I woke up Saturday afternoon feeling strangely okay. Did some work-shopping (which resulted in me missing Hamlet) and before I knew it, it was 9:30 and I was late for a pick up. Arrived at Assembly for the Ashtray Electric CD launch (words cannot describe the excitement) which I was due to review and hit the Jack from an early hour. I saw after rereading my previous post that I spelt Jack with a small “j” instead of a capital. This bothers me.
Anyway, got a great spot to the right of guitarist, Fred Den Hartog, which proved to be the best place as I was privy to his glorious backing vocals. The harmonies between him and Andrew Davenport were almost pitch perfect, maar dis moeilik to think what Andrew would sound like without this kind of vocal support. However for the purpose of this post (as well as the review I will be writing for LMG which will go into more detail) I feel it’s safe to comment more on Thieve in general. They have no album, they have no EP. Their first gig ever was with aKING, where they got impressive reviews. And then they go book Ashtray’s CD launch. I guess it helps when two of the band members live with the lead guitarist of Ashtray, right? Opinions. And then add to all this the curtails of whatever New Loud Rockets support Philip still has going for him and you have a winning combination. I was watching the crowd very intently. They were enthralled. And I would bet money that most of them were hearing these songs for the first time. It’s wack. It’s like Die Heuwels Fantasties in reverse. But it’s clever. And Jako Swanepoel is a sex bomb. Oh yessss. Bassists.
I feel it’s unnecessary to write “Thieve” underneath this photo. But just encase.
Ashtray Electric took my breath away (Mondays make me poetic). And all through their performance I was trying to figure out exactly what it is I love about this band. I couldn’t figure it out. Until yesterday when I popped the CD into the stereo (I love this word) and I listened to “Heartbeat” about 50 times and then it hit me. This band knows how to write a good, poignant, meaningful song. A ballad that can move you to tears, or something like “Gallop” that will make you forget you’re the crappest dancer ever as you two-step your way around the dancefloor. On the DVD one of the guys describe Andre as an “old soul”. They couldn’t be more right. His lyrics are gumdrop gorgeous and unbelievably mature for a guy of 20 years. Add to that the introspection of his lyrics, where you can derive whatever the hell you like out of them and you get the core of star quality.
I said when “The Swing” came out that they were a band to watch, yes I did. And now that I am a proud owner of a copy of “Bonjour”, which I will also be reviewing sometime soon in the near future (probably here) I urge you to lend an ear to a band that are only on the up and up. Props to Reg on backing vocals. The man has a voice. After the gig I overindulged in Jagermeister, left and ended up at Mercury. It’s a nice blank slate after that. I did wake up Sunday afternoon/evening still in possession of my Jack Zippo and Ashtray CD. Priorities.
Ashtray Electric ala Liam Lynch
Highlight: Hearing every single lyric of Ashtray’s new song, “Seasons”. It could be my theme song. It probably will be once I play it for Inggs.
Photo in previous post by Walker. Inggs went to the seaside with a cat. I kid not.