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Stereozen Claim The Groove Nation

February 25, 2008 – 15:30 by John

If Zen is about sitting under the Bodhi tree in absolute silence while stray dogs sniff you, count upcoming funk three-piece Stereozen alongside Kings of Leon and The Shins as one of those groups whose name means precious little. Stereozen write ass-shakers, not foot-tappers, as we discovered at the Mother City’s Groove Nation, alongside jazz/alt rockers Southpaw and spoken word songstress Blaqpearl.


Backstage, they’re fumbling about and chatting idly about the various avenues of funk yet to explore, but up in the limelight, they’re…well, drummer Justin puts it best: “I’m loving it.” Unabashed in their stage act, Stereozen save their energy for the moment. Coming in strong with a short and potent 40-minute set, Carlo Thompson, Clem and Justin Wiggett pretty much put a solid end to the rather dismal turnout at the Groove Nation.

What’s my name? Stereozen, beeyatch.
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You don’t have to look much further than the soundproof room at Paul Bothners to find Clem in his element. Poster-flapping basslines layered thick and fat assault the non-dancer like an American nuclear attack, which should happen any day now. Pedals almost outnumber guitarist Karlo’s. Who’da thought longhairs still had class…?

Karlo has enough style to openly say the p-word. Enough said. Just make sure you know the chick in the audience you’re hitting on next time, buddy. Nobody knows where surferboy Justin gets his laid-back, approachable steez offstage (that’s style with ease, chump), but he’s about ready to unleash it on the world from behind the kit. Stadium-rock, mid-tempo powerdrumming a la John Bonham and Red Hot Chili Peppers and, closer to home, Prime Circle and The Parlotones.

As underground gigs go, these guys have the type of power that upstages soccer-mom pop icons like Ike Moriz and Arno Carstens. Perhaps a little less pandering to ‘support SA music’ (I mean, honestly, how unoriginal) and a little tighter control on the volume knob will go a long way for the mal, party-hard group. Be yourselves. That’s all we want.

The band’s approach towards their future is pretty clear. We met up with all three of them separately that night, and all were on the same mission: ALBUM. You’ve seen their name on the flyer. Now get to the gig to check it out for yourself. It’s like a groin shiatsu by the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. You’ll bop, curl and get on uppa.

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