SA Artists in London
After tonight I think it is safe to say that rock music is alive and well in South Africa. London was rocked tonight by 5 of SA's finest. For those of us who have been here for a while it was a good opportunity to check out first hand what's been going on since we left and I'm pleased to say that it is good.
Unfortunately I missed Nagual as I had work commitments so can't comment on them. Barry Hilton was in fine form and it was good to hear the accent again and a few words that I haven't heard for a while (skraal, Leb, jol, zol etc). The Capetownians seemed to get most of the brunt of his humour.
Henry Ate presented some great rock songs, a couple getting quite loud but on the whole a pleasant listen. What impressed me most was the lead vocalist's voice, strong and gutsy, a perfect female rock voice.
Sugardrive was enjoyed along with a boerewors roll topped with Mrs Balls (chutney for foreigners). These guys rocked in a Pearl Jammy/Rage against the Machine-y kinda way. Moving from hardcore grunge to softer rock with ease, but always melodic.
The Springbok Nude Girls nearly blew the lid off the Shepherds Bush Empire. Their arrival on stage was heralded by a barrage of sound and demonic growlings from lead singer Arno Carstens who for reasons known only to him was dressed in a long black dress. Of the 4 groups I saw this was certainly the loudest and hardest rocking of the lot. Harsh music from a harsh country. Crowd surfers came to the fore during this set and the audience were well fired up. New album due in December.
An air of anticipation surrounded the arrival of Just Jinger who strolled nonchalantly onto the stage. They delivered a polished set of acoustic and electronic rock. Some folk in SA had told us that they had got too big for their boots and that their music wasn't as good as it used to be, but if this is not as good as they used to be, then they must have been pretty darn awesome before. They played some new material from their forthcoming album (due for release on 3 October) which varied from hard rock to Latino type rock. "Sugarman" received a huge welcome. These guys have taken that song and (almost) made it their own.
As I travelled home on the tube munching on my Simba Fruit Chutney Chips (crisps to foreigners) supplied by one of the sponsors, I do think I felt a little homesick. Today's South African rock artists probably have the greatest opportunities ever available to groups from the South. Let's hope they can build on this impressive start in one of the world's music capitals.
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