Monday, February 25, 2008

Jonny Neon

Jonny Neon are two lads from Johannesburg who have a passion for some intense Electro. I had the privilege of seeing them live on stage on Friday at yet another packed out Assembly.

The only thing was though, is that they should not have had to play first. The Dirty Skirts were set to play second, but in fairness to the guests, they should have opened for the travelers. It would have been only right for Jonny Neon to play to an already warmed up crowd rather than have the responsibility of setting the mood just right for the Skirts.

They were really good anyways and deserved all the praise they received. Ben, (one of the band members) did an electro dj set afterwards, which was stupendous! And although I was there to just take pics, I couldn't help but get my groove on as he played contagious sing alongs like "Whoo Yeah alright" by The Rapture.

It was also the last time The Skirts will be playing in a Cape Town club until June. I don't know about you, but I have had an overdose of the lads in the last month and will gladly take leave of them until June.

See you around Cape Town...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The New Loud Rockets Video Launch

It was a weekend to spend at Assembly as Lark played their last gig in Cape Town on Friday and The New Loud Rockets launched their first ever music video on Saturday.

As is so typical of Cape Town, things didn’t get going much before 11 as The Founders kicked off what was to be an evening to remember. The Hives sounding band read the vibe just right with a long instrumental intro that caught the attention of the many NLR fans that had assembled to witness history. The ever growing crowd really were very receptive of the “still a little way to go” band.

The hype was building. Even during the interval the foosball got unequivocally more aggressive, people gathered around the empty screen where they would soon watch the new video and the bar was drained. Cigarettes glowed like frantic torches in the night. The lads were excited. They were hugging everyone out of shear appreciation of their presence at the launch.

It was time. They took the stage. Adrenaline pumped. Unfortunately they were introduced by South Africa’s worst “comedian” who continues to think that disgusting language about the human anatomy and excretions must be funny. Anyway, moving along. He was soon forgotten. John’s super stage presence made being one of the crowd easy! No one could stand still. Heads were moving like no one’s business which for most Indie kids meant releasing a very full head of hair. Drinks were a bad idea if you wanted to actually keep them in the bottle. There was no such thing as one’s “personal space”. The newly installed air conditioning units tried in vain to keep the sweat levels to a minimum.

The parents of this young 4 piece prodigy looked on proudly as their boys no doubt blew their initial expectations back in 2006 out of the water. When it came time for the “thank you’s” the parents were right at the top of the list for there continued support and belief. Touching. We just wanted to see the dam video!

And wow, was it worth the wait. Directed by Dylan Culhane, “Bleeding in a cab” was shot through ink in water. Band members were depicted in the permeating ink. Very original and the black and white made one momentarily think back to the Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” video where his face appears in black and white paint patterns. It was so so good! There were screams of excitement as the video played.

After the video the distinctively Strokes sounding New Loud Rockets came back on and the party continued. You could see they were proud of their work, and in total awe of the crowd’s response to the video.

All in all, it was a superb show of South African talent from one of the best up and coming bands of the future.

Lark's Last Cape Town Gig

Friday night marked the last time that most people would ever be able to see Lark perform live as they confessed what most already knew. Lark are soon to go their separate ways. Over the last 4 years, Lark has become a household name at many fine gigging venues throughout the Mother city and indeed the country.

As a music lover, one tends to try and compare bands, or find similar acts and put them into a genre. Lark are different. They take the very popular electro sounds and mix them with Inge’s HUGE vocal melodies and harmonies creating something hugely original.

This night was special. The evening opened with Spindle Sect showing why Lark chose them to commence the party. They are a tight hip hop band, fashioning massive vocal depth with four vocalists. But regardless of how well they did (and they did superbly), the night was all about one band.

Jeremy from the Skirts, Cokey Falcow (that super lame “comedian”) and hundreds of fans packed the huge Assembly venue with very mixed emotions to say goodbye to one of South Africa’s finest acts.

The Assembly is kitted out with foosball, a couple of styling reclining areas from where it is often possible to keep an eye on proceedings. It also has an exceptional oversized floor space for busting sometimes nocuous moves.

Inge and her boys came on stage at The Assembly to the sound of deafening applause and acclamation and said a few words that made even the most hardened of spectators a little teary eyed. As they explained the future (or lack thereof) of the band, one couldn’t help but be saddened.

But if sadness was to play a prolific role, it was going to have to wait for the final curtain. Lark found their stride as soon as they picked up their instruments, and had people letting go of their inhibitions or at least had the Indie kids moving one leg like a “Polaroid picture”. The stage was ablaze with obtuse lighting and loads of flash photography. There was the typical blend of professionalism and intimacy shown by Inge’s stage presence.

The evening ended or tried to end to the sounds of “we want more!” repeated “over and over and over, like a monkey with a miniature symbol”- Hot Chip. It wasn’t long before Lark conceded to “woo” the masses one last time. Emotion was all over their faces and one could even see Paul Ressel crying while Tim and Fuzzy tried not to show it.

They played. Cape Town loved. Then it was over…

Lark will be missed.

The Cape Town Leg of the TRL Tour

The windy Mother city was the start of the TRL radio tour, with The Dirty Skirts opening to a quarter capacity crowd. An absolute disaster! Or so I thought to myself as I chewed mercilessly on my gum. But if the Skirts, as they are referred to by their adoring fans, were put out by playing to a small crowd, they didn’t show it. There Jet/Killers/Bloc Party mix of sounds were played with high energy, high tempo and was fast setting a high standard for the other acts of the night. As darkness fell so the crowds grew and the cheap booze flowed as it can only flow at a RAG party. By the end of the Skirts set a good part of the Old Mill was full.

During the intervals people spread out under the stars braving the windy elements for a change of scenery or just some fresh air. The vibe was comfortable, and there was an air of expectancy for what was to come.

Fokof’s HUGE Northern suburbs following seemed to be out in force as the band burst on stage almost all in black and with the agenda quite clear. MAYHEM!! The crowd had new vigour. There was mass moshing. Fans screamed the aggressive Afrikaans lyrics back at the “we’ll take it all” band.

Then it was time for the rose to enter the thorny den. Welcome Inge and her finely tuned boys that make up the highly original Lark. Inge, the only female to take the stage as a band member the whole evening, expressed a little concern to me back stage about not having had a sound check. Had she not mentioned it, one would never have known. She gracefully captures everyone with her powerful voice and her band’s musical genius. On occasions, Lark loop Inge’s voice and she harmonises with her looped melody, quite amazing!

Then it was time to get down and dancing house style as Goldfish spun the decks, played their sax, and pulled on their double bass. They adapted well from what they must be used to, playing every Sunday for the beautiful people of Camps Bay in a club that plays very little other than House and Hip-hop.

The kick off to the TRL radio tour was a huge success. The evening offered something for everyone. From Indie, to classic rock and even House. No one felt left out. The crowds had the “only in Cape Town” two type of people bill. We had our jocks with their upturned collars and bootleg jeans and our Indie kids with skinnies and Chuck Taylors. You gotta love Cape Town.

The rest of the tour promises to be a huge success as they move on now to Joburg and Pretoria where International act OkGo! will be joining the fun and no doubt learning a lot from our local talent!

See you around Cape Town