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I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw the price of this show, a full hundred clams after 8pm, but I put my doubts aside as I traipsed up the gorgeous old wooden staircase to the venue formerly known as Suntravolta.
The Murms were still warbling ‘check one-two’ into their mics when I walked into the main part of the venue so I joined the rest of Cape Town’s surf-rock family out on the spacious balcony and I could see from the faces dotted along the balustrade that this scene is a tight-knit group of supportive whoops and back-pats. When the al fresco crowd was drawn into the gig-room by assertive drumbeats, I recognised many local band members and creatives, all already bopping their heads to The Murms’ aggressive but danceable tunes.
I didn’t care that I didn’t really know what lead vocalist Oscar Wright was yelling into his microphone about, all I knew is that it made me want to kick over some garbage cans and shake my hips like crazy. We the moved as one to The Murms’ quick crunchy riffs and after their opening set I was left feeling completely energised by the youth, pace and power of this up-and-coming band.
In Bloom slowed down the pace slightly with their chugging tempo and classic blues riffs, and although there were not as many in the crowd throwing themselves against the speakers, the crowd was packed with faces twisted into various facial expressions of appreciation. In Bloom are an extremely tight band that can keep a good guitar riff driving through a song, and the only thing that would of made the band even more exceptional for me would have been for more honey-blues vocals from drummer and lead vocalist Francis Broek.
When it’s time for Cape Town music legend Johnny Tex of The 38s to take to the stage, you know he means business. The musicians themselves look like the young members of an Italian mafia and this old-school edge that they bring onto stage is echoed in their instrumental Dick Dale-esque surf rock tunes, which would not be out of place as the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film. I found myself humming along to The 38’s guitar licks which allowed everyone to show off their ’60s rock ‘n’ roll dance moves. In my experience, the crowd for a show with a similar line-up to this one will usually have dwindled by 12am and the last band will eventually leave the stage looking a bit sorry for themselves, but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the stamina of the audience for this event.
I’m not sure whether it was a matter of ‘getting your money’s worth’, a killer line-up, excitement for the visiting band headlining or a combination of all three, all I know is that the crowd stood their ground and showed Skeleton Coast a warm reception as the band hopped on stage a little before midnight.
As soon as lead vocalist Cycle Myers started swinging his beautiful old-school white guitar around on the humble little wooden stage, I knew that the whole evening had been worth everybody parting with a hundred bucks. The large crowd of all ages dancing the whole night long is testament to a worthwhile night out, a quality line-up of extremely different bands that managed to mesh well together on a balmy Cape Town evening.
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