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Waiting for Something Bad to Happen

Waiting for Something Bad to Happen

by Daniel Gallan / 07.02.2013

I remember reading a review of the Kings of Leon concert last year on this very website, and feeling so kak after reading it. It wasn’t so much of what it said but what, in my opinion, it failed to say. The review was negative. It labelled the band and the fans as sell outs, all from the perspective of a private box at the back of the stadium, seated above the thousands of plebs, but that’s OK. Everyone has a right to their opinion and can think a band sucks or a show wasn’t quite there. I personally know someone who thinks that Pink Floyd are terrible. And despite me disagreeing, its OK. Which brings us to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

People have opinions. But what made me feel down about that KOL article, instead of saying how amazing the band was (which they were) and how rocking the gig was (which it was), the article chose to focus on perceived negatives and simply left the reader feeling down. In a way, all the article seemed to do was bitch. And all we seem to do is bitch and here’s my point, when it comes to live music there are surely so many better things to do than bitch.

I recently marvelled at the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Joburg and left the experience, dumbfounded, in awe. Obviously the band was amazing, the Peppers are one of the greatest bands this planet has produced (yes they are you whiney hipster).


But that wasn’t it. I was overwhelmed by the occasion. I was breathless and not just because I was belting out every lyric and jamming like a Southern Baptist on a Sunday. I was simply overwhelmed. My friend going bos next to me asked on more than one occasion if I was alright. I must have looked like a space cadet. I wasn’t. It was sheer elation. Pure ecstasy. Bliss.
I love live music. It is what gets me going. It is my drug (sometimes augmented by other drugs) but live music is the one that I simply cannot get enough of.

I love seeing a musician actually play music. I love watching the crowd respond. Obviously some gigs are better than others. Saturday morning at the Waterfront is not the same as RHCP at Soccer City. An intimate evening in a small venue with an on-fire Tom Waits cannot be compared to Haezer at the Assembly.

But I digress. At Soccer City I interrupted a couple making out when the lights were on for a bit. I yelled, “turn around! Look at the stands! Look how much we rock!” They did and they agreed.

So whenever I read a review bitching about a live music, or scroll through another cynical, clichéd tweet or facebook update expressing somebody’s underwhelm at a live music event, it makes me cringe.

My journalism professor at Wits told me that journalism does not consist of “waxing lyrical about a festival or gig,” but rather consists of seeing the world through a critical eye. Well I say we have enough critics and to what point a lot of the criticism? We have an abundance of people in this country sitting on these forums complaining, bitching and moaning. And it’s like we’re all just sitting around waiting for something bad to happen. Waiting for our expectations to be met. For the lead singer to lose his voice, for the drummer to lose his rhythm or for the sound guys to make an ass of things. For it to be kak.

I say let’s hear it for the optimists and the romantics. Sing louder and shout further because, I don’t know about you, but this moaning for no reason beyond the global first world meme of disastisfied, is getting a bit much and meanwhile music is pretty fucken sick.


*All images pilfered from Big Concerts’ Instagram.

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  1. Siya says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I really don’t get what people were complaining about with this concert: tickets this, turnstiles that, Die Antwoord sucked (which they didn’t). I thought the RHCP in Jozi were phenomenal. I had been waiting almost 7 months for them to get since buying my ticket and I wasn’t disappointed. I rocked out with my socks out and everyone around me seemed to enjoy it.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic article. Very refreshing considering most of Mahala’s writers and contributers are preoccupied by writing up ‘reviews’ of live shows of both local and international acts with the sole intention of giving them a good ol’ bashing. While this would be fine if any balance of facts and perhaps positive and negative opinion were given, which is a charactaristic of good journalism, instead it is the “I’ll define for you what is cool/hip or not” default attitude that is chosen. What a shame.

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  3. Marius says:

    Dude, you are spot on! I felt exactly the same about the RHCP Cape Town show. My mouth was hanging open every moment. Part of me wanted to run around and jump and scream in order to show my emotion and appreciation, but I couldn’t. I was just so happy and amazed to watch those guys perform.

    As for the critics. Thats what they are. I prefer commentators. People that can relay what is happening to the masses and not just focus on the couple who the music was lost on. If thats what they want to be remembered for, thats their loss. Controversy sells and makes “people” think they are thought-provoking for spotting it when everyone else was too happy to notice? No thanks. Bring on some more live music.

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  4. Nikita says:

    Dude, You are so right. It was probably the same lecturer who told me the same thing in the same way and I said the same thing. Screw you. I will write about it when I feel the music tingling my freaking toes.

    I get colleagues looking at me like I’m nuts when I say something sounds good. “That’s not journalism. You sound like such a fan girl.”

    What do I say?

    Fuck you. Listen to the music.

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  5. luke says:

    i gave up after “(yes they are you whiney hipster)”.

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  6. luke says:

    but before that i laughed really hard at ‘the Peppers (um) are one of the greatest bands this planet has produced ‘. thanks for the laughs i guess.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh wow. Luke has made a substantial contribution. Luke is a troll.

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  8. Trev says:

    Red Hot Chili Peppers were amazing!

    Most of the criticism about the JHB show that I read online (and personally experienced) was directed at Big Concerts’ organisation of the show.

    I’m not going to go on a rant, but I will say there were many aspects regarding the organisation of the event that could have been done better to make the experience safe and fun for a lot more people.

    Any-hoo! I’m still on a Chili Peppers high, so whoo-hoo!!

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  9. howardunruh says:

    jesus what puerile bullshit this used to be roger young’ s house…so sad

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  10. Mark says:

    i definately agree with daniel. he seems to be a true fan of music! and a true fan of live music which is actually played on instruments by gifted individuals who rock millions of socks!! too many people look to critisise! it is easy for people i guess!
    3 thumbs up bro, nicely put. lets be positive, smile and rock!!! booooom

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  11. Anonymous says:

    hey luke go back to your litle corner no one cares about

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  12. WTF says:

    Here here! More please.

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  13. ... says:

    whining about whining and “negativity” is the bastion of idiots.

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  14. cnut says:

    Without a doubt since the droney Californication… they’ve earned the title of world’s most boring band…

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  15. Anonymous says:

    What a useless review. Fanboys are fanboys? I didn’t need a whole article to realise that.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Great article, South Africans across the board are so busy being stuck in a rut of complaining about all and sundry the can’t seem to give credit or actually enjoy something for what it’s worth…there’s always…ja, it was ok or ag ja.This underwhelment is actually quite sickening.I think we need to take a good look and ourselves and our attitudes and look on the bright side(even for a minute) for a change!

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  17. Sol says:

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