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 .

3 comments:

simongerber said...

OMG Lize, you are *such* a fanboy!

Lize K said...

Oh Em Gee, Simon, you're *such* a loser =)Maybe someday I'll mention you on my blog. For now, MusicLady is loving featuring in- and reading yours, and loving her bands. AE rocks, ok?

simongerber said...

I know I'm a loser. It's part of my identity.

I don't have a radio, and feel really bad about pirating SA music. And I'm super poor. So no Ashtray for me. But yeah, the bits that I've heard do make me happy in special places.