Rock ‘n Rollasby Lize Kay / 19.10.2009
Saturdays at Assembly are normally a safe bet. Whether you go to see or be seen, you will generally find a party there. Driving home the next morning at 5am, with three cans of Red Bull working their way through my system and singing loudly to myself so as to stay awake, I concluded that this Saturday was no different. Then again, The Dirty Skirts, Ashtray Electric and a number of fine DJs on offer- the dice were loaded from the start.
Fresh from blowing minds at Rocking the Daisies last weekend, Ashtray Electric are riding a wave of popularity, winning the MK Award for Best Newcomer [more specifically beating the assumed favourite], a stellar gig at Oppikoppi and releasing what was one of the best local albums to emerge in 2009. And so it was that the Ashtray boys walked onto the stage with a calm arrogance, to which they were perfectly entitled. Their set flew by in a flowing eruption of energy and flamingo-esque dance moves and song . And although the crowd was small, it was both fiery and appreciative. Guitarist Rudi Cronje engages with his crowd in a manner of playful awareness typified by long, lingering eye contact with individuals in the front row and several camera lenses, while frontman Andre [Gideon Montgomery] Pienaar not only connects with his fans in an easy, accessible way, he is also damn fine to look at.
The Dirty Skirts are particularly popular in their hometown, and the Assembly is their home stadium. The floor was jam-packed by the time the first, slightly haunting notes of ‘Wake’ rang out. Boys and girls alike jostled for a spot closer to the front, reaching out, desperately willing their arms to lengthen as frontman Jeremy de Tolly stepped forward again and again to show appreciation to the fans. The man has style on stage, but also humility and grace. He says hellos to people he recognised in the crowd and has a habit of holding fans’ hands in the front row. Veterans of many, many live gigs on far bigger stages to far edgier crowds, their set was pulled off flawlessly, in spite of a few small technical hitches which they handled so professionally as to make them irrelevent. Hits like ‘Daddy Don’t Disco’ were met with as much fervent approval as the older tracks like ‘Homewrecker’.
Having more than just a CD on repeat after great live music means that the party does not dwindle into anti-climax, and between Bruce Willis, Slash (dot) Millionaire and Blush ‘n Bass the fun only receeded with my energy levels at around 5am.