Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWLOHA: Three Years Ago

Three years ago today marks the beginning of what would turn out to be a worldwide movement.
To Write Love On Her Arms [TWLOHA] is a non-profit organisation that seeks to help people deal with depression and self-injury addictions, as well as helping those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Three years ago today Jon Foreman [which is the only the coolest name for a frontman, ever] from Switchfoot wore a TWLOHA shirt at a sold-out show. The project began as simply selling these shirts for the TWLOHA guys to raise funds to pay for a friend’s treatment. Turns out countless other people were dealing with the same pain and today it has international musicians like Switchfoot and Paramore on board, and even our very own Straatligkinders.
This is just a quick post to salute these guys for great work. Though I have never lost anyone to suicide, my best friend attempted to kill himself last year. This is not me being emo, I am stating a fact. This kind of thing is difficult to deal with- when someone makes us as happy as they do, and at times seems to be the only thing that makes life worth living, we very arrogantly assume that we do the same for them. And suddenly you find out that their life is so dark that even living is not enough to stay alive for. It is hard, but it is also great knowing that there are people out there who want to help, who want to pull people out of the black hole they are sinking into.
TWLOHA believes a better life is possible. They have responded to more than 80 000 messages from people worldwide, and they’re certainly not stopping there…
Check out their myspace or their website: http://www.twloha.com/.
Below is the telling of how it all started, from their website:
Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won't see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she'd say if her story had an audience. She smiles. "Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."
I would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.
Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn't slept in 36 hours and she won't for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she'll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn't ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.
She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of "friends" offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write "FUCK UP" large across her left forearm.
The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.
She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I've known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she's beautiful. I think it's God reminding her.
I've never walked this road, but I decide that if we're going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour 2009:FAIL

When I first heard about Earthhour, it struck me as not only a great, but also very doable initiative to take a stand against global warming. Everyone is talking about global climate change but it seems that nobody is willing to do something about it, for lack of faith or concern. Who knows? We believe we are powerless to make a difference, we believe it will not affect us, we believe it is a myth blown out of proportion, and we continue on our merry, earth-destroying ways. But here was something so simple to do: switch off your lights from 20h30 to 21h30 in your respective time zone, and register on www.earthhour.org if you want to go that extra mile. There was no fine print, no catch, no costs involved. But I find myself once again let down by humankind as we either find flicking a switch too higher grade, or we shrug our shoulders and say ‘Maybe next year’.

My plan was simple: friends, candles, conversations and some music. One hour out of the glare, going back to the simple life we so often abandon in our frenzied everyday lifestyles.I would have thought an hour of darkness would be the perfect excuse [globally] to dance on your bed in your underwear, to catch up on some sleep, to have candlelight sex... But when I ventured outside to take a peek at what the rest of Stellenbosch was doing, I thought I had the wrong hour! All around, lights were a-glowing like any other night. Porchlights were left on for no good reason, night time business continued as always and all around me people could not bear to shower in the dark, or wait another 45 minutes to decide on what shoes to wear for the night. People blame bad publicity. This is definitely justified. I mean, it’s not like Desmond Tutu and Roxy Ingram and Helen Zille and Beer Adriaanse and The Parlotones and Ryk Neethling and and and shot a collection of television adverts for the cause. It’s not like there were posters and flyers on every surface big enough, and it’s not like every form of media, from Facebook and Twitter to Mfm and every newspaper in the world, spoke about Earthhour to the point of exhaustion.

So what is it then? I say, if you are going to shrug off the emergency, at least be honest about it. It boils down to inconvenience: the inconvenience of changing our ways, of taking action. Because doing something about this means admitting that it is more than mere myth.

Hats off to those who took a stand and refuse to be left in the dark regarding the very real issue that is global warming. Ultimately, this battle is about those who are fighting, not those who are not.

Collected Memories: Part Deux

Woke up ay 5.30 on Saturday, after a good party at Corner Bar, to go to the beach. So much for sleeping in on the weekend, but it was s worth it- Me, Melissa, cigarettes in hand and cameras at the ready...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ashtray Electric and Box Office at Aandklas

28 March
We had just done our part for Earth Hour, with no more than candlelight, coffee and conversation, and it felt so alien doing something good that we simply had to go out and be environmental disasters again. Lightbulbs went on- what better way to do this than to drive to a gig where there are lights and cigarettes in abundance, with some Ashtray Electric? Sound like plan? Let’s go do some damage… Getting dressed and ready in the dark turns out to take quite a lot of time. Regrettably we missed most of Box Office’s set, though I daresay we did not miss much. While they are not half bad, they did not drive home an overwhelming impression. I would like to hear more and give them another chance, but what I heard was an averagely able voice singing nothing we have not yet heard. While there is no denying a fairly good, melodic rock ‘n roll sound, it is generic and I spent this time catching up with friends rather than breaking my neck to get a good glimpse of Box Office. Maybe next time… Ashtray Electric is on everyone’s radar at the moment! The new material sounds very promising and I wait impatiently to get my eager claws on the new album the secong it comes out. Be sure to keep an ear on the ground for that release, and check out the newly-released video for Quite Overstared. They also recently won an MK Award for Beste Nuweling, and after being in Johannesburg for some shows up North they have returned home to the open arms of their adoring local fans. The turnout was average [I blame Earth Hour for making screwing around everyone’s nocturnal tendencies] but the band played a brilliant show! How refreshing to see a band where every single member looks to be having a blast on stage. Each of these guys has all the energy, all the palpable love for music, all the talent that makes them what they are. They fill the stage with presence, while remaining human enough to make you want to get to know them all. Opening with something a little slower, frontman André Pienaar’s alluring voice had everyone’s attention right where it was supposed to be: on the band. From there the energy ascended to a staggering pinnacle, climbing up our spines with old stuff, new stuff, stuff that made us move our feet and stuff that made us sing out loud, stuff that made us very satisfied fans. André ended it all with a lingering solo that concluded the evening with perfection. No, wait… We ended the evening perfectly after spending the rest of the night with these lads, and passing out after 6am. I can barely choose whether I like them the most, or their music…

Taxi Violence Twice

Corner Bar, 27 March
‘Jason, play something so these people don’t think we’re retards’. Taxi Violence. I’ll say it again: one of the country’s top live acts, and possibly the only band which renders me unable to choose between watching them unplugged or watching them come unglued. So on this night, Taxi Violence answered my prayers and decided to do both, in one night, on one stage. Yes, their ‘special guests’ were Taxi Violence, unplugged. Because they’re Taxi Violence, and they’re cool enough to play opening band for themselves! This was my Corner Bar debut, and what a shitty little venue it is! I am sure that it is infinitely cooler when packed to capacity with sweaty fellow music fans, but the turnout was fairly dismal. At least this meant we got great seats for the first set and it was cosy and intimate, the perfect acoustic act. The easy, quieter version of what they usually do will make you stop and go, ‘Hey, George actually has an outstanding voice!’ Yes, in the voice department he is well-endowed and it becomes even more overt when he’s sitting down with just one guitarist, taking their red rock ‘n roll back to basics.
And then it was time for the evening’s main act. A completely different face to what we had just seen, it was clear that this was the one everyone had been waiting for! The few people that were there had gees to boot and did a good job of making it feel like it was bursting at the seams with fans. The crowd’s pent-up energy exploded all over the place, along with George! It is a display of passion and furore, it is music as it should be, it is real. George involves his fans like I have never seen an artist do. We got a taste of some new material, and it tastes good!
Hats off to Taxi Violence for not only loving what they do, but doing it their way. This is not about money or image or attention. It is about the love for music. Live music, music with rocks in it. Taxi Violence embodies rock ‘n roll on the local scene, and for that I could never tire of what they are creating.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Collected Memories: Part Une [Le Trial Run]

This is a new 'feature' that I'm trying- a couple of photos from the weekend, to reminisce and dip my toes into some Monday morning blues. These were taken after a day at the cricket. We were desperate for coffee, it was all overcast and wonderful outside and we STILL weren't tired of taking photographs.

aKing at Kirstenbosch

22 March 2009
aKing themselves termed Kirstenbosch the “best venue on Earth”, and they are right- packed to capacity with fellow supporters of great local music, with views of the gardens and Table Mountain that make me point- and laugh at Gautengers. Ag siestog! And after the last gig of theirs I saw, which was uncharacteristically second-rate, I had to see them again, see them at their usual best, and regain my admiration of aKing as a live act.
aKing did an outstanding job of filling the large stage and even larger venue, their powerful sound great enough to wash over- and fill every single person present. Their energy is always subtle, but the music more than makes up for it, formidable rock that commands attention with profound lyrics sung by that unforgettable bristly voice of frontman Laudo Liebenberg. I honestly did not think the presence of the United Khayelitsha Mambaso added much to the performance, despite being made up of undeniably well-endowed vocal strengths. I expected a more impactful filling of the African interjection in Love Your Neighbour , perhaps even a live substitution of Inge Beckman’s backing vocals in Safe As Houses. The mandatory encore of his solo rendition of Shine Your Light had become tedious after a number of repetitions, but this time around it concluded the set in the most ideal manner imaginable. The music was solid and powerful, while Laudo proved his capability as frontman of one of the country’s best-known bands: vocals controlled to perfection, quiet and husky but surging with strength, it had me awestruck along with the rest of the crowd. I am relieved that I went to this gig. It has cancelled out the last, and highlighted all the rest, which never managed to let me down. Long live aKing!

LMG 1st Birthday Party- Heaven Underground, Pretty Blue Guns, Taxi Violence and 7th Son

Mercury 21 March 2009
Nothing like a hot summer’s day at Newlands, watching people covered in green paint and South African flag speedos, while we annihilate Australia, to get everyone besides the Ozzies in a mood for a party! And what party than a birthday party? Well, how about a birthday party to celebrate the one-year anniversary of a magazine that has done what few others have for the local music scene? Cheers to that!
I was told by a handful of people to check out Heaven Underground, and by their praises I was eager to do just that. Disappointment reigned as I watched a band with average, whiney vocals, music that is not notably innovative or challenging to produce, and overall a sound we’ve all heard- and tired of before. I was shot a look of disbelief when voicing this after being asked my opinion by someone who was clearly a fan. I am quite sure it was one of the band members’ fathers.
I have been a devoted follower of Pretty Blue Guns since I first saw them live. Frontman André Leo’s raw, powerful voice, combined with some gruff bluesy-rock always makes for a show worth watching. But for the first time, I was bored. Their show has remained the same over time and I for a band that has played live as many times as they have, something lacks on-stage. Notwithstanding a below par performance, the new material shows potential and I await the next album without expecting to feel let down.
Every local band who is at all interested in mastering live performing should watch Taxi Violence and take notes. One performance is never the same as another, and they are always spectacular on stage! Bursting at the seams with passion and vigour, just watching them renders one short of breath. Their set has been mastered to flow flawlessly, the music tight and the entire show coercively gripping. It is rock and roll in its purest form- untreated music, spiked with gift and intensity that has the crowd salivating for more. Frontman George van der Spuy had his audience hanging on every word and every sound emanating from the small stage, even when he was not waving R50 notes around. Likely South Africa’s best live act, and on what other stage will one see a man, dressed as a woman dressed as a devil-whore, sporting a strap-on? Unforgettable stuff!
The venue was full, especially with Assembly’s Fokofpolisiekar and Springbok Nude Girls gig sold out! Though the MC was possibly the most boring human being I have ever seen on a stage, due gratitude was shown for something that started twelve months ago as a mere eight pages by an Australian returning to his homeland after many years away. Today it is a well-distributed magazine that is doing wonders for South Africa’s music scene that has so much potential. Hats off to Mike Smith, a man who has paved a way for the underground to stride without being devoured by the mainstream industry that threatens to destroy the rarity that is music made for love, the way we like it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Power of Music

19 March 2009 Wow, two gigs in one day. Armed with two of my favourite friends, we decided to ignore our looming essay deadline, gave our English tutorial a skip, and instead we skipped off to the local juvenile hall. Yup, that’s right... You may remember Fred den Hartog from Die Helde, now guitarist for Thieve. He teamed up with local neon child Liam Irwin to play just two songs for these boys. It was just two tracks, two guitars, two voices. Two boy-next-door barefoot beings, with a passion for music, and hearts big enough to share it.

I went mostly for the social slant I could get from it-- a session of people-studying if you will. I mean, how often does one have the opportunity to go to juvie for this kind of thing? These boys are in for all sorts of crimes, and the eldest could not have been older than 13 years. I was even hesitant to take my very precious camera along! I mean, these kids have smoke breaks at their school! But we braved it, and we were in for a pleasant surprise... In a swift bunch they pile into the classroom, empty but for chairs and a board illustrating quite explicitly the dangers of smoking. [It goes something like 1. Healthy 2. Start smoking 3. Lungs get sick 4. Cancer 5. Death]. A boy whose name I do not catch introduces himself- and shakes the hands of myself, my friends and both musicians. There is little disorder as they file in and place themselves on the plastic chairs, quietly waiting for what is about to happen. There is no violent pushing to get a front-row seat, no cacophony of cheering or jeering, no rioting for no reason. They wait in tranquil states of patience for the music to begin. The songs are unpretentiously plain, short, a folksy blues reminiscent of all the wrong messages of smoking and random bar fights. But each boy has his eyes fixed upon the simple sound streaming from each guitar. Many of them grab onto their air-guitars, closing their eyes and strumming along in imaginary nostalgia. When the last notes fade away, there is a gentle request for an encore, but I assume the teacher in charge has to escort them to some correctional activity because he quashes this hope of theirs. They are, however, promised another session next week and [for those interested] there will be guitar lessons with Fred and Liam.

Fred is well-known for his competence [to put it very blandly] as a guitarist. How beautiful it is to see a respected musician sharing his gift with others. He seems almost bored of playing on stage for big crowds. But here, he looks comfortable, natural, as of the spaces between the notes form his natural habitat. The world could do with more of these people...

Goldfish at Spier Amphitheater

Last night the MFM 92.6 crew set off to Spier Wine Estate to see Goldfish live at their Amphitheatre. Spier is pretty much the perfect place. I mean, it has a deli and Moyo, both of which make delicious food, a winery that makes some wines good enough for even students to want to appreciate it, horses, cheetahs, a moorhen and a view to boot! The amphitheatre is impressive, and the gig was one worth attending, and writing about…
I arrived an hour and a half early. Apparently we were told a heinously early time to be there, because one cannot rely on people being punctual. A little annoyed, I returned home to work on an essay on the Rwandan Genocide, which was infinitely more appealing than mingling the pretentious crowd hanging around, loudly proclaiming their support for South African music, despite this being the only local band they have ever heard of. Oh, and Prime Circle.
More annoyance. I returned too late to catch Jac Sharp. What a bummer! I did, however, hear that the performance was great.
Onto Goldfish.
For just two guys on stage [at least for the greater part of the show], they do an impressive job of filling an entire amphitheatre, with people and presence. They spend their time mostly behind their wicky-wicky equipment, but you’ll catch them throwing around some sax, double bass and even the flute! Their sound is a blend of electronica and jazz, and they add a whole new dimension to the idea of watching DJs play live. It’s sure to get you jamming, and they had the entire amphitheatre on their feet with their hands in the air. You’ll catch snippets of the likes of Bob Marley, Funkytown and even The White Stripes. Joining them on stage were two of their session vocalist who added some soul with energetic roles on stage and some of the funkiest dance moves I have ever seen!
I must admit, however, that this is not my favourite place to see these guys live. Though the venue is quite stunning, I would rather battle through a throng of sweaty jock bodies- it’s the right Goldfish vibe. Though the crowd danced, I thought it rather stiff. Nonetheless a stellar performance, and I cannot imagine any one of the audience in the near sold-out amphitheatre would claim to have not enjoyed themselves.
But what I love Goldfish for most is what they’re doing for South African music. Not only are they passionate about what they do, but they toured many a country and are rumoured to have been well-received by people globally. So now people can go, “Hey, this South Africa place spawns some decent musicians as it turns out, let’s check the rest of their bands out!” Well, hopefully. They’re off for Ibiza again in the next few days, to represent.
Kudos to them for putting the South African music scene on the map!

Sama Nominations 2009

The list is out, though I confess there are many artists I have never even heard of. Shameful, je sais. Check out the Facebook group at MTN SA's Music Awards. Hopefully The Parlotones will not walk away with the most awards. Hopefully Snotkop will win nothing.
Ditto Prime Circle. Perhaps Zebra and Giraffe will actually manage to win something this time. Hopefully Foto Na Dans win their category [Best Album: Alternative (Afrikaans)] .
Overall, I am not exceptionally interested. I think they overlooked some of the greatest artists in the industry. But hey, that's just my opinion. Let's wait and see!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Dirty Skirts at Kirstenbosch

15 March 2009 On a perfect summer’s day, after Sunday brunch and an afternoon on the beach, what is a better way to end such a day than to go see one of your favourite bands in one of the most beautiful venues in the country? So that is exactly what we did, and really, there is nothing like it… Kirstenbosch was packed from top to bottom, left to right. Finding a seat proved a challenge, but once settled it all begins: wine, cheese, great company and, of course, the music. But here is where I started to frown just a bit. I love the Dirty Skirts, and I have ever since the launch of their self-titled EP back in 2005.Watching them live has always been impressive as well as enjoyable, but I found myself just a little disappointed this time. With such an enormous crowd and venue, energy needs to be upped accordingly. If anything, I thought they lacked energy compared to usual, which does not do a gig at Kirstenbosch any justice. I will point out that the energy escalated towards the end of the set, though I still thought it insufficient. Homewrecker sounded pretty awful. There was no rocking out, no jumping and no excitement on stage, which, for R50 and a drive all the way from Stellenbosch, is simply not good enough. Joined on stage by Goldfish’s Dom Peters as well as a string quartet was unusual but added a nice touch, I personally enjoying the more classical vibes that made the show just a touch more theatrical. Surrounded by nature, with Table Mountain our breathtaking backdrop, it makes you wonder why anyone would want to live anywhere else. Overall, a disappointing show, lacking vivacity, with sound that was average and less of that usual post-gig buzz that makes me feel like I’m on hard drugs. Oh well, maybe next time. I still love the Skirts.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Neelsie Geraas Innie Gat: Ashtray Electric, Zebra & Giraffe and aKing

In association with MFM 92.6, Woordfees and Coca-Cola Zero 12 March 2009 I bet you never thought one could have a totally memorable night out in the Neelsie of all places. Think again! For the third year running, MFM 92.6 made it all happen, and the night was as successful as always, with smooth proceedings proving thorough organisational skills by all involved, especially the MFM Crew. And the best news [for the student sonder cente]-- entrance was free! Perhaps a little cruel to tell people to arrive at 6, I felt the crowd getting restless after sitting around for more than an hour. Nonetheless, MFM DJ’s Luca Vincenzo and Jörg Nänny kept the good music flowing, and Masters of Ceremony SeanO and Marika [from MFM’s Breakfast and Drive respectively] distracted all with giveaways and interactive competitions. Finally, at 8pm, Ashtray Electric stepped on stage, and the night began... Though I doubt many were there for Ashtray Electric more than the other two bands, I am inclined to say they played the best set of the three. Playing our favourite old tracks like The Swing and Quite Overstared, the band also gave us a taste of some new stuff, due to be on their new album [which is coming your way soon] and shot some material for their upcoming DVD, the idea of appearing for a second or two on a video of sorts always getting the groupies panting. Frontman André Montgomery got into the vibe as always, jamming in his usual quirky way, and overall the set flowed without any mishaps and with a crowd thoroughly entertained. Zebra and Giraffe has had mammoth commercial success, with their hits topping the charts countrywide. Though I recognise frontman Greg Carlin’s enormous musical talent, especially considering that he brought into being the entire Collected Memories album but for the help of a session drummer, I find their live performances quite dull. Musically near-indomitable, their show lacks the life that makes the live music experience different from simply playing a CD in the background. The lead guitarist is adequately energetic, but the rest of them are quite uninspiring. Their cover track did nothing for me and while I enjoy their music immensely, their live shows hardly live up to their on-air success. Last up was aKing, and what on earth happened here? Well, to begin with, they did not soundcheck along with the other two bands earlier that afternoon. I understand that they have done this live performance thing countless times, but I thought it a bit arrogant that they thought themselves above this basic procedure most bands view as obligatory. Secondly, they used their own sound guy. The sound up until then was quite fine, with the usual odd request for ‘More vocals please’ and so forth. But aKing had major issues, most prominently near-inaudible lyrics. Understandably frustrated, frontman Laudo Liebenberg profanely voiced his unhappiness. And yet despite this, aKing’s popularity carried the band through a bad gig, coupled with a surprisingly appreciative crowd. Safe as Houses was met with roof-lifting shouts of excitement, and everyone filled in where sound engineering failed Laudo’s vocals. This was aKing’s worst gig I have ever experienced, and yet their crowd remains loyal as can be. It goes to show just how esteemed they are as musicians. aKing is usually exactly the same every single time to the point of tedium, so I guess at least this one broke their oh-so-boring trend.

Lark at Klein Libertas Theatre

with Mr Cat & The Jackal and Sparkyboy
11 March 2009
Perhaps the most tragic day in South African music was the day Lark’s Inge Beckman announced the band’s breaking up. A year later, the band has reunited for a national tour, and I, among many others, was lucky enough to see them twice in the space of just two weeks. A gig more than 600 people strong, this was one to write down in our musical memory book...
Opening act Mr Cat and the Jackal was observed by most sitting down, but eventually the urge took over and the hippies made their way forward to dance a hippy dance. Their pirate-esque music is raw and unique, and always fun to experience live. A couple of unusual sights like pirate costumes and inventive- and curious instruments make this band worth watching, and having performed at RAMfest and alongside Lark a couple of times, they seem to be on the up and up.
Sparkyboy is certainly not everbody’s cup of tea, but I quite enjoy it myself. Ok, so you may not play it for hours on end, but the 8-bit vibes are sure to get you into party mode in no time. Local lad Neil de la Rouviere becomes wholly engrossed in what he is doing on stage and I think it quite brave and commendable for him to take on that entire stage- and crowd by himself. He is doing what few others are, and while some musicians call it bullshit, I call it fun.
Pretty Blue Guns frontman André Leo counted at least seventeen girls who told him that, were Inge Beckman a lesbian, they would be too. I was one of them. Inge Beckman’s stage presence is hypnotic, with a strong stance and even more powerful voice. She is like a Greek goddess, a mystical chime reverberating deep through the listener’s soul for what seems an eternity. She has been accused of being egotistical but I mean, come on, wouldn’t you be too? Lark is made up of four vastly talented musicians who produce music that is enchantingly eerie, inducing in spectators a dreamlike state of awe. I will never forget this breathtaking live act, and we pray Lark will return for good in the foreseeable future.

Isochronous at Zula Bar

4 March 2009
An entire day was spent on Long Street, taking in its crowd and culture and recording it all with photographs. Day turned night and we watched the crowd morph into the night-time version of itself. I love Long Street and its people, and even more so after this gig...
Isochronous has been touring the area for the past while, starting off at RAMfest and following up with gigs all over Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The gig kicked off with Overgraze, who are too average to even mention. How hard it must be to play on either side of Isochronous.
Kidofdoom keyboardist Richard Brokensha is now to be found on guitar and lead vocals. His voice is smooth and proficient, with an impressive vocal range and the ability to sound like an angel no matter what. We’re still investigating whether or not he is human... On the keyboard is the small-package dynamite Alex Parker, who shows energy and palpable enjoyment from start to finish. Bassist Franco Schoeman is only eighteen, and already he is one of the most impressive bassists I have ever seen.
The music is weighty and spectacular, and watching it transports you to a faraway place where one experiences the ultimate in viewing- and listening pleasure. Lyrically stunning, their music is driven largely by synth, combining alternative rock, lengthy instrumental interjections and the odd insert of jazz, creating a perfect combination you’d be mad not to be mad about. The best part of the gig, however, was the crowd response. At first the last fading notes were met with stunned silence. But, judging by the expression on his face, Richard was pleasantly shocked with overwhelming applause and demands for an encore.
I heart Cape Town.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I was fortunate enough to attend the MK Awards at Mnet Studios in Johannesburg on the 7th of March. The event was superbly organised, and herewith follows a blow-by-blow of what went down and who went down…
The pre-party included a free non-alcoholic bar [presumably for all of the plebian children running around in tie-dye and jeans who were able to purchase tickets as ‘loyalty’ members], bite-size starters and Elma Smit and Simon Tuit [from Studio 1] circulating to interview everyone who is anyone. There is even a small square of red carpet to make it feel even cooler. Two hours later we enter the studio, and the ceremony begins.
Hosts are Elma Smit and Herman Pretorius [you may remember him from AMP], and they are joined by many others, from Tamara Dey and Martin Rocka to Barney Simon, the Doosman and the new Wonderbra girl, who may well be the most stupid human being I have ever met. Lights are spectacular, and the images on-screen are impressive as well as functional, showing interviews with winners of awards.
éF-éL kick off the live performances with Net Om Die Geraas In Te Asem. I have always enjoyed this band live, but Fritz had a bit of a struggle and certain pitches made him sound just a bit like his voice was breaking. The sound was not perfect, though it worked notably well for the instrumental side of things. Other performances were Van Coke Kartel, Heuwels Fantasties and The Dirty Skirts. Ever-popular electro-act Heuwels Fantasties did well, with voice distortion, complete with telephone, pulled off superbly. Of course the crowd loved them, as they always do. They also handed their album to all VI People… Gratis! And it is worth listening, with all their best tracks and some including other artists such as Francois Van Coke, and there’s even an Afrikaans rap vibe going on in there somewhere. The Dirty Skirts’ Homewrecker got everyone in the mood for a jam, and was performed skillfully, upholding the Skirts’ ever-high standard when it comes to playing live. Unfortunately they did not walk away victorious in their nomination for Beste Groep, but we were honoured that they flew up all the way just to entertain us as they did. Van Coke Kartel was remarkably well-behaved on stage, following their recent trend of cleaning up their act just a touch. I get the funny feeling the alcohol-free bar prior to the ceremony may have had something to do with Francois’s presence there.
And now, for the winners, and my opinion on it all…
Beste Serenade: Parlotones [I’ll be there]. Ok, so I am not a fan, and I don’t get why everyone is. But once again, it’s me against 320 000+ voters. And they were up against the likes of Eden, Flipacoin and MD Greyling, so it makes sense really.
Kampus Hit: Straatligkinders [Avontuur van ‘n hartbreek]. Duh. Contenders were aKing, Jax Panik and Seether [which, in my opinion, no longer counts as being local] and these Potch boys have an enormous following. No surprises here.
Sexyste Video: Flipacoin [Jasmyn]. I am just glad that the scary and very large but still scantily-clad Corsette did not win. *shudders at the thought*
Beste Live: Foto Na Dans [Hou Jou Hande Bymekaar]. Happiness! This song is unbelievable live every time, and they beat Parlotones!
Hardste: Van Coke Kartel. [September Fools]. Up against artists like Knave and One Day Remains, and despite being the least ‘hard’ of the lot, this was an obvious one.
Beste Solo: Lianie May [Jy Soen My Nie Meer Nie]. In Lize-world, Dan Patlanksy would have won for pure musical genius, followed by Jax Panik and Ryno Velvet. Albert de Wet and Lianie May would not have featured. But I can accept this result, the song was huge. Even my stepmother has the album.
Snaaksste Video: Koolerbox. [Jou Moer]. Benoni. I have nothing more to say.
Animasie en Effects: Parlotones [I’ll be there]. Ok, so from an animation point of view, the video was superbly animated and designed.
Beste Nuweling: Ashtray Electric. A big surprise, I would have predicted Zebra and Giraffe to walk away with this one due to their commercial success. And Winterstasie has that same frantic Potch following. But smiles all around, and convincing myself that Pretty Blue Guns came a close second.
Pornster: Snotkop. I may someday write a thesis on this, along with Jesse Jordan and Beeskraal, being the worst ‘musicians’ South Africa has ever spawned. The guy is, however, a marketing genius. He is thirty-something, and gay. Did you know that? Now you know!
Beste Groep: Straatligkinders. They beat aKing, éF-éL, City Bowl Mizers and The Dirty Skirts. They may not have been my first choice, but I am a fan of their music, along with countless others. I say, well done!
And then, the big one…
Beste Video: Parlotones [I’ll Be There]. Really? The tinfoil dragon really trumped Safe As Houses, The Knife, Vinger Alleen and Avontuur Van ‘n Hartbreek? Really?! Yes. Yes they did.
Photos by Speakerbox.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Van Coke Kartel Acoustic

Aandklas 10 March 2009
I have seen Van Coke Kartel a number of times, and often walk away disappointed and sometimes a little disgusted by the behaviour on stage, but lately I have noticed that frontman Francois Van Coke is cleaning up his act quite nicely. That, plus the word ‘acoustic’ that sparked some interest, had me questing off to Aandklas, to further give Van Coke Kartel a second chance…
First up, the turnout was disappointing, to say the least. With a following as strong as theirs is, I am baffled as to the tiny crowd that rocked up. The performance was not as ‘acoustic’ as you may imagine, and I think many expected something even more chilled and quiet. While the music was tight, [Wynand is unbelievable on his double bass] and Francois’s voice was powerful, I felt something was missing. It was not a technical aspect, but I felt the essence of Van Coke Kartel’s music was partially lost. One becomes accustomed to music in its own skin, and without the furious energy and Wynand’s spastic but always-entertaining jumps and kicks, it just wasn’t the same. The crowd sang along but I got the feeling they were not quite as involved with the performance as is desired. Acoustic sets have become more and more prevalent of late, and I see it as a test of a band’s ability, covering vocal strength, adaptability and musicality. Van Coke Kartel failed.
I am glad to have seen them in this setting, though Van Coke Kartel to me will always be loud, explosive, all over the place rock that makes you want to burst right out of your skin for love of live music.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fleur du Cap Awards Artscape Theatre 08 March 2009 This has less to do with music, but it must be mentioned… I had the privilege of attending the 2008 Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards last night at Artscape Theatre. The event was superbly organized, and despite being the youngest person there [besides for one or two theatre people’s kids who tagged along], I walked away impressed with the wonderful world of theatre in South Africa. Enter Artscape Theatre, and you greeted with free Pongracz, and as much of it as you want. There is homemade pink lemonade, teeny tiny shortcrust tarts with rosa tomatoes and basil crème-fraiche, salmon and wasabi springrolls… is your mouth watering yet? And why, do you ask, am I going into such detail? Well because that is what is was all about: detail, that set it apart from other events and made it the glamorous event that it was. The ceremony kicked off with a handful of dancers in steel drums, tapping out powerful African beats with their hands, feet and even nails. Master of Ceremonies Nic Rabinowitz may just be the world’s funniest Jew ever. He was joined by familiar face in the arts world Thoko Ntshinga, dressed like Ndebele Barbie. Between the two of them they bickered and joked in English and some broken Afrikaans and even Xhosa [on Nic’s side]. Other performances included Laurika Rauch doing Liza se Klavier, which made us all dream about out mother city, Table Mountain and Blouberg se Strand, an African band, a tango ballet and Afro-Jazz meets Opera. After the ceremony, there was an array of salads… in martini glasses! I mean, how cool is it to cheers a salad? Added to this was a seafood bar, Thai bar, fromagerie and more Lindt truffle balls than I have ever seen in my life! Yum… For the more refined and clued-up in the arts, the results were as follows: Most Promising student: [Note: three of the four nominees are from Stellenbosch University] Christiaan Olwagen
Best New Director: Michael Inglis [Venom]
Best new South African Play: Die Generaal [Mike Van Graan]
Best Prop Design: Nicholas & Luke Ellenbogen [Raiders, Rasputin’s Rectangle]
Best Costume Design: John Caviggia [The Merchant of Venice]
Best Lighting Design: J Bouwer, A Snyman & r van Jaarsveld [Smag]
Best Set Design: Fred Abrahamse [Assassins]
Best Performance in a Revue or Cabaret: G Weir, C Weir, J Ralph, P Van Heerden & A Tiffen [Not The Midnight Mass]
Best Performance in a Musical: Andre Jacobs [Assassins]
Best Performance in a One-Person Show: Shaleen-Surie Richards [Shirley Valentyn]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Quanita Adams [Cissie]
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Guy de Lancer [Glengary Glen Ross]
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Mwenya Kabwe [Yellowman]
Best Director: Jaco Bouwer [Smag]
Theatre Sports also won the unannounced People’s Choice Award

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Die Heuwels Fantasties at Aandklas

3 March 2009 Having enjoyed their music immensely from when I first heard it on CD and radio, I was eager to catch this mini superband live! Even more so because I had heard some negative reviews about their performance at Stilbaai’s Groot Gees Rock Fees in 2008, arguments being it is no different from listening to it on disc. So off we missioned to Aandklas, despite having to get up at 4.30am, hoping it would be worth it... I was of the opinion that R40 in a student town to see one band only was a bit steep. Apparently few others shared my views: Aandklas was bursting at the seams with eager fans just panting for a glimpse of Fokofpolisiekar and aKing’s Hunter Kennedy and Lukraaketaar’s Pierre Greeff. I cannot recall the last time Aandklas was so full that staff could not even leave the kitchen! Minutes past 10pm, Hunter, Pierre and Johnny took to the stage. The reaction was an instant eruption of excitement from the crowd’s side, and as the first humming sounds of ‘Hang, hang in die hemel’ reverberated into the crowd, the response just kept building... A word of warning from my side: Do not enter, expecting a live gig like others. It is a good show, and it sounds as much as it does on disc as your heart may desire. But it is as much as one can expect from two vocalists and a laptop. On the other hand, Hunter and Pierre were energetic and engaging, and there is something about seeing the expression on a musician’s face that translates so concretely his love for what he does no? On top of an entertaining show, plasma screens were put up all around the venue for your viewing pleasure or for those who cared not to brave the turbulent crowd of aficionados. These showed images of the band as well as psychedelic colours and all things random [like jellyfish] to complement the electro vibes on stage. Every track was well-received, from the ones we all know by heart to the sizeable sample of new material, and watching the crowd punching holes in the air from start to finish got me thinking that maybe, just maybe these guys have started something, and soon South Africa will have an electro music scene to speak of. We can only hope...

MK Awards 2009

Just got back from the MK Awards 2009 ceremony. The event was great, with delicious food, recognisable local personalities making guest MC appearances and of course a handful of enjoyable band performances. My predictions and hopes were often crushed, but hey, it is after all me against 320 000 voters. Yes, that's right: 320 000! Impressive no? So I know what happened. Start sucking up if you would like to know too before anyone else does...

Friday, March 6, 2009

RAMfest 2009.

I have been to my fair share of festivals, but I have always been curious about RAMfest. Its legend is a great one, and curiosity rendered me wondering whether it would live up to the many dreamy-eyed tales I have heard about it. It did not. RAMfest exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. No money in the world could enable me to compress my 27 February to 1 March 2009 weekend in fewer words, and I hope mine will paint the picture for you...
Friday 27 February
It took us approximately two and a half hours to actually get out of Stellenbosch. It is the trouble with roadtripping with five students in one car- it turns out we were all too excited for RAMfest to think straight at all, and our festival survival lists apparently evaded our fuzzy-with-anticipation minds. After what seemed a million years of mad scurrying for food, booze, squidgy bottles, extra cigarettes, waterless hand sanitizer, forgotten tickets and snacks for the road, we were on our way, pumping a playlist made up of only RAMfest bands to get our blood flowing. Arrival, pitching of tents, a bottle of bubbly and there was barely time for a look around before we caught our first act. But organisation was better than most festivals can boast, with no unnecessary queues, helpful staff and a satisfyingly wide variety of junk food to choose from. The main stage and metal stage were separate so as to keep the rockers from the metal heads, at least for the greater part of the musical performances. And now for some music!
19h00: Havoc Vultures.

For the first band up, they have a decent crowd. Plus they’re dressed like mummies. Not a performance to go down in the record books. But they did dress like mummies.
21h00: aKing.
As good as always, though my statement must not be interpreted as being entirely positive. Though I love this band and its music, I must say that if you have seen one aKing gig, you have seen them all! With lyrics almost too poetic to be lyrics, hypnotisingly graceful run-on lines throughout their songs, a cup of talent that runneth over and an impressive following of fans to go with it, one would expect a little more vigour in their performances. The band members mostly give an air that says, “We actually have better things to do than be on stage to play for all of our many fans who adore us so”. I cannot recall having ever seen frontman Laudo smile, or thank his crowd for hanging on his every word. So far I am not blown away by the new material either, perhaps especially because of the high standard set by their debut album Dutch Courage, but I will give it a chance to grow on me. Nonetheless a tight set living up to the usual standard.
22h00: Taxi Violence.
There is a reason they are largely viewed as being South Africa’s best live act. And there is a reason they got a better response than Eagle Eye Wank back in 2008. Always thrilling to watch live, Taxi Violence dragged [no pun intended] Bingo along to send the sparks flying on stage. Feverishly energetic, tight and more professional than the vast majority of local bands, Taxi Violence has mastered the art of playing live. They filled up the large stage, connected with their even larger crowd and got precisely the reaction one wants from a live performance. Drummer Louis Nel was unable to play, but their stand-in session drummer is a talented player, pulling off this stint as though he graces the stage along with the rest of Taxi Violence on a regular basis. Frontman George has energy enough to make you pant just watching him jump and run and spin around on stage! And the rest of the band members are not left out here either, with each individual adding to this must-see performance.
23h00: Dirty Skirts.
Ever thought the Skirts could conjure up a moshpit? Well, they did. The crowd’s eager anticipation seemed to bubble over when the Skirts hit the stage, and they responded accordingly- giving their fan base a show to remember! They mixed up just the right portions of old- and new music, with Daddy Don’t Disco being the definite favourite of the evening! Jeremy, dressed head-to-toe in black to suit the RAMfest vibes, always manages to bond with his crowd, even when he is metres away on a huge stage! We are not sure how he does it, but we love him all the more for it. Drummer Mark did an impressive solo and that is without doubt the funkiest bass guitar I have ever seen! The Skirts certainly punched a hole in our... er... Friday night.
24h00: kidofdoom.
A band of musical geniuses, rather than just a bunch of pipe-dream-driven boys hungry for recognition and easy sex. Their all-instrumental set is some of the most romantic music I have ever heard. It hypnotises the soul and sends it off to a very beautiful place. There was no excessive jamming, just a crowd in awe of the talent on display before them [me being one of these]. From the lighting and the midnight hour to their inspiring presence on stage, everything was just right for this show. Their music stirred within us the need to go nightswimming in the Breede River and as we floated around, half-submerged in water and the remains of six hours of incredible music ringing in our ears, we assumed we had died and gone to heaven. A perfect end to what would turn out to be the second-best day of our lives...
Saturday 28 February:
At our 7am hour of waking, it is already hot outside, not to mention inside the tent! Resultantly the day kicks off with a swim, followed by a shower and after a quick breakfast of energy bars and coffee-to-go, we are more than ready for the big day. Squidgy bottles at the ready, filled with a mix of whatever alcohol is left, and it starts all over again...
11h00: 3rd World Spectator.
They just won the battle-round to play at V-fest this year, and with good reason! Heaven only knows why they did not manage to get a better timeslot, but the crowd they draw is not bad for 11am. As for the music, it is tight, theatrical, with moving build-ups and a passion so palpable you cannot help but be drawn into it all. Frontman Peter Crafford has a vocal range without horizons, it seems, which is exactly why he did decently well in Idols [shhh... Don’t tell anyone!]. I have enormous faith in these boys, and I have no doubt that my opinions will be shared by masses more by the time V-Fest rolls around!
12h00: The Plastics.
Certainly not their best I have ever seen. Though their funky pop ‘n roll dance tunes are always fun to shake one’s hips to, I felt that they, despite the addition of a fourth member, struggle to fill such a large stage. Then again, they are a fairly rookie band so perhaps all they need is some coaching. The show was not as tight as they have managed to be in the past, and it could do with more energy from all members. I was asked whether or not all my reviews of them are going to say that they sound just a teeny weeny tiny bit like Arctic Monkeys. So I shan’t say it...
14h00: Pretty Blue Guns.
A disappointing turnout, especially judging by crowds they have managed to attract before. Nonetheless it was an acceptably good show, with the usual high-quality raw, swampy rock ‘n roll blues. The new material is certainly promising, thus far showing much progression from their impressive debut, Dirt. And the good news is that the new album is set to be released soonsies, so keep an eager ear to the ground for what is guaranteed to be a whole new dirty world of listening pleasure.
15h00: New Holland.
An enormous turnout, especially when compared to the unsatisfactory crowd response from just an hour before. The indie kids love these guys, and they showed it in true supporter spirit. Everyone boogied- and sang along in full force, and the guys on stage seemed to be loving it as much as we were. Frontman TeeJay as well as his two wingmen Buckle and Gerdus smiled from sound check until the very last notes faded away, and their energy was just enough to show their enjoyment without detracting from the music itself. This was unquestionably one of their best shows I have ever seen, and few things make me feel as warm and fuzzy inside as a good live performance, with the desired crowd response to go with it. This made me feel warm and fuzzy inside...
PS. TeeJay, how do you get your hair to look like that every day?!
16h00: Yes Sir! Mister Machine [Metal stage].
After a quick dip in the river to cool off between spurts of excessive jamming, we took a peek at what was happening at the Black Parade Stage. Probably quite a sight for most of the all-black, pierced, tattooed, unhappy-looking metalheads to see me singing along to The Coast of Arms, but I do rate this band, despite its falling outside of my regular genre of music. Their lyrics are something quite stunning, and musically they are more than sound. The set was nit as tight as usual, but the Somerset-West boys did well, and there was, as always, more than enough energy to go around. Frontman Franco Fernandes did, however, have blood coming out of his mouth and after indie-kid-Dirty-Skirts comments [which happened on both occasions we dared venture near the metal stage] I rolled my eyes and rolled on back home to the main stage. Good thing these two were kept apart...
17h00: The Beams.
A Cape Town-based band that is a little more under the radar, and they have been rather quiet lately. But these boys are no strangers to big music festivals, having played at the likes of Oppikoppi and Rocking the Daisies before. Theirs is an Indie sound, fused with some boppy dance-pop and even a dash of old school post-punk rock vibes. Oh, and don’t forget the cowbell! Frontman Paul Maree is always entertaining, in a spastic kind of way, and I doubt I will ever tire of watching him on stage. Rumour has it he gets unusually nervous before hitting the stage, but he certainly does not let on that this is the case! And did you know that he is none other than super-mayor Helen Zille’s son? Well, now you know! Word to yo’ mama, and Kudos for a great performance, as always!
18h00: Isochronous.
I am about to make a bold statement. But if you have seen Isochronous live or heard their music at all, you’ll agree that my statement is not that outlandish. So, here goes: Isochronous is the best band our country has. [Lark no longer counts]. Frontman Richard Brokensha [whom you may recognise from kidofdoom] has a clear, flawless voice that is second to none, and he just so happens to be exceptionally talented on the guitar. And the keyboard. He’s a musical genius, and his fellow band-members just so happen to have this in common with him. Three of them are studying Jazz up North at the Tshwane University of Technology, and all four are inimitable at what they do. Though watching them with impressive lights and at a slightly more eerie hour would have made this even more stellar [just when you thought it couldn't get any better], their daytime performance was one I will struggle to forget! I was speechless, along with the rest of the kids gathered round to hear what all the hype is about. Their music, a combination of electronic and alternative rock laced with the odd splinter of jazz is hypnotic and heavy, accompanied by mesmerisingly beautiful lyrics. Instrumentals are dramatic enough to rouse any sleepy soul, with build-ups and silences that will have you hanging on their every sound. And in case that wasn’t good enough, they love it too! Having had them in studio with me for an interview, I was thrilled to see them begin to jam shamelessly to their own material. Bassist Franco Schoeman is just a laaitie, but he seems to have already mastered the bass guitar. Their set was literally stunning, and had I the power I would have had them play for hours more. This is without doubt the next big thing for South Africa. And then? World domination, of course!
What is left to ask for?
19h00: Foto na Dans.
This was another performance that stood out among the rest. Which, at RAMfest, says a lot. Trust me. Frontman LeRoi is fairly slight, but his voice is even bigger than his hair! Powerful and deep, he belted out a magnificent set, with older material as well as the slightly darker tracks from their latest album, Pantomieme op Herwinbare Klanke. Once more, the lighting was magnificent and complemented the music hugely. Their lyrics are written in pure, beautiful Afrikaans and their music is a dark sound with electronic rock that is spellbinding and soothing all at once. Subtle but commanding, this was undeniably one of their best performances I have seen.
21h00: LARK.
I think I can safely assume that this was the show that almost everyone was looking forward to most. This was a first for me as I have, despite having listened to every one of their tracks countless times, never seen LARK live. Of course music lovers across the country were devastated upon hearing that LARK was to come to an end, but they very kindly reunited for a quick national tour and, of course, RAMfest. Inge Beckman is one of the most alluring women I have ever seen, with a larger-than-life stage presence that sets her above all others. Her voice is unfathomable, and their music is not only unique, but entrancing and exquisite. Words cannot do justice to their performance and this is one band everyone has to see, lest they should die an unfulfilled life. Seeing them in a smaller, more intimate situation does, however, appeal to me more. Notwithstanding my hypothetical preference, I left in awe of the magnificence I had just witnessed, and I pitied Die Antwoord [formerly Max Normal] for having to take to the stage directly afterwards.
23h00: Fokofpolisiekar.
They were revolutionary when they first hit the scene, with throngs of angry and attention-starved teenagers worshipping the very ground they tread upon. But nobody could deny the power in their music, and nobody could deny that they had created an influential stir for good reason. Perhaps the first example of Afrikaans rock ‘n roll, their crowd was enormous! The moshpit was a dangerous place to be, as always, but with spectacular lighting and energy exploding all over the place it was more than enough to watch from the less mobile back rows. The kids sang along, jumped around, screamed, punched holes in the air and put on a spectacular display of their appreciation. Frontman Francois was relatively well-behaved, though he looked just a little worse for wear the next day when he passed out on a hay bale for hours. They put on show packed with the best of their best that was packed with blistering vigour from start to finish. My only disappointment was their final track, Fokofpolisiekar. It may have been what gave them the status they have today, but I thought it not performed quite well enough to end off such a stellar performance. There was simply that slight lack of vivacity to wrap up something quite incredible. Other than that I was impressed with an overwhelming performance of hard rock with which to end my day of musical magicalness.
Shame for Battery 9, who had to play directly after Fokof. One would think it a prime spot, but everyone, seemingly assuming that nothing could top what they had just witnessed, left when the last resonating note died softly. I was one of those, indulging in lying under the stars, holding hands to reflect on the 18-odd hours that had just passed. Yes, this was the best day of our lives.
Sunday, 1 March.
Tired, but with spirits not yet exhausted. Sunday passed in a fairly brief blur of excited blether about the day before and lending an ear to the last remaining acts. It was Sunday blues all over, and not only because RAMfest was fast coming to an end.
I have never enjoyed Mr Cat and the Jackal too much, but I confess their pirate-inspired music is fun to sing along to, and you get the rare opportunity of dancing like one too! Sweet... Though I cannot say I watched their show from start to finish, any band that sings, ‘Walk the plank, you’re off to feed the fishes’ deserves mention and a thumbs-up... Or whatever the pirate equivalent of that is.
13h00: The Violent Free Peace
Zinkplaat member Basson Laubscher started a little side-project, and this is it. Though blues is a slightly more limited genre of music, theirs is always fun to get nostalgic to. And it is blues in the truest from, with everything from music to lyrics to the raspy vocals spelling out the word. Sunday will hardly ever attract a great crowd, but everyone had a good ol’ time indulging in some wistfulness.
14h00: Dan Patlanksy.
The most disappointing part of his performance was seeing a ring on his left ring finger. Dan Patlansky is likely the best guitarist in the country. And watching him from close by will instantly make you just as passionate about his music as he is! The ardour and love he has for music are palpable in the expression on his face that will make any girl’s little rock ‘n roll heart melt! His set was long and served as the perfect way to unwind and slow down to reflect on the past three days, his rough voice sending us back to that beautiful place we had been in for the better part of the weekend. This man is beyond talented and if the universe is not out of kilter, it’s only up from here...
We left in a daze, and stayed in that daze for days. Misty-eyed and smiling perpetually in delirium, we felt we could have died fulfilled and euphoric having experienced RAMfest. It was life-changing and I fully intend to attend the many to follow in years to come. My new religion? I am officially a Ramfestarian. You should be too.