Thursday, March 11, 2010

We pray for moments like this VI - Stellenbosch - 17 Feb 2010

We wake up. Go online for a few minutes, see someone's posted a video of what we'd been doing the past Saturday night. I have a quick freakout about it and we hit the road to Stellenbosch. We arrive at Klein Libertas and meet up with the band, it's still gonna be a while till they need to sound check, so we head out of town to visit Beyerskloof, one of Stellenbosch's many, many surrounding wine farms. We eat awesome food. Lex lucks out, rolls a 20 and gets the salami open sandwich which looks awesomer than all the rest of the awesome going down on the table. We taste wine. The buitelanders get thrown into the back of Dom's bakkie and Anja and I follow them back to the venue. While the band soundchecks Lex leaves me reading a comic called Phonogram on his laptop. I don't have time to get into it properly, but frame by frame I can feel my brain slowly melting from over exposure to awesomeness. With the lineup as big as it is the festivities start early. The Revelators taking to the stage while it's still kinda bright outside. This is the first time I'm seeing them, and their early White Stripesesque take on garage rock is pretty damn fun to watch. But my most heart racing moment of African educed euphoria comes in the form of seeing The Lottery Tickets live.

The Lottery Tickets are on the bill because of Werner. The first time I got to see Jo Fo live, Werner was right there with me. He totally get's the Foreigner world of rock and roll. While this tour was still in the planning stages I was complaining to Werner about struggling to find similarly awesome opening acts for the shows in the Cape. He responded with four words "THE LOTTERY TICKETS DUDE!" Hailing from the small town of Somerset West, The Tickets immediately come across as one of the most un-Cape Town band I've seen come out of this side of the country. They get on stage all shorts and slops, totally chilled out. But once the music starts it's just this torrent of energy. Awesome energy. Initially the call and response deuling vocals and choppy guitars remind me of Q and not U, or some other kind of turn of the century Dischord Records animals. Next song it's like American Football have come back to me from some black whole they'd been lost in for the past decade. A few songs down the line I'm thinking Foals, with the band blasting out this mathy drone, chanting in unison and dragging a guest saxophonist onto stage with them.

After the show the Foreigner's are equally impressed by the Tickets. Jun can't stop saying how much they reminded him of the late great Distophia, Birmingham's much loved forerunners of noisy pop music. Kelly was trying to sleep off a wine tasting headache backstage, but she says she was enjoying the band so much she couldn't let herself pass out.

I realise we should probably eat, so Anja and I slip out to grab some food, missing the Pretty Blue Guns. We've eaten and are ready and waiting by the time Ashtray start. As always they're rock solid and people love it.

After the smoke from Ashtray clears Jo Fo get up on stage. As the only show without screens or a projector, this will be the only date of the tour where I don't get to play with the band. I'm not overly bummed out, the though of getting to actually watch the band for one of the gigs sounds pretty damn awesome too me. Getting to put my arm around Anja and sing along to songs we've sung 100 times before, driving around Cape Town, Jozi, Pretoria or Belville, is just too cool. This turns out to be the band's most chaotic set of the tour, but they totally ride out the hiccups like they're all part of the show. Like they're some sort of fuck-out electricity that the band needs to keep running. By the end of the set Lex's guitar has started doing some really weird stuff, cutting in and out for fractions of seconds and creating some kind of weird machine gun rattle. He switched over to Andre Ashtray's axe, but he's getting the same problem. Regardless the band tear through the "Coast was always Clear" with Rudi bringing the guest guitar. The crowd is left screaming for an encore, but the band haven't left any songs to play that won't seem anti-climatic after the epicness of Coast.

Lex is pretty concerned about a little green pedal being responsible for his guitar issues. I tell him when we arrive in Joburg, we'll get to Music Connection before their live show on MK's Studio 1 the next night.

I need to start DJing and it's seems like it's gonna be one of those shows where after a whole bunch of great bands, the power a guy mixing records isn't gonna cut it for people. Surprisingly I've got a little floor going by the end of my first song. A couple more songs in a guy climbs up onto stage with me and introduces himself as Gordon aka El Gordo aka the next DJ. Looking at the little dancefloor I've got going, Gordon and I deiced the best plan of action is to rock the rest of the night head to head. This is definitely the shortest time (30 seconds) between when i meet someone and land up going into a DJ battle with them.

Gordon's mixing is immaculate and while his style leans way more heavily to electro than mine does we find a pretty good middle ground and I'm having an awesome time. I look up at the floor and it's carnage! The room isn't half as full as it was for any of the bands, but the people that are there are just going nuts. I carry on playing for another hour or so before I realise it's after 2 in morning, I still need to drive back to Belville, get some sleep and then be at the airport by 10am.

Anja and I say our goodbyes and slip out. On the way home she insists that we listen to Hot Club de Paris' cover Paul Simon's "Call me Al", FOUR TIMES IN A ROW! Every time we need to skip back to the start I put up a bit of a fight, but i don't mind really. To be honest it's a pretty perfect soundtrack to the end of great day.

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