Going to a new band’s gig is like a lucky packet. There is no way of knowing what you are going to get, but you are guaranteed a treat of some kind. In this case it was R35 for a double vodka and Redbull at the Mercury Live Bar. The rest of the lucky packet was also very familiar.
Even more shirtless than usual, Saint Fearless took the stage with insanely high jumps and a killer cover of ‘Sweet Dreams’. Fresh from a tour up north the band did a fine job of claiming back their home turf.
Woodstock Mafia was up next and with a high energy start to their set I couldn’t recall why they had not made an impression on me before. But by song two I remembered: the inconsistency. One minute they are Billy Talent, the next something that might be a watery Foo Fighters, then a scream ripping out of lead singer Joe’s mouth lines them up with Linkin Park. Woodstock Mafia can certainly play their instruments and the lead singer has the pipes, but – as yet – they don’t have a sound that is distinctly theirs.
The opposite was true for the main act of the night: Goodnight Wembley. The set was kicked off with a music video of their first single, ‘Time Machine’ directed by the former bassist of Taxi Violence, Loedi van Reenen. Their music is a balanced blend of raw anger (best illustrated in the lyric “I’ll see you in hell”) and radio-friendly dancey rock tunes such as ‘Time Machine’.
While the band has achieved a distinctive sound they still need to work on the synergy of their on-stage performance. There seems to be a competition to be centre stage which is understandable considering that despite Goodnight Wembley being an all new band, it is made up of all big names!
Yes, yet again we are witnessing the incestuous nature of rock music in South Africa… not that I’m complaining. As far as I’m concerned, Goodnight Wembley is made up of six of the best bands on the South African music scene. On vocals is George van der Spuy (Taxi Violence) while Nic Gaud (7th Son) takes on guitar and vocals, Alex Krause (Dead Lucky) on guitar, Gideon de Kock (Like Knives/Yes Sir/ Mister Machine) on bass and Jean Labuschagne (Dead Lucky/Bilderberg Motel) rocking out of his shirt at drums.
I look forward to more from Goodnight Wembley.
Jana van Heerden
Saint Fearless, Woodstock Mafia and Goodnight Wembley performed at Mercury Live on 30 June 2012.