SA Rock Lists

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Karen Zoid at the Ukkasie Kunsfees (12 July 2003) and the Underworld, Camden, (19 July 2003)

For the last couple of years we ex-pats in London have read about the rise and rise of one Karen Zoid. Stories of scintillating live shows with guitars being smashed and the like were soon filtering through to us. Then there was the excellent debut album, 'Poles Apart', which meant that we could sample some of the excitement. Despite the CD wearing a hole in our CD player, we still craved a glimpse of this live phenomenon.

Well our time eventually came when Karen and her band played at the Ukkasie Kunsfees and then again at the Underworld on consecutive Saturdays. I was somewhat nervous that the hype surrounding her would mean a too high expectation and subsequent disappointment, but I was quickly reassured as Ms Zoid and the band quickly made it clear that they rock and do so in a highly entertaining manner.

Over the 2 shows, she covered most of the material from her two albums with 'Ons Soek Rock 'n Roll' and 'Danville Diva' being 2 off 'Chasing The Sun' that particularly got the crowd going. 'Beautiful' had the security staff at Wembley Conference Centre (Ukkasie venue) rushing around stopping people from waving lighters (that's what happens when you have a rock concert in what is essentially a Conference theatre with strict fire rules). This however did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd who were a bit like a nursery school during a ritalin shortage, such was the excitement and energy.

Zoid's stage presence is something to behold. She oozes confidence as she struts around urging the audience on, or runs around behind the drums to return with a loud scream. Between songs she talks to the audience and tells great stories that add to the whole experience. And can there be a more beautiful sight to behold than a mass of blonde hair flying in all directions to a backdrop of a thunderous guitar? At times she invoked the spirit (or should that be spirits?) of Janis Joplin and there were certainly shades of Courtney Love, but when we were reminded that 'Afrikaaners is Plesierig' we knew it could only be Her Royal Zoidness.

The band were given their time to shine especially during a great jam in the middle of 'Taxi'. Don Reinecke certainly knows how to handle his axe while Llewellyn John and Bradley Cooper formed a tight rhythm unit.

The Ukkasie gig closed with Karen alone on the stage doing what looked like an impromptu encore in the form of an acoustic version of 'Engel', which the audience had been demanding. I was not sure whether it was this moving version of this popular song, or the earlier rockers that prompted a Ugandan security guard that I spoke to later saying that he really liked Karen's show and was now wanting to visit South Africa. So not only is she a great music talent and dynamic (to say the least) live act, she is also a good advert for South African tourism.

Well now we in London have experienced the Zoid phenomenon in all its guitar screaming, drum bashing, head banging, electrically charged ball of energy glory and what can one say but 'Phew! That was Zoidalicious!'

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