Little Big Showby Erin Clark, images by Rio Allen / 15.03.2010
It’s something terrible to admit you are lost in Stellenbosch. It only has a couple dozen streets, some traffic circles and even fewer robots. Luckily people with a CA registration are revered there. Actually we might have mistaken reverence for pity.
Last Wednesday night at de Kleine Libertas in Stellenbosch was headlined by Jack Parow, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Tidal Waves and Thieve (who we arrived just in time to miss).
I know the Kleine Libertas as a theater, but there beside it was a lovely expanse of green grass with a bit of a pub. There was an impressive stage set up, almost a perfect model of the one inside the Bellville Velodrome, with a huge electronic backdrop that flashed in sync with the music. I wondered who they were aiming too impress; the band or the photographers. The place was filled with spring chickens, the regular beefcakes, naughty northern suburb teens, students and neighbours alike. Ag shame, seems like there were a lot of girls who were disappointed that we-are-awesome didn’t make it.
Joburg musicians have an undeniable charisma about them. Tidal Waves are a pleasure to watch. Their music is sincere, and sensible and they know how to rock it live. But it is evident that their rootsy feel is being influenced by working too many rock gigs. Alas, such is the compromise for survival in the South African music industry.
It was the first time I saw Die Heuwels Fantasties live. I’ve been following Hunter Kennedy’s work since New World Inside. In fact I even admitted to only liking rock since Monoloog in Stereo, so I was very surprised by this band. They sounded… uh, OK. I understand that it’s niche rock with electronic elements, but despite the flashing lights and the front man’s antics, it all seemed rather two-dimensional. The band didn’t move me, although the rest of the crowd seemed to be hanging on their every word. I definitely prefer Hunter’s other projects.
I decided it would do me good to stretch my legs, so my friend and I decided to practice a little investigative journalism and went about tracking down Jack Parow for a photograph. We looked everywhere, but all we found was a couple in the wings of the Kleine Libertas theatre, doing what Stellenbosch does best. That girl pulled up her panty quick while the guy kept shushing her as if they could easily have been mistaken for a leaking tap. They should be grateful, because I’m sure they were there to see Jack Parow and he was about to go on.
His performance, just like the others, was neat and I even sang a hook or two along with the rest, but Jack Parow looks tired. Kids with Rothman butts smoldering between their lips surround him like flies. They scream I’m from Bellville; Kuilsriver; Brackenfell; Edward Street. He has succeeded in giving these kids a voice but they’ve all assumed that’s his identity.
I’m seriously worried about the sincerity of some local music, but at least the sound guys are pulling up their socks.