Goldfish, Grass and a Gyrating Geezerby Ashley Jewnarain, images by Kevin Goss-Ross / 31.03.2010
Journalistic impartiality, or honest opinion? Any takers? Nope? Alright then, hundreds. Let’s rewind to Sunday afternoon at the Botanic gardens, you’re all familiar with this verdant Durban locale I’m sure. And if you are, then you’re most likely familiar with the lake at the bottom of the gardens. It’s a serene, breezy spot resplendent with all manner of peaceful pretty fowl an’ flora, where one can recline at leisure, taking in the sweeping graceful…
Ja, not this time boet.
Thousands of people (by my estimate) piled into the gardens to catch Goldfish’s latest appearance in Durbs. I must just admit, right upfront, I’m not huge fan, I know very little about these fine lads. My only experience of Goldfish is limited to the odd East CoastRadio carpool torture session.
It was nearly impossible to find a clear spot from which the stage was visible, and we eventually settled our esteemed asses on an empty patch of lawn with a thumbnail of a view.
The first act, Rise, didn’t quite tickle me in the right spots. What I caught of their show consisted of covers of 90’s trance-pop hits that should best be left alone. The kind of staple you’d hear at 3 AM on East Coast Radio, but wait a minute, this was an ECR gig, so I guess that’s par for the course then.
There didn’t seem to be a bar available, but scores had come fully prepared, BYOB style. Sipping on red wine and Label quarts, waiting for the customary Bot gardens skyf to be made, I hung out with some of the THOTS guys waiting for something like that to happen. Giving me enough pause to ponder how much people paid to get into this gig. R100 (a moederfokken clip) cover charge. That’s pretty steep by Durban standards.
Anyway, Goldfish came on, and there was action, albeit dodgy Durban action. But that’s how we, as a town, roll.
These guys certainly look like they’re having fun when they perform, and that’s pretty infectious, no matter how cynical the journo, mixing beats and samples to old school live bass and brass instruments, their sound is a fusion of techno/house with jazz, blues and soul. Personally, I found a lot of their set a bit underwhelming and poppy, but I guess if you’re drunk and you just want to dance you could do a lot worse. The crowd on the other hand, having paid a hundred bucks a head just to see these guys, were stirred into jubilant motion. I was actually quite surprised at the number of senior citizens I spotted getting down on it. As with most concerts held at family spots, there were also a lot of sprogs on parade, whom I had to constantly avoid tripping over or drop-kicking as I waded through the dense congregation on a “professional survey”.
One ballie in particular took the prize for audience involvement, enthusiastically shimmying and gyrating in the best disco kung fu of his heyday, while his far more conservative friends pointed and laughed their heads off.
That’s as much as I can remember anyway, all in, it seemed like a fun scene. The sound could have been way bigger and better, I know its outdoors, but pumping up the vocal channels and then just letting everything else warble together loudly doesn’t cut it as sound engineering okes. I’d like to see Yesterday’s Pupil, BABU or Isochronous do a gig at the lake, the environment certainly lends itself to an odd festival vibe. Finally the skyf was made and as we puffed up the hill, I spared a concerned thought for the security personnel who now had to get all those inebriated Durbanese off their lawn. Good luck gazi.