Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dirty Skirts. a hem.

the skirts are lifting the hem on their new album on the 1st of march.

show some patriotism and lift yours too.

the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (that organic market where you sometimes get sloshed on Saturday afternoons in appreciation of local talent) tonight 0'1 March

party guaranteed.

warning: this warning does not come with a health warning...

Monday, February 26, 2007

SHU - it's not my first time

omg. mm.

SHU ate my evening.

Memory is funny thing and Summer is a sunny thing. It's easy enough to remember the beach at this time of year (sunset, swim, sand...sigh), but when you realize you forgot what you did last winter... then things get a bit tricky.

I’m talking about my new love, here. Whose name rhymes with sjoe, shoe and shoo!

Namely : SHU. as it were.(i wonder wottit means)

i was drooling and gushing over my keyboard about my new faves (tack tack drool) last week at wek. (wek? - no, don't get me started again) and to Everybody i met . "SHU this, SHU that, must see SHU, na na na." my new SHU. (which is good, coz i already ate all my other ones, such is the lucrative lameness of writing about live music) and so on. the songs wouldn't leave my head. mySpace made a lot of dosh from me lastweek, yessiree. (zit true that mySpace chews non-paying users’ bandwidth? isn't that illegal? unethical???)

Then I went to Mercury (it might be gatdonker, but its got great sound when the right monitor man is around) to see them. and hey SHU wow. it was deja vu. i've seen that sound breaking the air before. I’ve felt it. but I forgot. Because we hear with our eyes too?

which begs the question. why didn't i remember them by their sound alone when i was raping mySpace? where do sight and sound join? (I'll answer that in another missive)

it's something about live performance that gels an experience. Galvanizes it, even. Evidently.

SHU at mercury on Friday.

They are tight as a tit’s tart. And they make a small stage shiver. Liquid fire or something. Be swallowed. Be chewed. Be washed up on the shores of your own exorcism. Be inspired and hammered. It is heavy, melodic rock. But it’s not as heavy as Tonight We Die (rock? i need to ask a few questions about this word). Their vocalist has a lady's whinney to her - ag, i mean his voice which is odd for a man with such a large presence, and the bassist looks happy, jiggy, even, which is odd for a bassist. The drummer is the inbetween mc, entertaining the crowds with a steady stream of quips and quirks from his unattainable elevation. Which is odd for a drummer. - aren't they usually the silent, sexy ones? allinall, their oddness makes for a few moments of absolute catharsis. and no, they didn't play my favourite song(cocoon). it was the bassist's fault.

Lots of guitars. Lots of lovely noise. Lots of leaping around and none of the clich
és. Unless mad, talented musicians with obedient instruments are becoming clichés. i hope so.

One (beautiful) friend (really, she is superbly beautiful) mentioned that they sound bit too much like the Muse for her liking. As a self-confessed forgetaholic and rock virgin who only discovered A Perfect Circle last week (sies, I know), I must say, it made little difference to me. SHU came first and this is not my first time. I'm going to have to get their album.

Anachronism is a funny thing. It puts that age-old question asunder. (no! not “do you want to sleep with me?”. The other one) Never mind whether the chicken or the egg came first. It's what cracks em that counts.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

gigalot coz it's worth it

It’s impossible to be everywhere at once. But I do try.

On the whole, this Friday night is looking awesome for goodnoise across the city, but for one lone lass, it’s a bit too much at once. How’s this for a line up?

Japan and I


José Gonzáles

Tafelberg Tavern

Krushed & Sorted




Tonight We Die and SHU (pta)

Mercury Live

And that’s not even scratching the surface. There’s still affliction, the royal waiting room, and manyvarious clubs. Pubs. Bars. Cars. Streets. sheets… I’ll never get to my sheets at this rate; I’ll sleep in my car! If I sleep! Which I do. admittedly.

What I’d like to ask the booking agents is : why do you cram the full fare of the city’s soundgods into two short nights over the weekend? The answer’s implicit, innit? Money.

Money, money, money. We all know that venues make their cash off our co-dependent licquorific indulgences. And while a lot of us could easily notch ‘alcoholic’ on our weekend Hobbies list, most of us are beholden to its diametric opposite for survival, the Other Addiction. Another four letter word. WORK. (work? What’s that? .. ah. the thing you stop doing when you finally need to rest. Rest? What’s that? And so it goes on. Like I’m going on). It’s a bit hard staying up drinking beyond the witching hours just to listen to heart-wrenching, earth-stomping, soul-lifting sounds and still perform like human clones at work the next day. coffee is a thin disguise; the rampant abuse of the night before the morning after is all in the eyes! Shades look plain silly indoors. Bosses might be beasts, but they’re not dithering idiots. And anyway, besides being unable to afford it professionally, we can ill afford it financially! Which is probably the cruise control anyway. It seems as long as we can afford it, we’ll live the limits to the max, né?

So gigs are stacked up like a bed on bricks, Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday (for the diehards in denial who wish Monday was a band name. As if. (I checked. It isn’t) We all know musicians don’t graft. Right? Wrong.

Don’t believe that some nice sound that makes sweetness in your ears is easily come by.

Have you seen the plastered fingers? Have you seen Kesivan after a particularly passionate gig? Elated. Exhausted. Etc. Music comes from the heart, but it grinds through the body, the brain… it’s no easy task, channelling. And there’s all the unseen stuff that goes into the audio synergy you see on stage– the preamble nitpicking and fiddling together to find a groove(noja, that’s the easiest part, perhaps), holding the frontlines at your day job to pay the bills and betties, scrounging around between the debts for more bucks to buy decks or a decent geetaar, explaining to your Beloved Other why you’re back at four am when the gig finished at twelve (“networking, darling”. “jou ma se networking” comes the terse reply), backstage haggling and pottering about around ums and aahs and how much of managers, bookers, venue owners and groupies to find the right slot on the right night… and then the delivery - music makers put their hearts and souls in the songs, and on the stage. They give us their grief and joy and ego and edginess. We soak it up, saturated by their humanity and talent. We feel ourselves through them. We feel each other. Yes. We do. (but CT boys are mostly well behaved, actually.) We should be grateful. And we are. Most of us are not able to be grateful seven days a week, however. (Unless you’re me, and you can’t help it) (of course, if you’re me, you’re also notorious for falling asleep at gently rocking retrogigs like Mikanic last week. Seeriyuss. I slept through five of the hottest tracks.)

Which brings me back to my gripe. Why all on one night? Yes, weekends are big. Big cash. Big easy. Yes, ok. But so is the demi-weekend, the Wednesday night that tides us over till our weekly dose of two-day freedom arrives). Why can’t we put more great gigs on this night? Coz I’m scuttling around like one of the million minion cockroaches that midsummer has spawned trying to keep up with the lineups. And I keep on missing fucking great stuff.

The consolation is : you’re spoilt for choice. So be a brave new world junkie, and gorge on good sound. (but don’t be too much of a drunkie driver, or you’ll end up looking like a pug. And it won’t be profound. I guarantee you.).

Put your money where your mouth is and let the love move through you. And have a drink on us. ANY day of the week….

(while I catch some zzzs in a cosy corner somewhere. Eish!)

Monday, February 19, 2007

At this stage

Stages are funny things. Half often all that separates a crowd from a band is the implicit agreement of territories and a step in the right direction. And all them wires. These strips are more like skid marks, they’re so small and dingy. But maybe we like it like that.

The Armchair's slit of stage is so slight that musicians often enter through the crowd. It works for this soundbar. It’s that ultra easy, instantly accessible cool that makes the Armchair the seat of underground sound. That, and the grimey carpets and the sink-into, neverwashed sofas. Our scene might be small, but it’s dirty.

I feel sorry for cramped musicians. The brawling, adoring masses (well, um.) get all the space to bump shoulders and break bread and bones together (think Half Price). They’d no doubt rather be doing it with the stars admirably shaking their asses and venting their catharses in their individual square metres of space, plugged and wired. But they can’t because Air guitars make crap music.

Do it again

Here. What’s happened to encores? Have they gone out of fashion? Have they gone fishing?

Long ago, there was a balance. Artists would politely defer and escape, and then be raucously hauled back for a final taste. Satisfied audiences. Groovy. Then it got a bit silly. I think musos were still finding their fusion feet and had their genres spliced – they went all theatre on us - waiting for the crowd to wait for more the way that overeager, under-adored actors do. (though thank willy they didn’t link hands and stand around expectantly like thespians with dumb, plastered smiles.) If they skipped offstage it would be superfast to take a drag of some girl’s cigarette and they’d be back like a boomerang with a HelloYouDidn’tMissMeDidYou kind of a face, before recommencing the game and giving us our hungry (or overfull) dues. Now they get their fags from the crowd (
à la Taxi Violence) and when they’re gone, they’re gone. No fat lady. No rendition. No fokkol. So there’s no need to come back, then? No matter what we want? Is a coy tip of the hat, a “Thank you, that’s that” enough? Hell no. Leaving the rest of us post peak to wander around like zombies, not quite finished, not quite free, is not very cool.

So if, like me, you don’t get enough either, do what toddlers having tantrums do – open your mouth and stamp your feet. Otherwise, try my other solution: give them a bit of what they deserve by going backstage at the very point that they vonttoo bee ahloan. A bevy of gushing groupies might just chase them back on to give us our afters. And then maybe next time they’ll give it up a little easier when we want more.

I said, we want more.

Feeling Farrell

Smooth. Shmooze. Booze. The Little Sinners on the Sabbath.

Farrell Adams and the Little Sinners were tight on Friday night. They celebrated his first Cape Town performance of a new solo album. The crowd got their fair share of fun from a sonic legend in a white linen suit with a flair for funk. They’d sinned all the way from the city of gold to bring us their distinct professionalism. It suggests that jozi is a good move for a man who likes to make moves.

It’s all in the wrist

Rayelle rocks. She takes the prize for the prettiest and she takes violining to a new level. The awkward stance kin to fiddlers and pluckers of undersized string instruments is so last millennium. Under her chin the violin sings, shouts, skips, slips, screams, and laughs as a passionate dance unfolds naturally against her unearthly beauty. I bet whatsername Vanessa Mae is jealous.


Discerning ears and eyes pointed out the bass player immediately, for his fingers and his fine looks. And again, chatting about it the next day.

I found it hard to point fingers at the best of the Sinners, but one thing is for sure. With the voice of an unshaven angel, Mr Adams knows how to seduce a crowd. Fully dressed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Southpaw. SweetSexy.

Sexy. Simple. Southpaw.

Watch that lefty
while you're shmoozing to their irrisistably funky flow
they're not all soft-focus sex appeal...

Sweating in a concrete cube underground at the noYetSoUnderground MOPPP opening (Month of Peoples' Photography, poeopols! get widdit and support the emergence of lowbrow Artttt even if it is a little middleoftheroad to start with) a dreadless Fletcher smiles, “the thing with a boy band is not which one you want to sleep with, but how to choose between them!” his eyes twinkle, and we laugh, because we know that we know no better than anybody else the power of the punani and the peter...

but i digress. we're talking about Southpaw : a clutch of pretty boys who make some meanEasy noise.

There’s a reason the girls know the words to all their songs. I’ve only seen them once before, and I remembered words too. They’re catchy. Infectious, even. They’re a danceable-singable-jiggable fourboyband. lots of booty there. And they have great hair.

It’s a filial affair – brothers, cousins with a bunch of good genes (visual and musical!) The sound is funkysoulpop. And it rocks. They’ll get radio time if they play their cards right, but you’ll be proud that they’re also conquering commercial ears rather than bummed that they sold out. They haven’t. They won’t. Their sound is too squeaky, squelchy sexy, too mmmmmmelodic to be anything but dirtyclean. Their damn fine funk and thump and riddim are so smoothly stitched into ultra emo harmonies (but only for a quick mo) that their trademark crescendos spin sweetness into the air and sink into the tingly bits down there. The bass takes care of the rest. it's like being chatted up by music. professionally.

Try not to smile.

Southpaw. TKO.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

jazz is the business

did you know that the live jazz at Asoka (kloof st) has made a Tuesday night its most popular?

it's free. it's full -on chill. it's fine music in a laid back atmosphere. come and have a beer. or a dom perignon.

[and kesivan returns in march....]

Monday, February 12, 2007

tweed and tweezers

Harris Tweed is like very plucked eyebrows

What exactly makes it "indie"? That they know how to sing in minor keys? It's pop. It’s over produced, and it doesn’t breathe.

I was imagining violins and moments of peace. Instead it’s just another pseudo-American radioband. Pffff.
Proving once again that the general public doesn't have much taste.don't go there. it's crowded.


why does everyone sing in American?


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blaq Pearl

So it helps to complain to the cosmos? after posting a niggle about a serious lack of wimin in live music , along came a chick with soul.

Blaq Pearl. Remember the name.

She found her way into music for the right reasons (she feels it. she believes in it) and though she's still finding her voice and her sound, she's no baby. watch her and watch out. she'll wrap you round her delicate fingers with a startlingly demure and feisty stage persona. her debut album is an easy blend of cape flats soul and funk, sprinkled with bits of R&B. i think the upbeat tracks are the ones that will carry her and her sly boys forward. She's living proof that Life's No Metaphor.

the sleepers - men in skirts

What, Simon, no eyeliner this time?

Nice to hear a full sound stripped down. an Acoustic set at Zula. This one was raw, and beautifully imperfect.

Check them out.

i Like men in skirts.

Friday, February 9, 2007

where are the women?

considering the gender ratio in cape town, you'd expect there to be more women trying to get some attention...

we are seriously low on performers in the feminine.

maybe what we need to do is borrow a little passion from down there (points to punani), use a little bit of what's up here (points to head) and put some heart into it (points east of the smaller boob).

come on girls, it's time you left the audience and clambered on stage!
air your vanities
share your inspiration
give your heels some air time
and give us something to talk about...

what happened to Black Betty?

i wrote this ages ago, and haven't heard mention of them in yonks...

The band : Black betty
The genre : alternative country/ Contemporary Blues rock.
Feisty, melodic swirls of acoustic rock softened and buoyed by a blues and country slant.

Black Betty is made up of 3 beautiful women serious about making beautiful music.

Shapeshifitng bewtwen genres, each song is a testimony to the fusion of the 3 Bettys’ skills and passions. They move from slow and sweet to loud and bright, with ever a sense of the ironic or the bitter tastes of life’s sadness. Sunny's tiny frame sends out a capacious voice with a lyrical sensitivity that dips and dives though shifts in mood, pitch and tempo. Galena’s minor-scale, backing vocals are a song unto themselves, offsetting the emotional richness of Sunny's voice with an edge worth the attention it grabs. Her violin supports and solos with melancholic joy. Hagar coaxes sweet, slow and full sounds out of her electric baby with the composure of a queen; no stage-trashing rock lass here. Under her careful picking, the electric guitar grounds the compositions in a warm and steady way often overlooked in country music circles. Carried by the friendliness of the acoustic guitar, their sound is a unique and successful blend of influences and interests, undeniably a fusion, and never trite.

They’re young, talented, and magnetic. Give them some time to settle into their stage skin, and we’ll have the next big sensation in Cape Town.

real agents of mercy

it's 007. here's to magic and madness, undercover or over the top...

real estate agents

Sexy. Swift. A great build up, reminiscent of the olden days of house and e and all night crescendos building to a sunrise climax. But tempered.

Glitches and snaps and flicks and crunches. Hi pitch and deep and low.

Like Paul, only… more playful. And they sample old hits that make you realise they’ve been around for a while. Hits like short dick man and others I’m too tired to remember.

Tomorrow I’m filling a bottle with jelly babies, another with jelly beans, another with liquorice allsorts, another with whatsisnames – man, the fruity round ones – rascals, and another with.. um.. obviously, smarties (which have always always been utterly overrated and almost inedible). And… whatever happened to Fruity Tokens? They were my best. But like all my bests, they were not popular, and got discontinued. As if discontinued is an active verb! Were discontinued.


Now go sleep.

taxi violence

Taxi Violence

  • Ignite
  • incite
  • inspire

in no particular order

Their crescendos - escalating energies that start fast and get furious
Wise wild words

Vocal harmonies textured and emotive

mm. this is sound fucking.

What is jazz?

Start with what it is NOT.

It is not middle of the road, sell out commercial junkie sound. it is not groupie-gorging badhair, roaring superstars. it is not the tip of a hat or the tip of a scale. It is not half baked, unread, or unreal. It is not tripped out headread cyberpimp slapsound. It is not odious, orderless expertimental. It is not sentimental. It is not drugs or sex or hot or cold.

Jazz is the soul singing. To know it is to feel.

jozi, baby...

i truly love jozi vibes; their boys and girls are seriously naughty and talented musicians. catch any act live. it's good for global warming...

SHU - kiss my rapture

just discovered SHU.

it took three bars, and i was in love. it's like that with real rock - it doesn't take any getting used to. (it doesn't take any prisoners either.) it's a quick victory. painless. the love is there. the pain, too. the power. it grabs me somewhere between my groin and my third eye. and pulls everything out. love. pain. p o w e r.

but fuck what i say. sample them for yourselves:

SHU on myspace

and watch this space...

one more gift : Three Bored White Guys break in the new year

last night the 3BWG heralded that icky phase between kissmiss and new year's eve's debauchery, regrets and resolutions. full bellies, empty hearts, the end is nigh and this is just the start.

Waldo was awol which was welly wegrettable, but in inimitable honkeytonk alt cunt style they pulled it off without a feather ruffled. i did miss the tapping toes, though... Greg the lark filled the room with his beautiful blend of melody and madness. Frank was uber chilled with that secret smile that gets the groupies every time...and the double bass player (who shall remain nameless until he tells us his who his altered alter ego is) delighted the boogey-mad crowd with the on-off wrestling mask (that none of us can quite fathom but maybe that's the point) all the while plucking strings, growling down the mic and pirouetting his baby around. he let out the demons in a final scream that signalled the end of the season, the session and the beginning of the drinking. (and petting? he was on top form!)

unlike skanky hos, their sound gets tighter every time, and i love they way they indulge their audience. feel like friends... ohja - ; they ARE.

wow, waddy! (because you're you)

major points for making major points, waddy jones! and for living what you sing about.

i mean, i don't dig all this rap stuff, but it's a good medium for getting messages across. and his were quite a mix of selfhelp rhetoric and social consciousness. all packaged neatly in an unassuming naivety of animation and animated performance. he quite pulls off the socially inept old school nerd. and then afterwards you see him scooting around with a darkblack hoody and his bare chest baring itself. a fashionista beyond avante garde.

he repeatedly took the piss out of the very kids who were gaily singing along, but more's the merriment that they didn't get it. things like, be true to yourself and be good at being you, and there are all these pussies in their penguin outfits, trendy and trite in their fashionable repertoire of helloHowAreYouDoIKnowYouItsNiceToMeetYouGoodbye. which is another way of saying mememe lookatme.

waddy is a piece of alright. no political pushover. and when he gets the chunes going, he churns the dancefloor.

i think he was pissed at the tentative trendies not giving it up freestyle for the free and the true. he threw puma gear errantly at grubby paws extending into the sky...


waddy jones as max normal
thirday 25 jan

soon you all have to stop saying happy new year...

caught in the closet?

One more secret is out. Closet Snare is cutting the edge of Cape Town’s fusion fashion.

Splicing contemporary jazz and unclassified Electronica that trips synapses and flips heartflows, these lads climb out the box, beyond whitespace, and throw all your expectations neatly out the window. it's tangibly sublime. their “consciously melodic”, effusive mix of melancholy and madness, held together by an implicit understanding. these boys don't rock; they break boundaries.

Closet Snare is
Kesivan Naidoo (drums)
Mark Buchanan (guitar)
Lee Thomson (trumpet and fluggel horn)
Sean ou Tim (bass)
Sibot (machines)

Though they’re pretty to look and magically more attractive in action(funny, that), it always helps to lay it on thick when it comes to aesthetic. Inka’s VJing adds is an excellent accompaniment to their musical brilliance and of live music’s second home, she mixes stilted motion shots and abstracted stills against warped club walls to underline your dreams…

For an earful and an eyeful, keep your nose sharp to snare the next leap out of the closet. (the fever returns in March.)