Sesling: Southern Thingby Brett Allen White / 12.12.2009
Brett Allen White guest writes for us. (What? you don’t know who Brett Allen White is?) He is the bassist and backing vocalist of punk rock revival band A B Turbo and is also in the habit of spiking straight edger’s drinks.
Google Earth is wonderful. It has fast become one of my favourite on-line procrastination tools, along with Burning Angel, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger. Lately I’ve been spending lots of time checking out the American South, also known as the South, or Dixie. It is an area that I find fascinating… the strange food, the mixture of cultures, the music, they’ve all been stewed together in a big pot of super-bad ass, and produced some of the best bands in rock and roll music to date… think heavier acts like Pantera, Norma Jean, He is Legend and the genre of music known as the blues.
A “Southern sound” refers to the groove based, bluesy riffs and dirty, drawled out vocals. Imagine Matthew McConaughey in a plaid shirt, tight denim cut offs and a straw hat, rolling around on stage screaming his heart out while a bunch of bearded weirdos jam it out, throwing their bodies and instruments this way and that. That’s Southern hardcore.
I like to think that South Africa is more southern than the South though. Quote me on that, forum kids, I’d love it.
Sesling are a rock and roll band from Pretoria with a whole lot of southern in their sound.
Guitarist and vocalist Werner Olckers, who performs as a hibernating bear in Wrestlerish, and a frenzied grizzly in Sesling, told me they chose the name because there are six members. I think that’s absolute nonsense, and there is a powerful, mysterious secret behind it, and he’s just messing with me.
Drummer Willem Sohnge, who was in the band Chaos Theory, has the mightiest Elvis sideburns I have ever seen in my life. I can’t even remember how he played, because I was mesmerized by the meaty beasts that live on his cheeks. Nah, I’m kidding, he’s a great drummer. But those sideburns… hot damn…
The band is fronted by vocalist and talented graphic artist Andre Pereira. I had the privilege of spending New Years in Amanzimtoti, KZN, with both Werner and Andre. Despite the rain, things were going well until some jarhead mistook Andre for Francois van Coke and wanted to cause trouble with us because Fokofpolisiekar is “evil” or some absolute nonsense, but Andre just laughed and walked off in search of more whiskey. That’s his style. His beard is known to attract bees.
Guitarist Tjaart Swanepoel has an Every Time I Die shirt, and I’d like very much for him to give it to me. Tjaart is a quiet dude, and comes across as quite serious until you’ve taken him to your local dive and fed him a couple of Jagermeister’s, then he’s like an amazing dancing bear. He’s also the only man I know who could beat Werner in an argument.
On bass guitar is the talented Dawie Bornman. Skills aside, of which he was plenty, this guy has one of the best on stage attitudes and performance styles I’ve seen in a South African band. Leg in the air, flailing his bass for all it’s worth, hanging from rafters… he’s someone to keep an eye out for when Sesling are performing live.
Sesling arrived sometime during the week, but because I was doing an internship, I wasn’t able to fetch them. Instead we met up on Thurs at Zula Bar on Long Street where we had delicious Black Label draughts, and Tjaart taught me weird Afrikaans words for cigarettes and lighters. We then proceeded to our local, had too much to drink, danced to, “He is Legend”, watched Andre argue with a boerwors salesman, and went home.
I can’t remember work the next morning too well, because I felt like I’d been dragged through someones beard, but afterwards I went home and had an epic power nap. I met up with the dudes later on in town where we chilled out at Kill City Blues, then went on to the Shack for some beers to, A) cure our hangovers and B) cure our hangovers, before their gig at Mercury with Yes Sir! Mister Machine and Enmity.
The gig went down well, with Sesling opening for some reason, although the sound wasn’t up to scratch. This isn’t the sound engineers fault, I know for a fact Ian is a great sound man, as he’s done my own bands before, and is well known for his talents, I think it was more of an equipment issue, but regardless, Sesling blew up on stage, and got most of us doing the “Cape Town mosh” (arms crossed, head bobbing, foot tapping…) within the first two songs. Then I ran around like a bronco and we got a little square dance going, which was rad.
Saturday was hot. Very hot. I ended up at a friends birthday celebration at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek, where I got too much sun and drank Sprite, because it’s a long drive and I’m good. From Noordhoek my heterosexual life partner Dylan and I drove through to Table View to meet up with Sesling again and to watch their show at Stones with New Altum, Day Turns Night and… um… I think Betray the Emissary were meant to do the show, but their bassist was quite sick so they had to bail. I was quite bummed, because Betray the Emissary are one of, if not the, best metal bands in the country. The gig was great, Sesling had an amazing presence, and got an awesome crowd response, but once again the sound wasn’t that great. And once again, I think it is an equipment problem, as I’ve worked with their sound engineer too, and he’s done a good job before.
Afterwards Andre had over-heated, so we took him outside to lay down on the cold tiles, and a charming young man with a quart bottle walked past shouting about “poes this” and “poes that” while some attractive young ladies laughed and smiled at how amazing he was. That sums up Table View for me. We went to some weird bar that played trance, it wasn’t rad. We went home.
All in all, Sesling are a great band, and will be head-lining heavier festivals like Ramfest in no time. This article would be better if I could remember the mini-tour with a more sober mind.
All pics © and courtesy welovepictures.