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Van Coke Kartel: Clean Punk, Blurry Lines

November 30, 2007 – 12:02 by John

Francois van Coke is a very busy man. If you look on band management agency Punkskelm’s artist listing, you’ll see the man’s mothership Fokofpolisiekar, soloist Francois Van Coke and the newly launched Van Coke Kartel. Three artists. One man. Let’s take a look to see if the flammable frontman’s energy managed to match the hungry Cape Town crowd’s appetite at the Mercury last night for the launch of Van Coke Kartel’s self-titled debut album and support tour…

Van Coke Kartel on Overtone

Taxi Violence frontman George van der Spuy and bassist Loedi van Renen made a guest appearance, and for a brief, blurry moment, you could be forgiven for thinking that the five-man entourage was, in fact, an incorrectly billed Fokofpolisiekar.

A few words with Francois and some gig action

We won’t make any bones about it: Van Coke Kartel‘s music is an unabashed, carbon copy of that of Fokofpolisiekar, the band which kick-started Afrikaans punk and raised up more than one controversial incident. From kroegbaklei to injuries of revelry to the famed Vok God incident, these guys have some stories to tell.

So, what is Van Coke Kartel? A purist way of telling Hunter and Johnny to take a break? A way for FOPK mastermind Wynand Myburgh to regain the reigns? Does it matter? The house was so full of loyal fans – yeah, people do travel from the Northern to the Southern suburbs – that even the guys standing on the back benches were screaming along with the three-piece SA music heavyweights. It’s good to see Van Coke himself getting some guitar time, while Myburgh and poster-absent drummer Justin Kruger thrashed out, also going tekere with T-shirts and promo flyers for upcoming band aKing.

The band ticks nearly all the boxes. They have a magnificent presence, a genuinely iconic punk image and are well ahead in their merchandising (beforehand, press were given a copy of the CD and a branded guitar plectrum and matchbox.) However, what they make up for in gold print they could work on in their repertoire. Still, they had a good 300 people chomping their teeth in appreciation. This band, too, knows how to deliver clean punk rock.

Francois was very kind in his backstage chat with us, and always has been when I’ve approached him for photos and videos. But there’s a certain restlessness behind the man’s eyes, perhaps to do with the fact that right after the show, they packed up and headed straight for a Pretoria gig scheduled for just 24 hours later. I hope to see VCK allow him, Wynand, Justin and the whole gang of FOPK skelms still achieve their full potential as not just a punk band, but a voice that says, “not us. You.”

In the same key ::

  • Francois Kees The Good Times Rolling
  • Fokof! Dis Ons SAMA!
  • Fokofpolisiekar: Live from the Golden Rim @ Ampli5
  • Van Coke Kartel Home | Myspace
  • Francois on Punkskelm
  • Discography ::
    2007: Van Coke Cartel (self-titled)

    Did you know ::

  • Van Coke Kartel calls this album “a vague account of what happened in the past year. Stories of endless parties, binge drinking, fights, the connection we have with our close friends and living in Cape Town.”
  • FOPK did what they call “gang vocals” on Fuzigish‘s latest album, Roll With The Punches
  • Upcoming tour dates ::
    30 Nov 2007: Pretoria, Zeplins with Fuzigish & Kidofdoom
    1 Dec 2007: Harrismith, Woodstock
    2 Dec 2007: African International Tattoo Fest, Durban
    5 Dec 2007: Red Door, Pietermaritzburg
    6 Dec 2007: Backstage, Margate
    7 Dec 2007: Burn, Durban
    8 Dec 2007: Playhouse, Durban
    10 Dec 2007: Raggies, East London
    11 Dec 2007: Tapas Al Sol, PE
    15 Dec 2007: Kaktus, Langebaan
    19 Dec 2007, Berties, Gordons Bay
    21 Dec 2007: Summer X, Cape Town
    26 Dec 2007: Groot Gees Rock Fees, Stilbaai, Western Cape

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