In Review: Deaf Poets, We Are Charlie, Runaway Nuns Live at Aandklas

Nothing gets me excited quite like the promise of a night of good music, good company and the prospect of smelling like decade-old stale smoke for a couple of days, which is precisely what Friday night had in store for me.

Having made the long, arduous journey across the continent to Pretoria, I stepped into Aandklas Pretoria only to be hit by a wave of nostalgia (and a little bit of trauma) as the memories from my university years flooded back into my mind. The air was thick with smoke and the potential to make bad decisions; and for some reason that I can’t quite fathom, there were more than a few people who (in true Pretoria style) decided to forgo wearing shoes in favour of being bare foot, despite the winter chill.

Watching Cape Town-based garage-punk masters Runaway Nuns feels a little bit like being stuck in a tornado (well, a tornado that sounds really, really good). Their high-energy, whirlwind performances will more than likely leave you hoarse and stiff-necked; and you’ll probably walk out with your hair all over the place, minor shell shock, a ringing in your ears and the weird urge to head bang despite the fact that the music is over. Not ones to disappoint, the five piece band lived up to every expectation, giving Pretoria an exciting and memorable performance.

What made Friday night super special and a little bittersweet, and the main reason for my journey across the solar system to the 012; was that everyone’s favourite Pretoria-based indie-noise band, We Are Charlie, were playing their last show, after announcing the end of the band a little over a week ago. A staple at music festivals across South Africa for the last few years and nothing short of super fun to watch, We Are Charlie will certainly be missed and I just had to watch them one last time.

Taking to the stage, they then proceeded to play not one single We Are Charlie song (much to the disappointment of certain fans, i.e. me), instead opting to use the opportunity to introduce frontman Dylan Christie and Drummer Wesley Reinecke, along with a new addition, bassist Warren Frost,’s new project, the klubs. The klubs performance definitely got everyone’s blood pumping as the dingy, smoky setting perfectly complemented their darker, more grungy post-punk approach to music. The darker, more mature direction that they have taken with the klubs, says a lot about their growth and evolution as musicians and is a reminder that sometimes change is a good thing. It also means that we have a lot of new music to look forward to, which is great.

Headliners, American alternative garage rock band, Deaf Poets, gave us a performance that can only be described as utterly awesome. As if their outrageously loud and dynamic music wasn’t enough to capture the crowd’s attention, it was the onstage rock star antics of their drummer Nico Espinosa that really made them stand out; as he shouted, swore, lay on the floor, poured water over his head and even did some drumming while standing.

They’re continuing their South African tour with upcoming shows in Bloemfontein and Cape Town and I definitely recommend that you check them out if you can.

All in all, and in true Uncle Mothers and Boogey Central style, it was an exceptionally fun night despite the ever present trauma of my previous university antics and the insistence of certain people not to wear shoes.

All pics courtesy of Breniann Labuschagne