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Hipster Flow

Hipster Flow

by Cassandra Rowley / 18.08.2010

Drowning in a sea of moving adolescent bodies – I’m awaiting the release of a build up of excitement. A build up that’s been building up for days already. It happens in the moment the crowd meets the opening of “A Devil in a Midnight Mass” with a roar. This is going to be absolutely mind-blowing. I’m glad I ignored all those “too cool for Billy Talent” hipster whispers.

Sure Talent’s new Billy Talent III may have lost them early fans, but true believers were never going to pass up a very reasonably-priced gig – showcasing a band that lives on their IPod and got them through high school. Nostalgia aside – Billy did more than take you back, they showed us how to get epic, up close.

Some b(l)and from Australia opened with a drummer who looks like Bill Cosby. Their sound is perfect for that late festival slot when most people have gone home. Dancers up front did their best to the chilled twee summer-afternoon beats, or was it the bloodstream kick of those R30 double Vodka Monster concoctions on sale?

Then Taxi Violence erupted. At last some sweet ass rock and roll after some tone deaf tool put on somnolent faux-blues smoothie John Mayer between sets. Suddenly Van Coke Kartel appear. And suck. They’re tiresome. One dimensional bellowing. Maybe the only good thing about them being here is to remind us we’re in South Africa – so when a “big overseas band” like Billy Talent arrives on our shores we ought to be grateful.

At last Billy Talent – Canadian super group – gets to own the stage. How about a double dose of awesome? Yes please! They liberally sprinkle rad all over the next two hours. Hits and all-time faves bounce off the walls. I sway blissfully to “Surrender” then jump around like my Converse are on fire to the careening frenetic pulse of “Line and Sinker”. There was even a culturally resonant moment in there somewhere when I notice blank sideline kids just there to look cool – and feel my own happy distance from them – feel the clear distinction between true Billy fans and the posers. Proclaim your joy, fools! Live a little. Real fans would’ve killed for a ticket.

After the amazing climactic closer “Red Flag” – building and crashing in waves of infectious delight -the band is gone. Just instruments in the stage light. The after picture. I’m left 8 miles high. Euphoric. Grinning like an animal that grins. A hyena. You know how you feel after the countdown to midnight at a drunken New Year’s Eve party? That warm loose wildness. Where all you can do is embrace the stranger next to you. That’s me after the show. Thank whoever, I didn’t go with the hipster flow. You missed a great show.

*Image © Cassandra Rowley

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  1. doubtmavis says:

    ” How about a double dose of awesome?”
    “They liberally sprinkle rad ”
    Just ‘cos you’re using the lingo-du-jour Mr Edmonds wrote about a couple of days back doesn’t mean that we get to excuse you. Go back to begin. Do not collect R200.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The Durban gig was also…umm..like…rad-a-licious. Except maybe for the young people throwing shoes (& phones etc…the perfumed bra’s were acceptable) on stage. In certain countries this is termed a grave insult but I don’t think this was the intention at the WaveHouse…I personally didn’t understand it. Maybe I’m too old. The average age of the crowd was probably around 17. They knew 95.5% of the lyrics and sang along raucously (I think the marxist Mahala fashion police would have had a field day shredding the dress sense of these juvenile middle class pseudo punk clones. But shit. They are but pups) Anyhoo. The atmosphere was electric and I think the band was quite impressed.
    Another thing. I have never seen anybody (or creature…other than maybe the walrus or St Bernard) expel the voluminous quanties of saliva that Benjamin was capable of gushing. The security in front of the stage must have been drenched and I suppose the fear of slipping and sliding was the reason why the guitarist and bassist remained pretty much stationary during the set. None the less. It was a great experience after such a long wait to see them. Expectations are very rarely met these days so this was quite refreshing. All in all, I would hazard to say, a great live band with catchy rocking tunes. Fuck Maxi pad and his too hip for hip cronies. And. Well done to Andy for offering another opinion on Billy Talent. Here’s to hoping he will take this same direction on the political commentary expressed…

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  3. Anonymous says:

    what a terrible review.
    it made me happy and confirmed why us ‘hipsters’ stayed at home.
    This article reeks of the cheese that infested Billy Talent. You are the hipsters. In the SA context anyway. The trendy geeks who get their live music fix twice a year and then have to write about it to make it sound more interesting.

    So glad that with people like Cassandra raving about it on such a shallow level ( i wouldn’t dare expect any dept from billy talent, or a billy talent fan) that i managed to miss the gig.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Are you by any chance a pseudo-intellectual-to-hip-for-hipster-or-to-be-put-in-a-box Anon above?

    BT may not be…like…deep..hey…but they do rock the fuck out. Surely music does not always need to be considered intellectual to be good? Sometimes one needs to leave the Veils or Interpol or whater-ever-the-fuck and just go with the viceral flow. Also. Different strokes for different folks.I would imgagine that the tastes of any authentic being would vary depending on there mood. Monday you may be gaga, Tuesday an astro creep, Wendeday in a cradle of filth, Thursday under dead weather, Friday hitting the black keys, Saturday getting your sexy back and Sunday examining the features.

    Sure you may generally have a favourite genre, but at the end of the day, if the sound grabs you – there ain’t nothing you can be doing about it.

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  5. Sean says:

    This would have been a nice review if the author hadn’t jumped on this (global) trend of nominating everyone who doesn’t like what you like as hipsters. I don’t like Billy Talent, I think they’re just another boring wannabe Blink poppunk band in a looooong line of similar bands, but that’s just my opinion. I am certainly not a hipster (it’s the apathy they peddle, I hate apathy. Anyway), but I understand how other cats might like Billy Talent and that’s why this review would’ve been a nice read if not for yet another pointless swipe at anyone’s who’s taste in music may go beyond 5FM. Stick to writing about your experience and leave the vitriol for that Max dude, you’ll be better off for it.

    p.s. It’s scandalous that Van Coke played after Taxi. While I don’t think they’re as kak as you made ’em out to be they’re far from the level occupied by Taxi Violence. In all honesty Billy Talent should be supporting them.

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  6. Lizzy says:

    3 people called Anonymous? or the same person, but very confused? ugh, wish people would identify themselves, even with a pseudonym, so that the rest of us know what the hell is going on…

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  7. Anonymous says:

    No advertisements yet I see – how are you guys staying business? Who’s funding y’all?

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  8. Andy says:

    we’re working it hard… self funded and running on hope and faith. people believe in the dream.

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  9. Brian Green says:


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  10. Anonymous says:

    @ Sean

    Agreed re: hipster blah blah debacle. Though. BT only have a few radio friendly unit shifters that 5FM can rape. Also. A bit harsh the Blink 182 comparison. Whilst they may fit this profile to a certain degree. I would personally put them on the fringe. The peddling of apathy…yes…true…but I do feel the need for that exact vibe on that Monday drive back to that old grind stone. Devil on my Shoulder or Cut the Curtains fit the bill (A good Y’all Wanna Single by {pop} Korn is also a favourite) I’m sure the angsty youth also find some haven. But. As you say. Each to their own .

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  11. Anonymous says:

    @ Andy

    Get the kid/s of some post-polokwane-and-still-standing struggle icon into the picture…and the funding will flow like gravy at a eurocentric upper middle class sunday lunch

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  12. Andy says:

    issa comin’ like a slow train…

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  13. jess says:

    more “i’m not a hipster” drivel

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  14. jess says:

    oh and the pic is crap too

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  15. Just Wyndham says:


    the pic is crap cause no camera’s where allowed into the venue, only phones.

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  16. jess says:

    fair enough. but surely there were some press shots?

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  17. Andy says:

    I like that shot…

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  18. Roger Young says:


    site is called mahala. BT had photos available. for a price. what price? we didn’t ask.

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  19. Andy says:

    hey Jess for someone who has written us off as a “tabloid”, you spend a surprising amount of time on our comment boards…

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  20. boetie soetmelk says:

    Andy, do some shameless product promotions on this site like your buddy Seth does and the money is sure to flow in.

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  21. Sarah Claire says:

    Billy Talent can go suck a fuck. I have never interviewed such boring, condescending peeps. Their live performance is a well-polished act… With influences like The Clash and The Specials, or so they say, I was highly disappointed when meeting these guys. Maybe they just had a bad day. I mean it must be hard being a teen celebratory punk rocker.

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  22. jess says:

    ok bad choice of words, surely you had some connections that could provide a pic that didn’t have a black square dividing up the frame? it is truly awful, even for a camera phone

    there is a lot of good content on mahala. just like the daily sun 🙂

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  23. siestog says:

    Shit write up, damn!!

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  24. Pieter says:

    I personally thing it was a well written review….. yeah opinions might differ but such is life…. the photo on the other hand is shit and it is squashed shamelessly…. http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter-rey/sets/72157624635682553/

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  25. Pieter says:


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  26. Andy says:

    Hey Pieter… let’s keep in touch a bit more

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