Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fokofpolisiekar Launch: Antibiotika

Fokofpolisiekar: without doubt South Africa’s most revolutionary band since, what, 1652? This gang of walking, singing controversies is made up of the founding fathers of Afrikaans rock, and they have the following to prove it. And the band has just released a new album, Antibiotika. Exciting news for all of the angry teenagers and anyone with vaguely good taste in music. They have just completed a country-wide tour of the new album, their last leg being in Stellenbosch at the wonderful Klein Libertas Theatre. Academics, prior engagements and even food were all ceremoniously kicked aside for this gig that was quite simply impossible to miss. The turnout was phenomenal! Granted it was an all-ages show but I never imagined the greater Stellenbosch area had such an enormous throng of angry kids! Then again, the Fokof fanbase is huge beyond comprehension for a local band, even after their recent hiatus. KLT was a great venue for the event, quite comfortably holding the masses and with great sound for the outdoor show. It was impossible to get near to the front of the stage, but media privileges had me up on stage alongside these legends to take photos. Experiencing the occasion from the other side is mind-blowing. To see the passion fans have for Fokof is pretty damn mind-blowing. And they deserve it! The new album certainly won’t disappoint you. The lyrics characteristically speak of everyday local issues, frustrations and anger around the central idea that “hell is other people”. But I won’t divulge too much detail. I urge everyone out there to purchase the album, a worthwhile purchase if ever you enjoyed Fokof’s rocking tunes.
These guys are exceptionally talented artists and the gig was vigorous, explosive, loud and bursting with a turbulent fervour that not enough musicians possess. I treat this bit of writing more as a news bulletin than anything else, so go out and get your paws on Antibiotika and make sure you catch these guys live as soon as possible. You can hardly call yourself a good, sophisticated citizen until you have done so.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

eF-eL Album Launch: Net Om Die Geraas In Te Asem

Aandklas 23 August 2008
They were simply a bunch of average highschool blokes, prepubescent and perhaps a little awkward, when they first picked up some guitars and started experimenting with music. A couple of years later, eF-eL walked away winners of the 2006 Rockspaaider competition and since then, there’s been no stopping these rockers! Boasting a myriad of tracks which have dominated the local music scene, reaching the top spots on radio- and television stations across South Africa, eF-eL recently launched its full album, Net Om Die Geraas In Te Asem, touring the country to showcase music from the album. Last week, 23 September, the guys from the capital up North graced our little town to give fans a taste of the thirteen new tracks on the album.
The band consists of Fritz Bucker [vocals and guitar], Naas van Jaarsveld [lead guitar], bassist Louw Lensley and a fairly new addition on the drums, Hugo Brand. can’t be classed in a specific genre. But what is indisputable is the fact that their music has evolved in quantum leaps since their original music. The new album is evident of the lads having grown up, with greater talent as well as distinctly more mature musical influences. And just in case you were thinking you’re not much into punk rock- Net Om Die Geraas In Te Asem has a couple of slower ballad-like rock tracks with lyrics so lingering you’ll struggle to get them out of your head! Their songs are accessible to almost anyone, discussing everyday issues but cancelling out the seeming negativity by offering hope and advice too.
At the end of the day, these guys do not view themselves as rockstars, stressing that most music fans have gross misconceptions around the lifestyle of musicians. Add some great musical talent, determination and a sound attitude about their futures as musicians and you get four very ordinary guys that just happen to be making waves in modern Afrikaans rock!
The gig was well-received [unexpectedly, according to band members, in light of the fact that these boys hail all the way from the capital up North] and between lead vocalist Fritz Bucker and guitarist Naas van Jaarsveld there was ample energy going around, matching perfectly the liveliness of their punky rock sound. And the crowd joined them in rocking out good and proper! Crowd involvement was superb, and they even sent out a wee little thank-you from stage to myself and others involved. Awê!
Overall I and the entire crowd had a stellar night! The gig was one to remember, as their live performances always are, and the new album is without doubt one of the top local releases for 2008.

Friday, September 26, 2008

BandBattle 2008 at Mystic Boer in Stellenbosch

So, Mystic's will be hosting the annual Band Battle. It started last night and the final is in a few weeks. Line-up looks as follows:
Round 1: 25 September
  • Black Market Riots
  • Myesilodye
  • This Quilt

Round 2: 2 October

  • Apollo is Dead
  • Puck
  • Samaritan

Round 3: 9 October

  • 3rd World Spectator
  • Cat String Theory
  • Traffic Jam

Final: 18 October

Judges are Dirk from Ape Generals [he is awesome], that sound engineer guy from Creative Gear and Moi. Stay tuned for results as we progress! It could be cool...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

IT's Zombie Time, Kids! New FTTW Video: Last Week

Great news: Fire Through The Window has just released another video! It's for their track Last Week off their self-titled debut album released earlier this year. It's pretty cool, too! Dark, twisty but with a slapstick vein that will keep you giggling through all the fake blood and plastic swords. Catch them at Rocking the Daisies in October, it's going to be epic. Watch. Enjoy. Simple, really.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kill City Blues Launch

The Plastics, New Loud Rockets and Taxi Violence at Mercury 12 September 2008 Unexpectedly, this was one of my best gigs this year. I say ‘unexpected’, not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy the gig, but because I certainly did not prepare myself for such an epic evening of rocking madness!
The gig kicked off early, with a ‘launch party’ at 8pm. A bit too early for me, since I have to compensate for being unable to decide what to wear as well as getting lost. Nevertheless, I arrived long before even a hint of live music. It seemed few people knew exactly what ‘Kill City Blues’ is, and I had to explain more than once about the new rehearsal/recording studio. But whatever, everyone there had a fab ol’ time and at least we’re all wearing Kill City Blues badges.
The Plastics took the stage first and, the band having seen much success on local charts across the country, I was eager to catch them live. Their groovy rock is a fresh sound, with catchy tunes and a stroke of dance-type alternative rock that had the crowd rocking out for their entire set. The band had enough energy, even throughout their more chilled tracks and I for one am excited about an act that is so well-received despite having only released their EP this year.
Next up was New Loud Rockets. The band took off a couple of months recently to bring about some change to their sound. Reports whispered of a more developed sound, with more mature influences and less focus on the image of the band, and I was eager to see the rumoured improvements. I had a jam, don’t get me wrong, but their stuff is still pretty much exactly the same. I’m not complaining as such- I love this band, always have, and judging by the very appreciative crowd I’d say change is unnecessary. My one criticism would be that the members all looked pretty bored, except for vocalist John Seth. I was later made aware that the band had experienced a number of technical difficulties out of their control, so all is forgiven from my side. They’re only human, after all, and I have seen them pull off a myriad of great gigs. But a little more energy would do them well. Notwithstanding my small censure, these guys are astounding musicians and I have much faith in their musical careers.
Taxi Violence ended the night off with a show that simply blew everyone away. The set was long, perhaps a bit too long in my opinion, and these guys rocked out from beginning to end. I struggle to recall a gig with more energy on stage. And the best part is that every band member was involved, running to and fro, jumping up and down and doing all sorts of wacky things. And then there was Bingo, who sent sparks flying in his characteristic stranger-than-strange attire. Their hard rock had the crowd going almost as crazy as they were, the quality of music not remotely suffering off-record. I remain in awe of such quality combined with such energy all on one stage.
I left out of breath and blown away by a gig I will not forget anytime soon, and I foresee a long hiatus before this one can be topped.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Exciting news for next month: Rocking the Daisies! I’ve been looking forward to this fest the entire year, but I just about came when I read the line-up for this year. Excluding the very random, here’s 2008’s line-up: Eagle Eye Cherry Goldfish The Dirty Skirts aKing Taxi Violence 340ml Tidal Waves Plush Unit-R Fire Through The Window New Loud Rockets Mama Know Nothing DJ China Mix ‘n Blend The event is to be held at Cloof Wine Estate in Darling from 3-5 October. This year’s fest, sponsored by the likes of Windhoek, Levi’s Music, 24.com and MK, has taken on an eco-friendly slant. Whether or not that is a success, the line-up promises a rocking weekend to remember and I for one can’t wait. Stay tuned for updates, pics and the official review. Love. Music. Happiness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Die Melktert Kommissie at Dorp Street Theatre 23 August 2008

So here’s a genre we seldom cover: Afrikaans folk rock. In fact, I am so often let down by Afrikaans “folk rock” that it seems a genre seldom worth covering. [Hey, I am Afrikaans. I am allowed to say these things!] But there is hope, and it takes the name of a traditional Afrikaans dessert that the tannies starting making back in the days of the Anglo-Boer War [probably].Die Melktert Kommissie [The Milktart Commission, for all you souties] was born in 2002 and has since done desirably well on the local music scene, with a myriad of albums, videos, awards and chart-hitting tracks. I am an avid listener of their sugar-sweet pop-rock melodies and melancholic ballad-type tracks and, having never seen them live before, I was anxious to experience whether or not they would live up to my expectations beyond iTunes.Dorp Street Theatre was without doubt the ideal venue for this four-piece act. The atmosphere was intimate, as it always is, with candlelight and wine keeping things cosy. But everyone was in good spirits, joking around about and getting thoroughly involved in the music as only Afrikaners can. [To the pure, 100% English boy who accompanied me, my sincerest apologies. I can only imagine…] Their lyrics are exquisite in their simplicity and from their love songs to their more playful tracks paying tribute to all things local, theirs is a sound to which anyone can relate and clap their hands. Lead vocalist Lucinda may even have been better live than on CD, with a crystal-clear, unwavering voice that reached notes I wouldn’t dare brave, even in the shower. As pleasant as her stunning voice was her easy, genuine attitude in front of all those people. She, with the rest of the band, stayed entirely sincere. There was no flash attire, no false stage-personality bullshit: just pure music, purely having a good time! The band maintained energy effortlessly throughout the two-part gig and had me grinning contently from begin to end [when we stumbled home after much red wine with the band members]. Finally- a band that sounds great and is in this twisted industry purely for the love and pleasure of making music. This capitalist world of ours is a slightly brighter place for it and the music scene could certainly do with more of these! Kudos for great sound emerging from great talent accompanied by a great attitude.

The Dirty Skirts' Jeremy de Tolly:

On Unicorns, Jamming and George W Bush With an impressive record of success behind them so far, The Dirty Skirts can without doubt be named one of South Africa’s greatest musical acts at present. Having recently released their third album and preparing to jet off for a UK Tour, it certainly seems these four guys are set for great things in their future. An evening with frontman Jeremy de Tolly was not only one well spent, but provided much insight into their music, old and new, as well as life behind the scenes of The Dirty Skirts.The band was born in late 2004 and released their EP the year thereafter. The independent release saw success with tracks Feeling The Pressure and Set Me Alight soaring straight to the top of local radio station charts. Two years later the band satisfied fans with their full album, On A Stellar Bender. The band was conceived during a drunken chat between Jeremy and guitarist David Moffatt. The two members joined forces with a laptop [explaining the predominant electronica stroke in their earlier music] and began their journey as The Dirty Skirts. The mere fact that the band was conceived with alcohol as catalyst should be indicative of the crazy impulsion that continues to drive their music even today. Jeremy confesses the band’s indulgence in what they term ‘jamming’, which comprises a session of fully improvised playing on stage. Risky? Perhaps. Totally awesome? Hells yeah! An indication of the raw talent of these four musicians, hearing of such schemes is what makes their approach admirable and their music genuinely unique. And it fits in perfectly with Jeremy’s perspective of many things. His philosophy, mirrored in the band, is to live life fully and immediately, even if that means making mistakes along the way. Jeremy divulges his inspiration for the new album Daddy Don’t Disco’s final track, Wake, saying that he feels too few people live their lives truly “awake”, being aware of everything around them and seizing the many opportunities life presents.The band eventually saw the addition of two members to finally grow to the four-piece it is today. On interference with one’s personal life, Jeremy admits he would like to be able to spend more time with friends. On that note is said that the band members are quite comfortably managing juggling the two spheres of living thus far, and the opportunity to go fully international will not be passed up. Currently signed to Sony BMG Records, the band will soon leave for a tour in the UK. Though they have played abroad before, Jeremy seems confident of an even more successful tour this time round. Avoiding catering only for the South African market abroad, this tour boasts better organisation, with public relations experts behind the excursion. The new album returns to the prominent electro stroke of their EP, though not abandoning their funky Indie sounds entirely. The lyrics are lingering in their curiosity, the often strange choice of words forcing one to listen intently. The themes of apocalypse and carpe diem are strung throughout Daddy Don’t Disco, making it an album with substance without being at all overbearing.The Dirty Skirts joined forces with local bands Plush and The Beams to pay a South Africans Against Drunk Driving [SADD] at FTV in Cape Town. Though surprised by the organisation’s choice of venue, Jeremy looks forward to the event, especially eager to play for a cause as honourable as theirs. SADD was formed by counselor and social worker Caro Smit as a result of the tragic death of her son, former Plush member, Chas Smit. Perpetually taking on projects, SADD, together with SAB is currently undertaking the task of raising awareness at Universities especially about drinking and driving. Their aim is not only to make students aware of the dangers involved with drunken driving, but to resultantly change their attitude about the matter for the better. The final goal is to decrease the exceptionally high death- and injury rate in South Africa. The current estimation is that 9 000 people are killed annually in accidents involving drinking and driving, with another 75 000 being injured. SADD has always stressed its approach involving more than just talk and meetings. Recently the decision to reach people through music was made, and thus far the response seems to have been the desired one.Having spent a casual Sunday evening with Jeremy revealed an artist that is quirky but sincere, just as The Dirty Skirts’ music. Fans would be pleased to know that these are actual people with personalities and flaws who make bad jokes about cucumbers and George W. Bush. An artist who has graced every major stage in the country, aired on every remotely important radio station and featured in countless magazines, it seems there simply is no stopping Jeremy de Tolly and his team and if I know anything about music, I’ll bet they’re going to blow the UK away!