Who’s that Girl?by Max Barashenkov, images by Luke Daniel / 13.07.2010
There is a girl. She is dancing and I think I love her, even though we’ll never meet. Like a sunset courting the shore she moves and smiles with a flick of a hip. She smells highly poetic and slightly demonic and looking at her you see a future you were too scared to imagine. The prettiest girl in the club, she knows – her laughter cascading in beach-tinged chords – yet always, just a memory for all the boys to take home. She beckons with fiery lips and the promise of reckless rapture ‘tween her hips… then the mescaline recedes, the vibrations drop and I realize that she is not a girl at all. She’s a five-piece band from Durban.
The recognition is horrid, an abrupt end to a smitten trance, yet the feelings for her don’t go away even if she is now sweaty, swinging surfabilly guitars and sprouting shit at the audience in Spanish. That’s a lot of ‘s’ to get through, but the City Bowl Mizers are drunk and play with the ferocity of a sloppy 4am fuck – they couldn’t give a damn about awkward alliteration. The crowd is in vicious celebration of the Spaniard’s rape of the Fritz and Martin Mizer’s Argentinian roots go down to an appreciative ole-ole roar. The fact that they are no where near as tight as on the record is easily eclipsed by the sheer energy of the performance and the unexplainable Durban vibe that turns the Zula Bar dance floor into a 60s drug-boogie flashback. Guitarist Kurt Pienke looks over the madness and announces, “I was at this very club last night and I pissed my pants partying here. Literally, by the time I made it to the bathroom, all I could do was shake off.” After that kind of intimacy, the band launch into their singles and the panties drop.
The City Bowl Mizers, perhaps due to their good looks or to their infectious sound, draw the sexiest crowd in Cape Town every time they visit our neck of the woods. Their music is alive and lures rare specimens out into the night while the unashamed punk rock ethic makes you want to make sweet sex to the hot strangers next to you. Later, through a Black Label haze, bassman Alistair Heath sums up the City Bowl sound and its effect on women, “We are Justin Bieber’s vomit in the gutter.” Somehow this tongue-in-cheek admittance lends credibility to the music. One thing has to be said about the City Bowl Mizers is that, despite their relative success and exposure, they haven’t let the rockstar attitude creep in – you know there is much more love for the music here than bitches and cash.
Earlier in the night, just after my hopes of shaving a Hitler mustache for a Germany vs. Holland final were dashed, a little-know band take the stage as warm up for the Mizer circus to follow. The first song leaves me with a sour aftertaste and I’m about to give up on Kabouter, their shitty name and their digested sound, but Matty Reardon, the second Mizer axeman, takes me by the hand, makes me watch the rest of the set and whispers praises in my ear.
Admittedly, Kabouter are playing only their second gig, but already there is enough uncut charisma about the vocalist and enough songwriting mastery to prevent any real harsh words to be said. Still, they fail to provide anything we haven’t heard before, suffering from the South African syndrome of emulating American and English bands. Matty says they will be the best band in Cape Town in a couple of months and I don’t know if I should believe him.
The next morning, Matty and Alistair are drinking paint-flavoured shooters, talking about cum-shots and trying to figure out how to get laid in the two hours they have before their flight back to Durban. I’m still thinking about that girl.
All images © Luke Daniel.