The Suicidal Dolphinby Karl Kemp / 08.08.2012
So at one point Haezer dives headfirst off the stage, like a suicidal dolphin. We had muscled our way to the rail right before he came on so my buddy‘s first in the line of the fall. Being a big enough guy he manages to bear the weight, and the crowd proceeds to pass around the electro genius like a joint at Homegrown. After we hoist him back onto the Assembly’s stage, my buddy shouts something at me above the flickering synth licks that are signalling the start of the next explosion: “Jissis, Haezer is poes swaar!” Drunkenly I come to the conclusion that this about sums Haezer up, both aesthetically and musically. He is fucking heavy. Think gravity made visual and turned up to 11 in a visceral purple. He’s a far cry from Deadmau5 or Skrillex; no gimmicky Mickey Mouse headset or cringeworthy androgynous haircuts. Haezer looks kind of like that dirty guy at your local convenience store; scruffy beard, curly Jew-fro, bit out of shape, plain logo-emblazoned t-shirt and a cigarette constantly hanging off his lip. He’s about as honest and normal looking as an artist can get, but his music is a different story. It’s filthier than a Mexican donkey show and your ears get fucked equally hard.
Having grappled with this dirty beast before, we approached this gig with caution, cigarettes half sheathed and brains appropriately pre-cooked. If you’re gonna watch Haezer perform live it’s best to have a comfortable level of white noise crackling in your head because you may lose whatever else is going on in there as soon as that first kick drum blast hits your face. It’s concrete. It’s a sledgehammer to the face. It’s not a vibrating kind of bass; it’s tight, compact, forged. And around this compact bass-ball of energy that’s coming at you relentlessly, ferociously, swirls a tornado of oscillators veritably crackling with smutty electricity. And it feels like that energy is filling the world, and you want to drop the closest fucker near you but you can’t because that bass beat is still mule-kicking at your guts, it’s locking you into a hypnotic prison, so the only thing you can do is flail about like a frenzied moron, jumping and swear and scream murderous bloody approval at how psyched you are. I dare anyone who’s properly haezed to even attempt anything resembling a form of dance. The place was more like a moshpit filled with schizophrenic hobos buzzed on speed.
I’m not even gonna rant about the multitudes of under-age-looking Southern Suburbs kids that were there, or how all-pervading that most mainstream of drugs, MDMA, has become. “EMDEEEEEEZ”, shout the baseball cap sporting cocks, and the chant is taken up by the ‘edgy’ masses; chemical joy to the world. The Assembly looks like a heat magazine spread of Cape Town pseudo-music-celebs; Sedge Warbler, Jack Parow, fill in the names yourself. They’ve trekked all the way from Tamboerskloof and beyond to hear the demonic gospel as spoken through a vomit-encrusted megaphone. Kids, celebs, pseudo-music journos; we’ve all got one thing in common: we want to be crushed by Haezer and proceed to get so, car-compactor style, our distorted faces drifting in and out of the fog of smoke machines and aural schadenfreude til the early hours of the morning.
Did I forget to mention that it was an EP launch? That one of the new tracks features, of all people, Francios van Coke? That the EP is called The Wrong Kid Died? Or that other DJs played? Or that the setting for this madness was the Assembly? That he played all the classics (‘Black’, ‘It’s Not Our Fault’)? Who cares? The reasons for going or caring are as guiltless and honest as Haezer’s on-stage presence. He’s stripped of pretense, high as hell and uncontainable. Sure, the beat carries on when he gets off the deck or plunges off the stage onto a sea of eager hands. That’s modern DJ’ing and as much as there is to criticise about this culture it’s hard to go chin-stroking hipster when the music is so primitively exciting. By the end I’m shaking, shaking, shaking like a meth addict gone cold turkey. I feel filthy to the bone, but a pig-in-the-mud kind of filthy. Two murky hours had transpired and suddenly I’m coming down, hard, and I’m stepping out of the circle, dazed, and I’m leaving the orgy, still obviously in full swing, behind me. Outside, little phantom bass bumps are still knocking on my chest. I reckon I should go kill something. Or at least break a window. Murderous steps I take down the city streets, and in my head every single one is a cinder block stomp on the pavement in 4/4 time. If they remade A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century, Alex wouldn’t have listened to Ludwig Van; he would’ve listened to Haezer.
*All images © jakedavisphoto.co.uk / The Playground.