Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lua Union. driven and down to earth.





I had a 'once in a while’ the other night. Actually, it's been a week of those. What next, I wonder? (Battle of the bands finals next, jezebel. type FASTER.)

It started with a public holiday with no holiday and no public in it (prepping for Brand Your Band expo while everyone else was drinking and braaing), moved into a quick trek to Stellies (my new favourite escape), and stumbled upon Stack Shot Jack at Aandklas shooting their mouths off superbly. No, their strings. They wowed me. a timeless jam at the end of their set was the cherry on top that chopped out my doubt for now. It’s a tricky thing with them- and an unusual one – I’ve seen them live 3 times. Sometimes they seem unspecial, and other times superlative, but it’s beyond my ability to figure out why. Either something is wrong with my ears, or the prescient rule that music is emotive must be re/applied. Why? because we are emotional creatures (ok, some are), so we respond to rhythms and melodies kin to our feelings, but ears, for all their attentiveness, are also slow to HEAR. I mean to hear, with heart, with soul. So sometimes a little settling in is necessary, to get to the source of a sound. It's not so strange that music goes well with wine, really, because it is like wine - sometimes it takes time, and in some cases, it's even an acquired taste. Blk Jks (our best export since Johnny Clegg and Juluka), is my best example- first time I heard Molalatladi, I thought Jaxon (Rice of The Diesel Whores) was mad to dub them the future sound of South Africa (in the next issue of Muse). When it took hold, there was no looking back, and no letting go. I was sold. Blk Jks. IN. Stack Shot Jack? ConfusIN. Anyway, they're enjoying themselves so much, they'll hold their own and outgrow my doubts very soon, I suspect. I’ll oscillate for a while, because ears are like hearts- sometimes quick, sometimes slow to open. But it was love at first sight with Lua Union. Though i'm repeating myself.

I've mentioned them before. Click the Lua Union tag below (come on, you know how to use web two point oh). Then it was 'toer, two guitars, and tents. We forgot the world for forty truly arty minutes while Dean and Lucas jammed in the lush green campsite and life seemed sweet and simple and important (well, it IS, but it isn't always the first two). You're going to disagree with me until you think about it, but love at first sight requires the irony of integrity. (And the iron of intensity, even if it's soft and switching to sweet all the time, like in Dear Reader). Lua Union has both. What grabbed me on the grass gobbled me at Aandklas. What charmed me in summer, burned me in late winter (what - you call this Spring?!). Grounded and growling. Homely and howling. I can't describe it. And that's a good thing. For now.

Watching them that night made my day. My week. My month. (the year has been a hard one, so we won't quite labour the exaggeration yet.) Lua is driving strings, burnt umber vocals from Dean(e); golden, grounded, glorious vocals from Lucas, and a certain sense of something else that I haven't heard anywhere else. Something that wants more time to be put into words and to find its voice.

Give them time, and they'll be the next best thing.

Give me time, coz I’m late for the battle!

The Lua Union has a Face

And you can listen here

p.s. the ‘What Next’ that came next was Heart Shaped Heresy at Battle Of The Bands. Watch this blog for more from a local one woman army soonsoon…(the YesWeCan one is here).. and crib notes on how to (not?) win a Battle…

Friday, September 25, 2009

More PARANOIA (Mama Know Nothing)

video

drool. swoon. sob.
in other words
our loss is our pain...

go here for the gossip

Brand Your Band - hors d'oeuvres

A taster on some of the content covered at Brand Your Band expo
@ The Assembly 61 Harrington Street Cape Town
26th September 2009
11am-3pm

Directed and Edited by Angela Ramirez & Jess Henson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23B0pMrniFA

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paranoia. the irony.

Paranoia is Wicked; the complex and the song. Didn't your mama warn you?

There is more prophecy and irony in this promo and its music video than can be inferred through clenched teeth. Why? Because art intimates life.



On the eve of the launch of the (hothothot) music video that the above promo is for, the vocalist absconded entirely, with no forewarnings, insulting the efforts of those involved (in the band, in the video, on performance commitments) for the umpteenth time , cementing a reputation of ill repute that rivals the history of even the Wad. Poor, dear, brilliant Be Phat Motel saw the sentiments in the promo take on realistic proportions and were left with little more than a rear view of Miss Mama’s fine ass.Can i say good riddance?

A fine ass, indeed, she has subsequently expressed objection to the release of this material to broadcast media under the auspices that it misrepresents her in her new musical capacity. In so doing, she depriving MK viewers and TV dinner enthusiasts everywhere of prime time sex appeal in strings, stockings and stray bits of lingerie in its superb 3-minute suppertime story (or should that be bedtime story?) with a whole lot of woah, Mama.

Woah, Mama, indeed. And quite literally. There is no more Mama Know Nothing to mention. We are left, instead, with the brutal observation that the band’s Facebook fans have doubled since its death. What does that tell you about what we want and what we need? To my mind, this is hardly the best way to launch a solo rock career. Perhaps there's a clog in the Machineri that will be repaired by reality. In the Mamas' wake, few of its fans and fellows can reflect on this callous, unintentional requiem without shedding a tear. Or a jersey (for the more jaded). Paranoia is a self fulfilling prophecy, it turns out; the one true crew of blues/folk/rock heel fillies its sacrifice. With them they took their inimitable style, absolute approachfulness (that's not a word, I know) and rhythm and raunch. That’s not a word, either, but it rhymes with launch. Which didn't take place.

But this is not the bitter end. We’re dragging it through the dirt. The band did just that in the video, albeit more organically, so who's to object to a bit of dramatic irony and tragic parallels? The difference is, i'm calling it integrity, while some will whisper 'herecy' and 'indecency'.As to whether this is appropriate or adequate (depending on whether your shed tears or jerseys) i have one question : is this Rock & Roll, or isn't it? while you debate, we'd like to announce that the video will be screened at Brand Your Band expo along with a whole lot of other gorgeous music videos from a whole lot of other gorgeous production crews and director/editor type pairs or triplets of whatever. Think of it as an unofficial launch. Come on - it's Loerie weekend; you can make like an appropriated symbol of natural freedom and um flap your things, celebrate short stories set to music on screens. To underline the unsolicited, there won’t be tearful announcements or (No-) Thank You speeches. Just the sound and luscious visuals of a world that could have been. Or should have been. Or whatever.

Or, if you’re impatient, like me, hold your breath till i find a way to drop the video's file size from 400 megs to something a little more pigeon-sized without the right software (you're going to die, if you do, but then, at least it'll be a requiem for two). If that happens, you can drop in here for the first online publication of a dirty dirge to a deeply disappointing death. (allit.eray.SHUN! aaaaaargh! are there pills for this?)



vinatge china

photo by Terri Lee Coppin (http://www.facebook.com/terri.coppin)

It's the night before yesterday in the city of pretty, and China is celebrating twenty years on the decks.

Considering the changes we've seen in South Africa in the last two decades, this is a fitting way to begin to celebrate National Braai Day. (let's just get over it, it's only ever going to be called Heritage Day on calendars. Braai's - being the cultural common denominator of non vegetarians the land over - have a postive history, whereas heritage is a heavy, half-strangled word still redefining itself in a world still coming to terms with its persistent social segregation and lack of political self flagellation. So yes, the long walk to freedom parades [or is that parodies?] itself as boerewors and pap these days. But back to this celebration.)

No point celebrating my sexy sideswipe reverse up the ridge parking. I have to walk all the way to the door in the dark. It's more rare to find a parking right outside mercury than it is for a carguard to let you get away without chatting (you up) for a bit en Français. Especially when you're too tipsy to remember your name, let alone how to say, 'no, i do NOT want to marry you' in that lovely, lilting tongue i can never quite wrap mine around.

The whiff of green in the air assures me i haven't gone to the wrong venue again. (despite the disparity in sound systems, and excess or lack of tasteful interiors, they do all start to feel inanely the same after a while, these different, dark holes in our sonic city)(and besides, the last time that happened to me, i ended up dancing with the devil, so i've learnt that i like to know where i'm going. At least then i can waltz when he walks in)

Not the devil, and not the gates of the garden; the dedicated doorman stands stolidly, inured to his gallant role and unmoved (except to laughter) by shitfaced teens drooling over their shoes and slurping into the street at 3 a.m. (how come nobody ever gets knocked over there? Cars conduct themselves like deranged acrobats under the influence of winking witches, and there are always smelly, incoherent things formerly known as people staggering across the road to the boerie stall to celebrate their own little braai day in the middle of the night. A mystery. Bit like The Waiting Room's roof - i'm still waiting for someone to fall off it. Not in a sordid, psychotic way; it's just... inevitable. As is the gumption of my assumptions on this fine, spring night that i'd earlier assumed to be sans frisson. Wrong.)

Some lost souls mumble by on their way to the shack. ("Capetonians are funny," says jolly Jason later, "they're scared of each other in a weird way." i'm scared of all those purple monsters that have descended on Long Street in celebration of the ass fucking industry. i mean. advertising industry.)

"i think maybe you're coming here?" says said doorman to them. I laugh silently at the reality of colour coded venues and the sharp eyes of those who hustle and usher people in and out of them. They clarify it's Ragga Soulja's thing in there? Yes, here, welcome. Spose if you spend dark nights watching lots of white kids get caned, you chance to notice a multi-coloured crowd crunching along the curb on their way to where they don't want to go. (alliteration! aaargh. go. away.and who put the ass in assonance? hey?!)

In we go. Fifty ront. Steep, but then, Hellfire is doing the sound, which means no unwelcome ear ache on my side, and no need for earplugs, and also, the night features some of the best (and more down-to-earth) DJs in town (HoneyB, Mix'nBlend). But besides that, i'm not expecting anything especially awesome, though the promise of an act i haven't seen live (responsible for a song i love dearly) is hopeful.

Inside. Kiss cheek kiss cheek with my stalker. Swap notes with a drum & bass dude about mixtapes and who kicks ass on the scene(s). We agree. For once. And it has nothing to do with rhyme.

After a while i'm upstairs, and noticing it's not that smoky. So this crowd, i'm thinking, thinking i'm clever, they smoke ganja, but not cigarettes,right? Nope. Mercury is just ahead of the game. Again. Mercury. First live venue to invest in decent sound, longest standing supporter of local original sound. This time it's the new tobacco law. In one month, you won't have to wash your hair and your whole body before getting into bed after a night in a nightclub because the men in blue will be making sure we copy the men and women on the west coast of the red white and blue - No Smoking In Public Venues, California style. I anticipate LOTS of grumbles on the Face for this one. Personally, i'm pleased as cat whizz on a virgin pole...(one zero to me, Peter, without making a poephol of myself in the process, nogal.)

Then the music. EJ's the man, ek sê. Maybe we're starved of women with mics since Mama Know Nothing's lead lady proved how clueless she really is. Von Lyrik has a great energy, a versatile voice and diversified vocal style. She's as comfortable in chorus with the full bodied flood from the backing vocalist as she is alone on a rant and a rap. The band bops along sublimely, with newlywed lark, Sean Ou Tim, keeping time as effortlessly as ever, tubby Teba's freestyling, China's Bongo beats and intermittent MCing, the undreadful Fletcher fingering things in the dark, Carlo being brilliantly understated on an electric guitar and the keyman apparently having the most fun out of everyone from the smile on his dial. Who thought so many songs could stand that established synthetic organ tone? I guess it depends on the blend and the composition. On the latter they fall a bit flat at times. They've this habit of harping back to the beats and melodies of other hit artists (which irks me a little, but my little feet vehemently disagree by dancing dub dub dub despite my preferences for all-original sound). When they put their own material out there, you feel it, unrefined, uncopied, and full of... dare I say it.. heritage.

Mm. And speaking of the things we inherit, i later bumped into Carla('s belly). The next Southpaw son is due on the weekend of Rocking The Daisies, so this year we're dubbing it 'Rocking The Babies' in his honour. Or hers. Or both, if Carla's right. "I think there's another one over here, behind the boy" she says, gesturing to her kidneys and disappearing quickly to the loo. Being pregnant is like being online, only the short span is not your attention, it's your squashed bladder. I ask if she plays her unborn music, and she glows a hell yeah back at me. 'Ja, everything. Except i'm a bit disappointed in his taste." So why then has she been listening so widely, if she knows what she likes? obviously to give her boy a choice, but also, if we don't listen widely, we sometimes miss out. On events like this, for example. it only comes once in a lifetime, after all...

Happy Anniversary, Dubman of many names. You may make us argue over what you're really called when we're trying to find your Facebook profile, but we always find you sincere and humble and super fun. Respect.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

blowing a fuse

to be so enthused by your own music that you pull at your hair, pull faces, pull the mic around, but fail to notice that your vocal line is lacking in conviction or composition is, to my mind, juvenile.

penned@
Battle Of The Bands
Roar
9 sept 2009


my baby girl




once, a few years ago, a foreign friend came to visit, and i took him to town. we were watching the tourists getting down to marimba melodies when he smiled wickedly. (no, he wasn't a tourist, he'd just rollerbladed along De Waal drive. and if he wasn't israeli, you could have called him a terrorist. but that would be politically incorrect). he mumbled under his pigfree beer breath - some desultory, dark observation about black men stealing all the beautiful women from under pale urban noses. i laughed out loud and danced in Wolof. This morning, i maybe know what he means...

why? Because besides the imminent, virgin Brand Your Band expo bending my dreams into distortions of purple and Twitter updates, this morning has exploded with the driving beats and tight rhyming of The Backyard Crew - 5 sweet-hearted, hard-tongued, soft-souled guys from Khayalitsha. They MC in English, isiXhosa and make up their own language on the spot. Point2 is the philosopher (even the Ninja couldn't drown his wisdoms at the Vice part this Friday night), Vannemerwe,the romantic; Mashonisa, the man about town; Phoenix the funster, Kideo the babe/y. Freestyle, they're free and easy. Put them on a stage with a blues folk band, and they blend in beautifully, with spontaneous vocal overlays and unconscious undertones that can only come from inspiration, intention and a certain sense of invention. And considering the colour of money in the pre-post recession, we've got no other choice. (well, ok, i've got five, but that's because i've got an advance on the album)

Come Saturday, Vice Magazine will put them in a room with xandre kriel and possibly stiaan louw and see what colour the collars are... check out brand your band or go here for a tweet



Monday, September 14, 2009

blk jks global tour dates...

photo : mikael subotsky


POA: first take america, then the world (being from africa, blk jks know that america is not the world...)

ALIVE!!! DATES
BLK JKS / AFTER ROBOTS

ENDLESS WAR / AMERICA EDITION /FALL 2009

8 SEPT / SOBS / NYC…ALBUM PARTY WITH HIGHLIFE! AND JANKA NABAY

12 SEPT / SANTOS / NYC…WITH THEOPHILUS LONDON AND WILD YAKS!

16 SEPT / THE SPOT / CASE WESTERN

17 SEPT / BRASS RAIL /FORT WAYNE

18 SEPT / PYGMALION MUSIC FESTIVAL / CANOPY CLUB / URBANA

19 SEPT / FORWARD MUSIC FEST / ORPHEUM THEATRE / MADISON

20 SEPT / WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL / BOTTOM LOUNGE / CHICAGO

21 SEPT / WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL / HIDEOUT / CHICAGO

22 SEPT / THE PIKE ROOM / DETROIT

24 SEPT / GLOBAL ROOTS FESTIVAL / CEDAR CULTURAL CTR / MINNEAPOLIS

26 SEPT / LOTUS FESTIVAL / BLOOMINGTON

29 SEPT / BLACK CAT BACKSTAGE / DC

1 OCT / BARD COLLEGE / NY

2 OCT / WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY / CT

3 OCT / M ROOM / PHILADELPHIA

4 OCT / TT THE BEARS PLACE / BOSTON

6 OCT / BACKBOOTH / ORLANDO

7 OCT / CAFE ELEVEN / ST AUGUSTINE

8 OCT / COMMON GROUNDS / GAINESVILLE

10 OCT / THIRSTY HIPPO / HATTIESBURG

12 OCT / EMOS / AUSTIN

14 OCT / MODIFIED / PHOENIX

15 OCT / SPACELAND/ LOS ANGELES

y y y y y y y y SF / PORTLAND / SEA / SLC / DENVER

***ANNOUNCING SOON!!!***
29 OCT / HOXTON BAR & KITCHEN / LONDON
30 OCT / SNEAKY PETES / EDINBURG
31 OCT / CLUNY 2 / NEWCASTLE
1 NOV / BRAINWASHED / LEEDS
2 NOV / ISLINGTON MILL / MANCHESTER
3 NOV / ACADEMY 2 / DUBLIN
4 NOV / THE HARLEY / SHEFFIELD
5 NOV / ARTS CENTRE / COLCHESTER
7 NOV / WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL / OLSO
9 NOV / HALDERN HOTEL / REES-HALDERN
10 NOV / STUDIO 672 / KOLN
11 NOV / KNUST / HAMBURG
12 NOV / MERLYN / NIJMEGEN
13 NOV / VOLKSBÜHNE / BERLIN
15 NOV / EL LOKAL / ZURICH
16 NOV / BAD BONN / DUDINGEN
17 NOV / PALACE / ST GALLEN
18 NOV / SPAZIO 211 / TORINO
19 NOV / INIT / ROME
20 NOV / TETRIS / TRIESTE
21 NOV / AMPERE / MUNICH
23 NOV / KARLSTORBAHNHOF / HEIDELBERG
24 NOV / PARADISO / AMSTERDAM
26 NOV / START THE BUS / BRISTOL
27 NOV / CARDIFF / CARDIFF ARTS INSTITUTE
28 NOV / CONCRETE AND GLASS / LONDON
29 NOV / FREEBUTT / BRIGHTON
2 DEC / TRIX / ANTWERP
5 DEC / TRANSMUSICALES / RENNES

Thursday, September 10, 2009

after the devil


[ photo : mikael Subotzky ]

despite desires to remain detached, jezebel is slipping very smoothly (and quite excitedly) into a relationship with Blk Jks' debut album.

between roodebloem and paarden island, between long street and the long walk home, they're finding my heartbeat, my backbeat, my undercurrents. slipping, humming. stripping, strumming. and i'm finding that jaxon is right. this is the future sound of south africa. from the inside. not to the outside.

after robots starts off a bit calamitous (ka-LA- m'TUSS. say it slowly till it's comes easily, and then spit it out swiftly.
CaLamitous .

that's because it's molalatladi - the difficult one of the bunch, hard-to-get but possibly, in time, the most-loved, most memorable and meaningful one.

nomvula is a chuck on the chin to zolani. a ballad. a dirge.

cursor is kind. within reason.

and the vocals. aaaah. the vocals inter a change of gender from line to line - inflections you only notice on reflection. maybe the vocals never really stay inside the gender barrier in the first place. they're so subtle about it (simple, unaffected, naked chords).

and chippity chop, they mash it up. timelines, basslines, breadlines. a flash of jimi. a twang of township. guitars testy like trumpets. casual stabs at classical. stitched with the loose lyricism and unformed edginess of unclaimed territories. the future in your ears. the past in your palm. yes. after robots. pap you can eat with chopsticks.

so, go know.
the walls are watching.
the world is waiting.
(and hang on to your footballs, blk jks. you are starting a sonic cyclone, i suspect.... )


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

postcard for zinkplaat


Alette arrives unanounced at my door. the correct number four, this time. last time she went to the wrong house, and it ended very well with The Pretty Blue Guns being booked for Up The Creek. gherard at the other number four is a blues fan with his own custom built basement recording studio. he's also a friend of the Creek peeps. He listened to Cutting Heads, was well impressed, and made a call. Of course it's a good thing the Guns had already impressed the organisers somewhere else in the country, but it just goes to show that mistakes can make magic, sometimes... though not too many times, DPK; guns and daisies should be seen together, after all.

anyway, she hands me an advance of Zinkplaat's new album, and a self-addressed, stamped postcard to send back with thoughts, and watches as the cat pisses on my only copy of HAT. "you act just like Bertie with his puppy," she says as i yell about disprespect and what am i going to do that was my only copy. what did i do? i pressed play, obviously. there's not much that music can't fix (and what it can't fix, probably can't BE fixed). here's the postcard, sans snailmail...

Zinkplaat! ai - i'm back on avontoer listening to this. to your disadvantage, i recently saw veterans valiant swart and chris chameleon live, and liked and loved them respectively; to your advantage i just heard "oorlog frankenstein" (and nearly puked.) This album is somewhere inbetween, in a class of its own, though.
like a grown-up, it's more laid back and self-confident; like a young 'un, it's fresh and uncomplicated. It's seems you've finally got the balance, and you remain a blessing to your brothers and sisters. well done!
jezebel
p.s. it's like my childhood soundtrack... in Afrikaans!


what i didn't have space to add is these 3 thoughts:
  • very crosby stills, nash and young.
  • next album, suggest slightly more variation in the vocal melody and range - that well worn ascent and descent is going to exhaust our ears if they continue to invest in it with so much loyalty!
  • and just how do they put sad and happy into every song? it makes joy poignant, and melancholy bright. Mooi besoedeling, indeed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wresterlerish – sjoe!



Crap. I did it. I bought a band T-shirt in a sudden flurry of fanaticism. I was totally sober. In my defense, I was also drowning in my lungs, but that’s no excuse for breaking a vow to never get the T-shirt (seeing as I get everything else, including the rude names). i sat, deliriously, impatiently, through a tedious Jeff Buckley tribute (voice has promise, the songs need narrative), and a mellow man-and-guitar with more charm than charge last night at the Waiting Room. (ha. yes. Touché.) I should have been in bed. I’d come anticipating that the hype about Wresterlish isn’t hollow because people I trust said it was worth it. (tip. If you want to know what’s what musically, ask serious musicians, Miles, Chris, someone who represents decent bands or decent design and marketing). The funny thing is, there’s all this buzz about the band, but most people need a lesson to say their name, let alone to read it, which just gets messy. Pronounced, I suppose, “Ress-ler-ish”, it’s a mouthful from a happy handful of hopefuls, and by my merry little ears, I declare the hype has heart. (at least, for me)

Months ago someone wanted one of them to come and crash in my lounge on an impromptu tour that never came about. we only shook sweaty (his), feverish (mine) hands after the gig, but our online introductions (via a certain red-bekked debenite) were quite candid. And cute (for two peole who've never spoken). It went something like this :

(To the viking)
hi werner


yes. as i am in the business of music, and a gypsy at heart, i know what it's like to be homeless and hopeful, so do come and stay at mine if your feet don't smell. i know your bum smells, but i'm not a dog, so we're ok there. are you down for ramfest, or what?

i heard your music today. tis beautiful. and i'm not that easy to please. (ok. so i have a weakness for voice and guitar. it's my mother's fault, she brought me up on simon and garfunkel and cat stevens and that other hairy guy)(o wait. that was a girl. ja, but anyway, you get the idea)

jezebel

(from the Viking)
hello from the dry heat that is pretoria!


so after a week of trying to scrape together a couple of shows around ramfest. i am bummed to say that we failed. BUT luckily we have hooked up and started organizing an amazing tour for the end of april! so if everything goes according to plan we'll be in both your towns around then!

jess! big digital high 5 for the simon and garfunkel! i recently bought the graduate sountrack on vinyl and fell in love with them all over again! thank you very much for the kind offer of possibly housing this cowboy!

roger! you are a legend! thank you times a billion for all the contacts and effort you've put in for us! may you be blessed with a thousand (legal aged) aKING groupies! ;)

ENJOY RAMFEST!!!

werner


I did. Almost as much as I enjoy “Cocoon”, a wonderful, wailing track from Werner’s previous aural incarnation as a shu. Its long been on my hit list of favourite tracks to drive irritably through traffic to. (I have lists for all sorts of things, not all of them as inane as this one, but then this was for girls who need a map to find their own clitoris). [note to self –ask Neil about the subliminal sonic structure in the timeless power of certain songs.] And before you start rolling your eyes at my odd taste in music, the way Zeno does about my loving Dear Reader, remember what the one thing the Blk Jks would like to ask detractors. “what makes you think somebody else won't like it just because YOU don’t?” (that's Mpumi)

Well, now. How about me thinking that somebody else might like it because I do? Problem...

Basically, for other bands, Wresterlish is Bad News. I’m borrowing a bit from their wit here. i mean it metaphorically, but Bad News is also the name of their newest single, an apt (if exceptionally cheerful, yet strangely self critical) sonic summary for a band who’d better put out an album pronto, or their journey is going to be slower and harder than it needs to be(grab the bull by the balls, if you will). They’re solid, diverse within their desired genres, and damn do they know how to put on a show, even WITH a kak rig . They’ll steal aKING’s mellower fans (while New Holland will steal the testier, younger ones), and become the next band to have tattooed on your butt. Why?

Because they’re the kind of musicians who are genuinely pleased and surprised every time the crowd roars or squails in response. Because they have a generous on-stage energy, an intensely engaging presence that proves that closed eyes are not a sign of insecurity. Because there are qualities in those vocal chords you only hear when it’s loud and live. Because the lyrics are intelligent. (“if nothing ever dies then why do I feel buried alive?... I let you take me alive”). Because the compositions are nipped and tucked and clipped and plucked in all the right places. Because their songs can be silly or serious without being static, because they’’ll arm the drums with four sticks like it’s a joke (when actually, it works), or leave a song to strings and breath alone that has you holding yours till it suddenly ends on a high note. Because they know how to prep a set list so that you get the best of their country/rock/pop arrangements and succinct compositions, and slide through it like a pro, not a wide-eyed amateur. Because they left the Waiting Room wailing for more like cats on heat.

Anyway, that’s it. got the T-shirt. I’m a wrestler. Ish.

Catch them where you can…

3 Sept – Klein Libertas Theatre with The Plastics and 3rd World Spectator - Cpt
4 Sept – Deer Park Café with The Lottery Tickets - Cpt
5 Sept – Puma- Rudolf Dassler Schufabrik Side –Projects at &Union in Heritage Square - Cpt
12 Sept - Firkin with Zebra and Giraffe - Centurion
3 Oct - Aardklop - Potch
10 Oct - Rocking the Daisies - CPT

P.S. Just before you get all clever on me, my Guns wifebeater doesn't count as a T-shirt; it's a collector's item (and besides, it doesn't have sleeves).


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAMA se MAMA. (Or vice versa?)



Time to celebrate. Less because of the date than because one of the country’s pop party bands, Gang Of Instrumentals, has been nominated for a beeg award. Beeg in that the coverage of this event reaches about 90 million viewers.

“What’s that?” you say, “We don’t even HAVE that many people in this country.” True. But there are other award ceremonies on this continent besides the SAMAs, just as there are other countries in Africa besides the motherland (if you reply “what’s that? We’re in Africa?” you’re on the wrong blog. Go surfing, why don’t you?)

Yes, we’re in Africa. Or had Cape Town’s clean (smelly) streets somewhat fooled you of late? Things are happening in Africa. Blk Jks were born on this soil, and are about to leave us (again) for a worldwide tour. (“Home is where the party’s at,” they said yesterday while we fried our respective brains with a cell phone interview that was too much fun to cut short). And fo sho Africa is the home of the MAMAs. By which I don’t only mean any woman older than yourself.

The MAMAs are the MTV base African Music Awards. Their blurb is quick-read and corporate “... blah blah... a pan-African music and entertainment platform…munch munch...distributes MTV, VH1, MTV base and … natter prattle …one of the fastest growing regions in the company's portfolio of multi-platform businesses…” waitaminute. What does that mean? That means money. Like we’re surprised. Social networking consumption is overtaking porn consumption on the internet, but in half-blessed Africa, where you can get it , TV is still king,. (While mobile sneakily sneaks in and susses the next capitalist colonisation). But why parentheses, jezebel? Put it out there - mobile is a partner in these awards.

Zain, leading mobile telecommunications operator is the sole sponsor of the event, actually. Sies. Down in the land of our wired siblings (in name only?) Telkom and Eskom, we know more than we’d like to about the marvellous blessings of monopolies. (though our president disagrees daintily enough. At least as far as punani is concerned). The point about the sponsor is that having a major like Zain might make sms voting easier …for the single peoples’ choice award. So you get your say, one way. Last year, Africa voted for DBanj’s “Why Me”? (that’s funny, if you stop and think about it. but don’t. thinking is so intellectual, isn’t it dAndy?)… The SAMAs peoples’ choice was ‘2 By 2’ by Pretoria duo, Rhythmic Elements, for the record, a band that formed in 2005 only. The point? They want us to vote for a party to rule millions, but they only want us to vote for ONE music award. And we already mentioned the money issue, didn’t we? There’s a lot to be said for the cyclical nature of profit making and celebrity making and taste making through the threesomes of awards and mobile service providers and music, but I’m not saying it. MTN are, though.

“There’s definitely value in winning an MTN SAMA,” states the MTN SA Music Awards organisers. “Winners can expect an increase in interest in their careers and exposure. Naturally as the profile of the MTN SAMAs has grown every year, so too have the associated profiles of the artists recognised on the night.”

Blake might have a new face, but PR drivel definitely doesn’t, whether it’s a MAMA or a SAMA. A new SAMA winner came home after a drunken ceremony this year, and snarled, ‘yes, but so what?’ referring synonymously to the austerity of many of the award titles, and the difficulty that a band thrust into the jet-setting limelight has in keeping UP with the limelight when they’re still trying to make ends meet and pay their manager (if their manager doesn’t do it exclusively for the love). Money is, and seems it will always be, the focus of much of what the public gets to hear and see in music. The reward of music, somehow, evades this. But it cannot avoid the truth that it needs mass exposure, and the SAMAs and the MAMAs offer this all over Africa (and on your mobile. If you can work out the local code…)

Perhaps just to be the first prove which world we’re actually living in even if we’re online (sometimes), here’s the step-by-step to sms voting for Gang Of Instrumentals to get a MAMA:

SMS THE KEYWORD THE ARTIST NAME TO THE REQUIRED SHORTCODE.

EXAMPLE: “BG Gang of instrumetals” TO THE SMS CODE FOR VOTERS TERRITORY.
NB- PLEASE NOTE THAT THE KEYWORD IS THE ABBREVIATION OF THE CATEGORY.
ALL SPELT VERSIONS OF THE ARTIST NAME SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PASS THROUGH EVEN IF SPELT INCORRECTLY.

EXAMPLE: IF THE USER SPELLS SMS’S: “BG Gangs of instrumental” TO THE REQUIRED SHORTCODE IT SHOULD BE ACCEPTED. AS LONG AS THE KEYWORD IS ENTERED CORRECTLY WHICH IN THIS CASE IS BG.

It’s an interestingly open-minded option – didn’t know we were sympathetic to dyslexia as well as illiteracy in Africa. But now what happens if you sms ‘BG Bag of incidentals”? or “BG bang of incrementals”? Stop laughing. I’ve done things like that.

Guess we’ll have to vote and see…

Out of interest, the Bang Of Influentials is against

P-Square (Nigeria)
Blu*3 (Uganda)
Mo Hits Allstars (Nigeria)
Gal Level (Namibia)

Good luck getting your sms through...