Ree-Buttalby Erin Clark. Images by Roxzy Lok / 25.03.2010
Ree-Burth is an alternative rock band from Soweto that are getting some major support from Vice magazine, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and the closet rockers of Pimville – their home town. They are a standard four piece suit: vocals, guitar, bass and drums. While on a whirlwind tour of Cape Town they got on the bill at Mercury Live and ended up opening for the people who opened for Hog Hoggidy Hog.
It was punk night at the Mercury. Scanning the room one would notice that there are not that many punks around anymore. Did they all die of tetanus? Do they prefer to pop in a CD from the good old days and mosh with their boeps, in front of their kids, in the comfort of their own living rooms? Did they finally realize that they can’t dress like that forever? We’ll never know, because spotting a converted punk is like finding Wally, innit? Doesn’t really matter though, there were enough misunderstood yoots, emo teens and people who haven’t seen the Hogs perform in a while to fill the joint.
The problem with Ree-Burth is that they’re half-baked. Not shit enough to write-off entirely. But also not good enough to rave about without being dishonest. If a band is terrible then at least I would have something real to say, even more if they are good, but what do you say when they are so perfectly in between?
There is nothing really unique about Ree-Burth’s style. Yes, we know they are black guys playing rock and roll, but what has that got to do with their music? Ree Burth plays a passable type of Alternative rock that leans heavily towards punk. Listening to them play you would never believe that these boys come from the kasi, because their sound is straight out of Edenvale. Sadly, they tend to sound like a lot of other rock bands. In their music there isn’t a single thread that leads back to the fact that they are black guys from Soweto making rock music. And there should be, because that’s all everyone seems to be harping on about. Maybe it’s too much to expect traditional African rhythms to intrude on their rock ‘n roll or to hear the sounds of mbaqanga or kwela creep in-between the riffs, but for goodness sake do something different, anything that’ll distinguish you from the rest. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
To their credit; the drummer is very talented, he was the driving force through their set, I like how he layed off on the cymbles: the artistic restraint of a true musician.
Harari, Blk Jks and the nameless others who came before them made a name with their music and skill, not their address.
All images © and courtesy Roxzy Lok.