Tilt Republic. Johannesburg. New York. Cape Town. London.

bootleg boogie steampunk excess

I met some of the Crimson House Blues lads a few months back, in the audience from stage. Riaan, the huncho vocalist, came to watch one of our shows and on discovering his affiliation with the true blues outfit I flicked the safety on my vitriol. Like my dirty compatriot, Dylan Skews says, “there’s just no better sound.” That and the fact that I can’t find the balls to fuck with artists. Give me a clean shaved suit, dry humping a mortgage, but an artist, forget about it.

My interest might be less obsessive than Dylan’s but my sentiment has the same grit. There’s a transcendent, almost fundamental edge to that wailing twangy soulful existentially dirty rhythm that I can’t seem to get enough of.


He asked me to host his Bootleg Boogie affair last night, where he played alongside the rockabilly, Ratrod Cats and the voodoo black noise outfit named The Bone Collectors.


Their percussionist, a thespian and occasional dabbler in comedy, Ken Bull-Smith, is a knife wielding (instrumentally that is) taped together chunk of anachronistic steampunk conceptual art. A better poster boy for the Michaelis underground would be difficult to find. One rhythmic, sinister looking, motherfucker.


Roland Hunter, their lead singer, isn’t cool. Not in the Woody Allen or a Chuck Lorre creation sort of uncool, I’m talking fundamentally uncool. This is why I think he’s one of he most important front men contributing to South Africa’s musical zeitgeist. Vocally he explores and represents the kind of stylistically transcendent, fiercely individualistic conviction that will distinguish our scene from the rest of the west. A blisteringly potent melange of authenticity and meta cognition. When I write a piece on subjugating the bullying North American influence on our music industry, I’ll interview him first.


Gawie Du Toit is a musical, cock out, bass ninja that deserves a name not associated with raising livestock. I found myself getting lost in his bass riffs- transported by his relentless Bmus-ness.


Looking at my notes on the rest of the evening I realize El Jimador is the gift that keeps on giving. Sometime during the twisted evening strange scrawls resembling ruins replaced my already untidy handwriting. It’s what happens when you leave a shit ton of tequila backstage.


The evening ended with Crimson House Blues shredding their beauteous brand of tilted goodness, pulling other musos on stage, I counted ten people for one song. CHB are fucking amazing. Did someone say a pending Blue Label award?


Right, comedy tonight, thanks for the kief night Redeye Riaan & crew, bravo.

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