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Human or Hater?

Are we Human, or are we Hater?

by Mahala High Five Brigade / 08.12.2009

Having not originally intended to go to The Killers concert, my Thursday night plan was to get started on item 37 of my 1000 ways to do nothing list. However, a last minute text from a friend offering 2 free tickets set off the age old battle between ‘Should I’ and ‘Shouldn’t I’ with the wildcard ‘Why The Hell Not’ eventually winning. So, armed with a bottle of carefully concealed Super M and a willing participant, it was off to The Coca-Cola Dome (which always springs to mind an image of a gargantuan, cola flavoured condom) for a bit of caution-to-the-wind-let’s-make-the-most-of-it-ness. See, I’m pretty indifferent towards the Killers. Sure there was a time my friends and I drunkenly and sweatily belted out the likes of, “Mr Brightside/Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”. A time that the very mention of Brandon Flowers got us into a “Hot Fuss”; not to mention those cry-a-long-tear days where we all tried to “Smile Like We Meant It”. But, to be fair, those days have long faded. What had once sounded like fresh “electro-rock” to our ears, had, in the wake of newer, better, cooler bands, now faded into the soupy-sameness of 5fm radio schlock, forever relegated to the “pub anthems” compilations box. Like bug-eyed shades, what was once cool, had now been claimed by bro-culture to become the preserve of B-Com students, Rad Dads and Party Moms.

Arriving just as they were starting, the venue was packed out with everyone and their bloody auntie. Thanks be to the Dark Lord and all his minions, I had managed to miss the Zebra and Giraffe opening set (whose quintessentially African name you can be sure thrilled the fuck out the ‘Mericans). Tweens swarmed around us like crazy, perky, dervishes, hustling their way through the crowd, picking off cigarettes and stealing sips of beer off the taller, less underage members of the audience. 40 year old women screamed and sweated for all that their Smirnoff Spins allowed. Rad-Dads hiked their pre-tweens onto their shoulders and waved about their novelty neon thingies-with-no-real-purpose. And enormous screens displayed the dashingly tacky stage dressing in all its west-rand glory (bless be to he/she who put all those Mr Price fake flowers on the mic stand). Yes, this was a Big Event indeed.

But instead of feeling thrilled or in awe or happy to be experiencing a world class act; or any of those things one would expect to feel when (hypothetically) paying over 500 ZARS for a ticket, all I could feel was… bored. See, I didn’t go to this concert with an axe to grind. I didn’t want to hate it, had no intention of coming back with a bunch of sour grapes between the teeth. To the contrary, I had mentally prepared myself for liking it. That is, I had lowered my expectations considerably, and come to terms with the inevitables of the venue sucking, the crowd blowing, the sound being hideous and the bar inaccessible and overpriced. I had made peace with all these things. All I really wanted, the sum total of my expectations, was a good show. But there it was, the insolent little shit, bringing out the role in me of which I am least fond: The Hater. The Whiner. The Complainer. But; hate, whine and complain I did.

The Killers

See, I had figured, that for an act as globally dominant as The Killers, for the ticket price and all the bums on the seats, some of that money would have been pumped into the actual event. Was Brandon flowers going to enter riding a tiger? Tongues of flame leaping from his pyrotechnic hat? Would it rain glitter? Would the drummer douse himself in scented oils and slime through the crowd, allowing you to kiss him with tongue? Well whatever it was, I was certain it would be spectacular. But alas, it wasn’t so. Instead, the band just kinda stood there, doing their thing, flawless delivery after flawless delivery. Don’t get me wrong, they do their thing well. They’re slick. The look and sound just like they look and sound on TV. But if there is anything vaguely sparky or personable or intrguing lurking behind that shiny and practiced veneer, I failed to see it. And, instead of being drawn in by their international amazingness, enraptured with their chart-topping chutzpah, I spent the time lamenting the schmaltzy backdrop (ripples of water, really?), snorting callously at the obligatory AIDS speech (complete with heart-jerking piano melody) and losing myself in the comparatively enthralling spectacle of one of my friends groping a girl not young enough to yet have tits. That said, there was a rather intriguing, if not confusing, moment in which Monsieur Blommetjies told a story about flying all the way across the big, scary ocean to this here corner of the dark continent. Except he delivered it in the televangelist style of those dudes you see on TBN when they speak about the second coming. Which may or may not have something to with the fact that they are a bunch of God fearing Mormons. But I digress.

Next time, Buzz-Killers, lose the routine, cut loose the gratuitous Bono moment, remember you’re on a stage, not at church and give me something marvellous to shut me up. Because, fuck knows, bored as you guys may be of singing the same songs over and over, and hearing them in the shops when you’re buying your funky feathers to stick on your jackets, do us a favour and at least pretend you’re not. We already have acts like old Z&G to bitch about . Next time, spread a little love down on these here plains of Africa, and put on a Goddamn show.

Images © and courtesy Lynn Landman.

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RESPONSES (22)
  1. death to interior decorators says:

    How could a band whose songs are that camp not put on “a show”? When they make it to the afterlife Freddie M will no doubt be waiting with a few pointers.

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  2. Sindy-Lou says:

    Yup, I was at The Killers show on Sunday in CT and being a fan for a long, long time I was disappointed with their live performance. For that kind of ZAR I expected a lot more shizam and pizazz. Still love the music though…For Reasons Unknown 🙂

    As for the traffic congestion…don’t get me started on BC and their poor event management. Dismal performance all-round. I’m officially put off wine farm venues for one-night only concerts. Whoever chose the venue must have been smoking rope at the time.

    Ahhh, but what I wouldn’t give to attend a Queen / Freddie M concert…

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  3. julius says:

    I must ask, who are these Killers and what have they put out of the misery recently? Was the lack of a “show” because the same animal rights people who have been persecuting the Zulu traditions were at the concert and watching too closely? And why do they wear the feathers, is it for the camoflarge when they are stalking the prey? For people who do the dirty work they do not look very fierce. But if they are for real and do contract work there are comrades who may have some extra “gigs” for them.

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  4. Andy says:

    Was this gig at the Assembly?

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  5. danni says:

    coca cola dome. obvs. like it says.

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  6. Snapper says:

    Not young enough to yet have tits? Editor?

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  7. danni says:

    ja editor, ahem. like, why don’t you like edit, huh? just change it, ok? you makin’ me look bad.

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  8. Jeff says:

    Saw the Thursday show and came out disappointed too. Can’t believe how bad the accoustics are in that hall, especially further to the back – you’d think hanging a couple of those big curtains would help dampen the echo. Another thing I wondered about was ticket prices – I remember seating tix at the back were cheaper than standing… but there was no separation between the two areas. Finally, maybe I’m getting old but they appeared on stage half an hour late (while we were all listening to delightful 1980s tunes – who the fuck is in charge of the tannoy?), and I really hate that, such arrogance.

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  9. danni says:

    see, Killers. You’re bringing out the haters in everyone.
    Fuck sakes, if people are starting to complain about you guys starting late, you know you fucked up. What is this? A concert or home affairs?

    PS WTF is a tannoy?

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  10. jemima says:

    tannoys are a brand of speakers.
    i wonder if thats what jeff meant?

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  11. Mr Mistron says:

    This smacks of the same cynical wit that made your synergy live review so entertaining. Are Danni Diana and Andrew thompson the same person. Are all Mahala’s reviewers in fact one and the same??

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  12. Andy says:

    No but there are many cynics

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  13. L says:

    The kak thing about Mahala and all it’s critics is the fact that they bitch about almost every gig, except anything the Bellville Cock City. Sorry, but I am over that diluted, incestious hype that has been going for the last 6 years.

    Yes, The Killers are a pop/rock/indie band. They have never alluded to being anything else. Brandon Flowers is a solid frontman. I went to the Cape Town show in Cape Town and saw something else than a conventional rock performance. Yes Dave Keuning, the guitarist, looked bored, but Flowers was bounding around on stage and had great interactions with the audience. Overall it was pretty rad when everybody was going postal on “All These Things That I Have Done”. I cannot comment on the Joburg show, but the feedback I saw on Twitter and Facebook was extremely positive.

    But when Francois Van Coke gets on a stage, forgets what pitching is (to all the newbs: singing in key, forgets the words to his own song and swears like a sailor, it gets hailed as a revolution. Please. Is this really what it’s all about? Wearing a fucking skinny jean and being part of a scene. Jeez.

    Mahala is slowly losing credibility in my eyes in the same way Rolling Stone is slipping in my books. Cynical, predictable pieces of journalism, with that “oh-so-cool-right-now’ sense of apathy and ignorance.

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  14. danni says:

    Dear L

    The above is a concert review. A personal opinion of a personal account at one show in johannesburg. The critique was not levelled at the Killers as a band. As stated clearly, they are a flawless act. The crticism was directed as the event/concert experience/live performance as a whole. And, if comments above are to be believed, I certainly am not the only one who felt the way I did. And L, don’t get so sore about Bellvile Rick en Rull city. Bellville fans are like Twilight fans. They have their scene, let them be. What is so threatening about a flippen style of jeans?

    And I’m not sure where or how you managed to extract an “oh-so-cool-right-now sense of apathy and ignorance” from my piece. I felt that I contextualised from whence the criticism came pretty plainly. And as for “cynical” and “predictable”… ironic that you choose these words. For they are the same ones I would use to describe your tawdry, whiny response. Love the Killers. Love a show you never saw. Do it. It’s a mahala country, after all.

    PS: rolling stone “is slipping”? Babes, that slipped in the shopwer at John Vorster Square long ago.

    MR MISTRON

    we are indeed the same person. Except I got better tits.

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  15. TSO says:

    It’s not that they bitch about every gig, it’s just that the positive reviews aren’t as funny, so no one reads them.

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  16.   says:

    But one thing the positive and negative reviews have in common: they’re rubbish.

    Go ahead, continue to write poor articles. It’s a mahala country, after all.

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  17. killers are boooooooorring! says:

    I think mahala articles kick fucking ass!!!!

    mahala rules – killers suck!!

    Francois Van Coke LEGEND!!!
    He doesn’t forget his words by the way – you only see what you want to see

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  18. Mello Moropa says:

    Dear L

    Was the Cape Town gig really in Cape Town? That’s so cool, how they planned that out

    Danni, i think like, like you. Who do you like?

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  19. Rachel says:

    Well phrased. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    But one thing the positive and negative reviews have in common: they’re rubbish.

    Go ahead, continue to write poor articles. It’s a mahala country, after all.

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  20. danni says:

    Gee, Mello… like is such a strong word. I’m not sure if I’m ready for such… commitment.
    But if you put a gun to my head, I would say that Sticky Antlers are right up there, And shockingly, despite what old L would think about my music tatse’s geographical leanings, they don’t come from bellville! Horreur!

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  21. Kla met mahala says:

    Realy now, this review is contrived sheit. Pretty sure that the reviewer is some random bird who thinks herserlf somewhat of a writer. The mere fact that she defends this drivel in the comments section is point in case.

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  22. Claire says:

    We may think ZAR 500 is a lot for a gig but it’s far less than would be paid for tickets overseas – so I suspect that playing gigs in places like SA is actually a loss-leader for a band like the Killers.

    I’m thinking that’s why we never ever get anyone currently hot and popular playing here.

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