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Luck Fonz III

Lucky Town

by Sarah Claire Picton / 27.08.2010

Up until now, my experience of the intimate downstairs area of Mercury has been dedicated to getting loose to the thrashes of d’n’b… getting sweaty to beats that assault the crowd with dirty audio pleasure. This all changed the night of the 18th. That cold Wednesday night, I experienced what I can only describe as feelings of nostalgia – nostalgia for a time that I was not even a part of, and for memories that didn’t belong to me. Amongst a small gathering, Amsterdam’s underground folk singer-songwriter Lucky Fonz III would be performing, and despite my ignorance to the melodic realm of folk music, I felt a distinct familiarity to the music and to the crowd.

Standing alone at the bar, I absorbed myself into this familiar yet foreign ambience. I noticed Syd Kitchen’s off-white knitted beanie, and knew it held a story of its own. I then wondered about stories in general… and that everyone has a tale to tell. It was comforting knowing that no one around me knew mine, and I was simply another voyeur, waiting to be whisked away by someone else’s words. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I felt that this is what connects us to the iconic folk renegades of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Armed with just a guitar, harmonica and their voice, these individuals had something to say, a story to share. So, this is mine. And, like Lucky’s lyrics, it might not make sense to you – but, whatever, not every story does?

Despite being equipped (poorly) with a flyer and a pen I hustled from the barman, the magnetic presence Lucky created on stage left me engaged and indifferent to the specific details, such as the order of tracks and their names. For the purpose of this review those details would’ve been nice but they’re not important. It’s all about that fleeting moment, where you no longer notice the going-ons around you… unaware of the passing time and your worldly insecurities. Suspension.

Fonz talks of past acid trips induced by the colours of a large, spinning disco ball and the “soul underneath his arm”, the crowd welcomes it with smiles and laughs. He sings to us like we’re his friends sitting in his lounge, drinking red wine and indulging nonsense. It’s like he knows us, and we know him. And, maybe we do. Not him, but the feelings he sings about.

He tells us we’re an attentive crowd and the guy next to me laughs. Lucky responds: “Are you surprised that I know the word attentive, or surprised that you’ve been called attentive?” The guy had no answer to this and I’m left to imagine that his laugh was the type that erupts without warning… spontaneous and unexpected. It just happens. Like life.

Lucky Fonz III sings about life – about first loves and about “a lady dressed in black blue.” And of finding a type of light that would turn him into black and white, or sepia. Lyrical clarity was left to the outside realities that night. It was all a bit bizarre, as if what we were listening to snippets of his past, randomly stitched together and candidly delivered with passion and a smiling face.

As I left to get my R15 boerewors roll, I realized at the end of it all, we’re just a bunch of City Ramblers, happy to be lost for an hour or so in Lucky’s strange and wonderful musical stories.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    this is why scene kids shouldn’t review bands.

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  2. tamara says:

    props to you sarah
    well written.
    an intimacy of words and emotions that journalism should focus on… especially in features
    awez sista

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  3. naai says:

    dont eat the wors rolls

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  4. i was there too... says:

    Don’t you think Syd Kitchen deserved more of a mention than his white beanie?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    this article was about the author and not the bands.
    It was shit.
    She was probably very self concious about the whole thing. I bet she felt like everyone there knew she was here to review the band. I bet she was thinking this when she realised she didnt bring writing materials, cause shes pro like that, but asking the bar man for a pen and holding some flyers would help convince everyone there of her status.

    I can only hope that because this is a new author, her ego will get out the way and we can see what she is actually capable of. because this has shown us nothing! at all!
    i expect higher then stale same old dribble at mahala! This type of article is better suited to a personal blog.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “this article was about the author and not the bands.”

    like every article on mahala.

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  7. States The Obvious says:

    Exactly and we all know that subjective experience is not valid.

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  8. Sarah Claire says:

    hahaha. It’s really quite amusing how people get so tense. It’s so strange how you’ve twisted it to become something so narcissistic – I was there on my own ’cause my mates bailed on me, and didn’t have my notebook because I left it at work. But, I guess, things are always perceived how you want them to be. However, next time please type your name, rather than remaining Anonymous – It kind of defeats the whole purpose of you stating your opinion. “i expect higher then stale same old dribble at mahala! ” —> you sound so angry, such a pity, maybe you should write about that? Or show us why you are, er, so amazing and different. Honestly, your comment – “anonymous” – has made my day. Keep it up… It’s highly engaging.

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  9. Hail Jade says:

    I think some people need to realize that this is not a straight up news report.
    Perhaps you should rather go to news 24 if this is what you would prefer. I personally enjoy reading reviews with a bit of a story to them and I rather liked this review!
    Poor old anonymous sounds like he/she is about to have a nervous breakdown – talk about self conscious! I can feel ur scary energy from here! meep!
    Beeg up Sarah!

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  10. tamara says:


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  11. Sarah Claire says:

    hahaha. It’s a cool kid. Like him/her.

    Oh wait, no, that’s me. I’m so cool.

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  12. ─╤╦︻ says:

    this site is just become a hate fuck if you dont like the articles then why bother reading them or even coming to the site. I cant actually remember something being positive on the comments thread it seems cool to hate now. Anonymous you are just sad because you cant get a legit writing job and have to crawl the net looking for blogs to hate on. Even better maybe we should get mahala to let you write a blog and see what you made of. Great article by the way very well written

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  13. Matthew says:

    Okay, that’s maybe my worst pet peeve – when people respond to criticisms with “Well, can you do better?” They probably couldn’t but that’s not the point. Do opera critics need to sing opera? Do movie reviewers need to make movies? Of course they don’t. By the same token, glowing praise would be just as illegitimate by that standard – it’s the flipside of the same coin of opinion. Truth is, it’s a pretty immature knee-jerk reaction to negative criticism.

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  14. Sarah Claire says:

    If you’re going to make such a strong opinionated comment, I will take it seriously if you having something to back it up. And if that “Anonymous” comment is anything to go by, then immature responses seem to be the way to go by anyway.

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  15. Matthew says:

    I’m not ‘anonymous,’ and I don’t think what he/she has to say about the article is fair, or true.

    But I don’t think Anonymous needs to write a blog better than yours, or at all, in order to qualify his/her comments on it (that’s not to say it doesn’t require substantiation, but it has to be the relevant kind – which one’s blogging credentials are not.)

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  16. Matthew says:

    (I also don’t want to turn this into a debate on the philosophy of criticism, et al, but I felt like it bore pointing out.)

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  17. 1D10t says:

    Really liked the article. Well written and unique. I think it’s cool when a writer feels something rather than just stating the facts. The Syd Kitchen comment…come on, we’ve all seen him play at some or other festival. All respect to him, but I wanted to hear about Lucky Fonz. As for the little tired tirade from Mr.Anonymous above, I wouldn’t worry. There will always be someone that will try to bring you down, and blame it on your own ego and insecurities. It’s actually a reflection of himself/herself. The only terrible thing about the story is how it ends. I don’t care what happens, you DON’T eat those boeri rolls outside Mercury!

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  18. felix... says:

    Sarah, you are cool. I laaf you babes!

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  19. dinosaur sr says:

    To all you “feel rather than think” cult of music journalism – fuck off!

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  20. Raiven says:

    Nice article, nice to read. Would of liked a bit more of a bio on Lucky Fonz III, where, when, what how…this article was all about the why, and it’s the writer’s opinion on the why, albeit, nicely written. Sounds like a an interesting guy…how about a couple of quotes from the artist? Interested to hear how conceptualizes his music, and how he got there. LIstened to his performance at Oppikoppi online, good music.

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