Aching for an Awakeningby Kate Crew / 29.12.2009
Ever since their inception just over two years ago The Assembly have played host to some of our country’s finest. Just last weekend we saw multitudes of Mother City young’uns flock to the terribly trendy venue, willing to fork out 80 bucks that, in retrospect, could better have been spent on Granny’s Christmas gift.
With its interior hinting at ‘a poor man’s blasé take on Industrial’, impractical seating arrangements and limited alcoholic beverages the venue’s vivacity was courtesy of its crowd. I sat my unimpressed self down and welcomed a healthy dose of pre-gig contemplation. The line-up consisted of Stellenbosch spawn, The Pretty Blue Guns, up-country’s Desmond & the Tutus and aKING. Why this baffling combination of diverse genres? Oh, the contemplation came to a staggering halt when realization set in. Mass appeal! Yes, in this time of financial recession it’s of great importance to carefully calculate how one can go about making top dollar, in this instance, with the least effort…
The Guns were satisfactory. The unreceptive crowd? Not so much. A bunch of ous rocking this season’s “new fresh look” thought it hilarious to address the 4-piece in the same manner a primary school bully would, by calling them names.
The Gauteng boys took to the stage and their set was hot. The almost arbitrary musos had kids in liquor-stained skinny jeans jumping about shouting. Unpretentious and commercially accessible Desmond and the Tutus created an ambience ripe for the picking.
The last slot of the night went to the ever-so-popular band of Bellville brothers. They stepped on stage with their overall look suggesting a make over. To beard or not to beard: that is the question. Visual stimulation aside, what followed was a departure from the aKing norm.
The set consisted of all the songs we love, all the sound mismanagement we loathe and, somewhere in between, mundane efforts at crowd interaction were launched. For some reason, “graçias mi Assembly bitches,” and, “afokkensembly” was all our beloved could manage. Images of Samson flooded my mind. Where is this Delilah responsible for Laudo’s loss of facial hair and could thís be the reason for his loss of stage persona? Sies!
Song, sound check, sound check, song. Repeat. At one stage Liebenberg stepped on his guitar cable forcing it to be removed from the socket, naturally muting its sound. He proceeded shouting, “more guitar” into the mic and after too many similar demands I lost interest.
The first signs of boredom set in and I considered a whiskey. My eyes wandered to stage right where lyricist and excessively-involved-in-the-music-industry-with-three-bands-and-all Hunter Kennedy stood swaying from side to side. Not in the way the dashboard hula girl does, no, in the way a sleep deprived homo sapien would, just before he bids the rest of the party a fond farewell. Hunter, human? I thought of gasping aloud. I thought of pointing it out to the crowd. I didn’t.
With an extensive launch tour for Against All Odds and scheduled gigs in most of our provinces in ‘09, could it be that as this year draws to an close, so does the curtain on their performance? I felt saddened. I love this band – more than others – and realised that the greater part of my love was due to the fact that I thought them to be invincible.
As the last of the music faded I was left feeling disappointed. My friend Mia shook her head in the same way my father did in ‘99 when Lance Klusener and Allan Donald managed to fuck up a single run. “With great power comes great responsibility,” I said mockingly, shooting webs from my wrists in the direction of the bar.
We opted for the whiskey but it wasn’t enough to make me forget that Granny’s going to blame my festive funk on rock ‘n roll.