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Eternal Rock Karaoke

by Fred Neethling / 06.10.2010

Having arrived way to early the Klein Libertas theatre is empty. And with Fokof, Aking, Heuwels, Ashtray Electric and Taxi Violence all playing next door – a big crowd isn’t expected. I down a nervous a beer and then another one. Dutch courage before my first ever “interview”.

Totally unnecessary I find as soon as I start talking to Rory Eliot front man for Plush thanks to his easy going attitude. Rory isn’t at all worried about the attendance. He has faith in the loyal fan base – more like friends than fans. They don’t disappoint and soon start filling the venue.

Fans of a band going for eleven years now. The gestalt here is more like a bunch of friends coming to see a mate’s band play than awed supplication before a band with serous international exposure and diehard followings in Australia and Germany. Though the line up has changed the music and band identity has stayed the same. This amounts to something like “integrity” in fickle local circles.

Rory describes their sound as “eternal rock karaoke” and you can hear why. Their old songs still bounce
today – as fleet and upbeat as they were back in the beginning – and fit seamlessly with the newer more searching stuff.


The word “refined” comes to Rory’s mind. “Honing and honing a good thing until it just gets undeniable. Building on it till you get something that sounds better.” The band is genuinely laid back. Supine even. And you cant argue that it isn’t working for them as the hall swells with curious youth.
“Are you guys making a conscious effort to go mainstream?” I ask
“Oh if it happens it happens. It’d be nice. If no, it’s not the end of the world. I’m happy just improving as we go. Taking things as they come.”
“Where do your songs come from?” I ask.
Rory pretends to think really hard, looking a bit like Rodin’s Thinker. Then shrugs. “My own experiences and relationships in life,” he says, deadpan. This feels true when you hear the songs. They bristle with personal asides and feelings. You can directly relate to the content. Rory, uh, keeps it real.

The show itself doesn’t disappoint. Onstage Plush are so open-ended and welcoming. So attuned to their audience. The fans even decided on their name for them. And Plush treat live shows as a kind of live rehearsal time. Stopping on mistakes and allowing devotees into the mechanics of live performance and sound levels. Often riffs are extended and repeated in a kind of communion as the audience up on the band’s back catalogue start wearing blissed out knowing happy grins.

New Plush tracks are out early next year. What can we expect? “We’re focusing more on melodies. Much more melody focus.” The crowd is actually singing along by now. Word for word. It’s getting all “We are the World” in here. Total transference between band and audience. All issues under the carpet for an hour or so.

Back outside in the rain life feels better. Either it’s the beer or I’m mildly elated. Good chill vibes. Plush have rubbed off on me. Which was way better than that sounds.

*All images @ Fred Neethling.

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