Courage Party is always wild. Always. Russel Smith writes about Durban’s most sin filled party.
Imagine the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you don’t know, Sodom was where anal sex was presumably invented and whatever Gomorrah was infamous for, it was so bad it’s been written out of the history books. Point is they were the twin cities that were destroyed for basically being too much fun. I bring this up only because if you were in the newly revamped Willowvale Hotel on Friday night, you might have felt like you had fallen into a time warp and ended up back in Gomorrah the night before it was turned to rubble.
For the uninitiated the Courage Party is, as the name suggests, a party to show off how courageous you are. It’s a chance for those people who vehemently stick to society’s norms to break out of them and unleash their inner freak, without fear of judgement or social backlash, presumably because everyone else is doing it too. It’s a broad theme that has been interpreted in some shockingly naked ways. For the 5th Courage Party it seems people have learnt that randomly showing off their sexy bits isn’t that courageous, but the flesh on show was still plentiful. So, it’s as I’ve always said, more people are exhibitionists than what you might think.
Arriving at the, somewhat ill reputed, Willowvale Hotel at half 9, the venue wasn’t that full, but I had faith that there would be little standing room in about an hour. Courage Parties tend to be one of the best attended events in Durban. I got to mill around and take in the Hip Hop being played at both dance floors with a bit of breathing room to spare. After only my first beer down though, I couldn’t reach the bar as easily as I had before. The venue was filling up and the patrons weren’t wasting time getting mandatory first drinks and filling up the dance floors. We’ve Been Hacked had taken to the main stage and were sucking people towards them and rewarding them with their Thrash Electro. I still can’t figure how to describe their set because it’s ridiculously broad and seems devised purely to get people to move and freak out on the dance floor, which they did. Warming up the dup-step generation for what was still to come in the form of Veranda Panda, Cape Town’s Mix n Blend and Dizruptkidd. On the side dance floor Brain Dead Brothers were keeping the other half of the venue packed out. Brain Dead Brothers had the biggest challenge of the night playing a 3 hour set, although you wouldn’t think it was much of a challenge since they didn’t seem to have any trouble keeping punters wrapped up in their music all night. In all honesty the evening begins to deteriorate at this point.
Courage Party organisers boast that you will likely blackout at their parties, and I did just that. Besides flash backs of sweating zombies on dance floors, chatting to various unknown patrons looking at my list of who was on the main stage to tell what time it was, and partying till the sun was up even though the DJ’s stopped at 2am is all I have left of the event… The overriding memory is that it was fucking mental. Every person in attendance went away having an epic time whether they would remember it or not. There wasn’t a dry person in the house… For a night that wasn’t particularly warm the floor of the venue looked like someone had been mopping with filthy water.
The best thing I could say about Courage Party is that it really is an all-encompassing party. Unlike a lot of events in Durban where there tends to be a feeling of exclusion, or at least only seem to draw a certain crowd, Courage Party manages to make it possible for everyone, no matter their sub-genre or niche lifestyle choice (or lack thereof) feel like this is a party that they are a part of. I guess their intention of having a party that is more, “a revolution, a cultural movement of freedom of expression, epic beats, creativity, individuality and most above all a bad ass party!” is one they’re succeeding at brilliantly.
*All images © Matt Stroud