Joburg Burning Saw Local Bands On Fire

Joburg Burning Saw Local Bands On Fire

This Saturday an alternative element stalked the streets of Melville in skinny jeans, black T-shirts, heavy metal hoodies, red chequered pants and busted up leather jackets. There was evidence of every counter-culture, pulled in from all over the province by a killer line-up of Joburg's best. It was going to be a fiendish event spear headed by rum fuelled music lovers and primate brained lunacy. All this and more waited, if I could just get my ticket. Outside Rascasse a small group gathered, baying for wrist bands and local merchandise. We'd been waiting for well into an hour.  

After arses were got into gear and tickets were obtained the photographer and myself decided to head to Jozi Gspot (Ex-Rock Bar) to catch the opening act, but being red-blooded males we had some trouble finding it. After extensive searching we discovered that the Gspot did in fact exist. We had found it, and in Main Street of all places. Inside things had been cleaned up. The bar had been bought a new dress and freshly applied her makeup. Unfortunately the toilets still looked like the set of a gang rape porno. A crowd of sperm hungry groupies watched as on stage Earl Gray & Croquet played a panty-melting melody.

A few beers later and it was on to Cool Runnings. Heady brass and two-tone guitar emanated from Da Dungeon as No One's Arc kept things minty with a sound that was both irie and rocking. The tone for Joburg Burning 3 was being set as a biblical pub crawl with a bitching soundtrack. Keen to see Black Pimping Jesus I jumped into one of the minibuses. The journey was anything but tame as daylight, along with sensibilities, began to fade. Soon we would all descend to the level of reptiles but until then, Bohemians and its cheep beer awaited.

A worrying thought crept in as I took stock of the crowd; where was everyone? Were the organisers handing out free prostitutes elsewhere whilst I was stuck in this hole? Eventually my paranoia began to subside as more and more borderline alcoholics staggered into the Boh's. It was a full house by the time Black Pimping Jesus came on.  As they worked through their songs the bar started to heat up. A familiar stench filled the room as sweat mingled with booze. The band seemed to drink it in and pulled out all the stops putting on a kick ass show.

Back on the bus things started getting juicy. The taxi driver was driving like, well, a taxi driver as he took corners akin to a badly shaken war veteran well into his 2nd bottle of Jack. The occupants were too drunk to notice that the taxi moved at impossible speeds or that we reached our destination in under a minute. Just as well, I was finding it hard to catch the bands I wanted. This crazed ghetto gent was doing me a favour, if he didn't kill me in the process that is.

Sowetan metal band Ree-Burth brought some much needed heaviness to the mix, but this brief respite was short lived as I had to run down the street to catch Wrestlerish, who as always, rocked it. The schedule was getting tighter and a difficult decision now faced us all. How to end the night? Of the 5 bands playing, I wanted to see 4. Compromise was the only option. Given that Desmond and the Tutus and Swivel Foot were respectively playing at Roxy's and Cool Runnings I'd be able to catch both of them.

Roxy's was packed.  I battled to the front only to be heavily underwhelmed by Desmond and the Tutus. There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the band and the crowd in-turn stood around like cattle. My liver begun to shrivel and my spine curve as 10 hours of drinking, missioning and moshing caught up with me. Bastards! I wasn't going to let a band that no longer gave two tugs of a dead dogs dick screw up an epic night. I made my way back to Da Dungeon where Swivel Foot played to less than 30 people. However, what these diehard fans lacked in numbers they made up for in new found levels of bat-shit-crazy. This was more like it. Everyone in this grotty little basement wanted to be here listing to a band that gave as good as it got. They jumped, staggered, cheered and fell about with a powerful and unified enthusiasm. Fans sung along with band and the band, in turn, threw free crap at them. It was manic, heavy and more fun than a pile of lesbians- giving a gritty exclamation mark to an evening that celebrated this city, its music and the beautiful freaks that make it all possible.

by Billy Rivers
Joburg Burning saw scores of local bands performing to the crazed fans who over-populated Melville and its venues. It was hot!