Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why'd You Want To Live Here?

I hate Tollies. It’s up there with guinea fowl and casinos on my ‘pet hates’ list. But I like 3rd World Spectator, I like The Beams and so I braved jock central…
Now, when I say jock central, I mean it. This place is jockville on steroids, in Afrikaans. Play Kurt Darren or Lady Gaga and you will be popular. Speak Afrikaans, pop your collar, try start a fight and make a ‘joke’ about the AWB and you’ll fit right in. I do not. And neither, really, do these two cool local bands. But somehow we pulled it off…
3rd World Spectator has been a little quieter of late, but their sound remains the same. If anything, frontman Peter Crafford’s voice has strengthened, with an almost slightly darker feel to it, which matches their music perfectly. The Beams were as groovy as ever, and on this voting day people loved quirky frontman Paul with or without knowing he is Helen Zille’s son.
Really there is not much to say about the bands themselves; I like them and have reviewed them both more than once. From where they were standing, the sound was apparently kak [seeing as we are in Tollies]. From where we were, it was pretty good. The cheerleaders danced [like sluts, but danced nonetheless] and all-round there was a good show of appreciation. It’s good to see two bands good enough for even a monkey with horrible taste in music to have to admit that they are good.
I was asked on a number of occasions to take pictures of drunk people I had never met before. I think I was quite rude about it, but what about me says ‘thunda.com’? The girls were snobs, the guys were drunk. Forward, and convinced that trying to feel you up as you brush past en-route to le WC would do the trick. There were too many people, music between sets made my ears bleed and eventually I could no longer breathe in the mindless air so thick with pretense. So I left, and made sweet love to my Black Label in Bohemia.
Each to his own, I guess. But wowee, do I love my places, and my people, my music and my fingerless gloves in winter. For now, we’re 20-somethings and for most people that means drinking all night, having random meaningless hook-ups, waking up late and hungover with little money and even less of an idea where it all went, scraping through university and each day to do it all over again. And we need that. Otherwise I would have no people to judge, we would have no model to which to refer when saying ‘I am so glad I am not one of those people who…’, cartoonists would have no situations to ridicule and absurdists have nothing to write about. So thank you for the music, and thank you for feeding the snobbish cynic in me. What would I do without you guys?
The vessel keeps pumping us through this zentropic place
In the belly of the beast that is this place,
I drank from a faucet and I kept my receipts
For when they weigh me on my way out
(Here nothing is free).
The greyhounds keep coming
Dumping locusts into the street
Until the gutters overflow
And this place thinks,
"I might explode someday soon."
It's a lovely summer's day
And I can almost see a skyline through a thickening shroud of egos.
Here the names are what remain...
Stars encapsulate the gold lame
And they need constant cleaning for when the tourists begin salivatin
g
-Death Cab For Cutie, Why You'd Want To Live Here

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lize's Look For The Day

I like dressing up, I like style, and 'fashion' I suppose. I like looking good. I like shoes. Here is my look for the day:

Friday's Fictionary: Take 5

Super Casual Friday. n. When you come to work on Friday wearing the exact same thing you wore on Thursday [minus your cardigan and your watch, which you mysteriously left somewhere].

Le Weekend

An exciting weekend lies ahead for me. That is why Friday’s Fictionary is being posted today- optimistic though I may be when it comes to believing in my juggling skills, realism has me admitting to a lack of time on Friday. After work and a full day of class, I am jetting off to Johannesburg/Pretoria tongiht [I am not lumping them as one, they are just awfully close to one another, distance-wise]. From landing at 9pm it’s off to Tings an’ Times to check out New Holland. One of my personal favourite venues and –bands, and I have not seen TeeJay’s nipples in quite some time now. On Friday I am doing a one-day internship at 5FM. Call time: 7.30am and with Jo’burg traffic that means leaving at 5.30. Thereafter I am shooting straight through to Oppikoppi, to see Ashtray Electric. They have a prime slot [8pm], playing just before aKing and I predict a decent sampling of material off the next album. Oppikoppi goes bump until about 3am, when we will drive back. Some of us have to work, and call-time is 5.30am. Others [this is me] are going to a wedding. My brother is getting hitched, and I am a bridesmaid. But in a wow-she-looks-awesome-for-a-bridesmaid kind of way. And after SeanO and I speculated at length about that whole Win-A-Date-With-Lize-Kay idea, we decided against it. Thank goodness... In light of Monday’s being a public holiday [Freedom Day if I am not mistaken], I have taken Monday off to stay up North. If you listen to the show in the mornings, I will be back on Tuesday. Cross my heart. Happy weekend! Photos and reports coming soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Collected Memories: Cinq

Spending time with Nasha [my childhood BFF], we took a long walk down memory lane, all the way down to circa 1999. So I found a picure of myself whe I was about ten. I was blonde, still played piano, and horseriding was a far more prominent part of my life.
The above was taken by my sister while she was studying graphic design, in our garden in Standerton.
Versus a picture of myself at 20. I am brunette, I hardly ever find the time to ride, and music is my everything. A lot has changed, but life is grand. Perfect, if you believe in absolutes...
This was taken by Liam [Lynch, though I have no doubt you figured as much] at Joburg Art Expo 2009.
Am definitely taking up piano lessons again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rock the Vote!

Van Coke Kartel, Zinkplaat and Jackal & Wolf Klein Libertas Theater, 15 April 2009 Upon studying democratisation and democratic consolidation one finds that a country’s third or fourth election round after becoming a democracy [pseudo or otherwise] is generally where the problems begin. For South Africa, next Wednesday the 22nd of April will be that round: the third since Madiba stepped in and saved the day. Personally I have yet to decide which party I will be crossing off on my ballot next week, but I will draw that cross! Seven days before voting, the Democratic Alliance [DA] hosted a ‘Rock the Vote’ gig in Stellenbosch; an interesting idea, considering that the local music scene has precious little to do [directly] with politics. The closest link I can find is that Helen Zille’s son plays in a band [a cool band at that, check out The Beams if you ever get the chance]. Is it simply a fresher take on things, delving into what the younger generation likes, in a hope to involve them more, inspire them to be politically sophisticated citizens, or [and here is where the cynic in me puts its hand up] is it perhaps a ruse to get more votes? Perhaps someone has been reading this blog and my “The Power of Music” idea has sparked a revolution. Ok, I doubt that. I can’t know what it is, but either way it was probably one of the DA’s less successful campaigns, and mostly not the party’s fault. First fail is the enormous DA Student Organisation poster outside, proudly sporting the logo and colour scheme mirrored on the enormous DA bus parked outside. It reads DASO UCT. As in, Democratic Alliance Student Organisation-- University of Cape Town. Maybe printing one for Stellenbosch University fell out of the budget plan, maybe because of the petrol bill that bus sent home. Second fail is the line up. While I am a fan of both Zinkplaat and Van Coke Kartel, I cannot fathom many who would have both under the ‘music’ section of their Facebook profile. It’s very Yin Yang, but not in a cool way like when Isochronous plays with Taxi Violence. The two also produce vastly different moods, so to have them play back to back would be just a little odd. As for Jackal and Wolf... They’re angry, lacking in more than one field regarding talent, and I cannot call myself a fan. Another fail is the order of the line-up. Zinkplaat should by no means have played first! I was in disbelief when I greeted Basson and thought, “No man is that sweaty before even getting on stage”. Yes, they had already played, and I had missed it. I do not know why this happened, but it did. Perhaps the argument was a volume build-up, beginning with the chilled plaasrock and a gradual escalation to Francois Van Coke. And that is why genres so opposite should sometimes not be thrown together so haphazardly like oil and water, expected to blend. It needs a catalyst of sorts to justify such a combination and to create the desired end-product. Lastly, the crowd itself: Dismal. Once again I find myself using a word I despise to describe the support for local music in this town at present. There were hardly enough people to fill the smaller inside stage area, let alone the outside! It seems lately that, unless a gig is held at the right venue on the right night with the right bands, it will be poorly attended. Perhaps it is academics demanding more attention, perhaps it is the economic recession. Perhaps the reason is one of which I am unaware, but I am determined to figure it out and change things back to how they were a while back, where we would go out, pay the entrance fee, spend all our money on booze and rock out to the full as good, reckless students should. Moreover, the crowd was apathetic to the political cause behind it all. It was easy to spot the DASO kids, sporting too-high slacks and either white collared shirts or something with Helen Zille’s face on. The regular gig-goers seemed happy enough being where they so often are, but they seemed quite blithe about all the talk around elections, change, rights and all that political jazz many feel is not theirs to discuss, and not within their ability to change. Judging by this gig, nobody under the age of 25 in Stellenbosch is going to vote. I pray that this will not be the case. As much as this post focuses on politics, I must make brief mention of Van Coke Kartel, which is the only set I watched in its entirety. Despite a small crowd, something Van Coke Kartel rarely experiences, these guys still gave it their all! There was the usual energy, Wynand’s spastic jumpkicks, all-over-the place rocking out. I applaud musicians who can do this. The sound was a tinge out of kilter, but Van Coke Kartel did not disappoint those present because of those absent, and the [few] fans there gave just as much back. Watching this made me all warm and fuzzy inside for our superb local musicians. So, the DA hosts a rock gig. A cool initiative, whatever the exact thought processes behind it. Line-up suggests organisation by someone a little more PolSci 324, a little less Fokofpolisiekar. But it’s there, it’s yours to attend and, this being Stellenbosch, it cannot be more than two kilometres from where you reside. The end-result is a small crowd that seems wholly uncaring to South Africa’s future. Epic fail, Stellenbosch. So here’s a message from someone who reads the news online every morning, reads the news to you four times a day on air, watches the news, records political debates, reads court cases involving politicians, does political science as a major and who, on the 22nd of April, will walk to her designated voting station, make an informed decision, and draw a cross: Vote. I can understand why people feel hopeless and figure their single vote will not make a difference, and so they simply shrug it off. But take a second and imagine if everyone had that attitude. I am not going to tell you who to vote for, or who not to vote for, but for the first time in 15 years, South Africa has opposition parties who may just be able to turn us into a democracy, and take us off #31 of the ‘world’s most flawed democracies’ list. For the first time we have the power to sway our country’s political state and curb the reigning populism. So go out for one day, be a politically sophisticated citizen, attempt to make a difference, and you may have done just that. Vote. That is all. PS. Helen Zille for President of the world! She is awesome.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday's Fictionary: Take 3

It's been an interesting week. You may or may not know what I am talking about. Notwithstanding your potential cluelessness, the following is a little closr to home [which, as they say, is where the heart is]. FLACID. Acronym. Failed Lovers Against Caller ID. Inspired by that moment of weakness when you’re Bridget Jones-ing to hear his voice one more time, so you fruitlessly call and hang up. Pathetic, yes. Possible, not so much, since being able to trace Caller IDs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coke Zero Fest 2009

13 April, Lourensford farm

Upon first hearing what this year’s Coke [Zero] Fest line-up would be, I thought the insertion of the word ‘Zero’ applicable: the international line-up paled in comparison to 2008’s, largely because of the inclusion of Muse last year. I cared little for seeing any of these bands live, bar Oasis. Snow Patrol was bound to be on the boring side of average on stage, and realistically, when last did anyone listen to Bullet For My Valentine? But it was Oasis, combined with curiosity around how our local bands would fill a significantly larger stage and –venue, that had me actually splash out R600 [serves me right for being fast asleep regarding media passes] and end off my ‘Easter’ weekend the way it should be done.
A few alterations were made just prior to the actual Fest. First, the venue moved from the Cape Town Ostrich Farm to our small neighbouring town, Somerset West. Beautiful though the views were [as pointed out by Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody], Somerset West can barely cope with its own traffic. It was a bit of a nightmare, with most people spending at least an hour to get out of there. Secondly, two international bands pulled out: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Bullet For My Valentine. I really could not have cared less, and I know of few people who took up Computicket’s very generous money-back offer because of their pulling out.
I arrived at 11.30am, almost to the second. Making my way to the stage, I could definitely hear Foto Na Dans playing, and I assumed there had been a shuffling of the line-up, as Die Heuwels Fantasties were set to perform at 11.30. This was not the case; everything had simply commenced earlier. I am not sure why this happened, but as a result thereof countless people eager to see Heuwels missed out. I was fairly annoyed, but powerlessness and anticipation of the rest of the day made me shut up and smile. This rarely happens.
Foto Na Dans is not a band that should play as early as they did [11.30, if you recall]. Nonetheless, they played a great set that did not suffer from a lack of impressive lighting to accompany it. LeRoi, slight though he may be, held his own on that stage like a pro, his larger-than-life voice booming out over the masses, insisting everyone present listen. The rest of the band was notably engrossed in the music too, and I sensed sincere appreciation for the opportunity to play on the same stage as these esteemed international bands.
I had not yet seen Cassette live, and I was interested to compare my middling liking for their music to my opinion of their live performance. The performance was good, though perhaps not quite as impressive as one would expect considering their track record, which includes countless SAMA nominations, a number of tours abroad, a deal with Sony BMG and having opened for the likes of Pink and Eagle Eye Wank. The lead vocalist gets well into his singing, which is great to see on stage. The woman on his right, however, is dead boring: from the sound of her voice to her pencilskirt catsuit, I was not at all impressed. They may not have blown me away, and I felt quite distant from their performance, but their easily listening was well-received by most.
I must give Zebra and Giraffe credit for a much better performance than the last I saw. I am not simply redeeming my apparent unpopularity for a previous negative review; they certainly upped their live game! I get the sense that, owing to the fact that frontman Greg Carlin created all of the material by himself, the other band members feel disconnected to it in a sense. Perhaps it’s a lack of feeling as though that music belongs to you, that makes you play it differently. Whatever it may be, this feeling is either waning, or simply ceasing to have an effect on their live shows. I thought the intro weak, but none of that for the rest of the show. There was more energy and –involvement from Greg as well as his fellow band members. And they are well-liked across the country, so I have little by which to criticise this particular set of theirs. Here’s hoping they keep it up, because I like it!
As with Zebra and Giraffe, my last review of The Dirty Skirts was not the most positive. But I am a fan, and I certainly did not let one under-par performance change my opinion of them as a live band. The Dirty Skirts seem very at home on such a big stage, in front of such a large crowd. They are veterans who have got live performing waxed! Homewrecker sounded the way it was supposed to, and we all danced along to some catchy indie pop-rock vibes. Jeremy de Tolly seems genuinely appreciative of his fans every time, and they ooze passion for what they do. The Skirts give off an air of ease with being on stage, whilst never losing their professionalism at all. It makes for a textbook combination that accounts for their successfully pulling off live performances as they do.
Last up, locally, was aKing. The starting notes rang out clear and powerful, commanding attention. Though I much prefer their Dutch Courage material, they gave us a taste of both old and new and I know the next album is anticipated by all, if only to see how it will compare to their debut. Guitarist Hunter Kennedy is not only a musical genius, but an idol to many, and he always puts on a good show, even in subtlety. Die Heuwels Fantasties vocalist Pierre Greeff made a guest appearance, which added an unexpected but quite beautiful element to the show. I got a slight sense of rush throughout the set, though this could easily be pinned to reasons backstage that were unknown to the spectators. It ended off decisively and with force, bringing to a close a tight set from musicians that make me proud to associate myself with our local music scene.
First up for the international acts was Panic! At The Disco. I remain confused as to why everything happened so early, as these guys played in broad daylight, rendering the potentially impressive lighting useless. I am not the world’s biggest Panic fan, but they put on a good show live. 4.0 GPA students, they highlighted the distinction between local- and international bands’ live performances, suggesting not incompetence in smaller bands but a sense of experience- the kind that is palpable upon seeing the end-result . Frontman Brendon Urie delegates energy to all band members, and there is always someone moving. Expressive and bouncy, he shows good voice control considering some of the bizarre pitches he has to stretch for. I honestly thought it all a step down from how it sounds on disc. Nonetheless, the highschool boys in skinny jeans most girls would be pushed to squeeze into were satisfied as they sat atop shoulders [their girlfriends’, as suggested by Brendon] and sang along in full force to every word. I have never, as the rest of the world seems to, confused them with Fall Out Boy, this being a comment many made when asked what they thought of their set. While they may not change your life, they are fun for a bit of sing-along and bop time.
I was really not all that excited for Snow Patrol, expecting a tedious wait for Oasis. Post-performance, I have new-found respect for a band which put on one of the most extraordinary live shows I have ever seen. The lighting was dazzling in its black-and-white simplicity, ditto the screen displays which were mostly just shapes that hypnotised, dragging you right into the universe of their music. Mesmerising, yet straightforward and unpretentious, it mirrors what they produce. Frontman Gary Lightbody’s voice is as beautiful live as on disc, and I have rarely seen an artist on stage become so entangled in his own music. Theirs is the kind of power indie pop-rock that makes every girl wish she were the one to whom Gary is singing. We all had goosebumps, and no one can deny at least one moment where you linked a Snow Patrol song to a past event, and what you felt at the time. So very romcom, their music is sure to make you fall in love. Inserted between songs, in the middle of songs and everywhere else were protracted instrumental interjections that seemed to last forever, pushing tracks to a beautiful apex, only to bring us back down to earth with lyrics that express so magnificently something essentially very candid. The music comes from the heart, and maybe that’s why everyone can relate so much: we have all been there before. Gary Lightbody makes himself human, and at the same time a subterranean alien angel of sorts. Entrancing, and crushingly solid from start to end, I now have to call myself a fan...
Last up was Oasis, the one I had been looking forward to for a good nine hours in the sun. Oasis seems to be a band one either loves or hates; I seldom come across a neutral median. Regardless of partiality or lack thereof, nobody can claim to be unaware of just how successful they are. Kicking things off with Fuckin’ In The Bushes, it was perfect:
We put this festival on you bastards With a lot of love We worked for one year for you pigs And now you want to break our walls down? You want to fuckin’ destroy us? Well go to hell.
It may be about music, but it is also about what they have become as a result of it all. Liam Gallagher expects to be revered by his fans, and he has no reason to give them anything back for it. He has an arrogance about him second to none, and he does not for a second attempt to conceal it. For those who expected a show with a bunch of guys rocking out on stage and telling South Africa about its beautiful people, it was obviously a disappointment! It’s Oasis, for goodness sake. They do not need anything but themselves and their music. From what I heard this show was markedly better than theirs in Johannesburg, with Noel almost giving away that he was really relishing it all. The lighting put Snow Patrol’s to shame, and I can honestly say that that in itself was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. It was colourful, it was black and white, cold and blue, it was erratic and it was impossible to take your eyes off it! As for the displays on-screen behind them, these took a more material form, elucidating to an extent what Oasis’ music is all about. It was art, war, violence, the past, childhood, girls, memories, emotion and, of course, themselves. As far as musical talent goes, they are way up there with the bests in the world. The debate was whether Champagne Supernova or Wonderwall is their best song. For me it is neither, but even more difficult than choosing my favourite track of theirs would be deciding on a singly favourite part of their performance. It may not have been what many expected, but that is the beauty of their music. It may not be rock ‘n roll as the masses have come to understand it, but shut up and look closely and you will find it is rock, and music, in its most chaste form, but on the inside.
Oasis live was perfect.
And I don’t believe in absolutes, so for me to say that is quite something.

Collected Memories: Quatre

A couple of days overdue, I know.
Another 5.30 wake-up, this time to go to Spier stables to see my horse, Danzig's Mast.
I started riding when I was 8. I remember my first lesson clearly: it was bucketing. But I refused not to ride. So on I got, wrapped in a tent-size raincoat. After half an hour everyone was soaked and frozen stiff.A few weeks later I got my first horse: a 27 year old Anglo-Arab by the name Kollie. He had hardly any teeth and he was not exactly the fittest of athletes, but he was the perfect partner for me to start what would be an integral part of my life for many years. I have been kicked in the head, trampled, jumped on, you name it. But I have never quit...
I am in the process of selling my horse, and quitting horseriding. Financially it is not viable as I do not have enough time and, at the end of the day, I will be journalist someday, not a professional showjumper. But I know I will start again someday. For now, my primary passion is music, along with my writing, photography and all the rest of the 'industry'.
For now, I m loving the economic recession: it seems few people have a handful of tens of thousands to spend on a pet/sport/very expensive lawnmower, and the longer it takes to sell him the longer I have for moments like these:

All photos by Melissa Hill

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday's Fictionary II

Hallmarketing: n. The outrageous marketing push that begins two months before each holiday, i.e., Easter eggs the week after Velantine’s Day, Christmas decorations before Halloween.

Don't Look Back In Anger

I spent last night feeling strangely pensive. Actually, that has been the case in general lately. A good pensive, though, like I am about to move into a very good place in my life, making clear decisions and formulating sound ideas as to what [or perhaps who] I want in life.
I felt the need to talk to someone, again unusual for me. Lacking the courage to phone the one person I really wanted to speak to, I found myself unable to get hold of anyone else. And then Nasha called me. Nasha and I were inseparable as kids growing up in Standerton [MP], and lost touch when she moved somewhere far away. Turns out that somewhere was Bellville, and we found one another again at the shoot for Pretty Blue Guns’ Bad Liver Blues video last year, ten years since horseriding along the Vaal River every Sunday. She is in a band herself, so expect more later...
I have the best windowsill ever, with an enormous window, green shutters, looking onto Dorp Street. No fence around the house, no burglar guards, I listened to the faraway bustle, smoking my last Marlboro, breaking our very strict no-smoking-indoors rule. Post-weekend that was so much about family, I got to thinking about Easter. I can recall one basket of chocolate eggs and –bunnies being discovered, by a far younger me, on our doorstep. And one Easter-egg hunt in highschool, when I think Jade [my dad’s ex-girlfriend’s daughter] wanted to make me feel less like my parents [and I] were in the middle of a very ugly divorce. We never really did the Easter thing, though we always attended church services on the relevant days. It’s the one where he died, and three days later he was alive again, right? And the 40 days? Oh, something about temptations, and the desert. No matter, I am sorting my head out enough of late to finally take my shift to Buddhism seriously.
Today is the start of the Easter weekend. Everyone goes away on family holiday, and there are many public messages asking people to take care on the road. Judging by the figures, they don’t. For me, it means little. At the risk of being a [very unoriginal] cynic, so much of it is annoyingly commercial and superficial, much like other holidays [Valentine’s Day and Christmas jump to mind]. My family is up in Gauteng, and Easter really has never been a big thing for me. I have never given up anything for lent, and at my school it seemed an excuse for girls to follow ridiculous diets for around six weeks, providing they did not cave. I claimed to have given up sex this year, but Stef was quick to point out that it doesn’t count; Lent is about giving up something that features prominently in your life...
I am heading to Cape Town with Melissa and Nasha for some more Long Street time, checking out Checked Zebra tonight, and rueing the fact that my “holiday” [which still entails a 4.30am wake-up call every day] is fast coming to an end. And waiting for Sunday...
I have, lately, been spending time with people from the past- ex-boyfriends, old friends, friends who were absent from my life for a while. My ex-boyfriend from highschool wrote me a CD yesterday, and it is horrible: Hinder, Secondhand Serenade, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; the break-up was inevitable. I have been unusually people-focused for my misanthropical tendencies. I have also dipped my toes back into the wonderful world of Oasis and Smashing Pumpkins, having finally gotten some of their music back onto my laptop following my house burning down in January.
On that note, below follows some lyrics and a few more family snaps. The glare was impossible [bloody Behtlehem], so these are the best I could do.
Enjoy the weekend, and for goodness sake drive carefully!
My brother, Stefan, wanted to break my camera. I get trigger-happy. Someday, when they're old and fat they will thank me. Below is my sister-in-law-to-be, Ilana.
My father and my younger sister, Andrea.
Sitting on my own
chewing on a bone
a thousand million miles away from home.
I wanna talk tonight,
Until the morning light.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zinkplaat & Die melktert Kommissie

Aandklas, 07 April 2009
There was nobody left in Stellenbosch. The students had scattered in their respective directions and the remaining locals had trekked North for the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees. I had little with which to occupy myself. Plus, the last time I saw Lucinda, we sat down with a bottle [or seven] of red wine and had such a lovely time that I simply had to take the too-rare opportunity of seeing her again. So when she excitedly texted me announcing her arrival, I simply had to hit Aandklas, even if I were the only person in Stellenbosch to do so.
Surprisingly, the turnout was not bad! I have seen peak-time gigs with smaller crowds. I must point out, however, that the group was made up largely of school kids. I gather so because I cannot recall the last time I was in a room with so many people who could not hold their alcohol, and were shorter than I...
Die Melktert Kommissie is as cute as can be. I mean, they’re still singing songs they wrote to their highschool loves almost ten years ago! It’s sugar-sweet Afrikaans folksy pop ‘n roll, and it’s about everything you went through as a hormonal teenager: boys, girls, first kisses, last kisses, break-ups, make-ups, fuck-ups... Lead vocalist and guitarist Lucinda Strydom has a beautifully clear voice that holds its own on stage as well as on disc, and the Bakgat fans sang out with her from start to end. She is down-to-earth and accessible on stage to fit their simple style that is exactly what it is.
I, along with many others, love a good chill-out session, sprawled on the lawn, a drink nearby, with some Zinkplaat playing in the distance. Their instrumental introduction was great, a sound more rock ‘n roll than they usually are. But is it just me, or did their set never really reach a climax? Nonetheless, the guys jammed out their usual stuff and got the crowd pumped with gees. Gedigte vir Gesigte, my personal favourite, was interrupted halfway through. Arguably, it deserves a moment of silence. The re-entry began with Basson’s bluesy guitar vibes, a staccato start reminiscent of the video’s moments of slow motion that culminated to a steady flow and eventual eruption from both the stage and the crowd. Last up was Hondeklipbaai, and I suppose this track was the climax in its own right. Everyone danced like they did in the video, except with real sweat and not for 7 hours straight, though I am sure they would have, if called upon. For someone who has become so anglicised, and in fact for any soutie or plaasjaap who appreciates good local music, few things beat a night indulging in some good plaasrock.
I say it again: Gees!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, and before I forget...

Last year I went to Oppikoppi for the first time. It was my birthday and I had the most awesome time ever. Imagine my horror, then, at finding out my brother is getting married on Oppikoppi Easter. So inconvenient.
But wait! Liam took Rudi to Oppi for the first time a few years ago, and his response was something like 'Wow'. And this year [in 18 days to be precise] Ashtray Electric will play there for the first time. Liam has a shoot all day on Saturday, but he is determined not to miss their debut.
After little convincing from Liam's side, we have a plan of action: I will fly down a day earlier. He picks me up, we drive like lunatics to Northam, watch Ashtray, and drive back. A decent night's sleep [for us, anyway], and I can go to my wedding, he can do his shoot. I cannot wait! Dates are 24-26 April, and line-up [those that vaguely matter] goes as follows:
aKING
Albert Frost
Ashtray Electric
Black Hotels
ETC Crew
Foto Na Dans
New Holland
One Sock Thief
The Arrows
The Pretty Blue Guns
Van Coke Kartel
For more details, go to www.oppikoppi.co.za

Watch This Space

Spent the day at Vida on Kloof street with Paul Snodgrass [you know, the comedian?] and Colin Moss [you know]. I cannot say too much, but we are planning to make waves in the local rock scene. No, we are not starting a band.
I think sometimes people find it contradictory that I, with my love for the 'indie' [if you want to call it that, though it is so much more than skinny jeans and being different for the sake of being different], am so 'out there'. I market myself as much as I can, I work a bunch of freelance jobs and I network at every opportunity. And yes, if you would like to know exactly where I am, with whom or which song is playing in my mental jukebox, just check my Facebook status. The thing is, I want to be that media personality who puts local rock on the scene. And I'm not talking the softcockjockrock like Knob Circle.
So we have the good-looking, well-known guy, the funny guy, and the random rock chick who comes from nowhere. In all arrogance, it is a very marketable trio. So here's hoping to doing what I have dreamed of doing for the truly talented guys out there! I'm off to go drink champagne and purple shots. Net nie fokken lilac nie.

Collected memories: Trois

I find myself typing and smoking at the same time once again. It’s all very Sex and the City. Except that this time I find myself at O.R. Thambo International, 24 minutes before boarding my plane back to Cape Town. I am in the Wimpy, smoking section, and I am alone. So is everyone else, and resultantly not a word is being said. Not that that bothers me: I have The Kills to keep me company. And the coffee is great, despite that it is served with a plastic spoon. Though I suppose the scene overall is a bit of a sad sight...
I mentioned before I am not wild about Johannesburg or Pretoria. But I had a good weekend. Well, Thursday and Friday anyway. Largely owed to Liam [I swear I will stop blogging about him soon!]. On Saturday morning I piled in an overly-full car with my sister, Nadya, and her husband, Eric, as well as their month-old child, my niece, Erin. We drove down to Bethlehem to celebrate my aunt’s 50th- and my grandmother’s 75th birthday. We stayed in a lovely guesthouse/villa, and I got to eat twice as much nougat as anyone else, thanks to the fact that my invisible boyfriend does not eat the stuff. Nonetheless, it is Bethlehem and the only thing good about this place is that a Black Label costs you R8. So the weekend was fairly family-orientated; I saw almost my entire extended family [minus Christine, my dear cousin who is studying in Nebraska]. I even saw my cousin Yolandie, who has kept her distance even more since the death of her brother [my cousin, Ian] just over a year ago. It struck me that, with people moving abroad, my grandfather’s illness and the fact that the older we get the more people in our lives pass away, this may well be our last big family get-together.
I confess, however, that I have never been much of a family person. Judge me if you will. I really have nothing in common with the majority of them; in fact I don’t know all of my cousins’- or uncles’ names. Shocking, je sais.
I am also not much of a children person. I suppose it is a lack of exposure to them until now. I also struggle to think of any man who would commit to me ‘until death do us part’, and that, combined with how career-orientated I am, has made the dream/notion of someday having children a lesser-featured brain activity. But I digress...
Liam is all about his daughter, Brigid. He mentioned what it is like to see his father, who was away from home a lot when Liam was a child, being very [grand]fatherly towards Brigid. And I feel the same, with my father. He has a one-year old daughter with his new wife, Lanie, and another on the way. When I come home once a month I see him being how I know he never was with me or –my siblings. It is a little odd, but nothing I am likely to dwell on. Anyway, with all of this there are babies everywhere. My brother is also engaged so I am the only one in the family who is not engaged/married/pregnant. Just in case I need more reason not to fit in.
I recall recently having a conversation with AndrĂ©. It was while we were driving to their house in Bellville, after an Ashtray Electric gig and mid-party, at around 4am I would guess. Playing in my car was the Die Heuwels Fantasties album, which I have played through countless times. One of my favourite tracks on it is Leja. It was written for a future daughter, thus not your typical love song, but a love song nonetheless. AndrĂ© told me that he had written a song [titled Leja too, believe it or not] with the same idea behind it, and then he discovered this one. A pity, but I doubt we’ll never hear his version.
On Friday, just before heading off to the Johannesburg Art Expo, I walked into my sister’s room and saw this magnificent rocking chair. Oh-so-old-school, I had to get pictures. I hate to quote Liam quoting Juno, but this post screams ‘it started with a chair’. So I spent quite some time watching my sister with Erin. Nadya looks tired, and the inherited perpetual rings we all have under our eyes are a little more pronounced on her of late. But she is so beautiful. I have always thought that, and I always will. And watching her with Erin was even more beautiful! She is so in love with this being, this child she brought into the world, and I am starting to get that fascination with birth and ‘new life’. So, seeing as I always take pictures of musicians’ feet [Inge Beckman and Rudi Cronje jump to mind as favourite snaps], I thought I would put up some of Erin’s. Who knows, maybe someday she will be a rockstar.
For now, I recollect a new-found like for Pretoria, swishing it around in my mouth to wait for the aftertaste, and I eagerly anticipate returning to Cape Town and Stellenbosch. First stop: Bohemia for a Black Label with Melissa. It’s been too long.
She’s only been gone three days, but still her mind’s a fucking haze...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Power of Music: II

Saturday morning, but it feels like Sunday. I am home alone, on my balcony, smoking, drinking coffee in a plain white mug. I love smoking and typing... Single and a Smoker. I haven’t slept properly in weeks, and everyone is waiting, begging for me to crash. I won’t, sorry. Feeling a little pensive and now calls for another reflection on what music does to the world. Yesterday I went to the Johannesburg Art Fair with Liam. This is my third time mentioning him on my blog in a few days, but things must be said. Liam had photos on display, and I had look at 50-odd of his pictures. They are all stunning. You could have no idea who- or what- or where photograph is all about, and still it speaks to you. You feel like you were in that car, or at that gig, or staring at those two buildings at sunrise. There is a reason he is so well known. In response to someone arguing that anyone can do what he is, I ask why they are not. Then there was the installation. Sponsored by Absolut, it was clean white floors and radiating with artiness. So many of the ‘arty’ folk make me sick with pretence, but this was something else. Kidofdoom played, followed by DJ Sassquatch. I mingled during sound check, where there were few people and all of us kept to ourselves, spending the first while searching our brains for trite topics of conversation. Two hours later, after more studio time at MK, I walked back in. Since the music had started, the crowd had changed completely. Between kidofdoom’s spectacular, all-music set of epic electro rock and DJ Sassquatch’s mix, the crowd had swelled to a dancing muddle of euphoria. The mix was eclectic, and I’m not referring to the music here. Black people, white people, old people, young people, kids, people with beards, hippies, artists, nerds and everyone in between sewed themselves together with music. There was no prejudice, no condemning of who wore skinnies and those who had dreadlocks. We all just came together, to take the shape of a united hybrid, and the only thing the countless diverse pieces of this puzzle had in common was a love for music. Liam was stressed before the show. There was a chance this ‘installation’ would not go down well, and perhaps even the Absolut wouldn’t take the bitter taste away. There was pressure from all sides, and all we could do was wait. Upon my return, I found him satisfied with success. It was so good seeing someone like that, so content with their creation. It is the music, it just takes a few masterminds to show it to us.

Re-Looking Pretoria

Taxi Violence and Isochronous at Tings 02 April 2009
I flew up to Johannesburg, as I do every four weeks, for work: Studio1 and MK Live once a month. I am not wild about Gauteng, but imagine my joy at finding out that Taxi Violence would be joining me in studio for the launch of Studio1’s new look? Sweet! And the new look is hot! Not majorly different, but the red and black has taken on a slightly more mature look that has Baroque ‘n roll written across it.
Taxi violence played a great couple of songs on Studio1, their acoustic vibe once again making me sit up and pay attention to just how talented they are. It becomes palpable when George is not distracting you with his mastery of being a rockstar on stage. It sounds like the new album will focus on the acoustic stuff more, which is great news- definitely the best of both worlds. After Studio1 I stopped at home quickly. This is the conversation my father and I had when he saw me:
Father: ‘What are you doing here?’ Lize: ‘Erm... I flew up this morning...’ Father: ‘But why?’ Lize: ‘Erm... For MK. Like I do every four weeks...’ Father: ‘Oh... You got another speeding fine!’
Jeez, glad to see you too.
Anyway so off I went to Tings, possibly my favourite venue in the country. [Yes, it even beats my beloved Cape Town venues!] It is home to the best of the Pretoria music crowd, and as much as I would have sex with Cape Town if it were a person, the prevailing pretence I have become immune to takes a leave of absence in Pretoria. It’s all very ‘come as you are’.
Isochronous played an epic set. I have always been left in awe post-Isochronous set, but this was on a whole other level. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this is their home, and everyone adores them. Whatever the reason, the entire crowd [which had Tings full-up] went wild. And I certainly saw a far more energetic set from the Isochronous boys. For once, it was not only dynamite keyboardist Alex Parker keeping the liveliness going. It was astonishing, and it’s no wonder they were so coercively coaxed into an encore.
The crowd dispersed notably when Taxi Violence took the stage. Again, I blame the fact that they are not from Gauteng. But what was left of the crowd more than made up for having slightly fewer people. I and my camera nearly got taken out, but it was great to see such a fiercely enthusiastic response to what I still term one of the country’s best live acts. I think I speak for everyone when I say the new album is much appreciated.
Now, it was a memorable night and I have reviewed these two bands to death... So, a quick personal rant. Both Isochronous and Taxi Violence are made up of great guys, always good for a chat and a party. But this was also the night I met Liam Lynch properly. We have spoken on Facebook and, as it turns out, he reads my blog. [Do you feel cool now?] But we had never spoken in person. I very easily walked up to him, hands were extended and we were acquainted. Just like that!
We talked in Tings until we were the only ones left, and even the bar staff were fading away. Thereafter, I got lost [what’s new], after which we decided to go get some coffee. And so we sat outside Sasol, drinking takeaway coffee, listening to The Constantines and talking about everything from music to mathematics.
Besides being in perpetual wonderment of his work, I am now a fan of the man himself. I can think of few things better than meeting people in the arts-, music- and entertainment circles that rekindle your belief, not only in the industry, but mankind itself.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fictionary Friday: Take 1

Something a little more light-hearted I am going to try out. Words that don't exist, but should. And seeing as I flew up to Johannesburg this week, after a very long and very dramatic night, I figured it would have to do with traveling. TRAVELANCHE. n. The state of affairs when one little thing goes wrong and then everything snowballs towards disaster. Wednesday night's Fokof gig into Thursday morning was definitely a travelanche for me. I blame Nasha, and Philip, and the Ashtray Electric guys, with a smile. And, as always, we made it out ok.