REVIEW: Endless Daze 2016

Endless Daze by Ashley Brown shot with Canon A1 on 35mm film’

After a longstanding love affair with everything Psych Night, Endless Daze was finally announced. I became more excited with every phase of line-up announcements, counting down the days while listening to nothing else but my favourites that would be playing that weekend. I had been prepping for weeks.

Continue reading REVIEW: Endless Daze 2016

Sannie Fox: Preparing For Malkop

Photo courtesy of Dirk Steenkamp 

We caught up with Sannie Fox ahead of her performance at Malkop Summer Rock Festival next month.

Let’s talk about personal progression. The first time I encountered you as a musician was when you were fronting Machineri and were opening for Taxi Violence at a Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts show in possibly 2012/2013. You started that band in your earlier 20s and have now progressed to being a solo musician. How do you feel that you’ve grown as an artist and musician since you first started making music?

In terms of progression, I would like to think it is always happening.  I try not to stagnate as a player or a performer or a songwriter…  There is constantly more to be learnt, more room for improvement, more to do which has not yet been done before.

Let’s actually quickly talk about Machineri – do you think there shall ever be a possibility of the band reuniting to create new music or even potentially touring again?

This is unlikely.  That is not to say I do not perform songs from that album with my own project currently.  I wrote those songs so I will continue to play them, I may even re-record some of them.  We often play “Big Bad Machine” and I will play “The Searchers” again soon, “Cold Sister”…  these songs are all  part of my body of work, my progression as you put it.

Last year marked the release of your debut solo album Serpente Masjien – an album that was incredibly well-received by the public and critics alike. Was there any kind of nervous tension leading up to the release of your first solo album especially after becoming renowned for your work as part of Machineri?

Yes, it was a bit surreal as it is was only the second album I’ve ever done and very new as it was under my own name so one feels a little exposed in the beginning.  I think I am finding my rhythm now in this project, I am really enjoying it.

I play predominantly with the same rhythm section which is comprised of Werner Von Waltsleben on drums and the Ryan McArthur on bass.  I bring in a sub if they absolutely cannot make a performance.  As a unit, we have been playing for 2 years or so.  They are fantastic players.

I understand that you currently working on a new material – is that new music going to continue in the same vein as your Serpente Masjien, or shall it pursue a different artistic direction?

It will be more layered and it will sound a little different but still like me, if this makes sense.  Let’s not let the cat out the bag yet.

 There are occasionally faint political undercurrents to your lyrics and to some of your songs. How important do you think it is for South African musicians, of any genres, to present music that perhaps attacks and criticises the current political situation in South Africa especially since there is a sheer lack of punk musicians to do that?

When an artist goes into the realm of politics it is pure power and I think it is great if artists do.  Politically infused material keeps the communal brain ticking and brings audiences into the present.  It can also be electrifying.

It is pretty common knowledge that the music industry is male-dominated. It is a global fact yet internationally female musicians are often look downed up by their male colleagues while in South Africa there is a genuine amount of respect for local female artists. Why do you think that is? Do you think it is linked to the fact that to gain any credibility in the local industry you have to work incredibly hard?

It is a generalisation and I think perhaps untrue to imply that men in the music industry ‘look down’ upon female musicians.

All the male musicians locally as well as internationally I have worked with over more than a decade are great people and definitely do not give off sexist or condescending airs because I am yin!

 One of the great things about your music is that it is incredibly diverse and allows you to exist in multiple genre niches such as psych music, blues and it even gets you main stage slots at Rocking The Daisies. With the oversaturation of specific genres in South Africa, is it becoming more and more important for musicians to start exploring numerous genre avenues as opposed to slotting into singular niches?

I don’t see it being a problem to stick to one genre, I just think one has to be switched on in terms of the playing, songwriting and also the brain.  If one is engaged deeply and committed on all levels, the band or artist naturally transcends genre because the music bares it’s own style or sound within that genre- it is original.

I think originality is the hard part and what is inspiring to hear, a band or artist unlike any other.  Like Kate Bush, Bjork, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and so forth.  There can only be one.  It’s special.

Let’s knock in back to your personal history. When did you first start getting heavily involved in creating music and how did you eventually land up deciding to pursue being a musician and start getting involved in the local music industry?

I got heavily into music while I was at UCT studying theatre and around the time I left one of my previous projects and went into Machineri.  There was a shift in the mind and I could feel that I had become immersed in the profession of music in a more serious context.  For the first time there were record deals and managers and proper fees and albums etc…  I began to turn down other opportunities because I was working on music.  Whenever I had money, it went into music, all my time, it all went into music.

You are going to be playing at Malkop Summer Rock Festival shortly – what are your thoughts on this new festival and what are you looking forward to the most about it?

I was at Malkop last year, I played a sneaky guest appearance with Black Lung.  I love the West coast and I  love the trek to get out there.  Malkop is a sout van die aarde kind of festival- good energy, live bands, alternative music, surrounded by beach, it’s beautiful.  I can not wait to return.

Finally, what does 2017 hold for Sannie Fox?

New releases, possibly.  Let’s see.  And shows.  And T-shirts.  And collaborations.  And plectrums.  Maybe a hundred number one hits.  Water!

Win tickets to Malkop Summer Rock Festival by commenting below with your favoruite Sannie Fox song.

Live Review: KONGOS at Hillcrest Quarry

Photographs by Shae Frank.

For those less inclined to take the annual big trek up north for Oppikoppi this year, One Night in Cape Town has you covered. The international acts of the grungy rock festival are hosted over the span of several days over various stages throughout the Mother City; and South African-born, USA-relocated KONGOS, high on the list for those of us who have known and loved the alt-rockers for years, are aptly hosted at Hillcrest Quarry.

Located at the mouth of the rehabilitated quarry in the heart of Durbanville Hills, this venue is something of a hidden gem which deserves far more attention and could easily play host to some of the worlds’ biggest musical names – if it weren’t for the somewhat limited capacity. The parking lot is situated right at the top of the quarry, and by the time I arrive Sannie Fox’s lilting timbre is floating from the dusky purple stage below. I take a moment to appreciate the rocky walls, thrown into sharp relief by roaming lights, before beginning the descent into the venue.

Despite being the middle of Cape Town winter, it’s a balmy night and early-comers are spilled across the lawn, swaying gently to Sannie’s rolling sound which is wafting from the stage. We haven’t eaten and made our way to the scanty food stalls in search of fuel. An overzealous trader and a definitive lack of self-control on our part see us leaving with a bizarre chip-salad concoction which we pick at gingerly as Sawagi prance onto the stage.

Shae Frank 2016

The Japanese four-piece toured with Shortstraw during their Japan tour in 2014 and the local indie-rockers brought them to South Africa early last year as special guests at their “Youthless” launch – so I am a little peeved when the underwhelming MC informs us of our apparent lack of knowledge of the group.  If nobody knew who they were before, however, they certainly will now. Their infectious, genre-breaching blend of dance-funk anthems are some of the most original and eclectic I have come across of late. Fizzing with energy and simply ecstatic to be here, they plough through their set, pausing only to eagerly greet us several songs in. Their energy is contagious and I laugh as the front man delightedly raises his hands in a heart at the close of their set. We pass them later in the crowd and trade a congratulatory high five.

Shae Frank 2016-2

Taxi Violence is up next. Twelve years in the running and with a wealth of accolades and awards under their belt, one can always trust the Captionan rock ’n rollers to put on a good show. It’s been several years since I saw them last and while they have lost none of their zesty stage presence I feel their latest offerings have a slightly watered down quality. Their bubbling energy is enough to bring even the last stragglers to their feet, however, and even two technical glitches part way through their set do little to quell their vigour.

It’s getting chilly now and we squeeze deeper into the crowd both to secure a decent vantage point and steal some warmth as we wait for KONGOS. The last time they toured South Africa was in 2012, and now with a brand new album, Egomaniac, hot off the press, their set promises to be a memorable one. The four brothers grew up in London and Johannesburg before relocating to Arizona several years ago. A lot may have changed since they last graced our stages but their energy is as palpable as ever – and from the moment they bound onto the stage behind a thick screen of white smoke the audience is wrapt.

Shae Frank 2016-4

A selection of oldies eases us into their set and the die-hard fans filling the core of the crowd are screaming along to “Sex on the Radio” with impassioned grace within seconds. A selection of old and new tracks create the bulk of their set and they bounce neatly between them. The heady, pitching vocals of “Take it From Me” follow up on the grinding baritones of “Come With Me Now”. Their live performance is as gritty and polished as they come. All four brothers contribute in varying degrees to the vocals while Johnny’s piping accordion transgression contributes perhaps the key element in what makes these guys so different.  Although their sound smells vaguely of the twisted stylings of the Black Keys and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, there is a solid, foundational edge which is wholly theirs.

Shae Frank 2016-3

They invite their stage manager, Mo Gordon to join them about halfway through their set: tiny and donned all in green he proceeds to wow the entire audience with a mash-up of an original rap verse and a collaborative rendition “Come Together” by The Beatles.

We decide to leave one song early, in order to fully appreciate just how well the quarry actually serves as an acoustic venue. It takes all of five minutes to climb and gain a decent vantage point: of the blue-lit quarry and a sea of heads, as the band bring their set to a tumultuous close on, “I’m Only Joking” – and it is quite something to have their poignant lyrics thrown up at one from the lookout of a cliff edge.

View full photography gallery here.

Cape Town Folk & Acoustic Music Festival blows crowd away with local talent!

Written by Lindie Meyer

Photography by Nadine Aucamp Photography

The 4th instalment of the Cape Town Folk & Acoustic Music Festival, took place last Friday the 26th at the ever-popular Baxter theatre.

This event, that was first at the CTICC four years ago, was proudly hosted by Real Wired Music and sponsored by Sedwick’s Old Brown Sherry and Hellfire Productions. The line-up included a pool of SA’s 25 best local acts who would perform as duo’s using only the basics of good music, voice, guitar and piano. Continue reading Cape Town Folk & Acoustic Music Festival blows crowd away with local talent!