I was never a fan of reggae music, but after the infectious performance by Tidal Waves at Aandklas they have me considering otherwise.

Aandklas has always been an interesting venue, sometimes it is too crowded, other times the sound is not that great, but for tonight’s performance it suited the band perfectly: great sound, just the right amount of people and ample student bravado. I was transported into a world with palm trees, clean fine sand and a shimmering ocean.

Tidal Waves performed on a new initiative run by the forerunners in South African music, De Plate Kompanje, who also organize the highly successful Avontoer. Throughout February bands gig at Aandklas on select Tuesdays and Saturdays. Bohemia is also included on other days of the week. The gig was a little steep for a student budget, R30, but it was definitely worth sacrificing three beers.

When the members of Tidal Waves took the stage, anticipation built within the crowd, they somehow knew what was coming. Then unsuspecting to some, the dancing plague swept through the crowd like a fire on Stellenbosch mountain. I have never experienced such an infectious beat before, I could not stand still, and by looking at the swaying of the crowd they could not also.

I have to admit most reggae music have a very homogenous sound. It all sounds the same, but for every song I kept dancing and soon I realized if I did not calm down, I’d have stiff muscles in the morning. The band introduced some great complements to their sound with a harmonica and vuvuzela.

The Tidal Waves have a very captivating stage presence. They jam their instruments with vigour and passion and not to mention skill, especially the lead guitarist, Jaco Mans. The vocals are great although lacking in a bit of clear pronunciation. The unique thing about Tidal Waves is the crowd interaction. They have a saying they call throughout the gig, “Tidal Waves. Original music for original people”, and every time they do it the crowds shouts along in unison. There were various clap sessions and crowd echoes used to great affect in building the crowds energy and response.

The highlights include the genius melodies in songs like “Rapolotiki”, destined-to-be-a-hit tune “Lekker Dans”, the provoking “Money” and “Hard Work” along with the mesmerizing “Kia Ora”. Tidal Waves also did something I’ve never seen before: they played a double set with a short break in the middle. It was great as my legs needed resting and my body re-hydration for even more head banging and shuffling feet.

At the end of the night I walked out with a new album in my hand, a new interest in reggae music and new must see band.