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The Sleepers | TonightWeDie | Havoc Vultures

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

This post is more about a girl than it is about The Sleepers, Tonight We Die and whack rock newcomers Havoc Vultures, all of whom I saw last night at Mercury Live, and all of whom paled in comparison to the sight of her face again. I met her back in varsity a few years ago, and it’s been a story of unrequited love. The depths of my heart I know, but even after closing act Havoc Vultures had torn up the stage with manic, mike-stand-touting physical insanity, her heart remained as silent as it will until the day I pluck up the courage to tell her.

Havoc Vultures
Live a little. Die a lot. Havoc Vultures.

As opening act The Sleepers mounted the stage for an extraordinary acoustic version of their typically high-pitched set. Earlier, in an interview I did, they’d described it as “somewhere between Cape Town’s indie and electro scenes” wisely clarifying that we’re talking about the ‘white’ market here, and not SA music as a whole.

Songwriter Adam Hill veered between a firetruck red electric and a lapsteel guitar — you know, those ones you play flat, like a keyboard on a stand, like Gary Thomas from acoustic/folk duo Cabins in the Forest (who just released their debut). His head shining like the sun after a fierce battle, guitarist and co-songwriter Nic Roos reserved the on-stage passions you can expect from him, which was almost as weird as singer Simon Tamblyn‘s buttoned down, escapist lyrics blasting, super-compressed, through the circuitry of the desk and into the eye-locked crowd. Superb adaptation of their harder set.

It was only towards the end of the evening, when I saw her again, that my long-lost affections were realised. I was preparing to perch atop one of the badass speakers near the front with my longtime companion (Canon IXUS40 4.1 Megapixel Digital Camera), when I felt a tug on my arm. It was her. Of course it was her. She was the reason I’d heard about the act on stage – the recently re-united TonightWeDie in the first place. Years ago, she’d convinced me to drive with her into some place in Tableview to check out her friend’s band. It was also the first night I’d seen Joshua Grierson, then called EmoKidJosh (more on this guy’s powerful live act here).

I remember her hovering around one of the band members while I bought us drinks, and she buzzed and flitted with an adolescent gape at the proximity she held to him. I was jealous. He was a better guitarist, and better looking and just better.

I turned around, climbed down from my half-mounted position on the speaker, and wasted no time in embracing her. God, it was good just to hold her tender body in my arms again, even if this girl had sapped too much of my mental energy in the past. She smiled and asked how I am. TonightWeDie, now no longer a threat, carried melodic acoustic rock number after number into the back tunnels of the awkwardly designed architecture of the long-time live music venue, and for a moment I didn’t care. About her, about the outcome, about anything. I’m fine. In good spirits.

TonightWeDie recently reformed after a hiatus that began in mid-2007, and was announced in a blog post that began “How do you write this? Do you try to be brave and hopeful or just play it cool and wave it off?” It was a pretty heart-wrenching affair, but we all know that it’s not over till the fat lady sings. Or in this case, lead singer Claude Barnardo, who — get this — Has A Very Good Voice.

Next up was Havoc Vultures, who, it turns out, aren’t newcomers at all, but have been together around a year and made the Mercury as the second last stop on their Cape tour (Kunskafee in D/Ville tonight, kids). Fronted by a Christlike ‘Bos‘, the Vultures are the epitome of energetic, asinine rock-stars with nothing to lose. A myspace page that encourages us to “Live A Little, Die A Lot” isn’t far from the truth, and with the backing of Kidofdoom’s Johan Auriacomb as a tour manager (on “holiday vibes,” as he put it earlier), these guys are chewing up the rock circuit with a sound and power that puts 80s hair metal in the shadows.

And then the evening ended. She waved off and disappeared again. Will I do the lunch meetings and movies when the sms comes? I dunno. Is it love? I dunno. It’s a spell. I got her email. I’ll be sending her this article now. Wish me luck. And if this all falls through, see you at the next gig.

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  • The Sleepers Myspace
  • Tonight We Die Myspace
  • Havoc Vultures Myspace

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