Zebra & Giraffe – The Knife

I have been listening to a lot of Zebra & Giraffe recently, possibly due to their fantastic performance at CokeZeroFest.

This is a great example of their New Order meets The Cure at a local pub and a young Depeche Mode drop in and join them both for a swift Red Bull or two before heading off their separate ways vibe.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqNy-RM1sWU]

It’s called The Knife. And it’s another surefire hit for Fleet of Worlds, whose musical tastes often seem dangerously close to mine.
He may want to see someone about that.

The Zebra & Giraffe album Collected Memories is available on iTunes and you can follow @Zebraandgiraffe on twitter. (Although it does seem to be mainly about stir-fries).

Quota Photo: Misty Cliffs

Featuring precisely no mist and no cliffs.

Although that is an incoming cold front. You can see it bigger here.

After all the fuss and palaver over the Stop Zuma campaign yesterday (and throughout today) I thought it was best to give myself and my readership a last minute break from all things election and remind you just how beautiful this country can be when it’s not getting all ugly over political issues.

Tomorrow, we’re back onto election stuff, because it’s election day.
But let’s try and keep things a little more lighthearted, shall we?

Happy voting!

They’re building my rocket

Here’s a picture I snapped in the traffic on the way to work yesterday.

Many of you will be thinking that I was trying to catch the slightly spooky mammatus clouds over Koeberg Interchange, juxtaposed against the startlingly bright peachy morning sky to the north.
But you’d only be partially correct.

No – this is to show readers that as part of the ongoing Koeberg Interchange revamp, the Province has finally bowed to my demands for a rocket in order that I don’t have to spend hours each day sitting in the traffic.
While the plebs will be stuck on the new bridge to the N1 (you can see one of the supports on the left), I will be launched in my rocket (under construction, right) to (hopefully) land near my destination in record time.

The only flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan is the election next week, at which it is widely expected that Helen Zille and the DA will capture the Western Cape. Their Transport, Public Works and Public Accounts bloke, Robin Carlisle, was on the radio last night saying that if the DA did win the Province, he would cut back on wasteful expenditure in roads and road-building projects.
I think some may feel that my rocket falls into that bracket.

Thus, I have instructed my workers to get a move on and finish it before next Wednesday. Blast off!

Voting abroad – a good idea?

No.

With Election Day less than a week away, yesterday was the day on which South Africans living, working or visiting overseas were able to make their vote count.
It’s been a contentious issue, with the DA and VF+ camapigning vigourously for the right of overseas Saffas to vote, then having to suffer the indignity of a tiny number that actually bothered to register to do so (7,472 out the approximately 600,000 in the UK).

While I respect that it is the Constitutional right of those overseas to have their say, I don’t agree with it. The information that is disseminated out from SA is often overly negative, incorrect and highly subjective and unless you are willing to really dig deep to find out the facts, I can’t see how you can make an informed, valid choice on the issues at hand. However, when I tried to point this out, I was told in no uncertain terms by commentors that of course they knew exactly what was going on in SA and they couldn’t wait to have their say. I was wrong, apparently. Ha!

To cut a long story short, a great fanfare was made (especially in London) about the “massive numbers” of those knowledgable people who turned out to make their democratic mark. And here’s the front page photo from The Times this morning showing just a few of those people (who know all about South Africa), queuing to vote:

20090415175041expats_matt_dunham_ap
Knowledgable voters wait to vote

Erm… ladies, I know you know all there is to know about SA and everything, but isn’t that flag a bit… upside down?

NPA-like, I rest my case.

CokeZeroFest 2009 – Review

COKE ZERO FEST 2009 PHOTOS AND VIDEOS HERE!

Having survived the nightmarish drive out of the otherwise stunning Lourensford Wine Estate and the 60km back to Cape Town late yesterday evening, I feel I am now in a position to let you know if the 2009 CokeZeroFest was a hit or a miss.
And I’m going “hit”.

From the time we drove into the venue, surrounded on three sides by mountains, with sweeping views down to False Bay on the fourth, it was obvious that this was going to be a chilled day in the sun with some (hopefully) decent music to listen to while we were at it. And we didn’t have long to wait – diving from the beer tent through into the Golden Circle to see Die Heuwels Fantasties, and their unique brand of Afrikaans rock. I’m not a great Afrikaans speaker, but the music was pretty good – and made last year’s Van Coke Kartel look as amateurish as a first round Idols failure.
They were followed up by more Afrikaans rock in the shape of Foto na Dans, who have a lead singer bearing a worrying resemblance to Leo Sayer. That concern aside though, choral tones over the heavy nu-metal background made for an interesting and (perhaps surprisingly) functional combination. Great stuff and certainly worth a listen.
It should be noted that this genre of music is supported by a fanatical following and they were out in force up front for the first two acts.

Time for some English now though, please and Cassette obliged after a slightly shaky start with the bearded Jon Savage striding around the stage and giving us his no-holds-barred opinions of the last minute cancellations. Pushing their new album Who do You Trust?with the title track accompanied by a cartoon of Jacob Zuma on the big screens was topical and popular. The Boomtown Rats’ Tell me why (I don’t like Mondays) cover was a big hit, as was Useless Confusion.

Now, my most eagerly anticipated act: Zebra & Giraffe. Widely tipped to be the next “big” SA band, they blew me away with their New Order vs The Cure mildly melancholic electronica. It amazes me that there are some bands that are still able to find a niche in the music market which no-one has previously exploited. While others are producing decent, enjoyable but somewhat “samey” tracks, Z&G are novel, refreshing and exciting. And eminently listenable. The performance was tight and professional, the audience interaction not too full-on, but enough to let us know they knew we were there. Very impressive and definitely the best SA band of the day. Questions do need to be asked about Greg Carlin’s choice of shirt, however.

Cape Town’s Dirty Skirts were up next and provided us with a decent, if unspectacular, set – probably their best offering being Daddy Don’t Disco. There was no huge audience connection though, which rather let them down. I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I’ve missed a couple of gigs and was told I was missing out, but it just didn’t click. That said, I like their stuff enough to give them another chance. Soon.
And there was more disappointment on the way with aKING. I’ve heard a fair amount of their stuff and I think they are hugely over-rated and their lukewarm performance did nothing to change my opinion. It was heavy, stodgy, dull. The crowd was enthusiastic though, despite the rather bland set. Time for a burger and (another) beer.

And then, the international acts, led by Panic at the Disco, who were friendly, funny and fun. Once again, an overseas act seemed bemused by a less-than-eager South African crowd, but they got through their hits and there was fun and rather too much audience participation to be had as they rounded off their set with a cover of Lulu’s enduring hit Shout. Energetic it was, and a really tight, well-rehearsed set. Impressive, if not unexpected.

Snow Patrol were next up and (for me) stole the show. They had the crowd eating out of their hands before they even came on stage with their “All of these places feel like home” display on the big screen. The power of words is incredible (if you have several thousand drunk teenagers in front of you).

It’s obvious that Gary Lightbody loves performing and loves to see his songs being enjoyed. And it was an emotional set, with the powerful Run and Chasing Cars thrown in between faster harder numbers like Eyes Open and Take Back the City. Gary couldn’t help but enthuse over the beautiful scenery, gorgeous people and wonderful country. But it was spontaneous and from the heart. You could just see that he was loving every minute of where he was and what he was doing. You can’t fake that sort of honesty.

And then, the finale: Oasis. They look old not just because of the drink and the drugs, but because they are old. But boy – they’ve still got it. Liam strutted around like he owned the place, barking orders at the sound desk and striking a bully-boy pose between lyrics. Attitude personified.

Noel looked older still, wandering around sloth-like and seemingly confused. But when it came to that voice… Wow. Every note, perfect; every chord, perfect. The brothers are well known for their “don’t give a toss” attitude, but it works so well on stage and it was a remarkable experience to see them live at long last. Love them or hate them, you have to admire their longevity against all the odds, and dare I say that their new stuff is sounding like it will stand alongside the classics like Wonderwall and Slide Away.
For me, Noel’s performance of Don’t Look Back in Anger was arguably the most spectacular moment of the entire day. And when you remember that it was up against those powerful modern classics from Snow Patrol, that’s saying something.

All in all, money well spent and an utterly superb day out.
Wonderful venue, great organisation, nice beer, great crowd, good music, perfect weather.

See you next year. And don’t forget those photos and videos!