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Happy Birthday Captain Stu

by Ray Van Wyk / Images by Jonathan Kyriakou / 17.04.2013

A lot has happened in 10 years. 10 Years ago we were sitting around, listening to Blink albums, getting day-drunk on Crackling on the roof of Sanlam Shopping Center, smoking joints liberally wrapped in newspaper and doing noseslides on black, wax encrusted loading stairs. 10 Years ago we’d get our parents to pick us up from the Pavilion after a night spent aimlessly wandering through the mall. 10 Years ago was Limp Bizkit, The Offspring and Greenday; baggy ¾ pants, puffy skate shoes and Rodney Mullen, Lizzard, Island Style, putt-putt and arcade games. 10 Years ago was also Sibling Rivalry and Mr Smug, Half Price, Hog Hoggidy Hog, Fuzigish and, of course, Captain Stu. 10 Years seems like a lifetime ago. This year the institution that is Captain Stu (and formerly the Llamas) has been around for 10 Years. The band decided to let Cape Town know and celebrate by throwing a party at Zula Bar on Long St last Saturday night. Here’s how it went down:

I met up with the Stu guys before the show, bribing my way into a pseudo interview with a small plastic bottle of whiskey I managed to smuggle past the bouncer in my jacket pocket. Downstairs at a small, wobbly table we chatted about Jimmy Saville and the many things Captain Stu is and is not. Among the stories of pissing off local police in small coastal towns on tours around South Africa with all manner of strange and illegal activity, flipping through naked party photos on trombonist Matt Willis’ Mac and ample amounts of superfluous banter, the members of Captain Stu reveal their belief in embracing their role as dedicated musicians as opposed to members of a square society where concerns about regular paychecks and sycophantic behaviour dominate everyday life.

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10 Years has seen numerous changes in the band’s lineup; James Klopper, Jon Shaban and Ryan McArthur being the only original members in the 5 piece. This night however, they pulled out all the stops, collaborating with ex members Nick Key (vocals), Clem Carr (sax), Stigue Nel (trumpet) and Dylan Hitchns (drums). Also featured during their set were Raiven Hansman from Goodluck (sax) and Simon Bates and T-Boss from The Rudimentals (baritone sax and vocals respectively) who have all at some stage been involved with the band in professional and sometimes unprofessional capacities.

7th Son opened the night and per usual delivered an energetic and fun filled forty-five to eager ears and dancing bodies. Following them, the Rudimentals played a set that, to me, was on a vastly different frequency to what we’re used to hearing from them. Less rooted, more experimental, less irie, much cooler; maybe it’s a new-found hipster influence but this makes it sound contrived which it definitely wasn’t, classy is what it was, very classy. There could not have been a better choice in lineup to compliment the Stus.

Zula-Bar is a perfect venue for these sorts of mid-sized shows, where the crowd isn’t big enough to loose your friends in, but where there is no way you’re getting to the front of the stage without acquiring blackened shoes, an elbow to the face and samples of 50 different people’s bodily fluids all up in your business.

Finally the moment arrived. Captain Stu took the stage blasting out number after number in rapid succession and playing their longest set ever. 19 Songs and then an encore are testament to the fact that their fans could never tire of one of the bastions of the live music scene in South Africa. Saturday night at Zula saw the band officially announcing to the Cape Town music scene that they have, since their inception 10 years ago, changed, morphed, twisted and transformed into a nearly unrecognisable monolith of a band they are today yet still retain their legacy in the joyfull nostalgia their music inspires.

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* All images © Jonathan Kyriakou

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