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Heldervue and The Monroes Live at Aandklas, Stellenbosch

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

On the 31st of August, The Monroes started their first Cape Town tour off with a gig at Aandklas in Stellenbosch. Performing with them on the night were Heldervue and LA.VI.

Due to my unfortunate late arrival, I missed LA.VI as the first act. However, I was there in time catch Heldervue performing. And was I surprised. Heldervue carried out one of the best dynamic performances I have yet seen live, especially for a 3-piece. Although the stage at Aandklas is relatively small compared to other venues, Heldervue owned that stage and their contagious energy literally had the crowd at their feet.

The excellent and impressive vocal control that Heldervue lead singer Julian Bach commands, saw the audience hanging at his lips for the entire performance, which consisted of songs from their debut album, Communal Accordance. In Julian’s case, knowing his talents and limits with equal familiarity, allows him to utilise the full range of his vocal ability – and to astonishing effect. Drummer Fourie Pretorius and bassist Phil Joubert, share Julian’s energy, making this a truly explosive performance. Fourie jumping up in mid song chanting and clapping with the crowd and Phil using the entire stage area from left to right, definitely saw the delivery of songs such as Done Day, Clean Machine and Evolve (of which the music video is currently on high rotation on MK) to be carried out with much success. They ended their set with a crowd favourite, Any Better, and left the crowd ready for the appearance of The Monroes.

I for one was really excited to see The Monroes in action. Being one of my personal favourite SA bands and the fact that I can not get enough of their EP which contains music of international standard, they did not disappoint.

Known for their trademark ‘black and white socks’, eyeliner and the likes of guitarist Kenny Valentine performing in a tutu-type mesh skirt (ask no questions, hear no lies), they emerged on stage and their image fitted their music perfectly. I am of the opinion that this is a band who can perform in whatever bizarre outfits they may choose: once lead singer Ryan Howell picks up a mike and the band starts playing – all reference to anything else such as clothing attire seems to fade into the bleak background to make way for their performance.

Never once did Ryan lose interaction with the crowd and his ability to connect with what seems like every individual in the crowd, kept them mesmerised. I must divulge – kept us mesmerised. Not only is their music unlike anything you have ever heard in SA, their enormous stage presence is one not seen very often. They performed all the songs from their EP, including my favourite ‘Take A Bullet’ and ‘Peter Pumpkin Had A Tumor’, of which the music video reached nr. 1 on MK’s Music Video Chart a while back, as well as some never before heard songs – that is, never heard before in Cape Town.

My only criticism for the band is the fact that the set was relatively short for my liking, consisting of more or less seven songs. This being said, I’m not sure my insatiable appetite for their music would have been satisfied with a set consisting of ten, even fifteen of their songs! I wanted it to last forever. They left the crowd screaming for a second recital of Peter Pumpkin Had A Tumor, but alas – the brilliance of their performance was over. All good things must come to an end, and what a pity it is.

These are definitely two acts to catch in action whenever you have the opportunity. You won’t be disappointed.

Review by Rachelle Crous

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