About Advertise
Culture, Music
This is not a Gig Review

Not a Gig Review

by Max Barashenkov, images by Duran Levinson / 02.08.2010

Question: What do 95% of South African music journalists do? Answer: They assume the position, open all holes and suck that sweet band cock. The sounds of deep-throating then echo on pages and screens, echo so loud and so unanimous that they drown out the actual music. Back in the 60s and 70s music journalists were the enemy who asked the vital, now-forgotten questions: “What is this all for? Why should we listen to you? What sets you apart from the other hundreds of jerk-offs just like you?”

I quite like the idea of being the enemy, it really just means that you are doing something worthwhile, and what better place to feel so than in a club that has previously banned you for having an honest say? I stand, smug as a sneaky cunt, in the downstairs area of Mercury Live and blow smoke into the back of the owner’s bald head, he turns to me and with a blank stare tells me to take three steps back – thank Thor for persona-altering short haircuts. This could have been messy, I did, after all, “take a shit on an angel” in my last review at his venue. Waiting for Tonight We Die to mount the stage and deliver the promised epic show, I somehow already know they will not outshine the band that just finished.

We Set Sail come with a blurb of having “seven musicians and nine instruments” which only elicited the question: “Yes, but can they fill the stage?” Mercifully, the anxiety of watching another experimental band fail ebbs away as they play, and play, and play, and you are no longer in a smoked-out club, but somewhere at sea, floating with the stars and suns, thinking of things much bigger than yourself, things reserved not for reality, but for the dreams of poets. It won’t be fair to omit the faint drone element of We Set Sail, something reminiscent of Icelandic post-rock bands, but here it is masterfully meshed with infectious trumpet arrangements (not a small feat on its own as the trumpet is generally a useless instrument outside the jazz and ska worlds) and made somehow fresh and undeniably theirs. It’s hard to pick out frontmen in an instrumental band, but tonight the stage belongs to Trynity Silk, whose skill on the horn and barely concealed self-consciousness, coupled with guitarist Marne Gelderbloem’s unashamed self-enjoyment, grounds the band in something less ethereal than their music. It simply makes them feel real. We Set Sail are not perfect, they have a long way to swim, but it is safe to say that this is a great band on early, unsound footing.

It would be easy, after such an emotional high, to go down on my knees and blow Tonight We Die in the same breath – praise their energy and passion, laud Claude Barnardo’s enigmatic stage presence and impressive vocal ability, note the wild abandon of the second guitarist, his axe-in-the-air eruptions – fit for mathcore glory – and agree with the applause of the rapturous crowd. It would be easy, because if I do, maybe they’ll like me, and maybe they’ll invite me to their next show or video shoot, and maybe we’ll drink together, and maybe some of their cool will rub-off on me, and maybe those pretty girls they hang out with will sex me up, and maybe – ah fuck it. Too many have succumbed to such fantasies, or editorial pressure, or the fear of offending the sponsors or the simple subconscious human desire to go along with the herd. So many, in fact, that a lion’s share of the music pieces you read these days are just advertorials for bands, most of them not even having the decency to try cover it up with any attempt at actual writing. Damn it all to hell – I don’t fancy sleeping in an unmarked grave.

There exists an unspoken understanding that music journalists serve the bands, because, logically, if there were no bands, they would have nothing to write about. This is correct, but also leads to stagnation through the lack of real criticism, the lack of balls. I abide by a different school of thought – the bands perform for me and me alone, the rest of the people are not even here. Tonight We Die play to impress me and, sadly, under my eyes, they struggle with a dated post-hardcore sound and an audience that, though dedicated to the point of being fanatical, is quickly losing interest. Once, the name Tonight We Die roared with the might of the whole Cape Town alternative scene, today they are eclipsed by a young instrumental band, with a girl on the trumpet! At the base of it – the chord structure, and especially the timing of the strumming, sounds archaic and weird in the modern context. Down strokes like this always make me think of Fall Out Boy. Once, Tonight We Die sets were mesmerizing, today, they are just nice. Claude used to sprout funny gibberish between songs that made the set feel alive, but he’s been delivering it for years now without “making” it, what does he have to be excited about? And indeed, what do we?

All images © Duran Levinson.

36   14
  1. filipa says:

    i only had to read the first 2 lines to hit the kiff button

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  2. Luke D says:

    “…blow smoke into the back of the owner’s bald head”

    Just, yes.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  3. Andy says:

    two silent kaks… ol Max has a bit of a reputation, ne?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  4. this is says:

    good stuff!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  5. Oh says:

    Max too vice for vice.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  6. Helena Handbasket says:

    “With a girl on the trumpet” ?!

    Strike two Max, strike two.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  7. come on says:

    Tad self-righteous…but you’re right.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  8. Max says:

    @Helena – sorry, didn’t catch your drift

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  9. Luke says:

    I haven’t had the chance to see We Set Sail live yet and therefore have only watched and ‘judged’ their sound on a youtube video but the trumpet is just too fucking weird for me. I get it, and I get why some people would dig it, but to me it sounds like post-rock/shoe-gaze and then ska? Just rubs me up the wrong way I guess. Anyway, once again solid writing and article Max. Well done.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  10. Helena Handbasket says:

    I’m just wondering whether you’re genuinely surprised when women can play instruments well, or if you merely choose your words poorly. Care to clarify?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  11. ... says:

    @Luke: forming opinions over cell phone recorded youtube videos is the BEST!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  12. feta james says:

    Luke, get over your preoccupation with genres. It does little to enhance your ability to appreciate good music of any ilk.

    I’m fully in favour of Max/Roger’s manifesto for a more independent and ruthless music journalism – it’s what the local scene ultimately needs. I just hope that he manages to do this without making more pointless personal observations that have little to do with the artform. Thankfully it looks like Helena is watching this quite cairphily too.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  13. somnambulist says:

    @Yeach: whoever wrote that review was surely not at the same gig I went to on Tuesday.

    “Cool is not a repeat, it’s an echo” hahah …that’s the equivalent of moisture is the essence of wetness a la Zoolander.

    Perhaps my sarcasm detector is broken, because that is the only logical explanation.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  14. Max says:

    @Helena, ah i do see your point now. What I was saying is that Tonight We Die have fallen quite low from their greatness, eclipsed by the most unlikely combination, a combination that in my opinion works flawlessly. Women on horns make me…well… 😀

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  15. Jess M says:

    @Helena, reading too deeply perhaps? I doubt it was a gendered observation.

    I agree that too many band reviews have become OMGAWESOME with little critique. And I like your style Max. Perhaps things get a little too personal here with regards to Merc and it’s owner, but as a whole, I like this piece. Ballsy and cutting, but not without a point.

    I may start reading Mahala a little more often. 😉

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  16. ... says:

    PS: I fucking LOVE that mercury banned Max for that other article. it just betrays kevin / sean / mike and the mercury ‘massive’ (mostly balding, chubby, and ten years older than anyone else in the venue) as the aging old out of touch springbok nude girl fanatics they are. we peaked since the nudies guys, just letting you know.

    mercury in it’s entireity is suffering because of those old idiots. the club feels dated. quieter. boring. stagnant. they think they’ve created an institution but they’re slowly killing a white mammouth.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  17. Helena Handbasket says:

    Max – Alright then. Unfortunately that comment coupled with your comments about what Inge might be like sexually had me seriously considering putting your balls in a vice grip!

    I think James is communicating what I’m trying to say without falling into the trap of getting quite so riled up about it. There are many women in our scene now who really know what they’re doing. Trynity is very talented, and manages to sell herself and the band without selling buckets of sex at the same time.

    As an aside: I think it’s important for reviews to be honest, but also constructive in their criticism.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  18. also says:

    I’d like to say, on the topic of mercury: their process of making bands ‘earn’ their spot upstairs has some merit, but their complete lack of touch with whats relevant in the scene means things dont go as planned. On Wednesday eve at this gig, the venue couldn’t accomodate more than just over 100 people. I was on the of the people waiting at the door when Kevin, the owner, forcefully pushed me and my girlfriend out the door, while muttering something he didn’t make clear. We were waiting quietly, patiently, not making a scene or even a peep to be honest, before this guy pushed me out, rudely and agressively.
    Just want to say thanks for giving your club such a good name. Look forward to the next we set sail gig, maybe it can be hosted somewhere where the hosts know what hospitality actually is.

    it’s funny to hear a guy going so far in giving his own club such a bad name is getting harpy about reviewers and their opinions of a handful of ‘loyal’ performers at his venue.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  19. Trumpetman says:

    Mahala… This blog website is exactly that. Not much journalism going on with funny, but often not very informed comments. Have you every heard of classical music? Funk? Blues? Swing? And many reggae and other pop acts? Well the trumpet reigns supreme in many areas… With your lack of genre knowledge and history regarding such a musical instrument is embarrassing. I guess a music journalist is more of a comedian/jester these days than someone that has any important role. Maybe you think bands are playing for you, but i assure you… Many bands wouldn’t have a clue you were doing a review and wouldn’t care about your little journo/english major outing. The SA rock/metal scene could do without slating from you and the likes – the general population does enough of that. People that play this kinda music here make absolutely no money off it and basically pay to play. So next time you/mahala make more articles of mostly ridicule, remember its easier to make uninformed articles that tear something down. Ah… At the end of the day it’s all funny. Nice funny little review, not a gig review… Whatever the fuck it was.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  20. wait says:

    why is this article getting a bad rep for being overtly negative? i dont believe it was at all. it was honest, it touched on tonight we die lacking a punch, but elaborated as to why (heralding them, in their day, as champions of their sound).

    and trumpetman: i think the point that most bands wouldn’t have a clue that they were being reviewed and by whom would be essential for getting an honest insight into a bands average performance.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  21. feta james says:

    @wait, Eugene Terreblanche and Julius Malema are also examples of honest opinion. So honest that their archaic views on certain subjects become all too obvious to the point of counterproductivity. Max/Roger’s gender attitudes are a matter of concern to some of us and they are closer to chauvanism than enligtenment or entertainment. He certainly owes Inge Beckmann an apology. Some of us are waiting.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  22. Roger Young says:

    Hey Feta, if you’re following, I’ve been in Durban covering the DIFF, The Merc is in Cape Town. Therefore Max cannot be Roger.

    Anyway. Specifically what does Max, in your opinion, owe Inge an apology for? And by this I mean what specific statement did he make that you think deserves apology?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  23. feta james says:

    Roger – thanks for clearing up the identity issue.

    “The rest of the night, I refuse to think about music, instead wondering what Inge Beckmann would be like in bed. Would she be gentle, ethereal like her voice? Or would she fuck like an animal, caged by her own image as the sexiest woman on the SA alternative circuit? Does anyone know?” I fail to see how any reasonable-minded person could not find this sexist and offensive.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  24. Anonymous says:

    from mahalas perspecitve, the inge article is great i’m sure: drummed up controversy, got one of their journos ‘banned’ from a club, sparked big reaction (I think inge was hinting at her fans to make a stand in her facebook statuses when it came out) and still gets quoted and refered back to, inciting more reaction, page clicks, hits and readers…
    why back down from a good thing?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  25. Roger Young says:

    But truly what is offensive about that statement? That he finds her sexuality intriguing?

    If Max had written the same words about, let’s say, Francois Van Coke would it be as offensive to you? Would it still be “sexist”?

    I don’t think that it’s reasonable to expect that as a performer in a public space you will not be desired or at very least have your sexuality considered. Inge would be very naive to think this doesn’t happen. Max merely stated what was in his mind.

    Does Inge want to be taken seriously as a performer and not have it hang on her sexuality? I’m sure. But many men find her desirable and this can have had no small effect on Lark’s popularity. Now that she has that popularity, can the music she produces break past that earned and previously embraced stigma? That is the real question.

    So, no, I don’t think that that para is sexist or offensive, just blunt.

    Now back to THIS article…….

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  26. Helena Handbasket says:

    If a work colleague thought the receptionist looked particularly attractive today and wondered aloud what it’d be like to bone her, that would be sexual harassment.

    Not that I’m implying what Max said is quite on the same level, it does however give pause for thought about tact, and learning when not to say something. Just because you think it doesn’t mean you should verbalise it.

    It might not be sexist, but it is offensive [by virtue of the fact that it has, indeed, offended at least one person].

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  27. Roger Young says:


    If a person performs in a public space they are asking to be seen. Can they then demand control on how they are seen? Should they then be offended by the fact that they are seen differently to how they wanted to be seen?

    The issue here is not whether what Max said was offensive but whether Inge should take offense to being interpreted differently to how she would have chosen.

    The receptionist is not asking people to watch her type. Inge is. And because of this she should expect interpretation that might not be to her liking.

    Side Note 1: I think we focus on the sexuality of performers when it is difficult to succinctly describe their music. I saw Bengula last night and my whole review will be about Ross Campbell’s amazing wrist movement.

    Side Note 2: I, myself, would be quite flattered if someone mused publicly about my sexual nature.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  28. feta james says:

    Helena, you really don’t need to be so kind or forgiving here.

    Roger, your response on this issue is indicative of why I thought that you and Max were the same person. It lies in a similar self-righteous, inconsiderate and insensitive attitude. How would you feel if your friends wondered aloud whether your girlfriend had the capacity to “fuck like and animal”? How would she feel? How would both of you feel if they defended their behavior by claiming that she was wilfully provocative in their incontravertable opinion and “fair game” as a result? Am I getting through to you yet?

    Now if this situation took place at a South African corporate, someone would get their arse fired very quickly, and that’s because there are legislated guidelines for this sort of thing. But Mahala seems to think that it’s immune to this or that constitutional guidelines for all South Africans in our hard-fought and delicately-poised new democracy don’t apply to this neck of cyberspace. I find it laughable that we can have broad-minded and reconciliatory discussions on this site on the subject of positive race relations, while blatantly sexist and offensive remarks made by Max get excused so easily.

    Double standards, hypocrisy, insincerity, aloofness – all the things I came to loathe about the old South Africa are now playing themselves out at the last place I would expect to find them. Shame.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  29. Gargemal says:


    It’s not about men or women, it’s about people putting themselves out there and wanting everyone to see them as desirable and then freaking out when they do.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  30. im not here says:

    @feta james
    love the old south africa reference, but you’re retarded, if only a little.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  31. Anonso Mousay says:

    Doesn’t the Mercury finance that shitty LMG rag? Of course they’re not used to criticism, all the douches who write for that thing are people who actually like The Revelators.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  32. Anonymous says:

    Max is just another wanna-be ‘writer’, chasing the Gonzo dream

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  33. Helena Handbasket says:

    Roger, you’ve effectively just said ‘Oh, she was wearing a short skirt, she was totally asking for it’.

    Well done.

    It’s not about being seen in a way that was different to what you had hoped, it’s about being degraded – having everything whittled down to sex simply because the reviewer didn’t enjoy the music.

    And to answer your earlier question regarding Francois, if someone wrote a review about a van coke gig and said it was totally kak, so they stopped paying attention to the music half way through and simply thought about what it’d be like to have Francois suck their cock, I’d be just as unimpressed – and just as vocal about how those remarks are uncalled for.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  34. feta james says:

    Helena, thanks for pointing out that this applies equally to both genders. Hopefully it will help some people to understand that if someone else is on the receiving end of such abuse today, they themselves could easily be in that position tomorrow.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  35. OG 1 Kenoni says:

    Hey Max, fuck ’em.

    Write what you like.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  36. Roger Young says:

    No, I didn’t “effectively” say that. You are missing my point entirely.

    When someone uses their sexuality as part of their performance then a reaction to that sexuality is going to be bought into the perception of that performance.

    But let’s talk about this…. “those remarks are uncalled for” – What is this uncalled for you speak of? And who does the un-calling?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  37. claude barnardo says:

    “max”, i agree with everything you said about us.
    it was hard to read but based on the performance very true

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  38. Anonymous says:

    Whatever. All been done before. Very rarely will someone come up with something totally unique or some new mish mash of already boxed ideas

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  39. Max says:

    @Claude, thanks for the upfront response with your name on it. appreciate it.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  40. Max says:

    @Claude, just wondering why i deserve the “” around my name?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  41. enough already says:

    Perhaps this debate might be better suited to the comment chain on the Inge article? Nothing Max said in this article was particularly offensive, and therefore I don’t see why everyone has to harper on and on and on about sexism!
    Move on. The Inge/Max saga is so last week.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  42. Helena Handbasket says:

    The very definition of uncalled for is “not required” or “unwarranted / lacking in justification” . Those remarks are not required for the the audience to understand what the evening was like, to figure out whether they’d want to go and see the act etc. Furthermore, they cannot be justified in the context of a “review” [they can however be justified in the context of “sensationalist garbage” but more on that later].

    There is an acceptable way to discuss the sexuality in the performance, and an unacceptable way to do so [back to your question about who does the “un-calling” – who decides what is acceptable and what isn’t? Well, the readers do, by voicing their dissatisfaction]

    Your point is that if Inge [or anyone for that matter] is going to use their sexuality to sell their music, then they should be prepared for commentary on that sexuality. I agree, obviously, but what I do not agree with is the way in which this commentary is worded. It’s blatantly sensationalist and adds nothing to the review. [Which then begs the question: What is the purpose of the review because if it’s not to give the readers an idea of what the show was like and whether the act is any good, then we have a severe case of misnomer].

    Resorting to base narratives on what it would be like to fuck someone is quite different to saying what you said earlier ie. can the music live up to the hype she’s created using, partly, her sexuality. That is what semantics is all about, one would imagine writers and journalists in particular would be au fait with this concept.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  43. feta james says:

    Jislaaik, where did this “uses their sexuality as part of their performance” piece of nonesense come from?? We’re not talking about L’il Kim or a member of the Teazers crew here! I have seen Inge perform on several occasions and there is NOTHING overtly sexual about the way she presents herself. You may as well jump to the ridiculous conclusion that Martha Graham was a nymphomaniac.

    But wait a minute, it is possible that the malformed desires of infantile male pubescents would misinterpret Ms Beckmann’s svelte figure and elegant movements as raw sexuality, given that their hormones are often prone to overriding their other sensibilities. That’s fine boys, we understand that you struggle with such things, but please keep these juvenile impulses to yourselves. I prefer to read the opinions of adults.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  44. Katoey says:

    Helena are you serious?

    I must admit I am old and cant pick up on what is and isnt irony but i thought it was the first rule of trolls that you couldnt write something about what is and isnt required, warranted or justified.

    Nothing trolls do is any of those things.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  45. claude barnardo says:

    i got confused, with all the comments above i thought it might be an alias.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  46. States The Obvious. says:

    In other news, apparently We Set Sail are quite good and Tonight we die, not so much.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  47. Zoo says:

    @ Roger Young

    – you’re officially my king. Hi-five dude- love your succinct smack down- fanatics points.

    Nice article Max. Looks even better on the web with a heated debate forming beneath-

    Those that are seriously skeptical, take a deep breath, step back, and think of the piece as one giant metaphor- directed at shiny journalism as a whole- and locally in the SA music scene- (YES, inspired by Gonzo, so it’s a bit rough, suck it up or just pick up an LMG- I think they’re free…. for good reason)

    You push those boundaries guy- those in the industry with the back bone to take your barbed crit will ultimately appreciate you for encouraging the bands and the scene to the next level.
    Stick to the pirates code- those that fall behind are left behind.

    With regards to Max’s previous article- know this: if/when Max gets a chance it see Inge again, and for this hypothetical she puts the audience into a trance- Max will do her justice. Just because the style of writing is scattered with hyperbole’s and brutal references doesn’t automatically mean what he is trying to convey is sexually derogatory or abusive. It’s a sexy analogy max. Keep ’em coming aait.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  48. Little Birdy says:

    More band reviewing less days of our cape tonian lives. Mentioning the banning from mercury story had merit, but you harped on about it far too much. Make it a little less personal and a little more objective.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  49. Katoey says:

    No no no, more personal and less objective is what makes you interesting. Next time try to get into a fight with the bouncer and wonder what it be like if he through you out and then offered to blow you.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  50. Katoey says:

    Sorry “threw you out”

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  51. MrChavcore says:

    Jeesh! A lot of you bitches (and yeah I’m gonna call you that) need to get a life and shut the fuck up. Inge is that girl playing the tart in that Jack Parrow video right!? If she can’t take a jibe than she can fuck off. Always thought she was a pretencious cunt anyways. Bravo.

    @Feta. I love the way you taste and you are a lovely textured white cheese, but please… shut the fuck up!! If a comment like that was made in a work environment of course there’d be shit to pay.. unfortunately for you it wasn’t said in a corporate environment it was used in a piece of writing, which last time I checked entitles you to the right to free speech in our “hard-fought and delicately-poised new democracy” which I’m sure you never fought for.

    Guess what? Nobody likes to be critisised. Max doesn’t, I don’t, Inge clearly doesn’t. But it happens.. and sometimes people don’t play nice. Ask Lindsay Lohan. Everyone is entitled to their opinon and unfortuantely for some of you Max is being given a platform for his. He is clearly talented and that’s why his articles are clearly garnering a lot of attention.

    Now I’m gonna go back to my fuax European life and read about what a slut Linsday Lohan is in The Sun. Oh the joys of living in a hard-fought and delicately-poised old democracy.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  52. BurberryBukakke says:

    Spoken like a champ MrChacvcore

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  53. Trumpetman says:

    I seriously could care less about inge’s feelings – not a fan. I agree with the fact that when you put yourself up there you are accepting that people will say things that you may not like. I still don’t agree with what was written. Why i think it’s acceptable is because i dont see mahala as having any decent journalistic integrity. It’s composed of a bunch of uct students throwing their undergraduate ideas around, because they can’t get a proper job. They take the easy root of creating controversy by say obnoxious things. This blog site has little to do with fair/just journalism. I assure you that no self respecting publication would publish 99% of the writtings on this site. Aside from that, i wouldn’t be suprised if the greater population of mahala employees/owners/’jurnos’ have an extreme deficiency in musical theory, history or actual playing ability. They’ll just write some Shitty little review to outrage people so that they comment/re-visit and cause a stir to gain power and viewership… Sadly it works. I’ve seen a few people on this site in bands and i’m telling you, their bands sucked ass and their were maybe 10 people watching. If you wanna dish it out you better be able to take it. I’m refering to mahala in general and not necessarily to this article. I didn’t think max was disrespectful.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  54. creepy steve says:

    i love the point in the first few lines 95%ers on music journolism thats exactly how i approach every article suck cock, invent little sub plots, no research; save for asking baillie mike what he thought and every time it’s the same “NO you know what actually, they weren’t complete crap they could do ect, ect….” in fact i don’t even ask. he just thrusts his standard template opinion in to any conversation (even unrelated one’s), with no chance of you escaping the 30 min diatribe of gibberish that follows his opening statment . i see your frustration max, nice article
    a magazine can be put down, the internet can be turned off
    there is no stopping baillie mike

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  55. Zoo says:


    Just out of personal interest…

    Specifically, exactly which ‘respected publications’ publish these mythical articles?
    And do they keep in mind the following:
    ““What is this all for? Why should we listen to you? What sets you apart from the other hundreds of jerk-offs (musicians) just like you?””

    I’m not really pro-Mahala- but I am pro Max’s opposite extremist writing style- keep going for the Gonzo dream Max- being banned from Merc is semi way there- keep in mind the tone of the piece loves to take the piss- statements should be taken with a pinch of salt and in a world warped, tragic and unbalanced as we live in- writing like this is another brick in the evolutionary wall.

    I also think the site niche should be taken into account- although I don’t believe it’s a bunch of out of work UCT students- there’s some journalistic integrity scattered and behind the scenes of Mahala- for sure.

    In between the lines there’s a good message, a decent story… and if readers don’t like the taste of this style, there are plenty pleasant, watered down, ego stroking articles out there who couldn’t offend any one even if they tried.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  56. dylan says:

    Max, how did you manage to make it in if you were banned. And please give more detail re: the ban.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  57. Friend Bot says:

    I love the internet xD

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  58. Trumpetman says:

    @zoo: do you think the entertainment section of the news paper would publish most of the articles on this site? Language and all the they points? The jerkoff phrase makes it sound as if max thinks all musicians are jerkoffs – obviously i don’t think thats true. I don’t see the point of gig reviews… If i wasn’t there why the fuck would i want someone else to tell me how it was? If i was interested enough i would have gone and i would’ve had my own opinion. I’d trust my musical opinion over anyone i know anyways. I just don’t see how articles like this are in anyway helpfull or useful. It’s just something to read about and then talk down at people. If you notice… The words may not be very harsh in many reviews but the tone is the opposite of encouraging. If it weren’t for the musicians these people would be writting about some granny’s flower show.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  59. Max says:

    @dylan – new haircut man, new haircut. the details of the banning and the words exchanged are not for here.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  60. adone says:


    hey. i’m just wondering, something to consider:

    if mahala is just composed of a bunch of uct students throwing around their undergraduate ideas…then so what?

    i don’t study at uct, and i don’t do journalism, but i do know that in any writing it is necessary to throw around ideas. trial and error. this type of throwing around allows you to improve your writing. the publication/writers aren’t claiming to be the leading authorities on music, but are relating their experience of the event. i agree that a thorough knowledge of music is necessary when reviewing music. But, there is also a wider culture connected to music that needs to be considered. and that is done here.

    i think it is good that writers are given a platform for experimenting with their writing style. if you don’t think they have the authority to do music reviews, maybe don’t read it?

    i might be wrong. like i said, just something to consider.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  61. Aspoestertjie says:

    I was just always wondering how George from Taxi Violence would be like in bed? Would he be gentle, ethereal like his rustic manly big penis voice? Or would he fuck me like an animal, caged by his own image as a sex maniac porn king by men and woman on the SA rock circuit? Please somebody, i need to know!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  62. States The Obvious says:

    George from Taxi Violence has better hair than Inge.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  63. Jason G says:

    “PS: I fucking LOVE that mercury banned Max for that other article. it just betrays kevin / sean / mike and the mercury ‘massive’ (mostly balding, chubby, and ten years older than anyone else in the venue) as the aging old out of touch springbok nude girl fanatics they are. we peaked since the nudies guys, just letting you know.

    mercury in it’s entireity is suffering because of those old idiots. the club feels dated. quieter. boring. stagnant. they think they’ve created an institution but they’re slowly killing a white mammouth”

    I could not agree more well said!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  64. Anonymous says:

    Fuck monkey, that was rad. I was there. we set sail was decent!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  65. feta james says:

    Hey Trumpetman, I definitely see the point behind gig reviews. I don’t want to drag myself off to every one of them in the hope that I find something I like, but after this post I will certainly make a point of seeing We Set Sail.

    Honest and uncompromising reviews serve the needs of an audience, y’know that group of people who pay attention to musicians and make their efforts worthwhile. You may think that formal publications such as newspapers are more “legitimate” oulets for music media, but when they resort to the bland industry-stroking platitudes that ours in South Africa do, then there is definitely a need for something more outspoken.

    But this does not mean that writers should resort to being wilfully vulgar and abusive just to draw attention to themselves. You will also find that more discerning music lovers (the kind that you probably want to play in front of) will be able to see through less musically literate remarks that resort to dunderheaded generalisations about certain instruments.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  66. Zoo says:


    The majority(which in fact is still a minority) of people interested in various performance sections would probably have a good flip through the culture section in a newspaper, very true- read the little blurbs of info, etc etc- but the two are very different- traditional media versus online media- completely separate agenda’s.

    For those music lovers (informed and uninformed) who are actually interested in reading various answers to those vital questions- and I’ll quote Max again:

    ““What is this all for? Why should we listen to you? What sets you apart from the other hundreds of jerk-offs (musicians) just like you?””

    Well they can come here and read pieces with some real substance between the lines…

    And I do believe that if you ask those questions in various forms your writing must have journalistic integrity- even if some folks can’t possibly conceive Max’s artistic license to write in his own personal style, which just so happens to be Gonzo’esque.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  67. josh says:

    sickness. secret-agent-gonzo style musings. nicely done.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  68. Sean says:

    Wow, Max actually wrote about the music this time. Congrats on that. Still spending too much sucking your own dick though mate. What the hell is this:

    “I quite like the idea of being the enemy, it really just means that you are doing something worthwhile,..”

    That’s a fucking stupid thing to say. Apart from that thank you for introducing me to a band I now wish to see. I’ll be looking out for We Set Sail.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  69. Mick Jagger says:

    Great images Duran and a well written review except for the 1st two paragraphs. My feelings exactly on the two bands although there is an excess of trumpet. A little variety would propel them further.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  70. Anonymous says:

    calling a women a cunt in any world is a sign of in breeding … you ballistic tik….see its far easier to mock than it is to give constructive crit…do you speak like this to people or are you just a typish tough guy…. the comments left on this sight are truly pretentious….i enjoy reading rants i enjoy all manner of madness and malcontent,but to mock something just cos its easier to do, is no way to make waves…. if writing is what you think you good at…all that i really know is that music is about feeling if you are depressed by a certain sound the artist is doing their job…if you feel happy , well then you must be a plastics giggle…

    keep up the shit work…you appeal to lank people that way…

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  71. Anonymous says:

    the above is aimed at mrCHAVCORE…

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  72. Zoo says:

    Looks like Anonymous (August 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm) has major ballas….

    I guess some folks just don’t appreciate the subtle and intellectual humour and concept behind a couple of brutal references. I guess cunt just isn’t desensitised in the same way for every one.
    Oh well. Their loss. Cunt is just such a good, expressive, repulsive swear word. It’s like swearing mos lekker in Afrikaans. If Die Anwoord & Mr Parrow haven’t showcased this enough- I suppose certain conservatives will never be able to appreciate swearing like a bergie deep in the spirits in a back alley somewhere in Mowbray…

    It’s a part of SA culture that alive and kicking- why not embrace it & incorporate it into some post-modern journalism in an appropriate online platform.

    I don’t know- it seems inevitable and it also seems to make sense to me.

    Durag- sweet photographs too!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  73. curious says:

    For most of the night, I refused to think about music, instead I wondered what Max Barashenkov would be like in bed. Would he be rhythmical like his writing? Or would he fuck like an animal, caged by his own words as the enemy of the SA music scene? Does anyone know?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  74. Max says:

    @curious – i can assure you I can do both quite well. care to give it a try?
    and by the way I’m flattered by the reworking of my words. really.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  75. curious says:

    Only a pleasure my dear Barashenkov. I know what you look like, so I shall use this to my advantage/your disadvantage 😉

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  76. Sarah Claire says:

    Please keep shitting on angels, they’re fallen ones anyway.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  77. Etienne says:

    Yep, We Set Sail are freaking awesome live! Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to see Tonight We Die recently but have always rated them. If what Max says is true… that sucks! But will still make a mission to check them out and form my own oppinion.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  78. Mike from tonightwedie. says:

    A fucking win for honesty Max…thanks (kind of).

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  79. Jonny Rotten says:

    Max you have 95% of music journalists 100% wrong. Just like you they deplore the idea of “an unmarked grave.” You twats dish out compliments like they are your last cigarette during an amphetamine psychosis….its OK guy, you are somebody, just not as interesting as you think

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  80. mike Miller (USA) says:

    Great to read about music in SA. I’m truly sorry that real jazz is so scarce over there. I’ve just attended several great jazz concerts in California and the reviews were genuine and enthusiastic, but not biased. Jazz is very much alive for young kids – there were many of them at these concerts.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  81. Matthew Freemantle says:

    What a profoundly irritating piece. This seemed less about the bands playing as it did about how cool we are meant to think the reviewer is. Max, I don’t know you but if you’ll forgive the patronising tone I think you’re better than this. I have read your stuff before and it’s often great. You complain that too many local music reviewers go down on bands instead of reviewing them, which is probably true, but even this is better than a reviewer going down on himself. The band is there for you alone. You’ve got balls. You don’t want to die in an unmarked grave. You blew smoke in the back of the owner’s head. You got banned. You don’t go along with the herd. I’m not sure if it as your intention, and I did notice that you titled the piece ‘Not a gig review’, but it just made you sound like an arrogant little shit who didn’t really pay much attention to the music. I am no stranger to putting myself in stories I write, and this has got to do with my own large ego, but shouldn’t we at some point get out of the fucking way and just tell people what happened, whether it was good or not, and why? All I can really gather from this is that you didn’t like Tonight We Die because the bass player wasn’t as good as you’d have liked. You say they aren’t what they were – why? I didn’t know this band at all before I read this, so I was genuinely interested. I’ve learned basically nothing about them and quite a lot about you. It was like having the news read to me by someone who couldn’t read his lines because he kept being distracted by his own reflection in the teleprompter. I tried not to write this. I left it for a few hours, but couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a huge case of the pot calling the kettle black. This might all be a bit unfair, considering the disclaimer of “not a review” that kicks the piece off. Perhaps my criticism is misplaced. But if it’s a piece written by a music journalist about going to a gig to see two bands, the first of which IS sort of reviewed in the piece, then what exactly is it? If this piece exposes a problem in the relationship between artists and writers in SA then I think it is one best illustrated by Claude’s (I presume he’s in the band) slightly sheepish admission that he thinks Max has a point. The problem being that bands feel they have to suck up to writers, not the other way around. Again, I’ve read this guy before and he is really good, so I’ll keep reading and (for the most part) enjoying his work. I just hope his next review (or non-review, whatever that is) is less conceited and more to do with the bands in question.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  82. Sean says:

    I like Mathew. Andy, can you replace the child who pens this crap with him please?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  83. logic says:

    come to think of it, any band that calls themselves “tonight we die” should only ever play once. if we are lucky, that is.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  84. Mandy Davis says:

    ” You complain that too many local music reviewers go down on bands instead of reviewing them, which is probably true, but even this is better than a reviewer going down on himself. ”

    So damn true!

    “I abide by a different school of thought – the bands perform for me and me alone”

    Dont know about that one….Im a performer & I do so so myself….and if I do do it for anyone else, its not for an online blogger.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  85. Anonymous says:

    If you are writing a negative review it should be obvious. You don’t need to state it in your article over and over again. If you had ignored We Die and focused on We Set Sail, everyone would have got what you were trying to do, instead of having to wading through your self-righteos waffle. Being a nasty, sarcastic piece of work does not make you cool.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  86. Kristopher says:

    Never loved Tiwa savage before but curiousity drove me to get once upon an occasion from itunes and this is what i have to
    say… TiwaSavage the king. Jazzy The Don chi chi.
    Spellz The future.

    my blog: fix itunes error code 21 (Kristopher)

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0