Monday, March 15, 2010


Im sweating balls and holding on to my camera for dear life, girls clad only in bra's hold me up as I try to keep my balance in the front of the stage amidst
broken glass and dancing feet. Thats alot to say for a girl. The unassuming takeaway downstairs is closed, but the door bangs like theres some kind of
haunting in the building, actually its the motion of the people getting down upstairs at the sportsbar that REd FIve POINT STAR are playing at tonight. Its
bouncing energy.Grahamstown finds me disappearing into the student crowd, my age worn on the tshirt which I refuse to remove regardless of the incessant heat
that the air conditioner just doesnt do any justice to, the place is packed with smiles and good times which I am fortunate enough to bear witness to. As the
last song plays into fruition, "walking on sunshine", it amazes me that this 80's cover is loved and remembered by a generation that has an average birth
year of 1990, some songs, even pop songs, remain timeless and have their place. I am also reminded that there is no age limit to having a good time. The
first time I get to see guys signing boobs. a first for them too as they did it happily and vowed that Grahamstown is the Mecca of South Africa.

It's been a highlight for me to be touring with Red FIve Point Star, on a second tour to South Africa with double the travel time and double the venues, the
first gig also a student town, Potchefstroom. Although it is said that the 'alternate' scene is very small in this town, these alternate kids know where to
go when theres a good time to be had the 'alternate' way. Once again I'm surprised at this statement,Desond and the Tutus open and I see all kinds of kids
at the show, the only common demoniminator is that everyone wants to party, RFPS is definitely a party band, so what if some of the songs are sung in
Slovenian, with a good looking horn section and a bass player in boxers theres enough eye and ear candy to go round.The first time that Pablos welcomes an
international band the evening starts with arms flung into the air. It's a ritual that at the end of every show, regardless of a good or bad one, that the
afterparty should match and even better the show, which has to be said was ticked off on the list of things to do with a big permanent black marker. This was
the first night on tour with them and we did not put the list to shame. When the sun rises it doesn's mean we go home, although it does mean me might have to
think about driving back to JOburg to start the real leg of the tour, we rush back to Joburg and frantically pack for the next two weeks ahead.
3pm and we head off to Pinetown, by now apparent that we will never make the set gig time. The tour van rattles on the highways, my random bruises signature
the bumps and turns when moving around in the moving bus, until eventually a sedated sleep in yogalike position initiates the long trip. We arrive four hours
late for the gig, Taryn Vedder the organiser of this particular show has charmed the punks into staying till the very final end keeps the party going. We are
woken abruptly to shove kick drums through windows and throw on something decent to present ourselves to these very impatient people. It's not even a
10minute soundcheck and we are already halfway through the set. Im harassed by the Durban punk girls whom I recognise from the last tour, which is another
story that went on til the ungodly hours of last time. Might not have been the biggest crowd these guys played to, but the enthusiasm remains, reverberated
in the wonderful comments and feedback at the merchandise stand, not only from the punk kids, but by the owner of the venue and the aunty's and uncles who
were there for sheer curiosity. Having no plan of action and a little time on our hands until the next show, our idea of sleeping on the beach is dissapated
by the reality that it could be dangerous. As much as my second wind got me through the gig, my tiredness and 2days of drinking has well caught up with me. I
go to sleep to be woken the next morning with half the crew missing and parked in a foreign parking lot outside someones house. Judging by the weather we still somewhere in Durban, which is a wonderful relief to me, we haven't strayed too far off the beaten track. Once you've been on the road for a couple of
days the essential needs kick in, it's not long after I meet the owner of the house do I enquire about a shower, something I haven't done in three days
now.Once fresh I can be social and introduce myself. BY now slovenian Gps has taught me left and right, on being asked whether I've learned any of the
language the best I have learned is the nature of people, especially those whose minds are driven by sex. It's a male dominated environment which I don't
take offence to, I am a wonderful observer.This will not be the first time I make my introductions to hospitable strangers in the morning.
We spend our day drinking warm beer on Battery beach preparing for the show in Durban that evening, at 4pm we are at the venue warming up with instruments
and in body heat, it's unbearable, no wonder the venue is called "Burn", you literally fried from the inside out.Tonight they are opening for
Fokofpolisiekar, an unlikly match I think but all the same there is no real quota to the kind of crowd you should expect at a show. i have felt from the
beginning that the music appeal is beyond ska punk, the swing-edge on the songs hum some of those dance moves your parents can do after taking ballroom
classes. Tonight I'm seeing the biggest group of afrikaans kids I've ever seen in Durban, bearing in mind this is also the first time I'm seeing Fokof play
for the first time in 4years in Durban. The energy is not lost in translation the artists embraced individually for their contribution to youth and state
of mind. The appreciation of music rings to me and I am impressed by the reaction of the crowd, slightly more respectful and open to something new. A
sweltering show leaves us completely exhausted afterwards and solace in beer doesnt hel p. It's only after we meet an adoring fan who invites us all to her
home. Ears pricked and ready to go memory kicks back in the next morning waking up in a room with a strange couple sharing another bed in the room.Thoughts
recollect and I remember meeting someone's Dad at some insane hour in the morning, flopping onto a bed made up for me I quite unconsciously notice the
friends in the room who have selflesslessly shared their personal space.Nothing beats waking up to the smell of coffee and toast, the rest has boosted my
social skills and once again I'm initiating delayed ice-breakers, charging camera batteries, editing photos on my laptop and blessing the shower with my
presence.After conversation and swimming we head to the aquarium and really experience the tourist culture.Well deserved holiday mode kicks in for a few
hours and the days off on the beach in Scottsburgh parked outside a pizza place brings us back to a calmer state, playing cards and drinking beer til
East london only has it's wonderful hosts to thank and a tiny group of people who actually came to the show, a remote venue full of character and ambience,
you know you really have the best of the deal when the manager of the club cooks you breakfast in the morning and the one fan that you played to turns out to
be a water aerobics instructor waking you up at 8am reminding you of the date you made the night before for a lesson, after a few tequilas and serious
concoctions of shooters.This is the point where I take my position very seriously and decline participating and insist on documenting.Alot of splashing it
turns out to be a great sobering technique and we gain enough strength to start to Port Elizabeth. A rockier emo crowd greeted us where the band is trading
band shirts for vintage misfits tshirts with the kids who came to see the show.I take a photo of a guy with a bandbutton pierced through his nipple on the
staircase and listen to some tattoo stories. Enthusiasm manifests in various ways also in the most unsuspecting places. Jeffrey's Bay was like visiting
family, a refined intimate show where the horn player decides dressing up is wearing hippy pants from goa and a sunny yellow tshirt obviously saying
something about drugs on it in slovenian to the slightly more assuming observant. By 9pm the colorful gathering of people of all walks and waves is grooving,
a three set show which got better with more fabulous snacks and wine, the sweet nectar of losing inhibitions and giving in to fun.The mood is kept chilled as
the long drive ahead to Ramfest lies before us.
I wake up somewhere with the screeching halt of the van and an irritated slovenian asking for directions. It's clear no-one in this town knows theres a
festival going on this weekend. We resort to facebooking some information on my phone,it's only when we speak the language of the locals when we mention the
name of a resort do we finally arrive at Ramfest in the early hours of the morning. 8am is not the time to find coffee on this day, I am conned into some
'slovenian coffee' which I find out later on given the cup it's actually whiskey and cola, which I have already christened "risky cola" in previous
experiences. One of these gives me courage to get my camera and start interviewing people at the festival while stumbling through the graduating heat.The
haze on the horizon dissipates and the venue is really nestled in wonderful place laced with a river, a godsend to the sunburn.I wake up later and head over
to the main stage where more risky and redbull prepares the guys for the show. The sun belted but the people danced and considering that this festival
started off as a heavy metal festival the mood is still easy and hungover and the guys I think are glad that the show is over for now, a tight set with no
long intervals between the songs, jumping on the large stage and now once again finishing off and fortunately packing the gear into a bakkie to haul back to
the van. Being at a festival is the order of the day and we resume cashing in on food and beverage coupons to get us going.Swimming in the river the next day
prepares us for the long journey back to Joburg, I fall asleep to watching a documentary about Metallica.
Back in Joburg with a few days off we take advantage of half price pizza night and talk about doing a press kit, the last bit of photography for me to do
before I get back to my normal routine. We drive to Krugersdorp and hire costumes at the last minute, something witha rude boy feel and I'm dubious about the
pink. Later we have a dress rehearsal and a low key session back at the house, I feel as though it's an impromptu gig at a jazz club. The next day I'm the
South African GPS navigating the SLovenians through JOhannesburg getting the last of the press shots promised. As my time with them comes to an end they have
gathered another bus of slovenians "We Cant Sleep at Night", an indie band joining them for the rest of the tour.
Another 10days of travel and the guys are back on JOburg again, Meeting them tonight to shoot the show in Pretoria at TIngs. Once you've been around people
for a short intense amount of time, being on your own again is something to get used to and falling into the normal routine somehow can feel like you
startinga new job again. ONe more week and the guys return, the last few days a celebration of a second time in Africa and the farewells are always left on a good note.