Thursday, December 18, 2008

Road to V: Joburg

13 November 2008, Coca-Cola Dome After a long term of hard work and even harder partying, I had little interest in attending the Johannesburg leg of the Road to V final. But, according to the etiquette of the music world, I believe turning down complimentary tickets is considered rude. So I took the opportunity to see some cool music, hoping to educate my less-refined, Rihanna-listening +1. Off to the Coca-Cola dome it was, to get homesick over some great Cape-based bands. Three bands took part in the competition: Captain Stu; 3rd World Spectator and Gonzo Republic. With a great stage, huge crowd and cool graphics to set the tone, I was interested to see what these fairly-rookie bands would do with such an enormous venue. A big jump it was, from Zula Bar and Mercury to the Dome, minutes before Goldfish and international acts Maroon 5 and One Republic. But our boys did us proud… Captain Stu is funky and upbeat. An unusually large number of band members, breaking away from the average four. But the group did well to stay well-synched and in time with one another, connecting not only to produce a well-oiled sound, but also a great vibe on stage as a bunch of rockers having fun throwing their talent out there. I confess I was a little bored with Gonzo Republic. With a short set, I feel there is little time for such drawn-out instrumental interludes and introductions. I would have liked to hear a lot more singing, and here I do not count the arbitrary grunts and moans I could not quite figure the purpose of. The guitarist looked kind of drunk and the vocalist a little spastic, but it was good fun. Overall not a bad show, and I do see much potential here, though growth and smoothing out some glitches is well in order. 3rd World Spectator was the second band of the evening, but I leave them for the end. Can you guess why? Well, besides for the old chestnut of leaving the best or last, these boys walked away winners of this leg of the Road to V. Dramatic and inspiring, they rendered me holding thumbs for them from the get-go. Strongly influenced by Muse and with vocalist Peter Crafford’s vocal range stretching farther than the eye can see, accompanied by guitarists so talented they make your jaw drop, one would struggle to find anyone who can honestly find nothing wrong with this band. It’s an alliance of talent, passion and insight that combines to form that near-perfect package I look for in any band. I think I’ll start sucking up now, to ensure they don’t forget me when they reach the top. Hats off to you, boys! I’ll have my V Fest ticket ready come 2009.