Joburg Burningby Nathan Zeno / 31.08.2009
We attempted to cover Joburg Burning last night and were defeated by beer and busses. Mostly it was the beer getting in the way of communicating with the bus driver, who I must just say had the patience of a saint. I mean there were a couple of drivers but I kept getting the same guy.
So it’s like this: things started badly for me when my first schedule conflict was Isochronous and Jane Rademeyer. Luckily the two venues were close to each other, Roxy’s and Racasse, so I could run back and forth. Isochronous rocked and Jane Rademeyer looked hot, was cool, but seriously the running back and forth was not a good idea. There was something art snob about the crowd that made me think her brand of breathy post trip hop would have gone down better had there been tables in a room full of smoke to sit at and feel luxuriously perplexed, so yes, my popping in and out really didn’t allow me to access the music. Also I was spending a lot of time trying to track down my photographer, McGee. Man, that guy. I ended up having a conversation with Louise from SL about him leaving beer bottles in the common area between the SL offices, Matt’s event company and his place. She’s all like I’m tryna run a business and I’m all like use it man, make the suits think they’re square or something, so yes by this point I was well into discovering that beers were priced differently at every venue.
The deal is that there are six venues and bands playing constantly from four till late. So if, say like me, you don’t like Zebra & Giraffe or Taxi Violence, you can rush over to Wrestlerish or The Black Hotels. Except I didn’t want to rush over to The Hotels, I wanted to see someone I hadn’t seen before. So we jump in the bus and say “Driver! Take me to The Bo”, and then all these cool kids jump in and shout The Black Hotels and I just hear the word “Black” so I think they’re going to Black Pimpin Jesus and then we end up at Back 2 Basix. So by the time we get to the Bo Black Pimpin is done. I shoulda just stayed put because what I did see was The Cavaliers soundcheck. I got out of there as soon as a bus came past. Don’t call me a hater, but I hate that dude’s hair. So we’re in the bus and somehow someone’s got some tequila and McGee is looking bored and there’s a bit of a party going and we want to get back to Racasse for Wrestlerish but the thoroughly average Dear Reader are still on, so we detour to B2B to keep it up. And then we are delivered to Racasse and Dear Reader have just finished so the Arab plaid bedecked crowd is coming out. It’s gonna be a while for the next soundcheck, so McGee says “fuckit” and we go to a shebeen up the road, where the quarts are cheap. This somehow ends up with me being told that “All white people like Michael Bolton” when I start checking out what’s on the jukebox, so yeah, when I say I don’t the guy says “So, Savage Garden then.” I go in the back and McGee is consoling an old woman who is crying, each to their own, so I leave.
Wrestlerish have started their set and this record company guy says to me, “These guys had me at the soundcheck”. Now I’ve written so often about their level of awesome so I won’t even get into the country tinged pop rock greatness here. I just wish the rest of the media would recognize so that I don’t have to sound like such a fanboy all the time. After their set while I was looking for McGee I was standing in the mêlée outside Roxy’s and listening to everyone swap notes. Apparently I missed the band of the night, The Cokestrokes. Checking my schedule, I had even circled the fuckers. But that’s Joburg Burning. It’s like one of those speed dating nights. You run from band to band, and half the fun is hanging out in the busses comparing notes and tryna get to everything. Then basically I lost McGee, was given an origami dog by the Wrestlerish’s bassit, and had to walk home. In the morning it wasn’t Joburg but my calves that were burning.
Photos: Justin McGee