Saturday, January 30, 2010

Let Your Hair Down For Me...

Thieve and Desmond and the Tutus at Hotbox Studios, Wednesday 27 January

I am still on Cape Town time, where the suns sets inordinately late and gigs only start once everyone has arrived [which is late, because arriving early is almost as uncool as showing that you’re enjoying the music] and thus I am late. Thankfully I arrive with the band, and I have a little rockstar moment as ‘we’ are, literally, what they have been waiting for.

The crowd is in place, and things get underway almost immediately. Standing in the crowd, right near the stage, I am alone. So far I know all of four people here, and they are all on stage. No matter; I determinedly seek the company of cigarettes and booze and stay glued to the spot. And despite this alien occurrence of attending a gig not knowing everyone, nor being surrounded by my music-loving friends, I enjoy myself. It’s all thanks to Thieve. I had been craving something familiar, and it came in the form of a Cape Town-based band.

Having had their debut album Gold on repeat for weeks in my car I know every word and –note off by heart. The lyrics are stirring without any facade, and surprisingly the Pretoria crowd is singing along and even requesting songs by name. Relieved to see that the hype has reached the north, I watch the crowd dance along eagerly. Even during quieter moments of Thieve’s songs, they have their fans captivated. Having recently changed from a four- to a three-piece, the band seems to work better. I for one prefer frontman Andrew Davenport on bass guitar, and with Fred den Hartog joining him up front and contributing significantly to back-up vocals the band is a cohesive troop. Andrew acts a real leading man, and we welcome him [and the rest of Thieve] happily to Pretoria.

No strangers to this crowd, Desmond and the Tutus are up next. By now I have found friends [old and new], and we are raring to get dancing. And dance, we did. With frontman Shane Durant’s spastic on-stage moves and quite arbitrary lyrics, spirits are high and the crowd does not stand still for a second. There is much claw-action, of course, and by the end of a set that seemed too short there are loud protests for more. We got a taste of the older tracks we love, the new material we were getting to love and the vibe we could never grow tired of. Having seen Desmond and the Tutus a fair number of times, I must say that this has been one of their best gigs, and the crowd certainly showed its appreciation.

Photos by Liam Lynch

This was my first 2010 gig. We stayed at Hotbox [where the fun apparently never stops] well after the music had stopped, and the next day my body is confused by the late night, the late morning, the smoking and the drinking. But oh, it was worth it. Hotbox, Thieve and Desmond and the Tutus go right to the top of my I Heart list.

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