Tonight We Got It Rightby Andrew Kauffman, images Adriaan Louw / 02.02.2011
It’s half ten and I’m at Hello Sailor in Obs. The decor is understated but attractive, as are the androgynous bleach blonde bar wenches in their unofficial uniform of acid washed skinnies and vests. The menu looks good but none of my trendy gutter trash friends are eating. They seem content to get liquored and take MySpace-style-self-shot pics every 20 seconds.
Proof that they are popular. Proof that they have fun. But I can’t help notice how their practised smiles retreat as the camera flash does.
Soon I grow tired of not being able to smoke inside the restaurant (or drink outside!) and I make the mission to The Assembly.
I must be honest here, Assembly is a good club, in terms of architecture but the people drive me fucking mental. Small shorts don’t mean you are cooler than anyone else. Wearing a button up shirt as a sarong does not make you a fashion icon. Clear lens sunglasses do not give you unique insight into the waning universe.
But praise be to Allah, Satan and Mickey Rourke! Tonight’s crowd consists mainly of Durbanites and members of other bands. Walking up the stairs into the antechamber I’m greeted by happy, drunk faces that look ready to party. I have a good feeling about tonight.
Unfortunately my stint at hello sailor caused me to miss the first bands, but fortunately it also meant I missed most of LA.VIE’s set. A soulless blend of tight “ting ting” style beatpop that although well rehearsed and performed, is quite possibly the most boring live show I’ve seen in years. It’s like watching a shitty music video, there is no rapport between the crowd and artists. No feeling.
I need a drink.
While waiting for the City Bowl Mizers to set up, I wander around and look at the various cliques overlapping at the bar. While everyone is entitled to their beliefs, be it fashion or religion, the sad fact is that a few cunts are present tonight. A 7ft jock in a white billabong shirt is grinding with his 5ft buddy; they are so drunk that they look like they are permanently dancing, feet searching for stability. Another fuckstain wearing glasses smothered with flashing neon LED lights wanders around without respite. I think he expected it to be a superb conversation starter but everyone just thinks he’s retarded.
At around 12pm the Mizers take the stage. At first the audience is divided into 10 or so different faction: indie kids, ska kids, jocks, townies, drunks and on and on, but by the second song everyone has bled into everyone else. We have become a crowd.
I’ve seen the Mizers play quite a few times over the years, both good and bad shows but something is different tonight. I catch Marty Mizer’s eye and he gives me a demon wolf smile, he keeps talking to the crowd, thanking them for coming, telling him he loves them and then suddenly they launch into the next song with the energy of a crusty punk band. IT’S SO LOUD! My vision is blurring. A fight breaks out in the right corner between an indie and a jock but Marty defuses it with a few words never missing a lyric. Distorted 50’s rock n roll guitar soaks the entire room, ultra tight drums and bass keep everything on track despite the bad sound engineering. Marty belts out lines, moving all the time, his Fonzie hair dripping with sweat, his shirt dropping button by button as the heat generated by the crowds easy friction reaches an all time high.
The set builds and builds, getting faster and more intense by the song, breakdowns and pauses keeping it fresh and unexpected.
“Clap your hands! You’re adding to the music. It’s nothing without you!” Marty shouts into the crowd who are now no longer human. Beautiful deers dance in floral, bears bounce in their plaid shirts, fragile skinny necked birds nod along.
The point of this article is not to review a band or club, but a review of us – for without us there would be no live music, no clubs, no culture.
Tonight we got it right.
*All images © Adriaan Louw / The Assembly.