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Good Old Bones

by Garth van der Merwe / Images by Trigger Monkey / 02.03.2012

Ah, the Bo. The glorious, glorious Bo (I know, I gush). This is what a music venue is meant to be. Open since 1983, stepping into The Bohemian feels like stepping back in time. No exclusionary dress codes. No pesky “No Smoking” signs. No slinky shooter girls. This venue could certainly never be accused of being pretentious and, as a result, draws a comfortingly eclectic crowd. Loyal followers, who, you feel, have a genuine love for this place and the music they support.

Tonight the atmosphere is subdued. Outside, people are sitting enjoying a drink while those inside – a mix of ageing punks and Bo regulars – munch pizza and play reasonably quiet games of pool. In a way, this setting seems a near-perfect fit for Rambling Bones’ particular brand of laid-back, sing-along folk-punk.

The two acts scheduled to open for Rambling Bones tonight, Cami Scoundrel and Sloppy Folk, embody the fundamental punk ideal that anyone can go from being in the audience one week to being on stage in their own band the next.

An idea that’s especially highlighted tonight as a couple of times during Sloppy Folks’ set, a number of different people in the audience jump up on stage to join in the performance. It feels as though, for some – albeit a relatively small group of the bands’ friends at the front of the stage – this is the most fun they’ve had in a while.

Unfortunately, they also live up to another fundamental punk ideal. The one that says you don’t necessarily have to be good to get up on stage and have a good time. That’s great for them (the band), but not so great for us (the audience). Just a few songs into their set – a mix of covers and originals – the band confirms what many in the crowd have already worked out. “This is our first band practice since our last show. Um, sorry.”

“Next up, Jay Bones!”

Step forward one Jay ‘Jebidiah’ Bones. Accompanied tonight by his Bloody Agents, Leighton Von Danger Powell on drums and Angela de Klerk, of the band Japan and I, on bass. Jay oozes quiet confidence. And so he should. As frontman for criminally underrated ska-punk band Fuzigish, Jay spent many years touring and playing shows. Years that ultimately played a part in honing his skills as a songwriter and stage performer. Playing a mix of material from his two albums, Watching and Waiting and Ramblin’ Bones and His Bloody Agents, tonight Jay seems to relish his new role in this much paired down format. The songs are well crafted and incorporate a blend of folk, blues, punk and even a bit of ska (as evidenced on the song ‘Run For Cover’, which inevitably gets everyone bouncing around). The band has a natural chemistry and Jay and drummer Leighton, aka Dangerdawg 3000, exchange banter with the appreciative audience between songs. The show ends and the band leave the stage to a healthy round of applause from the small crowd, the subdued atmosphere from earlier now well and truly a thing of the past.

*Image © Trigger Monkey.

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