imagining that it would actually happen) we got funding and decided that we will stay and give this a go.
2. Where does the name come from and what does it mean?

So originally when we were playing around with the idea, we wanted to do a fixed price shop. Basically meaning everything in the shop would be the same price.

ZARIS coffee review fantomdan
Everything on the menu is set at a reasonable R20.

At the time, we decided to register a name, so that if we do decide to go ahead with the idea we’re set with a name. So we started the idea of a fixed price at R15. So how does this translate to the name? Let me explain. I wanted to use the ZAR (South African Rand) and played around with the numbers a bit. We eventually got to ZAR15 and just turned the 15 into an IS. Thus ZARIS was born. Obviously after doing some proper research, we came to realise that R15 would just not be feasible. As you know everything is set at R20. But that is the story of our name.

3. What is the inspiration for the design of the shop?
The design of the store came firstly from the idea that we want to ‘liberate coffee’ as our slogan says. We want to give coffee a new life, making the best African, organic and FairTrade coffee available to everyone. Staying true to that idea, we wanted a fresh and different interior, matching the freshness of our concept. Looking at most other coffee shops, the general feel of ‘coffee’ is the same across the board. Also looking at most of the materials used, we tried to repurpose as much as we could as our motto is to reuse or recycle as much as possible, therefore contributing to the sustainability of the coffee and other industries.

4. What do you hope to bring to Parkhurst with your espresso bar?

fantomdan ZARIS review
ZARIS caters to local residents and those looking for a fresh Parkhurst experience.
It all boils down to amazing coffee, and amazing experience as well as affordable prices. Coffee has become such an important part of our lives, that there is no excuse for bad coffee. Looking at Parkhurst, there are quite a few different markets. Mainly residents and employees of the retail spaces in the area. To the residents, we want to offer great coffee, a friendly place welcoming people walking their dogs or just on a morning stroll through the neighbourhood. Looking at the employees, they can’t always afford a Parkhurst lunch. We want to offer them the chance to enjoy a lovely lunch and coffee every day, not just once a week. Over weekends we see a lot of people coming to Parkhurst to experience the friendly, walking neighbourhood. The people of Johannesburg love going to fresh places and exploring their options. We hope to offer something that most people would find enjoyable.
5. What are the next steps for this venture?
The future. Oh, the bright future. ZARIS is only a baby still, we have so many plans and ideas. Firstly, working behind the bar ourselves is an integral part of the development of ZARIS. We want to connect with the people and give them a personalised service. And then we get to expanding the concept to small kiosk spaces in key areas of Johannesburg. We want to put up a new store every year for the next five years, we might also introduce a ZARIS Premium as well as ZARIS Health. Both of these concepts would be add-ons to what we currently have, but will run more or less the same concept.
So the next time you’re desperately in need of a coffee while in the area, check out ZARIS and tell them Dan says hi. 😉
Still not convinced? Watch the video here:
To find out more about ZARIS, get in touch or visit their social media pages: