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Goth Fans and Foos Girls

by Roger Young, images by Danielle Clough / 25.08.2010

Goth fans of country pop bands fascinate me. Not that there are any country pop bands other than Wrestlerish, that I know of, that have cute goth girls down front chanting the lyrics; verse and chorus. Wrestlerish have been touring hard and at the Saturday Mercury gig with the Jack Mantis Band and Tidal Waves that much is obvious from the tightness of their set. If anything, it’s a little too rehearsed, they’re hitting every note and beat and song change perfectly. The song intro quips are practically identical to previous night’s gig and although these little things don’t detract from their tight melodic country-inspired rock or the audience’s enjoyment of it, it does make me think that it might be nearing time for Wrestlerish to start busting out some new songs, to change it up a bit. As much as I’m a fan, I preferred their Zula gig where not only did they seem a little more thrown by their drummer’s illness and therefore had to rise to the challenge; but also because when Chloe from Enmity guested on their encore it was a little rambling and a little more free range.

Jack Mantis Band

Coming after them, The Jack Mantis Band pale in comparison mainly because no matter how tight and technically good they are at their growly folk rock, they simply do not have enough distinctive songs. Most of them are too similar no matter how much gusto they’re delivered with. They’ve been better in other band configurations so I wonder if it’s not just a bad night for them. Maybe I’ve been in Cape Town too long, maybe I’m getting soft, but in the end, I couldn’t find anything to dislike about them. There is nothing offensively wrong with their 94.7 friendly Jack Johnson-esque rock, but it just doesn’t move me. What Mantis does have, dancing down front, is a bunch of late twenties female fans, who look like they escaped from a trance party at Silvermine. After the set they distractedly edge toward the stage door with gleams of hope in their eyes, ready to pounce.

Tidal Waves

Off to the side of the stage are two tiny foos playing girls who haven’t been paying any attention at all until Tidal Waves break into a wall of rock moment; then suddenly they abandon the game and pay attention. The foos girls made the fundamental error that many of us make: thinking Tidal Waves are just another reggae band. Mostly because the general feeling around reggae bands is that, musically, they are interchangeable; party bands that we go to see because we know they’re going to play straight up skanking dub tunes. Tunes that we can drop our asses and make slightly disconnected finger pointing movements to. Not Tidal Waves though, they’re essentially becoming a rock band that borrow from the reggae oeuvre while mixing in strains of maskandi, goema and vastrap. They’re tight, smiling and angst free; which is not to say they’re positive to the point of being blinkered. They’re just unabashedly without façade. It’s midnight already by the time they’ve got going and the crowd moves en mass from all corners to front of stage, bouncing along, getting into it, unlike me. The Waves are the freest of all the night’s bands. They’re out there moving a smallish crowd that’s singing along, a crowd that’s really into it and for a brief, happy, moment the disappointments of the earlier part of the evening are washed out of my mind. It’s then, not feeling the desire to deconstruct the evening any further, that I choose to slip away.

Jack Mantis Band

The Mecury Live

*All images © Danielle Clough.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    rodger makes a lot of references to goths.
    i havent seen a goth in years.

    old man.

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  2. Sigh says:


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  3. Brett says:

    Dude. You’re starting to hallucinate. I didn’t see one goth. Late twenties pretentious “spiritual” women wearing bindis and thousand rand “new-age” dresses from India Jane, however, I did experience… dealing out holier than thou dirty looks at the “normal” people. And don’t get me started on their hemp clad male counter parts.

    “I believe in an organic, all-natural lifestyle. Hold on a second, let me just finish my double vodka and Red Bull so I can light up a smoke, maaan.”

    Although their eyes could have just been all slanty and their brows furrowed from concentrating on navigating through the crowd in a self-induced haze of marijuana bliss. Which means I’m just being a jerk.

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  4. Roger Young says:

    Goth, like Hipster, is shorthand. There were about 5 female metal/emo/rockabilly/ gandalf type suburban kids at the merc gig, they were all singing along. I didn’t say the place was packed with them. There were about an equal amount of trance hippies. Each group got equal mention, more or less.

    Yes, I do use the word Goth a lot. I’ll tell you why. I lost my virginity to an extremely fat goth. I was a skinny indie kid and she took me by force while I was quoting Nick Cave. I am forever scarred. The use of the word Goth has nothing to do with age but with the depth of my experience. Although granted, I am kak old.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    goths probably become goths because of people like roger who feel the need to compartmentalise them into labels which he can attack better to make himself feel better.

    “THOSE DARN GOTHS WITH THEIR BLACK CLOTHES AND MAKEUPS! God, they were singing a long and shit. You should have seen it. I just couldn’t understand it so I made the opening line in my review about it. You could tell they were gothic because there were a predominance of black. In my expert opinion, these particular goths frequented a little place called ‘Gandalfs’. I know this cause my ‘finger’ is on the ‘pulse’ of the music scene. When they venture outside of this comfort zone I find myself to be FASCINATED!”

    Do you get more smug, being the fat old guy at the back making these observations? I dont know.

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  6. Roger Young says:

    Hey Anonz


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  7. Anonymous says:

    and how do you blur the line between GOTH and Suburban? reaching some?

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  8. States The Obvious says:

    Goths don’t come from the suburbs, they come from the townships. Everyone knows that.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, but by the same token do all suburban kids turn out goth?
    Also lets note that for all his hated for the goth, Roger belies himself in admitting the best cherry pop he could hook up was the undesirable goth. And a fat one too.
    Nice work Roger, nice work.

    (PS: we all know you’re talking shit. You totally never got laid!!)

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  10. Phumlani says:

    I’m with states the obvious on this one. Really Roger you should pay more attention to the detail of the cosmopolitan set up that this country of ours possess. Tisk tisk. Mr editor shouldn’t you fact checking these articles?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    “These kids are looking very suburban today. I think I will name them goth”.

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  12. Roger Young says:

    There is nothing undesirable about goths. NOTHING!

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  13. Anonymous says:


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  14. James says:

    A crowd is a crowd. focus on the music and not the people.
    Any ears will do for me when i play a show.

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  15. Jenny Spearman says:

    And now for a little something on the music.
    Jack Johnson, ahem, i mean Mantis does swing the pendulum from totally out-there-experimental-musically-genius gigs to, radio ones. I suppose its as uncanny as how alanis morrissette can look beautiful at times and at times like a man with long hair. Wont you musicians please stand still and stick to just being good or bad, all this manic depressive behaviour is making me hungry.
    Now you can all go back to your arbitrary goth ramblings.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I feel I have neglected an important aspect of this article:
    The Foos Girls.
    God damn, can you trust a foos girl? I am not sure.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    “Wrestlerish is a little too rehearsed, they’re hitting every note and beat and song change perfectly” ???

    Is that not what every band tries to do, but rarely achieves?

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  18. Music? says:

    So at no time durin this show did you think “lets concentrate on the music” ?
    Who cares if the girls at the front were goth, emo, metal, punk, ravers or whatever other generalisation you’d care to use. People like good music, irrespective of their dress sense or look, it just proves the band is good and appeals to more than just the “Country pop” fans.

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  19. Roger Young says:

    @Music? Please reread article. Count how many sentences are about the music and how many are about the audience. Also consider that one does not exist without the other.

    @Anons#700000000000 – There is a fine line between being rehearsed and loving it and rehearsed and jobbing it. Wrestlerish are in danger of crossing that line (I’m not saying they have, I’m saying they’re in danger of) because they are touring so hard. It’s part of the cost of becoming successful, becoming overly familiar with your own material and it becoming rote. Wrestlerish’s great advantage is that they have brilliantly written well crafted hooky songs.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    “Count how many sentences are about the music and how many are about the audience. Also consider that one does not exist without the other.”

    So if a butterfly flaps it’s wings and no-one sees…it is not a butterfly and did not flap it’s wings…?

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  21. Gladys Kravitz says:

    Sometimes I think people just sit around all day, constantly hitting refresh on Mahala, waiting in anticipation of a Roger Young article so that they can pick apart every little line and reference and utilise their thesaurus to create the illusion that with the use of big words, their opinions are superior to said journalists.

    It’s like those jocks in school who sat in the back row holding their sub standard oral presentations about rugby in one hand who cackled and high fived eachother the whole way through the acne sprinkled fat kids turn at presenting his oral about the state of the UN. Despite the fact that his writing was far superior and they wouldn’t know how to form a unique opinion for themselves if their lives depended on it.

    But yes, goths are sooo maritzburg.

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  22. Lauren says:

    There seems to be some serious personal vendettas against Roger. Constructive criticism anyone?

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  23. Roger Young says:

    Yes, this does get a bit tiring. Yes, I do sometimes feel I’m teaching Critical Theory 101 to a bunch of teenagers whose emotional and mental development was stunted by head injuries sustained during contact sport. But I continue, in penance for some imagined slight against a dim figure Iong forgotten. Or Something.

    @Anonz#70000000000 – Your last comment makes little sense in it’s current form. I know what you’re trying to say but seriously slow down and re read before you post.

    In answer to your question though. If the butterfly was being paid to flap it’s wings and needed that payment in order to flap it’s wings and to be a butterfly and was being paid by the people who saw it flap it’s wings then yes, if no one was there to see it it would not BE ABLE to be a butterfly or indeed to flap it’s non-existent wings.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    skinny indie kid what u so fat

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  25. scipio says:

    I admit it, I’m really old, ignorant and have fallen off the zeitgeist but what the hell is a “foos girl”. Somebody help me, Please

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  26. Tim says:

    Im guessing its those indie chicks who hang around the foosball table drinking black labels.

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  27. Tim says:

    Oh guys can you please put photos of the chicks in question or at least the crowd, I find that alot more interesting than the band, which you can see millions of pics of on Google. The crowd and the evening in question says alot more.

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  28. Sean says:

    Nice review, let me know about the music and a little bit about the vibe. Makes me want to go see Tidal Waves, skip Mantis and hire Wrestlerish for my aunt’s wedding. Job well done, stop hating people.

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