Friday, April 3, 2009

Peter Poon and The Arrows

Aandklas, 31 March I’d been threatening to check out Peter Poon for goodness-knows-how-long. This is largely to see how they measured up to other bands [Foto Na Dans and éF-éL] who, like them, won the JIP Rockspaaider competition. Peter Poon was named last year’s winner, and I was eager to pass judgement...
Instrumentally, the band is a step ahead of most. Bassist Richard Onraet is a DNA String, and he was recently offered to play for Stealing Love Jones. A talented boy to say the least, and he certainly has aptitude in common with his fellow band members. The saxophone adds a twist that makes their sound not only rock ‘n roll, but rock with a little twist of reggae, entwined with some funk and even a hint of a jazz-infused ska vibe. Break the music down, as we do, and you’ll find each instrument individually is outstanding- the guys show real talent, playing music that is not easy, well.
The vocals will have to grow on me. Not bad at all, though some coaching is in order to strengthen a potentially better voice and foster a better ability to control- and expand it. For now, it’s fairly straightforward, unexciting even. Then again, I think some coaching is in order for the rest of the band. Take into account that they are a fairly new act, and thus it goes without say. I firmly believe live performing is an art, and to an extent it must be taught. I see a good deal of potential here, and I predict that, with some coaching on conducting a more flowing set, how to fill a stage, how to make an audience sit up, listen and remember, they will do just that.
The Arrows hail from Durban, which is a scene that, let’s be honest, has been a little behind compared to Gauteng and the Cape. But recently it has picked up, and I can think of a handful of great musical acts that hail from there. So The Arrows come from Durban, and apparently they are a Christian band. Not that these facts influence my criticism, I’m just pointing out...
It’s a three-piece band, two girls and a token black guy. One guitar, keyboard, drums and some crazy things happening on stage. Vocalist Pamela de Menezes has a strong voice, though for the most part I am not wild about the sound of it. She did, however, do a good cover of The Lovecats. I hate covers, and I love The Cure, so for me to say this says a lot. But important to focus on is what they do on stage, besides for making music. I witnessed some of the strangest dance moves ever! There was bouncing, some Macarena, saluting and an array of other spastic movements that, for a second, had me believe I was tripping. I suggest you remain sober until after these shenanigans. Everyone was ranting about how good the drummer is ‘for a girl’. I am not sure what this is supposed to insinuate, but yes, she is a fairly good drummer. And she’s pretty good at posing for the camera at the same time! Respect.
The sound is a poppy electro-dance, corny but definitely fun to bop around to like the happy indie kids we are. Their music may not be groundbreakingly original or challenging, but it is fun, and if you can go in there with that in mind you’re guaranteed to have as much fun as they do.

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