About last night – what went down at Jose Cuervo's Seize The City Season 02
Words: Tommy Dennis | Photography: Hanro Havenga
Last night the young and the fashionable took over an abandoned warehouse in inner-city Johannesburg for Season 02 of Jose Cuervo's Seize The City. Open bar aside, the big news was that joining a list of local disruptors was none other than ATL riot grrl Kodie Shane, who headlined the event.
After 12 hand-picked officials handed out tags to those they deemed worthy of attending this very exclusive affair, and Superbalist gifted tags and VIP experiences to lucky customers, the result was Johannesburg's coolest kids descending upon a derelict warehouse on the outskirts of the dystopian sprawl that is the inner city.
Taking this part of the city back for one night, it had been a while since this particular pocket had seen so much action, and was shook by a small yet committed crowd who seized the city and danced with reckless abandon until the early hours of Monday morning. Trap blasted from the venue as local DJs ANG and Baby Caramelle made sure that those arriving could hear the party before they saw it.
Serving up cocktails from opposite sides of the warehouse, Jose Cuervo also lined up tequila shots inside caged bars against a backdrop of what wouldn't have seemed out of place in Cold War East Berlin. Adding to the Orwellian setting were banners proclaiming "Tomorrow is Overrated", reminding us to live in the now and forget about Monday. Meanwhile adjacent rooms were seized by strobe lights and tube TV's playing videos on a loop, conditioning us to "Seize the City".
The crowd was as hypnotizing and represented Johannesburg in all its loud splendour. The looks that make Braamfontein the hippest neighbourhood in the country were dialed up to ten and featured everything from 90s Harajuku style to Panstula, skater boys to gender nonconforming looks, everything that makes Joburg the style city.
Batuk, fresh off their latest album release, brought the sounds of the continent. Spoek Mathambo was a technicolour marvel in a shimmering purple and pink as he laid on the beats for Manteiga to rap over, who at one point induced the crowd to get on stage and dance with her.
As incendiary as the local acts were this was always going to be Kodie Shane's night. The latest star to emerge from Atlanta was in full performer mode and the crowd, who between sets was busy enjoying pizza outside, surged forward when she took the stage. Kodie encapsulates the stylistic mash-up of punk and hip-hop more than most, and at one point had to tell the crowd to calm down, as the fire she brought with her had sparked a mosh pit.
Normally the closing act at a party is supposed to wind the crowd down and get everybody ready for the Uber home, but this was not the case with UnclePartyTime. He kept the crowd going with a mix of gqom and hip-hop that further ridiculed the idea that in just a few hours time the workweek would start.
The beating heart of Johannesburg's youthful energy had completely taken over the city and made it theirs. Season 02 proved that Jose Cuervo's first effort at seizing the city was no fluke, and all in attendance will agree that on a cold Sunday night everything stood still for a few special hours as the beating heart of the city threw caution to the wind and a one-fingered salute to the consequences, and then partied the night away.