Attack of the Lizard Beastby Mysto Writer, images by JP Hanekom / 22.09.2010
On the trail of a Hog: Part 1
A band on the road is a beautiful and un-accessible space, because, even if you are sweating it out in the same van, cradling the same toilet in the morning, you will never know what they feel, your soul will never know the excitement of taking to a foreign stage, of seeing where your music sends a new crowd. It’s like writing about heroin without ever taking it. Take this even further and try imagine what it must be like to be a nineteen year-old guitarist, filling in for three shows, playing with a band that rests on a slightly faded punk rock pedestal, when everyone is older, everyone has been on multiple tours before. What must be going through his head? His name is Yaneck, he is Lizard Beast and, when they play their first show of the tour at Pablo’s in Potchefstroom, he is more Hog Hoggidy Hog than the Hogs themselves. It is a glorious sight after the drab opening acts and an unashamed man-crush is born.
Rise play first to an empty dancefloor and there is no saving grace to their limp house beats and minimalist guitar that is almost not there. The female crooner isn’t half-bad, but the question is still there – why the fuck are you here? Neeeext.
One Night Stand don’t fair much better. When the singer/lead guitarist comes on stage, I think they are going to bust out some mean rockabilly – he looks the part. Instead he dry-cums as a Billy Joe Armstrong rip-off to pathetic rock riffs and a total lack imagination. Welcome to another South African non-entity.
Dance, You’re Drenched in Semen definitely get the girls excited with their textbook post-indie and half-imaginative breakdowns. This band is crying out to be making complex experimental music, it’s a shame that they are so boxed in by their genre – the skill is there, the drive and presence too, but sadly it just ends up in another panty-dropping commercial boy band. The vocalist can’t decide if he is in Billy Talent, or Kings of Leon, or if he has his own style. But even though the songs blend into one gelatinous mass – Dance, You’re On Fire get your feet tapping, kudos to the genre more than anything else. It’s strange when the rhythm section outshines the lead – the drummer, playing to a click track, puts out more than the vocalist, the bass player oozes collected sex appeal, and you end up watching DYOF for them, not the music.
By the time the Hogs take the headlining slot, I’m reduced to a grinning boy-child, shaking what nature gave me, on a magnificent nostalgic trip. The Hog brew is just as good as it was five years ago – the place turns into a skanking flurry of pretty Afrikaans meisies, semi-naked bodies and raw, unfiltered fun. This is the most alive band I’ve ever seen. It restores the faith, makes you think that there is still hope for the Cape Town musical abattoir.
*All images © JP Hanekom.