Monday, March 15, 2010

We pray for moments like this VIII - Pretoria - 19 Feb 2010

Given how late we were blowing robots up until the night before, we're out of bed and ready to go pretty damn early on Friday morning.

Our first stop is Music Connection. The band and the music connectors get to meet each other. Lex has both his guitar and the suspected dodgy pedal checked out. It seems both are in perfect working order. The only explanation is that he had the terrible luck of playing with wonky cables two nights in a row, so Music Connection sponsors the band a new guitar lead along with the sticks and strings they're already giving the band.

We grab some lunch and hit the road to Pretoria. Traffic is totally chilled the whole way, until we get about 3 blocks away from Hotbox where it suddenly comes to a near standstill. Eventually we get to the venue. I kick off my shoes. The band's in shock when they see the stage and that we'll be playing outside. They think it's awesome. We're waiting for the sound to arrive before the band can soundcheck. For now there's not a whole lot to do other than chill. The sound comes, the band checks. They are massively impressed by the quality of the monitoring. Our friends PJ and Charlotte invite us over to their place for dinner and a swim. I'm the only one that swims, but everyone destroys the incredible mountains of pesto pasta. We're keeping an eye on the time to make sure we don't miss Sticky Antlers.

We get onto talking about the local scene. Lex says overseas when you hear the word scene it's some collective made up by magazines and blogs to lump together similar sounding acts. He says here none of the bands even sound the same as each other, they just get together because they love playing music. Thinking about the fact that tonight we'll be going to a show to see the nosiey wierdness of the Antlers, the sunshiney countryness of Wrestlerish, the proggy epicness of Isochronous and the catchy shoatyness of Jo Fo, I have to agree.

I point out that, while none of the bands in our gang really sound similar, they're mostly creating generally celebratory music. PJ says that most Cape Town bands play music that's fun to party to while most of the bands from up North make music that's beautiful to listen to. He says that Cape is already so pretty, but up here where we don't have mountains and the ocean, we need to create our own prettyness.

It's almost 8 so we rush out to catch the Antlers. As always they're fantastic, and even play some new songs from their currently in-production 2nd album. They're awesome. Wrestlerish are next and bring a whole other kind of awesome. It's so mad thinking 2 years ago Werner and I were standing in London watching Jo Fo on stage. Now we're in Pretoria, with Lexjunandkel watching Werner rock out. It's weird how things work out sometimes. Isochronous play a predictably perfect set. After seeing them do this about 20 times I'm starting to wonder if they're really human. Or are they actually 4 robots, sent back in time under the guise of being 4 regular rock and roll kids? After they finish I'm pretty bummed I need to set up. It's not that I can't wait to start playing, it's just that we're missing Cam's set going down on the DJ floor. I know he's planned something pretty special to warm up to Jo Fo, and hearing the distant sound of Dananananaykroyd ringing across Hotbox I really wish I could just freeze time, rock out to his set, finish setting up, defrost time and play. Unfortunately my powers of time control fail me, but some awesome stuff still goes down a few minutes later. Everything is going awesome. The crowd is by far the most massive and enthusiastic we've played to on the tour so far. Jun's little drum loop for Salt Pepper kicks of. I can't wait for the 2 minute mark where the song kicks in; tonight on guest guitar the band's recruited Liam Lynch. I haven't shared a stage with Liam since he played bass with the Critical Hits on the Sovereign Cape Tour in 2007, so the prospect of rocking out with him again in a few moments it's pretty exciting.

About a minute into the song the visuals suddenly cut out. I rush to my laptop, but Resolume's still running fine. Joe charges over to me and says someone had unplug the projector. He's plugged it back in, but doesn't know how to set it up. The projector and screen are on the roof of Hotbox. So here I am, climbing onto the roof, getting the projector to be friends with my visuals, while below me Liam and and Foreigner's are ripping it up. The visuals are back online, and other than missing the chance to rock out with L-train it wasn't too major a hiccup. We tear through the rest of the set, playing a new song as our last number. The amazing crowd are screaming for more, so we head back onto the stage and kick into Coast. Richard Doom is back on guest guitar, but the real surprise is when I turn around and find Marco Iso is standing next to Jun bashing away on his drum kit. We land up hanging out at Hotbox for ages after the set. I'm wondering around in a euphoric daze, Jun's skinning up on repeat, Lex is generally making friends with everyone left in the hotbox and Kelly's debating pop music history with Werner. The only things they can agree on is that the early Weezer and Foo Fighters albums were some of the best parts of their teenage years. The sound, lighting and staging have all been packed up by the time we head back into the garden. We grab a bunch of benches and create a massive star, with one end of each benches pointing into a central point. We each lay down on a bench and stare up at the stars. Supposedly we're referencing some UK TV show called Teachers. I have no idea about the inspiration for this spontaneous weirdness, all I know is this the most beautiful goodnight we could give what has been the best night of the tour so far.

* all live photos by Floris Groenwald
All not live photos by Junior Foreigner

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