Secret Chiefsby Devon Straticzuk, images by Tom Revington / 11.03.2011
It’s Saturday night, a few lady friends and I are at Town Hall in Newtown. Dance, You’re on Fire are playing and that’s pretty much all you need to know. It’s their album launch, we head for the bar. A lady DJ is getting people, all hip and luminous, up and dancing. A guy with big muscles and a purple tank top is hitting on everyone. I feel under-dressed. After a nice chat with an old shaggy haired friend, the lights dim, and Dance, You’re on Fire start.
They kick off with “Little War” an extremely catchy, lively song and the Hall is almost instantly too hot to handle. The band rips through a series of tight energetic numbers and you can’t help but dance. The set flows. Technically they’re quite brilliant, a unit with a big aggressive drum sound. No rest for the crowd, leaving me wishing I had been hit in the face by one of the free T-Shirts.
Dance, You’re on Fire aren’t exactly pushing any boundaries by way of experimental sound or ambitious lyrical content. Their music is laced with sonic nods to bands like Coheed and Cambria, Panic! at the Disco and The Used. I detect similarities between Tom Manners’ vocals from Dance and Brendan Urie’s from Panic!. But they’re good, a good band, and I love Coheed and Cambria. So does Tom as it turns out when I ask him after. I’m not complaining. They can even be an excellent band in songs like “Blockade” and “Killing Time”. I almost jump out of my pants at how well they play “Oh, Love” tonight. The lead guitar and solo bits make me smile like a kid in love for the first time.
Dance, You’re on Fire may not have a unique sound globally, but here in South Africa they offer something different enough from many other (more successful) bands. I guess you can say they’ve owned their theft, and for that I have nothing but praise.
After Dance finished up the girls and I, and what looks like the whole club, gather outside for a bit of fresh air. “Oh look! A pretty girl,” I say like I’m surprised. My very drunk friend and I laugh too loud and we both earn the stink eye from her, like she literally wanted us to self-combust.
Back inside, Double Adaptor are about to start up. What happens is two guys stand behind laptops playing hardcore electro while people break into dancing fits like seizures. I don’t get it at all but I’m drunk and I’m having fun. And so is the horny giant in the tank top from earlier. In fact he’s now up on stage and nobody is big enough to stop him.
The rest of the night goes by like cigarette smoke, bright lights and bass wobble, and I think I owe someone R100 for the Dance, You’re on Fire CD. It’s called Secret Chiefs, and is excellent in places It’s out now, and you should buy it. Sorry Germany, Switzerland and Austria – you’ll have to wait until June.
*Images © Tom Revington.