The Awakening is a band that I spent much of my early listening days assuming they were international. I originally got a copy of The Fourth Seal of Zeen from a girl in my class in high school, not knowing who they were, but being a fan of bands like Sisters of Mercy. So when I first heard The Awakening I was definitely a fan, Ashton Nyte’s voice was very reminiscent of Andrew Eldritch, and the band was very clearly inspired by the likes of Sisters, but at the same time they had a uniqueness about them, with songs that get caught in your head for days. A couple years ago I learned that they were of South African origin, and like with Mr Barleycorn I immediately regretted that I was never able to see them live. Fast forward to last year when the South African tour was announced; I was amped to finally see a band I was such a fan of. Though in all honesty, for some stupid reason I just sat with The Fourth Seal of Zeen being played on repeat, and never actually listened to their other albums, I have a tendency to do that with music.
None the less, it’s now two weeks before the show and I’m still suffering car problems and essentially given up on the idea of being able to travel through to Mercury Live for the event. I then got a message from my friend Malcolm, who plays in the band Subvers, who would be supporting The Awakening at the show. He requested that I come and shoot the show. I was still keen to attend, but needed a lift. He was quick to sort something out with Patrick from Terminatryx, another band that would be supporting on the night. Patrick happens to also live in Somerset West and kindly offered me a lift to the show.
Once at the show I met up with a new face, a friend of my good friend Andrew. She had only heard about the show that day, but as a fan of the band she was extremely excited for the event; I believe the term was “panties dropped” when she heard about the show. We moved inside shortly after 21:30, just before Subvers came to the stage.
After their set, it was time for Terminatryx. I stood for 5 minutes with a GoPro above my head, only to realize afterwards that I had forgot to press record, so there’s no footage of them unfortunately.
Then came The Awakening… By this stage Andrew had joined us. He had spent most of the day ridiculing us and trying to convince us that The Awakening wasn’t good, and was merely coming through to hang out. The band kicked off and oh my god… From the first song they were flawless, Ashton’s voice resonating through both the room and the crowd. It’s often a craps shoot when it comes to seeing bands live for the first time, but The Awakening blew everyone away with a set that was so flawless that it could have been an album in itself. Mercury always has great sound and tonight was just another night of quality live sound in the venue.
I found myself simply closing my eyes and drifty away with the songs at times. While the crowd wasn’t huge, it was a great showing for what could be considered a goth event, with Cape Town having a fairly small goth scene these days. Looking around the crowd you could see that The Awakening spanned across age barriers and generations, with some members of the crowd clearly in their late 40s or 50s singing along.
I walked up to Andrew about half way through the set and his face was priceless, he leaned over and said “What the fuck, this is really really good! I’d have paid R500 for a show like this”. The Awakening was on another level, and I think a few of us just stood in awe. When they played Maree, I don’t know how or where – but I knew the words to the song and have had it stuck in my head since – truly an amazing track. They left the crowd wanting, by keeping both Dark Romantics, a song I was very familiar with from The Fourth Seal… and then The Sound of Silence, a track that even Andrew remembered from back when they were a fixture on 5FM.
The show will go down as one of the best I have been to and should they tour here again, there will be absolutely no hesitation from me in making sure I am present at all their Cape Town shows.