The evolution of Francois van Coke

Categories Music

I was lucky enough to spend the whole day on Sunday, celebrating my beautiful wife’s birthday. The last part of the day was watching FVC at the Atterbury theatre and I was truly blown away by the ex-frontman’s maturity in front of a very civilised crowd.

My first exposure to Fokofpolisiekar was seeing a sticker above a door in a koshuis in Stellenbosch in the early 2000s. I heard there was a band by that name, but I hadn’t heard anything by them and I was still very English at that stage. It was only in my student days that I experience what Fokof was really about. I’ve stood in Good 4 Fellas and sang Fokofpolisiekar at the top of my lungs and I saw the band multiple times, probably too many to count. Studying in Pretoria in from 2006 to 2009, there was no shortage of live Afrikaans acts.  Since then I have become a relatively big fan of Fokof and the offshoot projects that followed them onto the South African music stage.

FVC was always a great frontman. What he lacked in singing talent in his younger days, he made up for in gusto and swagger in front of crowds. I have personally seen him chunder off stage and fall down a couple of times. He was the posterboy for an Afrikaaner teenage rebellion that, as some have said, came from years of a overly conservative society. Without going too much into Fokof’s, what I believe to be, revolution of South African music, I must just say that FVC and gang brought Afrikaaners rock into the mainstream.

This is why I’m so surprised at FVC. I’ve long been of the opinion that the VanFokkenTasties enterprise was a genius move and the brains behind it were able to basically turn one band into four and charge for it. Equally so, the brains behind FVC’s PR makeover is nothing short of remarkable. He has definitely gone for vocal lessons, because you can barely recognise the old grunt of a voice that featured in the first Fokof songs. Once, a despised figure for his outspokenness against religion and now a well-known public figure whose songs are being sung to by Afrikaaners young and old. He is clean cut, partially shaven and almost sounds cute when dropping the f bombs. At the Atterbury theatre, a very relaxed atmosphere, he had the crowd eating out of his hands. His choice to sing Help by the Beatles and Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (my wife’s favourite) are signs that he is a bit more cultured than we thought and that he is trying to reach a broader audience. All of this in mind, there is nothing quite like the goosebumps you get when he sings Ek Skyn.

If you get the chance to see the man live, it really is something you need to do. The rebellious angry teen has really transformed himself into an all rounded entertainer with a great grasp of what his audience wants.

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