Feature

Uncle Mothers? What’s that?

If you live in Joburg or Pretoria and love watching local bands perform then you’ve probably either heard of or attended an Uncle Mothers event.

If you haven’t and you claim to like live music then, well, I honestly don’t know what you’ve been doing.

Uncle Mothers is the brain child of fairy band dads Klaas van der Walt, Brendon Levendig and Warren Frost – all of whom have their fair share of experience in the music industry, having all been around the scene for a long time, be it as artists, producers, production or tour managers.

So, what, you might be asking yourself, exactly is an Uncle Mother? An obscure relative you haven’t met? A monster from a ’60s horror movie? The lyrics to an equally, if not more obscure song by The Protomatyr?

Pic by Breniann Labuschagne

In the face of a rapidly declining live music scene in Joburg, which has a lot to do with the lack of venues and cost involved causing bands to lose the drive to put on gigs, everyone was asking, “Where are the bands?”, “Where are the gigs”, “What can I do on a Saturday night that doesn’t involve techno?”.

Spotting a serious gap in the market the trio knew that they had a very particular set of skills. Skills they acquired over long careers. Skills that make them just the people to help resuscitate the music scene, Klaas, Brendon and Warren decided to start putting on events in the hopes of reviving the general interest in live music, facilitating and promoting the growth of the local scene and hopefully to inspire some people to create new events, and so, like a creature from the swamp, Uncle Mothers was born.

The events, aside from being tons of fun to attend, also provide platform for local alternative, indie, punk, post punk sort of genre bands to perform and connect with their audiences. Uncle Mothers events are affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to attend and most importantly they are about creating and curating events with quality live music that people want to go to and that bands want to play at.

By focusing on making sure the bands have a good show and make some money at the same time, they’re hoping more people will be inspired to create more events and more bands will emerge to play at these events, thus reigniting the local live music scene. It’s to promote a gig culture, not just for bands but getting people in various facets of the industry, be it sound engineers, gear suppliers, illustrators, venue owners, to come together and create and incubate the scene.

“We do it because we love the scene and we want more events and more venues for live music. We want more bands, which means more music. We want to start a trend,” explain van der Walt.

With monthly events in both Joburg and Pretoria, there really is no excuse to miss the next Uncle Mothers event.

Be sure catch their next event with Retro Dizzy, The Tazers and Scramblers in in Joburg and Pretoria respectively.

Pic by Breniann Labuschagne