We were proud to welcome Bombshelter Beast for an inspired animalistic performance in the sculpture garden. The following excerpts are from a review by Carol Martin for All Jazz Radio:
The Whacky Dance of Bombshelter Beast in a Sculpture Garden
How would you like your music? Sculpted around a terrain of hills, valleys, boulders and ponds, all sculpted by the artist himself, Dylan Lewis, who turned this land into a fairytale-like garden for his own giant and small sculptures?
Music sculpted in old-school kwaito with a Gypsy swing by a clownish band of Balkan enthusiasts and jazz aficionados, all dressed in multi-coloured, polka-dotted overalls, some with Afrocentric designs, and painted faces to match their costumes?
The Stellenbosch Woordfees 2018 turned heads by offering a unique experience to concert-goers who thirsted for something different, interactive and outdoorsy, as art meets music meets South African talents at their best. And interactive it was, as the Saturday 10 March event at the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden outside Stellenbosch joyfully took off from 6 pm. Early-birds could enjoy feasting on the visual beauties of mountains lit up by a distant cloudy sunset. A lone duck in the garden’s pond peacefully lulled lookers-on, oblivious to what was about to happen.
The Polish accordion player serenaded us in the garden with Italian love songs. The stage was set; the band had finished their sound check. But by 6.30 pm, where was the band?
As I sat on a small rock watching the waning sun reflect in the tranquil pond, sounds emerged. The eye followed, catching the sax man (Sisonke Xonti) standing under a giant sculpture on a mound on the other side of the pond; then trumpeter and leader of the band, Marcus Wyatt, dressed in bright-red overalls with a hat to match, bellowed out nature’s sound of a trumpeting elephant; then a petite singer dancing on another mound; then far to the left, the oompah-pah of the blaring sousaphone, with only its bright silver head moving in a comical sway through the reeds near a stream that feeds the pond. Then, the trombone howled. The instruments magically formed a harmonic union as the musicians met on the same path and led the dispersed crowd of some 50 people closer to the stage.
The party begins! This is how the Bombshelter Beast likes it: an inspiringly beautiful setting, outdoors, so that their whacky and wonderful sonic outbursts can engage listeners. The three lead singers carry the camaraderie, pulse and zaniness of the songs composed and arranged by legendary jazz trumpeter Marcus Wyatt. The singers entice the audience with a scatty rap, funny facial expressions and funky hip-hop dances, with linguistic jols between them in different South African languages.
These free-spirited AfroBalkan musical buffs coincidentally fit with artist Dylan Lewis’s connection with his authentic, untamed inner nature, and the non-judgemental inspirations from nature that tame and nurture this ‘authentic wild self’ to find an inner peace.