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Taxi Violence

Sailing with Violence

by Nathan Casey, images by Deborah Rossouw / 03.03.2011

We stare at the breakfast the waitress just dropped in front of us.
“Fucking Hell!” says George. “Four eggs!”
Rian asks if a man is supposed to eat four eggs in a day and even though I’m sure the question is rhetorical, I answer, “I think it’s a week… four eggs in a week.”

This is Sunday morning hangover conversation. After playing at the Ultimate X-Games Saturday afternoon, a few hours later Taxi Violence rocked the hot, sweaty and stuffed-in crowd at Mercury Lounge with We Set Sail. If they’re not babalas, then they’re probably fucking tired.

They warily ask me what I thought of the show. In the past Mahala’s Max Barashenkov slated the band’s performance at Oppikoppi, hard, unleashing a chain of internet indignation and charges of racism by describing their bassist Jason as “an Asian cunt, if I remember correctly” says Rian.

They needn’t have worried about my reaction. The show hosted by Philip Hotz, aka: Papa Smurf, featuring both Marne Gelderbloem and George van der Spuy’s outfits, We Set sail and Taxi Violence respectively, certainly did not disappoint. The line-up was no coincidence, as the whole shebang was organised by recording and rehearsal studio Kill City Blues, co-owned by van der Spuy and Gerlderbloem.

Taxi Violence

I was a bit sketchy about liking We Set Sail. From the nicely airbrushed band pics I scrounged on the interweb I got the impression they’d sound like the ugly man’s Freshlyground, Coda, a wet fart from a music exec’s pudgy backside. But I was happily mindfucked when they blasted on stage, melodic and rocking, sounding like a theme song for my precious memories.

I remember seeing Inge Beckmann in the crowd and the guys from The Plastics, so I ask Rian and George if the “industry” support is for Kill City Blues or the bands.
“Both,” says George. “We’re doing a song with Inge and we play with The Plastics once in a while.”
Rian Zietsman, taking his focus off the bacon and sausages for a moment, says, “The Plastics fucked us up at a poker night recently.”

As We Set sail finish their set, hornblower Trynity Silk shouts, “Can I get a ‘hells yeah’ for Taxi Violence!” The crowd obliges and soon Taxi and WSS are jamming an 11 musician mash-up of “Riders on the Storm”. The audience is mesmerised, hands in the air, heads throbbing together. I worry that someone’s going to fall off the stage.

Taxi Violence

The collaboration seems prescient, if that’s the right word, like a look into the future. The forthcoming Taxi Violence album is not only an acoustic reworking of their previous stuff, but features colabs with Dave Ferguson and Kartie from the US band Smokebox.
“I wanted to work with Led Zeppelin,” smiles Rian, “but they haven’t gotten back to me.”
Old stuff “reimagined” – I was sceptical, and wouldn’t an acoustic “Untie Yourself” or “Venus Fly Trap” sound a bit pussy whipped?
“The songs’ve still got some balls,” George reassures,“but then others are completely stripped down, ‘Untie Yourself’, for instance, has just got piano, cello and vocals.”

As We Set Sail drift off and Taxi Violence take over the stage I can’t help but wonder what’ll happen to these bands. Will they, like the majority of the South African music industry, struggle for years and then fade dsigracefully into middle age desk jobs, no matter how much talent they possess?

Taxi Violence have the sound and stage presence, the flair and ferocity, to better most of the kak from Europe and the States that our local radio stations regularly fellate. But here they are playing to a small crowd, made up of the South African music regulars, when they should be up there with the big boys.

Taxi Violence

“In 2005, after winning the RBF Studio’s Emerging Sounds nationwide competition,” I say as the waitress removes my bare plate, “you guys turned down a recording contract. Was that a case of integrity over money?”
“The thing is,” laughs Rian,“with that deal we wouldn’t have had integrity or money.”
“At the final, maybe an hour before the show, they plonked this contract in front of us and said before we could play we needed to sign the contract.” George elaborates.
“Ja, in case you win.” Adds Rian.
“Our manager made sure that we could play despite not signing, and then when we won he told them now we’re willing to negotiate. And they just didn’t budge.” George pauses to think. “I mean, what do record companies in this country really do for bands?” he shrugs. “Unless they put a shitload of money behind marketing… it’s the only way a band’s going to get the kind of exposure they need. That’s what we wanted to negotiate with them. They couldn’t tell us how much they were going to put in for marketing.”

At a Taxi Violence gig you can’t help feeling cool and wondering if you’re too old to learn how to play a guitar like that. You believe you can skydive without a chute, take out the big guy in front of you who just stomped on your notebook, and vow to punch the next cop who gives you a speeding ticket. Leaving the Mercury, my head spinning and ears ringing, I pencil a reminder in my skidmarked Moleskine with its fresh footprint.

“So,” I ask, “is groupie sex, better than normal sex?”
“It’s good,” says Rian,“but then I don’t really have anything to compare it with at the moment. I’ve forgotten what normal sex is like.”
“It’s good as long as they don’t turn on you,” agrees George. “These people want a piece of the limelight. What they don’t know is when they wake up in your flat… it’s shit. Oh, he’s a normal guy. Shit.”

Taxi Violence

Taxi Violence

Taxi Violence

*All images © Deborah Rossouw / One Small Change.

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RESPONSES (22)
  1. Willem says:

    Good writeup. But WTF is up with all the Van Coke Kartel shit in the background? A bit misleading.

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  2. Jason says:

    WTF? These images weren’t even taken at the show. Swak!

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  3. tim says:

    Whats so swak about that, man in the fast paced and grimy world that is the internet you just grab what you can to get the article out. the images are just visual ref of who they talkin about. I mean I’ve seen the same stock shots on a million sites, but I’m not gonna complain that ‘oh this isn’t the actual show’ its the band, and this aint Rolling Stone.

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  4. Peter says:

    Typical Cape Town. All about the images, all about the design. Oh the design, oh the pictures. Nothing about the article. Nice one Nathan. A good article that isn’t about the music but about the story. The music will always speak for itself.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    another mention on the ‘design’ – We set sail have only done one photoshoot and it certainly wasn’t airbrushed 🙂

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  6. Anonymous says:

    @Jason

    Mahala has fucked over all their photographers, thats why they have to beg/ steal photos from other shows

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  7. Wolf Smokebox says:

    A few words on the collaboration subject, just to get it right:
    1. it is Kati, not Kartie
    2. Smokebox is a german band,not US
    3. Kati is not in Smokebox (though she is close with the band), but in The Sober Sisters & The Dirty Four
    Cheers from Germany

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  8. Wolf Smokebox says:

    A few words on the collaboration subject, just to get it right.
    1. it is Kati, not Kartie
    2. Smokebox is a german band, not US
    3. Kati is not in Smokebox, though she is close with the band and did some collab with us too, her band is The Sober Sisters & The Dirty Four
    Cheers from Germany

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  9. Deb says:

    Hesaiditmon::::: “””Taxi Violence have the sound and stage presence, the flair and ferocity, to better most of the kak from Europe and the States that our local radio stations regularly fellate. But here they are playing to a small crowd, made up of the South African music regulars, when they should be up there with the big boys.”””

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  10. Andy says:

    I’m sorry Anonymous (real brave of you to level such allegations anonymously). There was a bit of a mix up with Deborah. I thought we were getting the Kill City Blues gig pics, she thought we were after generic Taxi Violence pics.Either way, the images are good. Most NB, we’ve never fucked over any photographers. If you’ve got beef, bring it to my inbox.

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  11. LukeSkyCrawler says:

    Andy the bouncer ….

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  12. Andy says:

    I do my bit… and I’ve got a red puffy jacket

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  13. Nathan Casey says:

    @Wolf Smokebox: Sorry ’bout that. Last minute info over a bad phone line 🙁 Everything I could find about Smokebox said they were American – from LA. I think – but my bad. Apologies.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    This article is not really about the gig, is it?
    No real review, no real photos… Shame, for it was a really cool evening.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    “So,” I ask, “is groupie sex, better than normal sex?”
    “It’s good,” says Rian,“but then I don’t really have anything to compare it with at the moment. I’ve forgotten what normal sex is like.”
    “It’s good as long as they don’t turn on you,” agrees George. “These people want a piece of the limelight. What they don’t know is when they wake up in your flat… it’s shit. Oh, he’s a normal guy. Shit.”

    Wow. Great gig review.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    One of the nicest fluff pieces I’ve read in a while. Congrats Nathan.

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  17. bitches says:

    @ Peter
    Your a fucking idiot smoke a joint and relax homo!

    rad review! random photos, but still epic shots..

    it was a awesome night you guys rocked

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  18. Wolf Smokebox says:

    @Nathan: No prob dude, you are invited to check us out on either Facebook or Myspace if you missed all seven shows we played in the CT Area in December 2010 ;-))

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  19. Nathan Casey says:

    @Wolf Smokebox: Will do – was visiting fiancee’s parents in cold, wet, snowy England in December so… but off to MySpace now 🙂

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Lol this Nathan character loves sucking that ole cock. He’s just guzzling.
    ‘Was visiting fiances parents in cold wet england! He doesn’t give a fuck about your holiday memories, he gives a fuck about your poor internet / life / journo skills that have misrepresented his creative output.

    And, also: Apparently not paying photographers, ever, even after asking for invoices etc doesn’t count as fucking them over. Interesting.
    PS: I’m not a mahala photographer, just friends with one. But these kinds of actions really bring the name down, dont you think? burning bridges! tut tut. I know at least a few people have been left with a sour taste in their mouth.

    And I dont just mean from this ‘article’ / Facebook ‘About’ page writeup.

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  21. Wolf Smokebox says:

    @anonymous:
    I don`t give a fuck if anyone I`ve never met gives a fuck about my resp our holiday memories, because they are mine / ours and the ones of all the people we met on our trip. I don`t even give a fuck that you call our lifes poor because we probably have never met you. I think that it is much poorer turning someone else down for something he did on a personal level. And not even have the guts to identify yourself. But this is much easier than doing something constructive yourself, right? My only intention was to correct the mistakes in the article related to my band. Not more, not less.
    Cheers from Germany

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Wolf, the comment wasn’t directed at you, this guy was talking about Nathan, the guy who wrote the article, getting your facts wrong and then telling you about his holiday.

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