My love for Joburg knows know bounds – but the last time I was in Maboneng I was almost hijacked so you can imagine my less-than-eager enthusiasm for venturing back into a place I’d rather avoid. Nevertheless, The Living Room has managed to thrive in the middle of Sodom and Gomorrah and walking up onto the wooden deck, surrounded by lush, living walls, I’ll admit I forgot where I was.
I attended more than my fair share of Jim Beam’s Welcome Sessions last year, and my favourite part was the fact that I was discovering bands I’d never heard of. So the fact that they’re continuing with the series in 2022 is a huge win for everyone still bursting out of their little COVID bubbles.
Bouwer Bosch was the first person to tell me about tonight’s first act – MaxX & Love. He slid into my DMs with a reel of lead singer Love Sechaba’ belting out a lyric and I was hooked. Tonight, MaxX Moticoe (guitar) cuts a Slash-like figure in his all-black outfit complete with top hat, while stage right, Love (Sechaba) dons his now-signature black and white patterned shirt with a carefully placed comb stuck in his hair.
A well-oiled cacophony of blues rock ensues with MaxX busting out deep vibratros from his shiny slide and Love alternating between tambourine and chain – yes, he balled up a chain and smacked it on top of his guitar case for maximum Folsom Prison effect. But it’s Love’s vocals that really shine through the whole set, taking me on a Bayou-rooted journey that I’m sure spans an octave or three. Perfectly insync and in character, this is a duo to watch intently.
The first time I met second act Shameless was when they won Afropunk’s Battle Of The Bands back in 2019. The trio were hungry for the stage back then and tonight is no different. Surrounded by their support system that they’ve brought with them in droves, their tribal rock tears through The Living Room and drowns the amapiano party happening on the rooftop adjacent.
A bonafide Zulu Rage Against The Machine, Shameless are chaotic without being sloppy and loud while still being melodic. After a bottle of Jim Beam is shared and some other things are smoked, I leave Maboneng with new fun memories to replace the old shitty ones. Would I go back? Only if the music is this good.
All pics courtesy of Wayde Flowerday.