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Culture, Music

Caught in the Spider’s Eye

by Andrei van Wyk / Images by Paris Brummer / 24.10.2011

The hair is more elaborate and the jeans are tighter. The air is boiling in The Alexander Theatre. There is a restlessness, an anticipation that builds for two hours before the set. Outside people are scrambling to get in. The entire building is crawling. Some guys shuffle awkwardly waiting for a clear cubicle in the men’s bathroom while the line for the women just gets longer.

The empty stage radiates a hollow echo as the drum sets and DJ gear rattle to the beat throbbing from the badly distorted hip-house music. Some in the crowd do the irony dance, but without any real commitment. Others just stand in the middle of the floor waiting for it to begin.


A dreaded, chubby guy stops making out with his inappropriately short girlfriend while lonely hipsters in blazers and Nike Airs begin to pay attention to the stage. The stage lights go haywire as colours jump, twist and turn. The strobes slow down as a dark ominous silence falls. A blue light from the back of the stage casts a silhouette of a dominatrix. Lark is a band synonymous with musical experimentalism in South Africa, with their invasive amalgam of IDM, jazz, opera and Dadaist tendencies, all wrapped in a simple pop structure. Inge stands in front commanding the stage, the audience enraptured. Fuzzy and Paul simply head-bang to the solid beat which is being laid down by Mr Sakitumi on the drums. Their performance is executed with a stochastic precision as every syncopation surprises and drags the senses down a rabbit hole. With songs such as “Cradle of Cable” with its fluid glitch beat and heavy synths, and “Tricksy” with its epic vocal arrangements, the band move through their set with ease.


Inge moans, crawls and screams with a vicious energy. It is clear, when looking into the crowd, that everyone here is in love with her. The set is largely made up of their old material. The new stuff, is peppered throughout and provides glimpses of what’s to come and sets the crowd on edge. The sound is a bit more tribal, intense in form and strikes a raw vigour that sets everyone on edge. As soon as the band finish and move off stage, the entire room goes silent. The sound of instruments being packed away embodies the depression of a crowd wanting more.


Double Adapter burst onto the stage with the self-same indie swagger and dangerous sense of imminent bereavement they unleashed on the crowds at Oppikoppi and Grietfest. I’m not sure I totally understand Johannesburg’s new found obsession with rave and house influenced indie dance. Acts such as Haezer, P.H.Fat and Spoek Mathambo have built massive followings and packed venues across the country with dance music that is both addictive but at often self-indulgent. The Apter brothers offering starts off strong with remorseless bass and a sadistic stage presence. Dan is jumping behind the mixing desk, sampler in hand, while Tim incites dance-violence from the crowd. You’re either on this bus or not. If you don’t buy the ticket it soon devolves into pointless noise put to a too loud and somewhat pretentious dance beat. The visuals blasting the words “Double Adapter” in two tones become monotonous and seems cheap. Their brand of hardcore electro with sexed up funk and profane samples sits well with those on the dance floor, others disappear into the darkness of the bar or high key light of the lobby.

Outside kids wait secretly round the corner for their parents to pick them up. The bass from inside pounds the glass doors. A soundtrack for those moving quickly to pay their car guards and go home.

Double Adapter

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Double Adapter

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*All images © Paris Brummer.

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  1. fan of max says:

    W.W.M.W (what would max write)

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  2. The Baws says:

    I feel like I’ve read this before. Either Lark hasn’t changed one bit (travels and across-the-sea mixing aside) or the reporter is just plain lazy.

    Cool pics though!

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  3. Long Tall Sally says:

    I wasn’t too impressed with Inge’s solo stuff, but seeing her for the first time with Lark at RTD blew me away. A voice like that needs powerful back-up.

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  4. AntiDoubleAdapter says:

    Dan wouldn’t have been “sampler in hand” because all he does is trigger those shitty visuals you mentioned with his brother’s iPad.

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  5. DA says:

    We will be sure to never issue Mahala with press passes again. thanks for confirming this for us.

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  6. Andy says:

    DA way to deal with the slightest hint of criticism. You boys’ll go far. See you at your next gig

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  7. Nadine says:

    Helen Zille would be proud.

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  8. Mahala reader says:

    Double adaptor, being musicians means taking any form of criticism that gets thrown at you. If you can’t take it, however subtle/true it may be, then you’re in the wrong profession. But if it’s music you love, then you need to learn to grow a thicker skin.

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  9. DA Tim says:

    nah I’m OK with the criticism, you guys can say what you like! The choice of whether we read them or not ultimately just rests with us, anyway.

    Dan also has his views though, and he’s allowed to say his bit.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of Mahala after some shitty experiences with The Frown, and maybe thats what Dan was getting at, but eh, whatever, its not really worth moaning about is it… Thanks for the review Paris, cheers to Andrei for the shots…


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  10. Anonymous says:

    sorry but ugly pics.

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  11. Tomas says:

    “Thanks for the review Paris, cheers to Andrei for the shots…” – lolsies

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  12. john says:

    @tim, actually andrei wrote the article, and paris took the shots. Its at the top of the article. Its not that difficult to read.

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  13. Tim Apter says:

    @john – apparently its not that hard to be an asshole either. Sorry paris and andrei, my mistake, same sentiment, other way round. Wrote that comment in 2 seconds after reading the article.

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  14. Roger Young says:

    @Tim and Dan

    I consider the both of you to be friends. And I am a fan of both The Frown and Double Adaptor. I know Mahala hasn’t written extensively about DA (Mostly because how many times can I write “I was tripping balls and Henk was sweating on me while we headbanged in the strobe”) but we have about The Frown, and very few of those articles have expressed any negative opinion, there has been some critique but very little that you could call “shitty experiences”.

    The experiences you refer to are the anoz in the comments giving you guys a hard time. Some of those people are assholes, some of them are not. But none of them are employed by Mahala.

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  15. Tim Apter says:

    High 5 Roger, as always, true words worth listening to. 🙂

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  16. Anonymous says:

    shite photos

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  17. Karabo says:

    @fan of max – actually max wouldn’t write this as he is most likely a Cape Town writer.
    I actually think it’s awsum that we hav some writers up here in jozi, often alot goes on but never gets covered cos ther aint enough writers here.
    So to answer ur question, what would max write?
    About this gig?
    Wel that’s unless he bought a plane ticket to come and cover it.
    But otherwise – leave the jozi stuff to jozi writers (same goes for durban!)

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  18. Tomas says:

    Oh, I thought it was a joke – you know, thanks Paris for the review (sweet pictures) and Andrei for the shots (scathing comments). Not so?

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  19. arg says:

    I don’t know what it is about this article, but the style just makes me angry. Too much clawing at the thesaurus for new ideas. Not enough actual reporting on the event, just words. Ugh. Poo. I’m so tired of this awful style of journalism. Thank goodness Rolling Stone is coming soon.

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  20. Greg says:

    @arg then stop reading mahala please. Cos your comments aren’t appreciated here. Change that browser address to suit your taste. But here on mahala there are some gems. Your taste, is a pindrop in the entire ocean.

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  21. The Baws says:

    @Greg Pray tell, what is a pindrop? I know you can hear them, but not so sure in the ocean. If people don’t tell them to get better, how will they ever get better? I haven’t seen much great commentary about this piece either, so if anyone is going to stick up for its quality, please – enlighten us! And what would Mahala be without all the haters? Mahala was built on haters, man.

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  22. The Baws says:

    And I don’t see anyone attacking Mahala – only this article which isn’t up to Mahala standard.

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  23. DA Tim says:

    Yo Tomas, dammit I’m so sad I missed that opportunity! aaah! haha. No, was being sincere, albeit getting it the wrong way around… I guess you’re the witty one!

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  24. Ineedacrap says:


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  25. die says:

    Why does this guy keep on writing?

    Its like a bad deja vu everytime this guy writes a article. The name of the title should just be : The woods/ Alex Theatre/ some other average “alt” party. Then he would never have to write another article as that one article will refer to every single party he goes to and “writes about”

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  26. sal says:

    why indeed. mahala is better than this.

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