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Being Happy Is So Punk Rock

by Roger Young / Images by Riordan Allen / 08.11.2011

It would have been foolish to expect Mercury to have been packed, the line up was mostly unknown or hardly known bands from different genres and Cape Town kids have always had a problem with slipping outside of their safety zones. The whole “I really want to see that rock band but they’re supporting an electronic band, that’s too risky, I might hear something I can’t compute” vibe. Merc, however, was empty as fuck when The Dollfins started up, mostly fambase and some random blogger with big hair. But no matter, The Dollfins kick in with that new band enthusiasm, sounding like a bunch of screaming twelve year old girls who are really excited ‘cause they’ve just discovered they have vaginas; it’s like they’ve got The Cramps or something. A two girl one guy barrage of mostly punk covers, they’re full of sex and dirt, aspiring to be Joan Jett or Patti Smith. There’s nothing wrong with a new band playing a lot of covers, I mean it’s how the Beatles and The Stones started out, in fact it’s better than playing your own songs that just sound like bad versions of your favourite bands. The Dollfins are lewd, hard and excitable but just not enough to get excited about yet. They’ve announced who they want to be; now to become it.

Imagine you’re at a Rave in 1997. You are a bi-curious 16 year old boy. Everyone is on heroin-laced ecstasy. Two guys, who have been best friends for ages, are sitting on a couch, lit only by unsynced strobes,talking about the girl they both want to make out with. Then suddenly they start making out. The feeling you get from watching this is exactly how Popskarr sound like to me. If Nikhil Singh is the Anton LaVey of the new drag electronica, then Yannick is its Morrissey. He moves around the stage like the black Bono, all emotive hand gestures and meaningful glances at the crowd. He sings mournfully over the New Romantic synthtacular of Terrence Pearce and the rumbling under-pinning of Sasha Righini’s drums. If Popskarr were missing anything on the night, it was more smoke machine.

By now the crowds have picked up, Mercury is at least half full and Beach Party come tumbling out like midget extras from Weekend At Bernie’s, all summery and messy. There are five of them on stage, and three of them are fighting for the front spot; Ritalin laced egos competing for attention. The sound is instantly twee, but a winking smutty breezy tweeness that makes you want to swing on a jungle gym naked in the moonlight. With harmonies like the Beach Boys on amyl nitrate, with fuzz like Beach House but with more party; basically they’re Girls but without the issues. The Girls sensibility probably comes from the fact that Graham Newlove, from Magic of Pegasus, is there, leaping onto the drum riser to be more visible to the crowd. Other bands members include one of the Dollfins. Beach Party are full of jangly guitars and lyrics that pretend not care about sexual and romantic disappointment. They’re surf rock, with a bright frothy happiness, an ostentatious I don’t give a fuck. They’re bright pop punk, hinting at times of Nerf Herder. They can be a little over-silly, but so charmingly so. For the grand encore, they’re joined by the other female Dollfin and Tim Lester from Bicycle Thief and it gets chaotic and sing-a-long, some majestic bonfire in the night, before being taken by the sharks.

When they finish, I can’t stick around for Sedge Warbler, I have to leave and go smash up a Woolworths. It’s like this one party scene is starting to spit out stuff that is reaching past whimsy, trying to make some dirty fantasy real. Some dream (keeping hidden the inevitability of disappointment) of a past where people fucked without worrying about AIDS or broken hearts or hangovers.

EP by Beach Party

*PS: Apologies for picture quality. We had to steal from twitter. Someone stole the photographer’s camera from backstage. What a dick move. Photographer, Nick Gordon. Anyone with any information, please contact him.

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  1. Nogger says:

    Roger were you asked to cover this gig by one of the band members?

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  2. Andrew Berry says:

    ps. I only arrived when the dollfins had already finished.

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  3. Roger Young says:


    Generally we look at what’s on at the various venues and I decide which event I want to cover. This event was no different. But let’s say I was, what difference would that make?

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  4. Nogger says:

    Cause you disinterest is splattered all over the short write up. And maybe it’s I haven’t been paying enough attention to the site recently but that’s the first soundcloud I’ve ever seen go up on the site. Staying in touch with the youth?

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  5. Roger Young says:

    First Soundcloud? You haven’t being paying any attention at all. And if you read this as disinterest then you’re clearly not paying attention right now.

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  6. Roger Young says:

    Also @Andrew Berry

    A-ha, but the other big haired blogger was there earlier.

    (Jus’ foolin’ I obvs remembered it wrong)

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  7. Pearce says:

    not Pierce.

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  8. argento says:

    this is very well written inseed

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  9. Rupert Giles says:

    The lack of attendance may not necessarily be attributed to a fear of stepping out of safety zones. I know I wanted to be there, but Sophie’s Choice found me wandering the jam packed floors of Zula 🙁

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  10. Roger Young says:

    I did both.

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  11. Lizzy says:


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  12. no says:

    How am I supposed to say Popskarr? Is it “Pops karr” or is it “Pop Skarr”?

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  13. Batman says:

    Popskarr sounded great. Yannick’s voice was the strongest I’ve ever heard it and the drums were a great extra dimension. Are they a permanent fixture?

    As for Beach Party, WHOOOOOOOO <3

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  14. Cnut says:

    Roger… do yourself a favour and get your staff to cover all the events from now… as bad as their wannabe-gonzo-over-kill prose is… at least they’re an upgraded albeit painfully unoriginal version of their ‘mentor’ (for lack of a better word)… you and your infinite late 80’s/noughties drug reference at every turn are obsolete…

    Stick to editing…

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  15. Cnut says:

    I forgot to add ‘with all due respect’ and ‘give Mahala a spring-cleaning as editor… it’s stale… every review reads the same’ to your readers that don’t fall into the team’s tight little Cape Town circle of ja-man no-well-fine man…

    Spring clean… fresh critique… new approach… Gonzo, sarcasm and narcissism in every article is so yesterday…

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  16. Roger Young says:


    You didn’t close your second inverted comma.

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  17. Andy says:

    Cnut for douche of the year

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  18. Cathy says:

    Cunt is absolutely right

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  19. Roger Young says:

    Because only music made since 2010 is relevant.

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  20. Chad says:

    Proto vs. Grandaddy vs. Father vs. Buzz vs. Futurism

    It all correlates and we can’t forget it.

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  21. money for nothing says:

    this review is pretty boring. maybe that’s the writers intention as it seems he was bored at the gig. review something you have interest in, be it negatively or in favour it doesn’t matter. just have interest. this one it seems was done for a quick buck but hey that pays the bills right…

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  22. ling-ling says:

    cool-cool sound cloud.

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  23. Luca says:

    Rhetorical exclamation on writer’s integrity.

    Declaration of boredom and disinterest in the article, however, inspired to comment further.

    Statement insinuating possession of a relevant view point.

    Apparent relevant view point.

    Counter-article argument.

    Personal jibe at writer based on once seeing him out in town and stalking his online persona.

    Reiterate disinterest and disappointment.

    Reference to a once obscure writer now revered.

    Philosophical quote.

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