Monday, May 25, 2009

This is that Electro Shit...

In the middle of exam time, Stellenbosch can be a pretty bleak place. Campus becomes a ghost town, fewer gigs happen and nobody moves outside of the shortest distance from their place to the library and back. So when Haezer hit Stellenbosch, nothing was going to stop me from curing the cabin fever, especially at what promised to be a good gig. And so we headed out with our dancing shoes to Die Mystic Boer...
Distracted by a GHD and a pre-party bottle of Tassies, I arrived late and bulldozed my way inside, fearing I had missed something. Relieved to discover I had missed nothing, I later grew annoyed at having to wait for ages before Haezer actually began his set. I mean, I was planning on getting through another chapter of Political Science before bed! Alright, that’s a lie. But more seriously, it is a little annoying when gigs start this late. Then again, this one was certainly worth the wait. A producer in South Africa’s lacking electro scene, Haezer will likely do a lot to kick-start it. The music was exponentially cooler than on any other night in Mystic, and we had a great time doing nothing more than dancing the night away. And while electro music can fast become repetitive, Haezer blended in enough elements of punk and a more industrial sound to create a fantastic electroclash we could have danced to all night. Keep an eye out for a tour next month alongside Sassquatch, Kidofdoom and Yesterday’s Pupil, as well as a full album set for release this year. Haezer at Mystic, 22 May 2009

Collected Memories: I Will Follow You Into The Dark

In the midst of much going-wrongness, I happily find myself positive about survival ability [in the end, everything will be alright] and silver linings. I have mentioned a handful of people who are pulling me through some glitches, with a smile on my face. These pictures are actually from a month ago, but I never got around to using them for anything, and having had dismal weather and a weekend where my most productive activity was getting through season 1 of The Mighty Boosh, I figured I’d put these to use.
My brother recently got married to Ilana [leaving me the only one in the family (besides my one-year-old sister) not married/engaged/pregnant] and of course weddings get everyone all soft about eternal love, soulmates, happiness and all the rest. Finding myself still dealing with court cases around my parents’ divorce [which began in 2003], and hearing divorce statistics [plus having people I know be living proof of these statistics] on a regular basis, I can be quite sceptical about the man-made institution we call ‘marriage’. But every now and then I see an example of what it’s supposed to be, and I renew my faith, and believe that maybe someday even I will have my happy ending.
Norma-Anne and Bert have been married for about a hundred years. They may well be my favourite couple, like, ever [except maybe Sinead and Marc form Fire Through The Window]. I have known them from my Standerton days, having visited them very often, and living there whenever my parents went abroad [which was fairly often]. Now, consider two people who have shared as many years together as they, and still they can be as happy together as in these photos. Apparently, is is possible! Norma-Anne herself is one of the grandest women I have ever met, and the lady’s got soul! With a voice to boot and a spirited nature that is always [and I mean always] up for a good boogie, she is the one person who can wear velvet and make it work! Plus, anyone who can get my mum on the dancefloor jamming like this must be mentioned.
So here’s hoping, and wishing, and remaining forever inspired and –optimistic.
Love of mine,
Someday you will die
But I’ll be close behind,
I’ll follow you into the dark.
No blinding lights
Or tunnels to gates of light,
Just our hands clasped so tight.
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark.
-Death Cab For Cutie, I will follow you into the dark

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bonjour y'all! Ashtray Electric Album Launch at Assembly with Thieve

I was pained to hear the incessant positive feedback from the Ashtray Electric album tour, starting at Oppikoppi and slowly heading down to the Town we call home, via Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potchefstroom and even Bloemfontein. I say pained, because it took me a failed Oppikoppi mission, and then weeks that seemed like months, to finally experience it for myself. And what an experience it was...
I could be like every other 'Indie Blogger' in this town and go on about the turnout. The jocks with their caps, the cheerleaders dressed like sluts, the Indie kids who are trying far too hard to work jeans that skinny, the ones with those 60s headbands that make it all feel like a Ladyhawke gig... But I won't. Because while we're all ranting [I learnt this weekend that the word 'ranting' is always negative. Thanks, Irish.] about everyone else, and how everyone else is just part of everyone else, we fail to see that we're all one of those people. So, no jabs at the people at Assembly. And not only because of the above rant [again] at fellow student ‘journalists’, but because the crowd was mostly great, a collection of people that added to it all being a successful gig. Admittedly Ashtray Electric's crowd is largely made up of girls staring dumbfoundedly at the boys, [or being less subtle with screaming and pointing, loud claims (often vehemently denied by their objects of fantasy) to know the band members], but they're harmless enough, and I paid little enough attention to the groupie-like behaviour going down all around me.
Thieve opened the gig, their second show. Now, for a debut gig to be at aKing's album launch, and the next to be at Ashtray Electric's album launch, you know your band has to be creating a stir. And there is a reason that they are. Besides for members being known in the local music scene already, they are all talented boys. Since I saw them a few weeks ago, things have improved hugely. I am not sure what vocalist Andrew Davenport has been doing [or taking, in which case I want some], but his voice was notably more powerful than a couple of weeks ago, and overall the band seems to have put in a lot of work to leap to performing a set that is more polished and which left an even stronger impression this time around.
16 may 2009 Finally I got to see my Bonjour gig. And it was everything I wanted [and expected, of course]. Take my word for it when I say that the album is worth buying, no matter how broke you are, or whatever other excuse you can think up. With tracks you know, like 'Quite Overstared', it has enough familiar material that everyone has been panting to get hold of. But the other tracks are well worth falling in love with too. Beautifully lyrical and laced with a touch of sadness that never oversteps into the realm of emo, they tell stories you'll no doubt want to listen to over and over. Some are hypothetical scenarios, while others hit much closer to home for band members. But each track has been produced to near-perfection, each capturing the deserved attention. Go buy it.
This was one of the best Ashtray Electric gigs I have attended! Their presence on stage is a powerful one, and even at the end of a long, exhausting tour, the boys let us know that they love what they’re doing. On stage was all about fun times, and any Ashtray Electric gig is worth attending, if only for frontman AndrĂ© Gideon Montgomery Pienaar [yup, that is his name]’s moves up there. He has mastered this, and names are being decided on. The Flamingo [variations being The Flamenco] are potential terms that have tested well. They put their all into a show that showed the results of their passion, with heaps of energy, and mucho mucho loving from the crowd’s side. I look forward to seeing South Africa’s reaction to something great being spawned from Bellville. All-positive feedback for their featuring as the ‘treffer’ on last Friday’s Fresh Drive show bodes well. Let’s wait and see…
Photos by Liam Lynch. For more check out his blog .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Collected Memories: Down is the new up

And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, someone springs another little something on you. A nice bloody cherry on top. But the beauty is finding a silver lining in everything that seems to be crumbling; squinting up into the sun while your fingers clutch desperately at cracks in the walls, you realise with relief the cracks aren't in the foundations. Phew!
Spent the weekend in Bellville again, for the sake of the last few days before Irish heads back North. [Which reminds me- I'm up in the capital at the end of the month for MK. The following weekend I fly up once again for my niece's naming ceremony, and I stay there for two more weekends to do am internship (more about that later) AND I return the weekend following all of that, for MK once again. Rad- jet life at twenty and managing to shuffle my exams around it all. Plus it means more time with my sister and niece, and Irish, of course. I love my life!].
Friday night was spent making pizzas with Nash, ranting about life and people, with red wine [of course]. Drinking continued at the Bellville house and a photoshoot was inevitable. Liam set it all up and so it began... Picture Snake, Rudi, Liam, Phil, Nash and Lize, with props ranging from a comboy hat and a toy snake all the way through to an AK47. It was interesting, to say the very least. On Saturday we all headed to Assembly for the final leg of the Ashtray Electric album tour [more about that later] and it was rad! Buy the Ashtray Electric album. Trust me. They also featured as Friday's 'treffer' om 5FM and got all thumbs up! And on Sunday I slept in. Yes, I woke up AFTER sunrise, rather than in the middle of the night [which is what 4.30am feels like in winter]. After leaving Nash's house, a last stop at the Bellville house. Funky dancing, cigarettes and braaibroodjies with chilli blatjang- it is always a good vibe! I have to thank Rudi once again for letting me be there so often and never having a problem with it. Thank you, Rudi.
Back in Stellenbosch, taking a deep breath to face one monster of a week. But thank you to those who matter. Through all of the bullshit, it's the simple things that keep me smiling. Great friends, a great boyfriend, and knowing that all will be ok. We'll get through this, if only because we always do.
Below is the one picture I got from the shoot. There are many more, but this had to be it. I love this girl so much, and she is much of the reason I still have the strength to fight through the hard times, and the energy to dance like a loon all night on the tables at Aandklas.
Get yourself together
Let the light pour in
Pour yourself a hot bath, pour yourself a drink
Nothing's gonna happen without a warning
Down is the new up
What is up, buttercup
Down is the new up, is the new up
-Radiohead, Down is the new up

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday's Fictionary Take 6

The bad luck and general slump continues, and we continue to laugh about it. So Nash and I chose the following for this week's FF:
Crappuccino n. A poorly-made coffee beverage upwards of R10.
Here's the day you hoped would never come
Don’t feed me violence, just run with me
Through rows of speeding cars
The paper cuts, the cheating lovers
The coffee’s never strong enough
I know you think it’s more than just bad luck
There, there, baby
It’s just text book stuff
It’s in the ABC of growing up
Now, now, darlin’
Oh don’t lose your head
'Cause none of us were angels
And you know I love you, yeah
Sleeping pills, no sleeping dogs lie never
Far enough away
Glistening in the cold sweat of guilt
I’ve watched you slowly winding down for years
You can’t keep on like this
Now is as bad of time as any
-Imogen Heap, Speeding Cars

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Remember my recent rant about going to see Ahstray Electric launch their album at Oppikoppi? Well, it turns out we didn't make it [long story, and I am quite sure you are not all that interested in the details]. Ashtray also ended up not officially launching their album that night. They are, however, currently on an album tour and they arrived back in Cape Town yesterday, all in one piece.
Since my Oppikoppi threats, I have listened to the new Ashtray Electric album and it is a top-quality one! You should get your hands on it at the soonest possible opportunity. The new material exceeded my high expectations, and Lia [remember, I mentioned that Andre and Die Heuwels Fantasties were on the same mental track regarding writing a track for a fictional future daughter?] is included on the album and quite beautiful. Overall, the album is worth buying, and worth putting on repeat for a couple of weeks. Production is of high quality, and high fives must go out to TeeJay [frontman of New Holland] who helped out with that.
Included is a DVD shoing some behind-the-scenes material. Many have slated it for seeming 'emo'. It's not. It shows Andre for his true character, something many crazed fans think they know but really they haven't a clue. He is serious about what he does and -loves, and the DVD shows that. It also gives the fan some insight into all of the band members, a couple of details you probably did not know, and tells a concise tale of how this band came to be what it is today. Above that, it is excellently filmed and put together, big ups to the African Attachment for a job well done!
If you're in Cape Town [or the 'general area' as it is] be sure to head over to Assembly on Saturday to catch the Cape Town leg of their album tour, with Thieve as the opening act. I can guarantee it will be a stellar one!
Quite Overstared- Video

Monday, May 11, 2009

Collected Memories: Breathe

Spent the weekend and the Bellville house in light of 32 [now 33] being back in the Mother City. Stuff is crazy right now. I was once quoted [while in the middle of one of my tragic-spinster-destined-to-die-alone-with-lilac-cats phases] as saying, "Think of me as a Bridget Jones. But a skinny one... One you would actually sleep with." Her wise words jumped back at me this weekend:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.
I don't want to be emo, but there a lot of shit happening at the moment. But what I love about this is how great some people are being! The assholes are making life hell in part, but those who matter are keeping my head above water. I realised this weekend how much better I felt just being surrounded by friends and being in a relaxed, welcoming environment. The Van Zyls' and the Bellville house provided the perfect sanctuary. So here's a big thank you to the music and my friends for keeping my head above water: Liam, Nasha, Melissa, Edna, Nadya, Eric, Stef, SeanO, tannie Tisha en oom Melvil and everyone else who saw me and was cool, not a wanker. You all make life what it is supposed to be. And now, allow me to indulge in some oh-so-girlie country vibes:
There's a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around.
But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
-Anna Nalick, Breathe

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Friday's Fictionary: Take 6

Wishful drinking v. Drinking excessive amounts of wine the night before work in the hope that work will be cancelled the following day due to heavy snowfall.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bonjour! Today is a good day...

It is indeed! If you are in the capital city [Pretoria, for those of you who suddenly had a different name crossing their mind], you should head on over to Tings an' Times. Over and above [I am still not sure whether this expression is redundant or not] being a rad place full of equally rad people, tonight it hosts Ashtray Electric's new album. It is one of my most anticipated albums for the year thus far, and I will be sure to attend the launch later this month at Assembly. If you are in the Cape, be sure to hit Klein Libertas Theater. The boys from aKing are no longer officially launching their new album, but they will be playing you some stuff off it, and everyone waits with baited breath to judge whether it matches the last. So far, so good, if the last two releases are anything to go by. Joining them on stage is Thieve. There has been much quiet buzz about the joining of members from Die Helde and New Loud Rockets forming what could be THE next Bellville Rock City band. I have heard some of their stuff, and it sounds very promising. See you there?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Music Matters

Isochronous and Foto Na Dans at Back to Basix 30 April 2009 After a crazy party, under two hours’ sleep, work, frantic around-gallops so as to not miss a flight, Joburg traffic for hours and three hours in Studio1, the only thing I felt like doing was to lie on a couch, watching a movie that required little or no thinking. But then I remembered this gig that I promised myself I would not miss. And so, off we went to Back to Basix [B2B] to make it one to remember…
I don’t like Joburg very much. Its music scene and the general vibe have nothing on the Cape or Pretoria. B2B itself reeks of dodginess, but who’s afraid when you have the prospect of great music pulling you forward, and a guy’s arms around your shoulder? We just can’t be kept away!
B2B is still fairly empty by the time we arrive. I thought only Cape Town did everything a few hours late. But no, this is not so much about lateness: the turnout by the start of the first set is still feeble. After much speculating we conclude it is a combination of Oppikoppi and Coke Zero Fest depleting everyone’s funds earlier in the month, other big gigs happening that same night and, of course, the economic recession. We even pointed a finger or two at swine flu, but thought it a bit far-fetched, perhaps.
But let’s talk about the gig. In front of us we have two of South Africa’s most astounding frontmen. Foto Na Dans’s Le-Roi Nel and Richard Brokensha of Isochronous have voices second to few [globally], all the passion and all the presence on stage. And despite a disappointing crowd these two boys, together with their fellow band members, played as though for thousands. Richard rocked out good and proper in a beautiful, the-music-made-me-do-it sort of manner. And Le-Roi, despite a cold threatening, sang his heart out, his powerful voice thundering out and justifying their winning an award earlier this year for being the country’s best live performance.
This is what music should be about. Knowing a gig will probably end up costing you money rather than earning you some, and knowing that you are only performing for a handful of people, but still giving it your all. Because at the end of the day, it is our one true love…
For all those who stood up and were counted
For all those for whom money was no motive
For all those for whom music was a message
I want to thank you
For making me
A little more sure
A little more wise
And courageous
You told me to look much further
You told me to walk much more
You told me that music matters
And to chase the dogs back from my door
-Faithless, Music Matters
Photo by Liam Lynch. For more, check out

SAMA Awards 2009

There are too many to list, and I realised by the nominees list just how limited my knowledge is of South African music. I would, however, like to say a huge congratulations to Van Coke Kartel and Foto Na Dans! I was holding thumbs for these two, and they won awards for Best Rock Album [Afrikaans] and Best Alternative Music Album [Afrikaans] respectively. Well done also to Zebra and Giraffe for winning an award after missing out their MK Awards, and lastly to Goldfish, [no surprise there though] and 340ml. SA Music forever!

926 Hands for Homes

My fingernails are always in a bit of a state. Between writing and horseriding, long nails are not a good idea, and so I do short nails in bold colours [yup, I started that trend]. But this Saturday marks the beginning of a great campaign, worth getting your hands dirty for!
Starting 9 May is MFM 92.6’s 2009 community project: 926 Hands for Homes.
Why 926? Because we are MFM 92.6. Duh.
We team up with Habitat for Humanity [H4H], which is a non-profit organization which, since 1976 has built over 300 000 houses! Every Saturday [9, 16, 23, 30 May] we head off to Mfuleni to go build houses for those less fortunate than we are. MFM and Intercape will provide transport as well as food, and anyone is free to volunteer. Moreover, the above poster will be cut into 9260 puzzle pieces which we will be selling at R2 a pop in the Neelsie Monday to Friday 12h30 – 14h30 to fund the building of one house, which costs R15 000.
So every Saturday I will don overalls and get down and dirty to help others out. You should, too! For more information join the Facebook group or e-mail Ruenda Odendaal at
The poster was designed by my brother, Stefan, together with his wife, Ilana. E-mail him at for design work

Happy Birthday, Let's Move to the Music!

I do the Breakfast Show on Stellenbosch’s community radio station, MFM 92.6, with my fabulous co-star, SeanO. This week is an exciting one, as it is MFM’s birthday. We turn 15 this year [officially tomorrow, but we decided to celebrate for the duration of this week].
Things are pretty festive, with the studio covered in balloons and all that. Plus, every single show is giving away a prize every single day [yes, even the graveyard shift 3-6am guys]. SeanO and I will be giving away a Fossil watch to the value of R1500 every morning. Best is that winning is simple, so even the more standard grade listener can get it right: text MFM Happy Birthday Name Surname to 34995. See? Easy! Obviously you can get as creative as you like, with telling SeanO and I how awesome we are probably upping your chances of winning. Other shows are giving away everything from CDs to spa vouchers to alcohol, so make sure you have your ears glued to your radio [especially from 6-9am] this week.
On Friday afternoon at 12h30 we cut a cake big enough to feed 100 people! Any listener is welcome to come chow down with us in studio on the top floor of the Neelsie.
We also have a birthday shindig happening on Friday night at 8pm at Brazenhead, themed Too Bright, Too Tight and All Things Neon. Think 3 dancefloors, MFM DJs, neon hairspray, afro wigs and disco balls. Sound like fun? Yeah it does! So come on down and boogie with us, all night long.
We phone celebs and ex-MFMers for some shoutouts during each show, so tune in if you want to hear what they have to say to the little radio station that can. For more information and regular updates, join the Facebook group.

Collected Memories: Six