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

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