Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Wailers Live at Trinity Cape Town

There was only one reason that a self-confessed uncool kid such as myself would have been found at Trinity Night Club on a Friday evening: a band. So who was it this time? The Parlotones? CrashCarBurn? Perhaps someone had dragged me along – kicking and screaming – to see Zebra & Giraffe? But not, it was not any kind of rock/alternative band at all – it was The Wailers performing in aid of charity RhinoProtect. Yes, as in Bob Marley and The Wailers, just minus Bob Marley. Now, I’m all about frilly pink dresses and high heels, and I don’t have a single rasta/hippie bone in my body, so what exactly was I doing here?  Read back a few sentences, I implore thee… it was the damn Wailers, for goodness sake! Now I hate to quote Lost (jokes, I love to quote Lost), but who doesn’t like Bob Marley?! I don’t care who you are, don’t even pretend that you haven’t jammed to ‘Jammin'’ or swayed back and forth to ‘One Love’. The Wailers were guaranteed to put on an amazing performance, plus the fact that reggae’s not for cheerleaders meant that I’d be spared the horrors of having to deal with Cool Kids all night.

Opening acts Fox Comet and The Rudimentals put on a pretty impressive performance themselves. Not my usual cup of tea, I couldn’t help but be entertained by The Rudimentals, an eclectic group composed of a couple of rappers, a hat-wearing, beard-sporting guitarist, a couple of sax players straight out of a 1940’s jazz band, and a few other assorted members. I wasn’t really following the lyrics – was the guy even singing, or was he rapping? – but it was cool anyway.

The Wailers took to the stage late in the night, and by then I was thoroughly regretting my choice in footwear: what was I thinking wearing high heeled boots? (I tell you what I was thinking, I was thinking that it was hell of a cold outside). My friends discarded their shoes, but I wasn’t that brave – I was wearing socks adorned with cat’s faces, and yes, I do still have some pride left. But anyway, The Wailers…

…were awesome. After an instrumental intro, I was left wondering if I had the complete wrong end of the stick here – perhaps I was not going to hear all my favourite reggae songs…after all, Bob was their singer right, and he’s kinda, well, dead. But I should not have feared, for the second song had lyrics alright! Belted out by a couple of dreadlocked Rastas, the music made me feel as though as I was on some beach in the Caribbean, rather than in a dimly-lit nightclub in Cape Town. When they spoke in those fantastic Jamaican accents, I could barely understand a word they were saying – something about Africa perhaps? Cape Town? Rhinos? – but as far as I’m concerned they could have kept talking all night.

Sure enough, some Bob favourites soon followed, ‘I Shot The Sheriff”, “Get Up, Stand Up”, ‘Jammin’” …it was impossible not to love the performance! I couldn’t believe my luck when the first song of the encore turned out to the ‘Redemption Song’, one of my absolute favourites. It was a peaceful, slow version of the song, performed only by the lead singer and guitarist, and it was beautiful. The crowd joined in enthusiastically “won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom/ coz all I ever had/ redemption songs”.

The band are possessed of an infectious stage presence, constantly interacting, and leaving the crowd always wanting more. They fist-pumped, ran in place on stage, and headbanged those dreadlocks all over the place, and I wondered how they weren’t completely exhausted by the time the show ended.

In my opinion, they were the perfect choice of band to perform in aid of a charity such as RhinoProtect. The Wailers are all about peace, love and unity, things we could all do with a little more of. I left the show feeling calm, renewed and ready to celebrate life…of course, all that calmness may simply have been the result of breathing in the second-hand fumes of some substances that weren’t strictly legal… 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


It’s no secret that I’m a fan of oldies music…play me something from the ‘40s or ‘50s and I’ll be in my happy place. I know it’s not normal for someone my age, but before you tell me that the cure is a healthy dose of David Guetta, stop to think for a second about what he’s actually singing about. There’s no question about the fact that lyrics have deteriorated hugely over the past few decades. Yes, there are still people who manage to write great things, but these are few and far between: “Is there still magic in the midnight sun, or did you leave it back in ’61, in the cadence of a young man’s eyes…”; “I lit a fire that wouldn’t go out, until it consumed the walls and roof of this house, until all I remember was burning away…”; “So lying underneath those stormy skies, she said ‘oooh, I know the sun must set to rise’ “. But on the whole, commercial music nowadays lacks greatly in the lyrical department. Don’t believe me? Please see my examples below:

Missing someone:
Then: “Each day I pray for evening just to be with you, together at last at twilight time.” (The Platters, Twilight Time)
Now: “Girl you know I miss ya, I just wanna kiss ya but I can’t right now so baby kiss me thru da fone.” (Soulja Boy, Kiss Me Thru The Phone)

Then: “Why does the sun go on shining, why does the sea rush to shore, don't they know it's the end of the world, cause you don't love me anymore.” (The Carpenters - covered by everyone else- The End of the World)
Now: “I was like baby, baby, baby, ooooh, like baby, baby baby, oooh, like baby, baby, baby, oooh, I thought you’d always be mine.” (Justin Bieber, Baby)

Looking for love…:
Then: “Each morning I get up I die a little, can barely stand on my feet, take a look in the mirror and cry…can anybody find me somebody to love.” (Queen, Somebody To Love)
Now: “Where dem girls at, whoooohoooo” (David Guetta, Where Dem Girls At)

Lack of money:
Then: “So how can you tell me you’re lonely, and say for you that the sun doesn’t shine, oh let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London, I’ll show you something to make you change your mind.” (Roger Whitaker, Streets of London)
Now: “I need a dollar, dollar, dollar is what I need.” (Aloe Blacc, I Need A Dollar)

Falling for someone:
Then: “Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring, bound by wild desire, I fell into a ring of fire.” (Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire)
Now: “You spin my head right round, right round, when you go down, when you go down down.” (Flo-Rida, Right Round)

Then: The warden threw a party in the county jail, the prison band was there and they began to wail, the band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing, you should've heard them knocked-out jailbirds sing.” (Elvis, Jailhouse Rock)
Now: “It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.” (Rebecca Black, Friday)

Gambling analogies:
Then: "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run, you never count your money when you're sitting at the table, there'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done." (Kenny Rogers - The Gambler)
Now: "Shut up and put your money where your mouth is." (Katy Perry - Waking Up In Vegas)

Then: “Well, I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert.” (Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down)
Now: “I got a hangover, whoa, I been drinkin’ too much fo’ sho…” (Flo-Rida, Hangover)

OK, let’s forget about that last one, clearly not much change there…

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the more recent songs - or, by extension, people who like them- I'm just saying that the differences in lyrics are worth consideration next time someone rolls their eyes at me for getting excited when I hear Johnny Cash. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Relationships Based On Music Taste: Yay or Nay?

They say that the basis for a good relationship is common interests. A guy who likes to surf would be perfect for a girl who likes to surf, because then they could talk about surfing every time an awkward silence cropped up. Now extend this idea a little, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that a Coldplay*-lover such as myself could never date a guy who likes Avicci*. A guy who liked Avicci would never understand my love of Coldplay etc, and seeing 90% of my interests lie in music, that would be a problem. I’ve spoken before about music and the search for popularity, blah blah blah, how popular kids don’t like Coldplay, whatever. And it’s true, cool kids don’t like Coldplay, cool kids like Avicci. I like Coldplay, and therefore I’m not cool. Anyway, coolness aside, it would make sense then for me to date another Coldplay fan, right? WRONG.

Now I don’t want to launch into the whole story…oh who am I kidding, I totally do. Upon seeing one of my best friends for the first time in two months, she had barely greeted me when she started babbling on about some guy I simply had to meet. “He likes Coldplay too, you’re perfect for each other!” In the end, we weren't, but hey. It was no one’s fault, and no hard feelings, but hmmph, there went the fantastic idea of dating a fellow Coldplay fan.

The experience made me realize that a mutual love of Coldplay is not enough to unite two people. Yeah, it’s great to be able to discuss the new Coldplay single when an Awkward Silence arises, but the fact that such silences even exist makes the whole thing a little redundant, doesn’t it? Let me explain. Say I love Coldplay and my boyfriend doesn’t… so what?! He should still be willing to listen to me go on about them just as much as I want! If he won’t do that, why the Hell am I even dating him in the first place?

I still don’t think I could date a guy who listens to Avicci and David Guetta thought. Music taste is a reflection of who we are as people, and although 99% of my friends are the cool kids who listen to that kind of dance music, I maintain that I am not one of them. So if my future boyfriend likes Nirvana, and I’d rather listen to The Killers, then so be it. As long as he’s not nursing a Flo-Rida-style hangover every Saturday morning, I’m happy.

*Coldplay is simply an example of ‘un-cool’ music, everything alternative or rock, in other words. Avicci is an example of all the ‘cool kid’ mainstream popular dance music. 

The Parlotones: Cold, Wet, Awesome.

I had seen The Parlotones on various wine farms, in a stadium, in an arena, in a tent, and in 3D, but never in a setting quite like that of the final Kirstenbosch Summer Concert of the season. On 8 April, the rain was pouring down, and Cape Town’s die-hard Parlotones fans were attempting to stay dry under trees, umbrellas, and plastic bags. They could have sacrificed the price of their tickets, headed for their warm, dry cars and gone home, but no one did.
The rain took a break for the set of opening band, the Ice Project. The Pretoria-based band impressed me from the start, beginning with their neat attire of shirts, waistcoats and suspenders. This indie band were definitely appropriate openers for The Parlotones, and although I struggled to hear all of frontman Cobus Bester’s vocals, the songs were catchy and enjoyable, with the definite highlight being ‘Rollercoaster’ their most well-known song, having received recognition on the MK channel.

But those who had already folded up their umbrellas were in for a surprise as soon as the main act arrived on stage. Opening with ‘Stars Fall Down’, The Parlotones soon had much of the crowd on their feet, and the band’s enthusiasm was definitely not affected by the miserable weather.

Never a band to stick to writing songs on one topic, the deep ‘Remember When’ had everyone contemplating the idea of growing up and leaving the safe childhood world of imagination, whilst the sickly sweet ‘I’ll Be There’ had even the most anti-love audience members proclaiming that “Even if you’re rich, even if you’re poor, every breath you breathe I’ll be there for you.”

“This song is a bit of a talisman for the bad weather.” Said Kahn Morbee at one stage, resulting in an immediate shout of “Sun Comes Out!” from one excited audience member. These guys sure do have fans! Indeed, there was something magically ironic about this song being performed in the pouring rain.

Some new songs were in store for the lucky audience, including the explosive ‘Soul and Body’, and the – dare I say it – slightly country-inspired ‘Honey’. The new songs are less pop-ish, they’re slightly darker, and they sound fantastic. ‘Save Your Best Bits’ is one of those songs that you can hear once and feel like you’ve known it forever, it is without a doubt The Parlotones’ next big hit.

The only issues were a few missed lyrics and some heavy feedback on the bass, which was sorted out almost immediately, on the whole, however, the band were flawless. After a 90 minute set – during which the grass field at Kirstenbosch had turned into a pool of mud – The Parlotones concluded with the massive ‘Push Me To The Floor’, and left their 5000 soaking wet fans full of anticipation for the release of their new album. 

An adapted version of this article appears on