Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(Really) Good Weekend. Generation Next and the New Mutants.

So Anja, Cam and I are working on something pretty fun. I'll write about it soon, but for now let me say that we spent Thursday evening making a fair bit of noise in Cam's bedroom. As mentioned previously, Anja showed up with champagne to celebrate this blog's third birthday. On Friday evening I get lost in town for a while. I'm trying to find the Afronova Gallery. Turns out it's on the same street as Kitchener's, although the address would have you believe otherwise. I've been trying get there for the opening of the new solo exhibition by the overly awesome Musa Nxumalo. Musa, if you don't know is a young photographer creating a document of one of the most exciting subcultures in South Africa today. He had an exhibition last year that I sadly missed. Now, seeing his images blown up huge on the walls of The Afronova is just awesome. And even more awesome is meeting a whole bunch of the rock and roll friends that have become the subject of his work.

After the opening closes we head up the street. To celebrate the exhibition the gallery is taking Musa and some friends out for dinner. This results in a whole gang of punk kids sitting in some super swanky restaurant, making a lot of noise, drinking a lot of wine, eating caviar, talking about Radiohead and local music and sometimes how excited we are tomorrow's gig.

I try to leave earlyish to try get home and animate some visuals for Generation Next. While saying my goodbyes I thank Musa for the awesome night and tell him how special i think the exhibition is. Some kid called Luna ("-tic" optional) yells that my words are too on point and demands that I have some of his wine before I leave. I oblige with a polite sip. This does not appease Luna who starts shouting that I need to down the whole glass. The rest of the table falls in with his "down down down" chant. I leave the restraunt with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing I've made some rad new friends and just downed a glass of red.

I spend Saturday morning running around, trying to hook up a float for Gen Next. Then I spend the rest of the day animating visuals. It's going slow and I need to call Barend and tell him we won't be able to make it through to Pretoria for the braai we were planning. It's pretty depressing, but seeing a duiker head with bat wings flying over the CBD does a good job of consoling me. I head through to the venue at 7ish. Night Sky Empire are soundchecking. I hook up the visuals, stick posters around the venue and settle Jo in at the door. From here the night just flies by. Before I know it, the two Q and not U CDs I brought for backround music have both been played through. I didn't bring anything else along to play in the backround between bands. Luckily Ri saves the day with a totally awesome compilation he made a year ago for Ndax. I think... maybe it was for Themba... either way, what's inside the disc is just perfect. A bunch of pretty post rocky stuff and a good chunk of lovely Belleandsebastiany poppy stuff.

There's a really nice turnout and people generally seem pretty excited. Colin tells me he can't remember the last time he was so exciting to go out and watch two bands he'd never seen before. It's realLY nice thinking most of the people in the Bridge Dinner have no idea what they're in for. Night Sky Empire start out loud and leaning pretty heavily towards a metal sound. But after two songs they've made it pretty clear they won't ever be staying put in one place for too long. As they bounce enthusiastically between seemingly far removed genres of rock and roll, people fall from swaying slowly, to half dancing, to standing motionless in awe. The band end on a real high note, freaking out and producing a considerable amount of noise in the process.

I kill the DVD loop of visuals. The Mirrors and I quickly set up and start playing the first notes of "Last Song". As I slowly start fading a few millimeters of a R50 note in on the screen, I realise there's some kind of discoey effect light faintly shining on the screen. I wish I'd noticed this before we started playing, but taking advantage of not being directly plugged into anything I wonder into the little crowd watching us. I grab the closest friend I can find, who happens to be Warren and ask him to speak to Kevin about killing this light for our set. He seems a little confused, but heads off to finD Kevin. As I get back to "the stage". The guys break out of the intro, into the dual-drummer opening of Last Song and from there it's all fun. I should mention that during this week I hung out with the super-smart Jason of Cutout Collective/ Short Straw fame. Being the totally insane midi-professor he is Jason hooked me up with a little piece of software that translates the signals from my kaytar into different midi signals, essentially allowing me a bunch more control over video effects. Okay, I'm geeking out a bit here, bottom line: I have loads of fun with my new set up. We finish the set off with more newness, debuting a brand new ELM song that's so fresh it doesn't even have a name yet. For the visuals I've chopped up some parts of short films by Hans Richter, one of the earliest filmmakers to experiment with animation.

The song goes down awesome, and we have the best time playing it. A few minutes after the end of our set I realise I've hardly got any energy left in my to dance to Tennyson Extended who are about to start.

The boys take it easy for about 2 minutes. Their hands are all over the place, but their bodies are pretty stationery. This doesn't last long though, there's a little pause, then a wall of noise as both guitarists throw themselves across the floor. You can honestly feel the crowd's shock at seeing this reckless, physical display. It's too cool. But the world can't contain Tennyson's spazzy explosion very long, almost as suddenly as they started freaking out, everything around them freaks out too, Andrei's guitar get's unplugged, the strap on Dustin's bass breaks and one of the mics above Jarred's kit get's knocked over. Jarred doesn't miss a beat, pulling the stand back up with one hand as he keeps a solid groove going with the other. Once he plugs himself back in, Andrei joins in, jiving along while Dustin replaces his strap with the one from my keytar. Dustin booms back in and show rolls on.

I miss a bit of the middle of Tennyson's set. We close the door and I cash up. Catch the last songs of the band's set, and they really are too cool. Strangely after they finish playing the band aren't nearly as excited by what's just happened as the audience are. In fact, they all seem kinda depressed, which is a pretty confusing reaction for a band that's just played one of the most awesome second shows I've ever seen.

I pack things up a bit, hang out, pack up. Chat to Kevin. He seems as stoked about what's just happened as I am and we discuss the idea of doing a monthly night at Bridge Diner. I really hope it happens.

Ri's DJing down the road at Kitchener's. I could totally go celebrate the success of the night with a bit of dancing, but Anja's exhausted so we head home. Que new post show ritual - shower and read Mondo Urbano. Compared to all of Saturday's the hard work animating, then rocking out, Sunday feels like total vacation. Anja and I meet Cam and Lindi for breakfast at Cafe Sophia. Cam and I spend a few hours recording random sounds around his house. We lay down the final blueprint for what where're planning. We pick out some films that I'll edit into a kind of AV-sheet-music. Other than that we chill, chill and chill.

In the evening Patrick comes over. We try watching David Lynch's latest film, Inland Empire. As a massive Lynch fan I've been dying to see this film, but honestly it's pretty disappointing. Right from the get go the film is really crazy. His affinity for craziness is why I love Lynch so much, but here it's just too much. I'm sure being shot (really badly) on video has a lot to do with it, but the films really un-engaging. Still the craziness is really crazy, which is great. Patrick and I get through half the film. After an hour and a half we're both feeling pretty maxed out on crazy, decide we'll finish the second half some other time and watch some adventures of Orangehead Pilkington.


wordsoflizdom said...

i was one of those that didn't know what to expect & i was blown away.
especially by Eyes Like Mirrors & Tennyson Extended.
it was a refreshing change from what i'm used to.

also, that duiker with bat wings had me mesmerised.

Ben Rausch said...

Awwwww, thanks Liz!