About Advertise
The Brother Moves On

Black Gold

by Dela Gwala / Images by Nikki Brand / 07.07.2011

“Excuse me sir, there’s a moustache in my hot chocolate”, a common phrase in the dialect of the Joburg hipster. Asking for a nibble of your chocolate moustache is a sign of friendship here. There are just as many little saucers of red velvet cupcakes as glasses of red wine.The only travesty is that they’re out of lemonade. The cool kids are not playing with the multi-coloured fridge magnets or the proudly displayed Scrabble sets – they’re partaking in their favourite pastime of standing outside looking “grim about the mouth”. The dark coats and baby blue walls make up a winter’s night at Wolves.

There’s a man kneeling on one of the mismatched couches. He’s facing the cake counter, like everyone else who’s trying to get a drink, but he’s chanting. There is a cape tied around his neck and a mask attached to his dreads. He stands up to a looming soundtrack –the atmospheric call of a recorder coming from the makeshift stage. He shuffles past the miniature coffee table in his ankle length leggings and nearly everything on his body is covered in shiny plastic-like gold.

The Brother Moves On

“I had a dream that my grandfather punched me in the face.” An incantation that is repeated like an earth shattering piece of slam poetry. The cape is abandoned for a full view of his liquid sun spandex. The only sign that what you’re seeing is happening in reality is his washed-out grey jersey. This is Mr Gold, the frontman of the much talked about jozi band, The Brother Moves On. He kneels down, points across the room and vocalizes the presence of the mountains. It’s due to the sheer power of his storytelling that you start to make-believe that there’s a rocky formation behind the display menu of a hip café in Johannesburg.

The adventure down the burrow of tribal rock and performance art continues with a spot of pelvic thrusting and political accusations. There’s the cautionary tale of a certain individual (Julius Malema) who might come into power. This is spun together with a warning about the perils of being caught watching porn. What follows is the simulation of an orgasm whilst commenting on the state of our nation. Mr Gold then steps forward and labels himself everyone’s worst fear and nightmare. A declaration tied to bouts of cackling which make you wonder whether we’re in on the joke.

The Brother Moves On

The Brother Moves On tip-toes around labels of “gimmick” or “pretentious” and settles under the title “experimental”. There are actual strings being plucked and a voice behind what’s being sung – an authentic sound. The two sane elements, the guitarist and the bassist, keep the Afro-indie vibe moving along despite the ass-exposing gyrating showmanship happening upfront. The real shocker of the entire performance is how quickly they dismantle the surreal state they’ve created. The last we hear of Mr Gold is that he’s holding up the bathroom line while wriggling back into his skinny jeans and dark trench coat.

There is now a barefooted nun standing on the stage – her name is Tori Shotgun. She has new-age pebbles attached to her rosary and she’s clutching a black acoustic guitar. Apparently, we are about to be treated to a bit of home-grown folk music. She howls out the names of the drummer and the guitarist that are joining her – rounding out the members of Kim Catholic. Peter Ruznyak, the man on guitar, takes the bulk of the instrument playing duties whilst the woman in the habit husks it out behind the mic. Lauren Schlachter, the newly appointed drummer, puts on a rather narcoleptic performance – drifting in and out of the show.

“Switch on your tail lights and I will follow you”, it all begins with a passionately creepy lover’s duet and then descends into the many things that are generally never said while wearing a habit. It’s a veritable showcase for the extended metaphors of lust – which moves between being a prison term and a sin. The session ends with a church collection of sorts; the tip jar makes the rounds. The semi-obligatory payment seems fitting for all the lascivious activity that has happened within the confines of these powder blue walls.

The Brother Moves On

The Brother Moves On

The Brother Moves On

The Brother Moves On

All images © Nikki Brand.

12   1
  1. Wak says:

    I saw these guys once, absolutely loved their entire show. Such an interesting mix of music and story telling, big ups to “The Brother Moves On”

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  2. Chad says:

    Boring. We all know what Wolves is.
    And those are most certainly not hipsters.

    Why do people not know what hipsters are? They are not a fucken meme.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  3. Chad says:

    Search for: the theory of hipster relativity
    on GoogsMaloogs.

    Thanks NannaVenter!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  4. OptionalTarget says:

    = drugged up kids. experimental…HA!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  5. Amina Munkie-Khat says:

    Beautiful pictures!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  6. LiketheLiquidGold says:

    Atleast they mix the music with spectacle… in a more than competent way.. which is so utterly lacking in our musical climate. Thumbs Up.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  7. Tarqyn José Human says:

    they better than you fucks will ever be! different has never been cool to chad, his just a fag trying to be hip with his dissing

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  8. Tarqyn José Human says:

    they better than you fucks will ever be! different has never been cool to chad, his just a fag trying to be hip with his dissing. i rate they fucking rock “and please chad don’t tell me what the fuck rock is”

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  9. mic says:

    great live show these guys,

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  10. Anonymous says:

    Note that I never really dissed anyone, you silly billy! I wasn’t even at theshow, so I can’t pass judgement on the band.
    But I know Wolvvves.

    *overtly exasperated sigh*

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  11. layla says:

    kif pictures. Kak comments. Boring article.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  12. happy brown says:

    Mahala come now stop being so lazy, this is the second article you have had on this band without a sense of who they are and what they are about. Terms such as tribal rock, xhosa funk and summaries of their venues are undermining the work that these chaps have put in. Mahala does seem to have a difficulty writing about brown acts though, I’m still to see a noteworthy write up on the Blk Jks, L8 Antique, Bhubesi, The Federation, Meat the Veggies, The Brother Moves On, Dirty Paraffin, Reeburth etc.

    Maybe its time you get an editor based in Jhb to keep you in the loop with regards to what is cooking in Jozi. Right now your work is lazy, not including the photo’s. Nicky great photo’s its a pity that the writing is utter crap.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  13. Andy says:

    Yoh Happy Brown woke up in a bad mood, huh? Search BLK JKS on the site. We’ve written plenty meaningful things… and see what Roger Young wrote about Dirty Paraffin today. Also pretty meaningful. Brother Moves On are new… we reviewed a gig. It’s a review of the gig. Not an in depth feature on the band…

    And is there really a band called Meat the Veggies instead of Fruit n Veg?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  14. Isolation says:

    The Brother Moves On are not new, they been around for a good few years now. But they certainly are the band of the moment in Johannesburg!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  15. happy brown says:

    Note to Andy:

    “a noteworthy write up” not a tokenist gig review. I read many noteworthy write ups on the Parlotones, so much so that I know that Kahn is not a total idiot. Just to assist you so that you don’t feel like this is just a rant for the good of ranting the Brother Moves on is not a “new” band they’ve been around for four years or so now so have Meat the Veggies a Band from Kagiso, have been around the Johannesburg scene for like 4 – 5 years now. You asking the question whether I am talking about Fruit and veg is proof that you guys have no clue with regards to brown bands in jhb, and that is okay if you can be aware of that. A band doesn’t come into existence when the Cape Town Masses and their hipster friends from Illovo find them interesting. Stop downplaying what Jhb has and rather start appreciating that you might just be behind the beat.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  16. kwanzaa krew says:

    i think you rather just proved happy brown’s point with that last comment, andy…

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  17. dude, what? says:

    I saw MOB on Thursday. Best band I’ve seen in years! I wish them enormous success!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  18. Raytheon says:

    when ppl think im the bassist i feel like a turd has fallen out of your mouth into my drink while im at the jol.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  19. NiceoneHappy says:

    Being an avid member of the Jozi scene I know that the bands you mention are all of them out of this world when it comes to creativity and delivery.

    May I suggest however (and I know a review is meant to be exactly that) that our artists start to be really vocal about who they are, what they do and why they do it? (that is, if the information is not already out there…) hard information and a philosophy that lives beyond each particular performance… I’m starting to suspect these dear writers (bless their souls) need a place to refer back to when making pretty on paper. Maybe one gets overwhelmed and is not exactly sure how to categorise or UNcategorise what looks to be new – and so quickly hides behind some sort of trite sarcasm or worse still: harp on about some otherwise trivial point. This of course, could mean that one is not a Real music journo in this instance… but who cares? We need a new breed of everything anyway countrywide> Let’s all train each other and keep pushing for a new revolution. Great pics Nikki* I think Mahala is truly better than alot of local reads. Just now and then: needs salt!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  20. Anonymous says:

    I keep giving this site chances to write anything worth reading and I’m about up. I’ve read 5 “articles” and 4 of them were absolutely worthless. Typical “I have no voice in real life so I’m gonna talk as much shit about people as I can in cyberspace”.

    This bullshit site does NOTHING for SA culture.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  21. Roger Young says:

    Hey Anonymous thanks for dropping by.

    And @happy brown

    Yes some of those bands you’ve mentioned we haven’t written about but there are lots of pink bands we haven’t written about as well. It really isn’t about colour it’s about information. We review and feature bands that hit certain marks, like attracting word of mouth, playing at known venues or supporting bands we follow, or sending press releases to us, or maybe even FB invites, something that lets us know they exist. We would love to cover the whole country and know everything about all the music but it’s simply not possible. And relying on our sources to uncover new sounds isn’t infallible. I’ve added all those bands that we haven’t covered and will try catch gigs when I am in jozi again next month.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  22. happy brown says:

    At Anonymous – move to Australia, New Zealand, anywhere where building each other is not what the South Africans do. The point here is not to simply slate Mahala.

    Mahala is a worthwhile portal, the critique of their space is to ensure that they continue and don’t crash and burn like ezines that have filled such a space in South African culture. Roger its not an issue of colour its an issue of culture here, the people in the spaces to write about these brown bands need to write about these bands. You won’t find these bands supporting the bands you follow because the scenes use race to explain the culture they rock to and with. This was evident in the Frown, Brother Moves On invisible shitty city debacle. I don’t think many of the Illovo masses would know anything about the Brother if it wasn’t for invisible cities forcing the mix. And maybe that is what we need, people forcing the mixes so that so many of us can come out of our places of hiding where we hang with the same boring 200 people in Johannesburg who call themselves the scene. I for one will send you as much information as I can about these bands, but I do think you need to find more brown writers and brown doesn’t mean black. Brown is a grounding to this continent and this country, someone who has atleast visited more than one township in their lives as that is where the majority of this country live. I don’t think Roger and Andy can cover the whole country but I do think “we” can.

    Roger, Andy: the effort is appreciated and the criticism is positive, just delegate more there are people who have been following these bands who are amazing. Oneness

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  23. StoptheHappyRant says:

    Good ideas have been given above on how to curb the information vacuum between our artists and the very adaptable, leading social mediums.
    So there’s no need to diss Mahala, at all you got that right.
    As well the stalwart Joburg citizens who are in fact (all 200 of them) the grassroot foot soldiers that help to spread the right word in the right places at a time that counts.

    @Happy I’m starting to think you’re shooting out randomly at everything in sight at different times, which so defeats the purpose and turns your opinions into shitty. Fight the battle not “the scene” otherwise its not Oneness at all.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  24. Roger Young says:


    In CT brown means something entirely else.

    I agree with you, we can’t do it with just the three of us (Brandon Edmonds does a lot of the editing). We’re also editing and trying to guide the writers that submit, so it’s a task. Anyone you can send our way, we’d appreciate.

    And yes, I get that the scenes I follow are not the only scenes. It’s why I NEED people like you to point us in new directions.

    please send me what info on bands and writers to: roger@mahala.co.za

    Thanks for your feedback

    PS: Just so you know, I have a policy of not writing about very new bands unless they are paradigm shifting because sometimes the critique can be soul crushing. And I generally like to, if just reviewing the band and only the band (not the event), see the band a few times before writing anything.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  25. vuyo seripe says:

    wah wah! blah blah… less yada yada more muzak!

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  26. emma p says:

    no man her name is shotgun tori.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0