SA Artists in London
LOST AND FOUNDRY Dorp @ The Foundry, 28 April 2004
Although they have been active I haven't made it to a Dorp gig in recent times. However, when I received an email that talked about an "unplugged" Dorp gig I had to see this as I was intrigued to see how DJ Fred would fit into this unplugged scenario. I was disappointed to see that he was on the usual decks and not an old wind up gramophone. Also Kevin was on electric guitar, so it was not entirely an unplugged gig, and to be fair to Dorp they did actually say it was an unplugged/electronica gig thus essentially saying that they would be mixing the medium of acoustic guitar with their usual electronic sounds.
The Foundry is an unusual venue for live music as there is not really a stage, so the band were somewhat hidden in an unlit enclave, but this seemed to fit in well the low key music that they were making. The mix of acoustic and electronic meant a chilled dub-like sound, and with Pieter Bezuidenhout actually seated and playing guitar (as opposed to his normal manic dancing) this was not a hectic gig, but did introduce us to an interesting side of Dorp. Pieter told me that this method of playing was pretty much how Dorp songs were born.
The band are planning to do more gigs of this relaxed type, and these are highly recommended to those who enjoy a night out chilling to great music. Dorp are soon to head into the studio to record the follow-up to 'Tap Into The System' and are hoping to work with Cragie Dodds who was behind Egyptian Nursery and Jenny Delenta's solo album and has more recently been working with the Sugarbabes. Hopefully they see fit to get some of tonight's sound onto the album.
TO BOLDY CARGO WHERE NO DORP HAS GONE BEFORE
Dorp at Cargo, London 26 March 2003
When George W. declared war on e-Rock was he only after dance and electronica or would using loops and samples mean that you would also be in the crosshairs of his sights? Pieter Bezuidenhout, the lead singer of Dorp thought it was best to play it safe and wear a T-Shirt with the word 'Army' emblazoned on it. Perhaps he thought that by doing so George would aim his bombs elsewhere. Another theory is that it referred to his actions on stage where those appendages attached to his shoulders were flailing around in his trademark manic and mesmerising dance.
Cargo is a club tucked into one of the back alleys in the heart of London's business world. Surrounded by banks and trendy IT companies, it is built in the archway of a bridge, giving the music area a cellar like quality. And talking of quality, the sound system is one of the best that I've heard in a London club, allowing one to hear the Dorp sound at pulsating level with crystal clear clarity. That is a treat as the boys have continued to polish their act and sounded tighter than ever. Having recently signed up with a new management company, they have managed to hand over the boring bits of being in a band to the company and are concentrating on the music.
New tunes like 'Complicated' and 'Invisible Man' rubbed shoulders with old favourites like 'Razorback' and 'Sorry' in a rocking attack on the senses to such a degree that I hardly noticed the abscence of my personal favourite 'Madcow'. Pieter's vocals were often complimented by Kevin Kieswetter who is proving himself to be an accomplished axeman eking out funky hardcore riffs with aplomb.
With some press and record label representative present, this was a showcase gig and Dorp showed their case to be a Samsonite (no relation to me) one, being of high quality, tough and durable. With this accomplished performance they should have won the battle for the hearts and minds (and ears) of those present. Fingers crossed that it leads to bigger and greater things.
HALF MOON OVER BOO!BON STREET
Saturday 5th May 2001
Walking across the Thames tonight I was reminded of the classic song "Baby it's Cold Outside". The second part ("but it's warm in here") was completed once we got into the back room of the Half Moon Pub in Putney, and it wasn't just the temperature that was hot, there were some hot sounds eminating from the stage.
Opening for Boo! is probably becoming more and more daunting and it seemed to show a bit as Dorp kicked off the evening. They seemed slightly nervous at first and had difficulty connecting with the audience, with just their small fanbase dancing in the front while the rest of the crowd waited patiently for Boo! However the turning point of their set was the catchy "Madcow" which got the audience's attention and from then on they were rocking. Slimmed down to a 3 piece, with lead singer Pieter Bezuidenhout sporting a crazed Michael Stipe look, they enhanced their reputation with their blend of rock and dance overlayed with some intelligent lyrics.
The burning issue at any Boo! gig is what is Chris Chameleon going to be wearing? Tonight he had on a tank top with the words Baby Love across the chest, a small pair of gym shorts and he was sporting a standard issue Civil Servant moustache. The group seemed more relaxed and mature tonight than at previous gigs. There was a confidence about them as they flirted with the audience relying less on gimmicks, strange outfits and strange noises but rather concentrating on the music which the audience lapped up. From the word go it was a party, with the crowd bouncing around and singing along. All the elements of a great night out. This was undoubtedly the best Boo! gig I've seen.
By the way if anyone is wandering what happened to the other half of the moon, it was sticking out the back of Chris Chameleon's gym shorts.
DIRTY AULD DORP
Robin Auld & Dorp at the Halfmoon in Putney, 6th September 2001
There was an interesting mix of SA music down at the Halfmoon in Putney on Thursday night. Robin Auld, a stalwart of the SA rock scene opened for relatively new comers Dorp. This made for a good natured, easy rocking, drum and bassing, eclectic, bouncing, moshing, sampling, bra throwing (yes, Dorp are suffering from Tom Jones syndrome) kind of an evening.
It began quite sensibly with Robin opening up to an empty venue with a great acoustic tune. This signalled to the audience to leave the main bar area and move into the back room. The full sound that Robin created with just the acoustic guitar was quite wonderful. He quickly moved on to include his group (a drummer and bassist) and moved into that familiar easy going rock sound that we have come to expect from him. However I found this live sound better than his studio work with a harder edge and more body to it. For a couple of songs, an old friend of his who had wandered into the audience, joined the band on stage and added a great bluesy harmonica which added an extra dimension to an already polished set. One can tell that Robin is an old master at the game. His easygoing nature showed through and he was the master of his guitar. An all too short set that was professionally executed.
The last time I saw Dorp, they were supporting Boo! With a UK record deal practically in the bag for them, they have moved up in the world and we could possibly see a change of name from Dorp to Stad as they have grown and matured. Pieter Bezuidenhout still has that mad glint in his eyes and is a sight to behold as he contorts his body and face in a manic dance to the spiky, angular sound emanating from around him. As the drum 'n bass and catchy sample sounds blare out, he bounces and jumps, grabbing the mike to sing the lyrics which seem to be mere samples themselves and are either really profound or utter nonsense, but usually quite funny ("I'll take my mom to the prom, cause she's a better twister than my sister").
Kevin Kieswetter adds a funky, sometimes reggae groove on his guitar while Fred handles the turntables. Not all the tunes are to my taste, some being too harsh sounding, but these are in the minority and so am I as the audience love them all.
As some lingerie lands on the stage and Fred and Pieter have a mock fight in the audience, I reflect on an enjoyable night out at what is becoming one of the favoured venues for SA Artists. The Halfmoon that was shining down as I walked back across the Thames was nothing compared with the shining that went on in the Halfmoon in Lower Richmond Street Putney.
SOUTH AFRICAN DAY CONCERT
Dorp @ The Underworld 27 April 2002
Before expounding on the virtues of the latest Dorp gig, mention must be made of the opening act, Oil and Water. This South African group delivered a short set of acoustic rock played with laid back surfer-like confidence. The music sounded like a medium sized version of the Waterboys so called "Big Music" while the lyrics flowed with an REM intelligence.
And on to Dorp. With the addition of a live drummer, the population of Dorp has crept up from 3 to 4, and the decibel level more than doubled. Playing new material (presumably from their soon to be released new CD) as well as old favourites like 'Mad Cow' and 'Abra', Pieter Bezuidenhout and the boys sounded slicker and more confident than ever. Kevin Kieswetter's guitar playing also seems to have matured well. The accomplished musical sounds coupled with the mad stage antics of the band and slightly bemused glint in Pieter's eyes made for a aurally and visually pleasing show.
Pieter Bezuidenhout has shown a great deal of perseverance as the group's only original member, but the band have gone from strength to strength and it was good to witness the budding fruits of this persistence.
BOO! AND DORP LIVE
At Dingwalls, 27 August 2002
A washing powder with long blonde hair, a princess with facial hair and a chameleon in a skimpy dress and high heels, ah yes, it's another night out in the Boo! calendar. This time they are opening for Dorp, and the venue is the rather prestigious Dingwalls in Camden. The gig is a filler for Boo! who had the choice of hanging around in Holland watching Dutch TV or playing in London...tough choices. The set is rather low key by Boo! standards. Yes it's slick and professional, but there seemed a slight air of tour weariness about them. That said, it was still a great show and the set ended with them being joined by a snake with dreadlocks, or more accurately a guy called Snakes (aka Andrew from THC) joined the band on stage and added an extra blast on the guitar. This moved the Boo! sound from Monki Punk to Gorilla Punk and meant that they went out on a high (and rather loud, but hey that's the way it should be) note.
Dorp on the other hand featured no royalty and no animals but I'm sure they must use washing powder. They could also be the answer to the world's energy crises as Pieter Bezuidenhout is constantly bouncing round the stage while DJ Fred is like a human Jack-in-the-Box behind his wheels of steel, disappearing to grab the next record, then bouncing up again. Even Kevin Kieswetter manages to run off stage to change guitar about 3 times during one song (although that may have been due to a broken string). If one could somehow harness all this energy there would be enough to light up a small Dorp.
Although this gig was a last minute affair, it was well attended which is a reflection on the pulling power of these 2 groups. On the night, neither disapponted.
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