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Another Failed Race War

by Roger Young, images by Tyler Dolan / 15.04.2010

Maybe it’s because I’m old and irrelevant but last night I tried to start a race war at The Winston. I admit that it was half-hearted, I really just wanted to drink and dance so I tried to convince Loopy, that sketchy white guy who fronts The South Coast Skwatta’s to do it for me. I promised her some blonde forced lesbian action and left her with instructions as I wandered into the depths of Skollie Jol, clutching my twelve rond double first watch.

Skollie himself was first up but I only caught the last of his tiny guitar punk, next thing I’m out back in the walled area where it feels like a slaughterhouse herding station. The popcorn comes out, the beers are being passed around and I just want to dance. But the next band are muddy, it’s probably just the mix, they look competent enough, but it’s not grabbing me, by the time I get out back the popcorn is finished and some short blonde guy is trying to be my friend, which means he’s new here, I don’t make out with guys with facial hair, everyone knows this. Something in the mid month air, something restrained almost means there is a distinct lack of looseness, the good old Winston free loving in evidence.

The Skwattas come on tight and strong, Loopy sings like Bez would have if he’d joined a ska band, the rest of the band is exceedingly tight playing a rock ska vibe that is mostly what Durban music is about right now, it’s not like the Skwattas are doing anything different but they are doing it well. Loopy flops around the stage, like a tranquilized rhino, but actually managing to get the strangely super chilled crowd to jump. And she makes good on her promise, trying to start a chant of “Race War, Race War” but it falls flat, no one is really interested in that shit, they just want more punk and more beer, or whiskey. I make it to the bar and some English tourist comes up to me and asks if I have some change for him so that he can get a quart, he shows me his lucky 20p piece as a way of saying that I should somehow now hand over my hard bummed cash to him, so I throw his lucky coin into the crowd and tell him he’s shit outta luck.

The Skwattas have managed to get the small crowd to work up a sweat, their sound is clean and hard and Loopy has become oddly coherent. The obligatory metal heads head banging in front are interspersed with the fist throwing smiling ska kids while the other non-definables are flinging themselves around not giving a fuck. Sure it’s a small scene but it doesn’t make it any less joyous and free, even on an off night and sure, The South Coast Skwattas are a new band that doesn’t have any truly groundbreaking material, but they have an intense tight energy and in the jowls of Skollie Jol they make everything feel alright in a dance-and-drink-and-screw-because-there’s-nothing-else-to-do kinda way.

Out back later Loopy apologizes for not being able to start the race war for me, but sweatface’s ex girl friend is letting me feel her push up bra so I tell her that it doesn’t matter.

All images © and courtesy Tyler Dolan

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