Post Rock Nightsby Pablo Tsolo / 03.04.2012
Part II of Violence, Lust, Life – A journey into Post Rock.
Speaking of roots, South Africa’s leading post-rock pioneers, KIDOFDOOM have become synonymous with the sound here in Joburg. They had come to be my favorite local band and I’d seen them play on countless occasions in drinking holes around the city. Most memorably at Bak2Basix on the outskirts of Melville. It was the album launch party for their second offering, My Faith In War (2009) with Haezer opening. Standing in the crowded room with over 100 other hyperventilating shadows, I was in anticipation as to what ‘conceptual’ direction the band was going to take. This release was their take on the apocalypse theme -we were all doomed for sure. I was transfixed by the huge projector screen flashing graphics and landscape images meant to go with the soundscapes the band was creating. Literally pouring in sweat down to his Nikes, Johan Auriacombe pounded his drum kit like it owed him money. Richard Brokensha was having a melodic seizure over the keys. Everyone in the crowd is swaying and jumping themselves into a sweaty frenzy to KIDOFDOOM’s new material. Then Ryk Benade creeps up to the microphone and growls seductively, “Are you ready to have your ear pussies fucked?”
Against everything their mothers ever taught them, the kids all shout in unison: letting this tall, dark-haired stranger and his cohorts lead them off into the night. The dim, strobe-lit room encouraged some of the more ardent couples into brief PDAs. Without a girlfriend, I told myself at least I would not be without another beer, and slinked off to the bar. As I drank they played. And as they played I drank. Soon all the build ups were too much to handle and I returned to the dancing throng on the floor where I assumed a questionable position in front of a speaker. I brushed my cheek up against its face lovingly. It was speaking to me. I was so close; my hands caressed its sides. The speaker was speaking to me. I was all ears. I could feel my whole torso vibrating with the sound.
The break came halfway into the song that was playing all of a sudden, and the crowd was shook to its core. People froze then slowly gazed in amazement at the sea of sweat-polished faces gazing back at them. We honestly couldn’t believe what we were hearing. It was incredible. It was climactic. For the life of me, I will never forget that show. Later I found out that that song was called ‘Land Of The Blind’. Even now when I play it I close my eyes at that part to envision that visceral night again.
I swung by our beloved Bak2Basix (which has since closed down) another time because behind their red walls( illustrated with bathroom humor) was a three band post-rock lineup. Following in KIDOFDOOM’s footsteps, are the young guys in the hauntingly explosive band Eyes Like Mirrors. There was Jason on guitar and Shannon on bass, they both weaved dramatically through Matthew’s steady, poised drumming. The trio had a solid set: building up angsty walls of noise and tearing them down. I’ve come to dig their shows a lot, which have become deafeningly forceful. Ian had invited me to see his band play. Albinobeach have a progressive instrumental sound. They did take it away on ‘Okavango Delta’, which left me feeling like I was in an alien wet dream. But I must say they lost me on every other song. I guess it boils down to taste, but there was too much downtempo, math-rock fornication going on; something I wasn’t going to say then, as I knew that night I was crashing on Ian’s couch. Finally, no such event would’ve been complete without KIDOFDOOM, so they were there. Enough said. That night was a welcomed post-rock overdose, but who’s ever seen a fiend satisfied?
Tale Of The Son is the last band that completes my Joburg top 3 that promise and deliver so much within the realms of post-rock. The first time I’d seen them they came on stage with a casual air that hardly prepared anyone for the ferocity of their sound. Gregoire Pinard was all dressed in black and skillfully wielded his guitar like a weapon. I thought, “that’s what the grim reaper must sound like if he had a band.” Along with old-time friend and demon behind the drum kit, Raymond Orton; as well as bassist Leodi Van Renen (formerly of Taxi Violence), the trio were brutal. The two singles they performed ‘Persian’ and ‘B’, off their then unreleased debut could start a riot. Tale Of The Sun, back to being a two-piece with Gregoire and Raymond, are still a tight, well-oiled machine.
Looking back, I guess the confused girl at the outset was right without even knowing it. I mean, instrumental music to me is like a soundtrack to daily life. Not that I only listen to it, but like life, it’s a sound that just happens; making the mundane revelatory. It tells us that whether we’re clock-watching at school, a lame job, or holed in our rooms daydreaming: we have won.
From Austin, Texas the ‘mini orchestral’ sounds of Explosion In The Sky. Our KIDOFDOOM, Eyes Like Mirrors, and Tale Of The Son; all hailing from the sticky bars of Joburg. To Glasgow’s Mogwai, Japan’s somber Mono, and the ambient Canadians in Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Do Make Sat Think: post-rock is taking over the world, one band at a time! In the words of GY!BE, I think it’s time we all lifted our skinny fists like antennas to heaven.
Read Part I here.
Tune in tomorrow for Part III.
*All images © Thinkphotograph.