At the Adidas Originals event at Town Hall all the ingredients for an amazing night were there in force. Desmond and the Tutu's, one of South Africa's slickest live bands; Spoek Mathambo, with entourage ready to perform the hell out of Jhb; Oh yeah and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were also there I suppose.
Holy CRAP Clap Your Hands Say Yeah performed in South Africa, do you all know what this means? It didnt matter that 75% of the crowd didnt know who they are. It means the future, this event is bigger than the band, the crowd and the professionalism of the people running the show.
How many of you have seen the rosters of Festivals in Australia and have said “fuckers, how do they do that?” They are further from the “western world” than we are and they still manage to get a festival line up with the Black Keys, Marilyn Manson, Wild Beasts, Beirut, Crystal Castles etc etc goddam etc. (observe this and try not to emigrate right now: http://lineup.bigdayout.com/ )
The only reason I can think of that they have managed to succeed so well at this is because a couple of ambitious music lovers thought to bring out one good act, then bring another and another. This is how We-Are-Awesome is going to change the future of South African musical exposure and more importantly South African music. The more great music we get here, the better our own bands will get, the more friends they will make overseas and the more they will get exposed there. This is a huge thing we are witnessing. Bringing Tallest Man on Earth was the first crack in the sanctions that we were under. Sure U2 have been a million times, The Eagles were here, Duran Duran cancelled because Simon broke his hip and oh wow Sting is coming!! Yawn, I am sick of seeing bands that come to our Country to die. We want the good shit, and we want it now.
I have managed to prattle on about anything except the event, so back to it. It was as expected very good. It was not great, but it was very good. Desmond and the Tutu's managed to sound better than they have ever done before, I thought they were professional, engaging and utterly brilliant. Spoek, well I was quite excited to see Spoek as I had not seen him before but was completely taken in by his cover of Joy Divisions She's Lost Control. I thought as a performer he was quite brilliant, his Saxophonist was fantastic, the cat on Keytar was solemn and about as Cool as you can possibly be. However I thought that his tunes were thin and I never once felt engaged. Control was boring and lacked the heavy bass from album version.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah … well I am a sycophant with regards to them. I fell in love with Alec Ounsworth's yodelling yelping in 2005, I lost my love with Some Loud Thunder and was won over again with the new album Hysterical. They are not a band I would recommend everyone see, I truly think you must like them before seeing them, they do not deliver hit after dancing hit. They slowly bring you in, take you on a ride, then they might give you a little kick of ecstacy, but they might not. You need to be ready for that, just listen to In a Motel from the new album and try imagine that live. I saw a lot of people being lost when that gentle sway took me to heaven.
Sure there were issues, it was held in the back alley behind Town Hall, which is like having an event on a set of Takeshi's Castle. I fell often and I am still fondly poking at the bruises thinking “wow, I totally bruised myself at a CYHSY concert” The sound was good until CYHSY came on and then suddenly the bass seemed to start crackling and the vocals became lost in the hiss. None of these things dampened my enthusiasm and I am thrilled I was there.
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