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City Bowl Mizers

Tonight We Got It Right

by 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.

Dustland Express

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.

LA.VIE

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.

City Bowl Mizers

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.

City Bowl Mizers

“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.

Kabouters

City Bowl Mizers at the Assembly

City Bowl Mizers at the Assembly

*All images © Adriaan Louw / The Assembly.

16   4
RESPONSES (35)
  1. Anonymous says:

    triple cheese roti.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    with some sloppy chips

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  3. Anonymous says:

    but not too much claret

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  4. D says:

    Mizers are the heat

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  5. fdr says:

    i feel reviewed in a good way. top writing.

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  6. wank says:

    more mahala wank of what was otherwise an awesome night – big up Assembly!

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  7. RickyDee says:

    Hello Sailor is the bomb.

    Disco fries!

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  8. Mr Chang says:

    Debauchery. Sick article! Great pics!

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  9. Wank Buster says:

    Wank – reread the piece until you understand. We’ll wait for you. Moron.

    What’s wrong with saying that the Assembly crowd is fashion obsessed and vacuous. That’s an opinion. Deal with it. Your knee-jerk reaction just paints you as one of the “fashion icons” dissed in this piece.

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  10. wank says:

    Wankbuster – the way you go on comes off as someone who wishes they could be part of something but never gets invited.

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  11. will says:

    wank wank wank through your lensless glasses, wank.

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  12. fdr says:

    Classy thread so far.

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  13. Barry Bonds says:

    Wank’s a poes

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  14. fobias tunke says:

    Mahala relies on hipsters as much as it dislikes them – what other signifiers would it have to rip-off everytime it’s out gig-going? The thing is, I hate vacuous, pretentious, oddly-dressed hipster morons as much as the next discerning person, but: this zine totally needs to evolve ideas now. Every gig review turns out to be exactly the same thing:

    – some terribly postmodern attempt to capture music in words, which leads to Roger Young making up words like “daydreamysqueltches” (in his Frown review)
    – a little gonzo narration, with the narrator usually looking to score drink, or being already in a state of irreparable drunkenness, in Roger’s case.
    – snide remarks cataloguing a new list of indie clothes on display (“acid washed skinnies and vests” etc.)
    – a few comments on what types of subcultures are on parade, and or the odd anecdote on how they’re self-caricaturing or making idiots out of themselves.

    Gig journalism generally was always destined to be bullshit. I mean, we’re talking about a genre of writing here that wants to try and explain music – music! that passionately sensory activity that language is never comprehensive enough to describe – and why it was good or bad (just subjective evaluations then, largely). It’s like an after-the-fact attempt to tell you what you didn’t hear and it’s awfully prescriptive. Really bizarre, actually.

    So how can the writing be improved, slightly? Try and figure the gigs into some broader cultural statement. What you saw, what you heard, what you think – as much as that might seem the point of gig journalism, it kind of isn’t really worth a shit.

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  15. Roger Young says:

    @Fobias. Try not to take this the wrong way but it seems you have the time, energy and vision to start your own site. It would be a vastly different site to this one.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    @ Fobias.

    Clearly you didn’t read this part of the article.

    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.

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  17. fobias tunke says:

    @ Anonymous
    I was making a more general point.

    @Roger
    Just trying to stimulate debate here. I’m only using this site as a locus to approach issues like cultural critique, music, art etc. I think the site is great in that its format is perfect to hold debates – first there’s provocation in the article (and there usually is provocation on this site), then there’s debate in the threads. But this chance for constructive debate is usually wasted. This isn’t a ‘magazine’ in the traditional sense we understand it. It’s more like a forum. No one appears to treat the writers with any measure of authority. And certainly no one treats the posters that way either.

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  18. Max says:

    Kaufmann keeps the horse riding. Me likes this a lot.

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  19. Boytch says:

    I think the review was good, and the pictures are amazing. It was a rad night either way and I had fun. If any of you managed to get your photo taken by the Kabouter crew then you should go tag yourself in the picture on facebook. Thats if you keen to win won of those rad LUMO light up shirts. “www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=50891&id=116887501673626&ref=mf”

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  20. shittybowelmovements says:

    Shot dawg, it was a rad night.

    Assembly is mega-cool.

    And thanks for the pics, Adriaan – always mad steezy.

    word
    cbm

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  21. Roger Young says:

    @fobias. I get and agree with every word you say in your last post.

    But I also think that not every gig can be put in the broader social context, when you do that pretty soon all the social context is written out and you end up forcing it. Sometimes a gig is just a gig.

    The Mahala ethos IS personal journalism, provocation and debate. But there is no perfect ratio, no perfect formula. A lot of people on this site are new writers, there isn’t really a tradition of this kind of writing in this country, so we are all learning as we go. And one of the places we’re learning from is the comment boards, even if the lesson is the opposite of what the commentors are sometimes telling us.

    PS: “daydreamysqueltches” was meant to be two words; fucking editors.

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  22. Brett says:

    We all ate around 8pm. You must have arrived late. Come over and I’ll make you a sandwich.

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  23. fobias tunke says:

    @ Roger

    Fair enough. But then let’s talk about gig journalism which figures prominently on the site. What in your opinion, is the purpose of gig journalism? when you’re out reviewing/experiencing a gig, as a ‘journalist’, what is your aim? and also, what do you think a reader hopes to get from reading a writeup of a gig. (anyone can answer that latter question)

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  24. andrew says:

    i leave journalism to the pro’s and those with the rare ability to make fact seem interesting.

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  25. Roger Young says:

    @fobias

    Describing music is impossible, so we try to descibe how the music makes us feel. Second to that is how everything looked, what people did on the night; the band, the crowd, the venue, y’know.

    What is the aim of this? To let people know that shit be going on. Sometimes it becomes bigger than that and a social context is neccesary. But seldom.

    (apologies for state of this comment. got fucked up at kitcheners last night)

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  26. Icedoctor says:

    Great article..well written!

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  27. Ts'eliso says:

    “Tonight we got it right.” …

    I couldn’t ask for a better ending. Dope article!

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  28. dudie says:

    @ Roger
    “But I also think that not every gig can be put in the broader social context”.

    So what’s a gig if it can’t be put into a broader social context – isn’t it all about society to begin with? Fashion, drink, money is all about society, no two ways about it. Everything is interconnected in this world, don’t you think? A reviewer needs to have it all – he needs to paint the picture so that when we look back 30 years later we can say, ‘oh yeah, that was around the time of so and so. It must always get deeper and try tell us why this particular event is liked and frequented. What’s the reason, I want to know! Explain to me in a catchy way why this is going on right now – is it the sound, is it the political atmosphere, or maybe the drugs – whatever. A review cannot be about pointing out specific individuals and saying: “this guys sucks ‘cos he was drunk and he was 7 foot and he wore a billabong shirt and so he sucks.” That doesn’t make for a review but for a bitch-session with no intention to enlighten us readers. I don’t know, it’s really cool to talk about the sights and sounds, but you need to evolve and idea into something original – a critique … Otherwise, like Fobias said, gig journalism really is destined for failure – I mean, I don’t really want to hear about how LOUD it was – it usually is, it goes without saying.

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  29. Roger Young says:

    @dudie

    I agree with you entirely. BUT. I don’t think you can do it with every review. Because things don’t change that fast and there will be a lot of repetition. If you read the Greil Marcus books you’ll get everything you want but if you read the early reviews that he used to churn out, it’s mostly descriptors. Every so often you can sum up all these things in a bigger review, something that itself encapsulates the social context the writer wants to discuss.

    Also pointing out particular people describes the type of person that was there, this is actually doing everything you seem to be demanding.

    As to gig journalism destined for failure? Uh, no.

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  30. andrew says:

    @fobias/ dudie ; I think you guys might have missed the point. by a goodly distance.

    What is it that you actually expect from a review? cos as far as my uneducated mind can tell- its all there. The venue, the band, the people and the result.

    I mean really? if you want a boring fucking unoriginal review then can i suggest FHM?

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  31. Sean says:

    “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.””- fucking hilarious stuff!

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  32. muerte says:

    “sometimes…a social context is necessary” – roger young

    And other times presumably it’s yet more of the kind of self-referring gumph that excites young women new enough to nightlife to take you seriously. You have the stultifying habit of slopping all over other music writer’s work in the comment threads to mostly no avail. Basta!

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  33. Roger Young says:

    Fuck you @muerte or rather Brandon Edmonds.

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  34. Icedoctor says:

    ITS GETTING HOT IN HERE!!!

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  35. marty says:

    lets take of all our clothes!!!!

    😀

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