Gig report: Live rock shows at The Irish in Joburg experience a ‘Rebirth’ thanks to Boogy Central, Nov 25
blunt music correspondent Murf empties the ashtray and takes a gander at the first of the new ‘It’s My Children’ alternative rock live shows at The Irish in Joburg, which have taken over from the Uncle Mother’s shows – kind of.
Interview by blunt mag. Photos by Werner Jordaan.
Usually when parties with a certain vibe have changed ownership and continued under a new name and organiser, there have been… issues. Something about Fred Durst headlining Woodstock ‘99 dressed like a particularly Y2K toddler didn’t have quite the same effect as Robert Plant crooning into the moon like a woodland nymph at the festival under the same name 30 years earlier.
Imagine we all got a ‘Koppi again, but it was under the patronage of the dudes who run Billy the Bums? Sometimes, things aren’t going to be the same, no matter how hard we desperately want them to be. As a joller, I know we can be averse to change, but it’s as necessary as emptying out the ashtray.
“The set of forecasted gigs picks up where the ‘Uncle Mothers’ shows left off – kind of. But this party is being specifically marketed as NOT Uncle Mothers, which was a bit of a stalwart of burgeoning punk rock and alternative music energy in Johannesburg for the past few years.”
That’s the angle that the Boogy Central Guys took with their ‘Rebirth’ show, starting off their series of alternative jols at The Irish in Linden on the 25th of November this month, under the name ‘It’s My Children’. The set of forecasted gigs picks up where the ‘Uncle Mothers’ shows left off – kind of.
The same venue, the same format, the same crowd, but cleverly handled. But this party is being specifically marketed as NOT Uncle Mothers, which was a bit of a stalwart of burgeoning punk rock and alternative music energy in Johannesburg for the past few years. By throwing another show in a space so consistently associated with a specific brand, it was a clever move to purposefully choose a message of “we know this rocked, it’s different now, and let’s start fresh.”
So they called the party ‘Rebirth’ and put a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Uncle Mothers’ promoter in the It’s My Children logo (if you’ve met Klaas, that’s him, unmistakably staring at you from inside the poster, imploring you to squeak a little takkie) which I think was a ballsy goodbye.
The event itself followed much of the same format that the Joburg crowd has become accustomed to from the Linden venue, but with the familiar faces of Werner and Jethro from the Tazers and Finn from Caution Boy and Super Loser manning the wheel at the door. The Uber drive we know, the flickering light of sports club fluorescents, and bands lined up to get chugging along to mosh-city the moment they were given the signal.
The vibe was different, though, which most certainly had something to do with the diverse lineup. Joburg up-and-comers, Sugar Dip, were on the bill with KZN band Hawema, and Soweto juggernauts, Shameless. A varied, interesting lineup that brought a varied, interesting crowd.
“I can assert that Sugar Dip have undeniably improved their gig-fitness. As an appetizer to some heavier outfits, they packed the dance floor and had us loose, groovy, and bouncing to some riffs that I could have easily flailed to for at least seven more minutes per bar.”
Sugar Dip started up the show, bringing along a unique approach to a three-piece without a bassist, and a vocalist slinging it behind the drum kit. One would anticipate the sound coming out of this outfit to feel a little more “band-that-we-all-know-that-sings-about-Pretoria-Girls-and-owns-cafes,” but their sensibility is a little less M-Net Prime Time interlude and a little more “these are 3 of Ramona Flowers’ exes from Scott Pilgrim vs the World.”
Having seen their first show, I can assert that Sugar Dip have undeniably improved their gig-fitness, too. As an appetizer to some heavier outfits, they packed the dance floor and had us loose, groovy, and bouncing to some riffs that I – as an ardent prog rock guy – could have easily flailed to for at least seven more minutes per bar.
Next up were the Durban band, Hawema. As a woman who says “hawwweeeeh mase kinnes” far too often for someone to whom Afrikaans is comprehensively equivalent to Ancient Mayan, their name was an immediate point of excitement for me. Beyond that, I knew nothing about them whatsoever. I went in very blind, with no idea what to expect.
Their opening song, with heavy nu-metal vocal and performance referentiality, against a funk rock groove, was unexpected. The jazz/hip hop/Asian fusion that followed took me by further surprise and lent itself to a dance floor experience in which friends were easy to make, and I whipped a couple of moves from the roster that I didn’t anticipate my arms were going to do.
“If you’re wondering why almost every blunt show review I write has a Shameless paragraph, it’s because they’re literally everywhere, all the time. I’d warrant that if you got dragged to watch your Grade 2 cousin’s school play rendition of Oliver Twist somewhere in Roosevelt Park, these ous would be playing the after-party.”
The second half of their set got instrumentally harder, a considered warm up for what was to come. This is a band I want to watch again, with a greater understanding of their sound, to fully get a handle on what vibe to approach them with. The difference between Jozi and Durban sounds has always been marked, and these guys play songs you want to have a beer on the beach with, but still wearing your Doc Martens.
Last up was Shameless. If you’re wondering why almost every blunt show review I write has a Shameless paragraph, it’s because they’re literally everywhere, all the time. I’d warrant that if you got dragged to watch your Grade 2 cousin’s school play rendition of Oliver Twist somewhere in Roosevelt Park, these ous would be playing the after-party.
I could go on endlessly about their thrash-meets-punk ability to make any crowd feel like jolmageddon, but given statistics, you’re going to see it yourself within the next two months if you leave your house at all. And you most certainly should leave your house for this.
I’m still not sick of watching them, and honestly, I don’t predict that I ever will be. I do have to commend them on their marathon gig run this year, too. It seems like they have no plans on slowing down either, with a full calendar planned until we slam straight into 2023. Shameless is Shameless. Shameless slaps. Watch them.
Did Rebirth by Boogy Central feel like an Uncle Mothers gig? Kinda. Was it its own thing? Definitely. I think we’re going to inevitably hold associations with spaces, especially live music spaces, until those meanings get rewritten by new memories. A solid commitment to that rewrite, paired with a crew of promoters we already know are making waves in the local community and abroad alike, seems like the perfect recipe for rebaking a new flavour of lekker into an established spot.
The live music community will always be grateful for a close-by, well-engineered showcase of the bands we want to see, but where this whole thing evolves is up to the line-up choices that we see in the new year. I’ll be there to check them out. Come say hi. And buy me a beer – I’m at too many of these.
If you were at the gig, then maybe you got papped by Leon in the gallery below:
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