Things hadn’t been going too well for me last Friday. I’d had a few mishaps prior to my arrival and the raw grungey feel of Mercury Live & Lounge didn’t do much to lift my spirits. Nor did the inevitably late start of the show.
But then rockabilly band Peachy Keen leapt on to the stage and blew me away from the get go. Their combined style of 80’s rock, 1950’s jazz-swing and an upbeat blues sound was backed up with edgy attitude and classic rock swag. They made much of ‘Shot him Down’ for which they have a new video, but their cover version of the Beatles’ ‘Oh Darling’, had me singing along with gusto.
There was a 15 minute cigarette break, and then the ever popular indie/punk band The Plastics took the stage and performed their classic/retro rock tracks as screaming young women filled the golden circle. They mixed new and older singles and faster, upbeat pop-rock with slower indie-type tracks, but it didn’t work for me. Perhaps their set was too long but I found myself bored by the sombre slower tracks. To be fair to the band, it could have been due to the inferior sound quality of the sound system which appeared unbalanced, with the acoustics overpowered by the vocals.
But with 7th Son things improved again. I loved this sound – a mix of hip-gyrating and head-banging tunes, combining classical instruments with thumping beats and rock riffs to create a tropical sound the band calls “rude, rock, reggae”. The contribution of saxophonist Raivan Hansmann stood out above all for his distinct regga-esque input. It’s no surprise that their first album Fire in the Rain has been so successful and the room cheered as the band announced a second album in the offing, with me cheering loudest of all.
So from being a miserable git I’d undergone a complete transformation. Who needs a shrink when there are such great bands living it up on the South African music scene?