Friday with Teensby Rob Cockcroft, images Jared Aufrichtig / 20.05.2011
I order a draught, slurp some foam off the top of the plastic cup and turn to make my way through the crowd. It’s packed tonight at Zula this Friday the 13th. Cute little kids with wide grins and euphoric expressions pasted on their faces, manicured curls, bright oversized trucker caps and underage blondies with those hippy headbands all dancing badly to Kid Cudi. It’s the usual tropes of us whities putting ourselves to shame on the dancefloor, bodies looking like they’re simultaneously being taken up the rear by The Invisible Man while hand motions say wristies are on special.
A guy who was working there came up to me. “See how many kids are here tonight hey? I told the bouncers they mustn’t let anyone underage in. Jesus bru, we bounced these two seventeen year old chicks earlier, they were begging to come in, next thing we catch them tryna climb up from downstairs at Baghdad Cafe.”
My girlfriend, who is so proud I left my string of shitty jobs behind and found a ‘real job’, asked me, “So where’s your photographer, boo?”
“He’s that dude with the dreads over there, he kinda looks like the Nik Naks man”. I point him out while he’s setting up to play a set on stage.
“So why isn’t he taking any fucken photos then?” I shrug, indifferent.
The electro is abruptly turned off, Nik Naks who Dj’s by the name of Dj Just Be, takes over by screaming something about drinks specials and tipping the mufuckin’ barman. He starts with Arrested Development “Everyday People” and his set carries on in the same vein of old school, down tempo hip hop. Which is weird, considering the crowd and the line-up. The mixing is poor and the vibe is just not right, even for an old school fan like myself.
I down what’s left of my drink and get gag reflex in front of a girl sitting on a window sill. We retreat for a bit to meet a drunk friend at Joburg. We have a long, adult conversation about life approaching 30, sex and relationships. But it seems the teen spirit must have rubbed off on me, though, because next thing I was acting like I was having teenage angst bordering on a tantrum.
“Boo, let’s get some weed or some shit tonight. That party is so boring,” I whinge.
With no luck but a resilient will to get my hands on some. Back at Zula, DJ Just Be was still up on stage. Sedge Warbler and some people I know arrived. I stood there begging for spliff while the conversation revolved around the set being played.
“This oke can’t even mix, every time he fucks up he just talks for five minutes.” Someone opined.
I finally get a little ‘erb, roll it on the balcony, then search for a spot to smoke. Trying to find a place to smoke zol at Zula is like trying to navigate your way around Palestine. We eventually find a place downstairs in a rancid area full of trash, spark the joint, but immediately get spotted by a bouncer. We end up in the same place we started – the balcony. There are three police cars parked directly below us, but we light up anyway. Halfway through, two fucktards smash their glasses into the street. This brings the bouncers out of the woodwork. We kill the joint and the ruckus kills my high.
Inside, Sedge Warbler have taken the stage. They’re wearing dishevelled suits and the DJ, Dank, kinda looks like a young Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his outfit with his side-parted hairstyle. You can see the dudes are inebriated. The beat drops, the bass is so low it’s vibrating the clitoral chakras. Electronic stabs are cut in with chopped up drum beats like cocaine. Dank twists knobs back and forth along the decks as if he’s sampling an array of nipples. An amalgamation of all things nice like glitch hop, dubstep, funk and hip hop spew from his flickering contraption. Each beat has more people swarming the stage, leaning over the monitor speaker with hands extended in the air, slightly reminiscent of Hitler’s Youth Brigade.
Disco Izrael’s futuristic kakpraat is catchy. It’s abstractness is comparable to Aesop Rock. Even though the mic sounds poor (as it usually does at Zula), Izrael definitely has the one undeniable aspect down: flow. There’s a straight up piss-taking boldness with this guy which plastered a smile on my face for the entire set. At one point he’s going “all you bitches throw your pussy in the air!” A jibe that almost earned me a klap from my girlfriend for chanting along to it. The younguns can’t wait to bum rush the stage and have a few facebook profile pics taken, but Disco does some crowd control saying, “only girls come up, if you’re a dude I’ll punch you in the face.”
I enjoyed the fact that the show wasn’t all about the raps. Near the end Disco just plays hype-man, calling for everyone to break the floor as hard, improvised beats take over.
I mill around after the set, but there’s not much happening. It’s around 12:30 and I presume most of the teens have a curfew because the bar is steadily becoming less populated.
Perhaps the most fitting setting for a Friday the 13th was the stop at Mickey D’s at the top of Long Street. Zombie-like degenerates shuffle in the queue, transfixed by the menu boards. A fiendish-looking dude approaches me with white lips and dilated eyes the size of five rand coins, “aww you the oke who pawked my caw in?” A racist Portuguese guy pushes ahead of me, places his order and patronisingly adds as if he is talking to a dog, “It’s an easy order hey. You not gonna mess it up hey,” while a fat, old man screams, “Six nuggets, what the fuck am I supposed to do with this? I ordered a large one!” Hell yeah, the freaks come out at night.