My Dear Friendby Ruan Scott, images Adri Louw / 30.06.2011
I am writing you this letter straight from the belly of the fat ska pit I currently find myself in.
It has been six years since Fuzigish played a show in Bloemfontein and it’s fair to say that in their absence their following here has, while remaining honest and sizable, definitely grown. I remember that last show we watched them play at a shoddy skate park to a handful of young punks and skater kids. Most of those kids are here this evening. Most of them have grown up. Some are students others are working professionals. All of them are going crazy like they are 16 again.
It’s Fuzi’s Setlist tour. They are promoting their new album which is really a best of, aptly dubbed Setlist. And it’s a 25 track beast featuring all the favourites you’ll know from the gigs. They are currently ripping into “Skankers Union” and the crowd is going off the wall. Here comes another wave of stage dives. I better take cover.
The venue this evening is packed. To be honest I thought at first that this was going to be a bit of a blowout. Most people in Bloem aren’t too acquainted with the band. I was expecting a handful of stalwart fans. I was obviously wrong. The Mystic Boer is fucking packed to the rafters.
The sound is crisp and clear like this icy winter evening. This sound crew knows their job. They seem to get livid when fans climb on stage and launch themselves into the crowd. What were they expecting though? All the energy in the room feels like a viable solution to the world’s energy crisis.
Here we go again. It’s the infectious baseline from “How Rude”. People are pushing and skanking, screaming and diving. I best move to the side quickly. Maybe I should try my hand at this stage diving thing. How I wish you were here, you would have loved it.
On stage with them is their manager Nick. Every band needs a guy like this. Supporting the band making sure all the equipment stays intact. That and he controls the epic Fuzi beerbong made from a traffic cone. Got to get one of those before the show is over.
Jay Bones is sweating and rocking, their drummer is ripping away, Rockwell is grooving that base and Big Willy has more energy than a toddler with ADHD. Switching between vox and trombone and the beerbong he seems to be living the dream.
Another favourite is being pumped now and the band is going off. The crowd’s really swallowing this “Agatha Buttworthy” song and shit, this pit is bordering on dangerous. Here comes that beer bong – it’s my turn.
Burp. So this chap outside the pub told me earlier this evening he doesn’t like Fuzi anymore, since they have sold out playing all the major festivals and sounding like a pop rock band. I took one look and asked him if they have a range of wines or a fast-food special named after them? Do companies use them to sell their computers? I am glad to say I saw him drunk as a skunk skanking it up like a deranged teenager a minute ago. In vino veritas.
Fuzi have finished their set now. And how proud they must be. No one called for an encore. No one has an ounce of energy left after this 25 song setlist that the Bloem crowd just got dealt. This has been one of the best shows in a while.
I can’t sign of without mentioning the band that opened for them. It’s this kid called Frank Freeman. He is only 19 but plays guitar better then Chuck Norris does anything. He plays a mixture of blues and rock and literally makes love to his guitar. Only been playing for a couple of months, but he comes across as a seasoned musician. If he ever comes your way, be sure to catch him live. Totally worth it.
So my friend I am signing off now. The bar is packed with thirsty fans and I need a drink.
A Fuzigish fan.
*All images © Adri Louw.