Review: Electric Launch for Woodstock Mafia


Woodstock Mafia VideoThe Cape Town music scene is teeming with some insane talent and this was aptly displayed at Long Street’s legendary Zula Bar last week where we were treated to some ass kicking local music.

Getting the crowd warmed up was Tombstone Pete, stepping onstage barefoot with acoustic guitar in hand. As soon as the first note was played frenzy ensued. Tombstone Pete literally manhandles his guitar, using it to its full potential with open string strumming and percussive madness. Pete is a tweaked demon on the guitar but there is a controlled madness in his style. Effortless string picking, hammer on, pull offs, harmonics and drumming form part of his truly impressive ensemble. As a one man demo of the extreme versatility of the acoustic guitar he is hauntingly good.

Next up was Juke Royal, an outfit which reminded me of a cross between Maroon 5 and Ghostland Observatory. Swirling synth arpeggios, funky bass lines and some nice melodies form the basis of this group’s sound. Although they aren’t at all unpleasant to listen to, the band wasn’t really my cup of tea, with a lot of their songs being rather generic sounding. The crowd would’ve told you different though.

Last up was the reason everyone was there: the veritable Woodstock Mafia. They’re the type of band you’ve heard about and know about long before you’ve actually seen or heard them play. Under the very capable hands of bassist Ryan Matthews, the band has become a tour de force through guerrilla marketing tactics.

The evening was centred around the launch of their video for Electric Light, and the tension in the air was palpable as the extras and actors stood in the crowd anxiously waiting to catch a glimpse of themselves in the video. When, at last, the band took the stage the electricity in the air erupted into unadulterated rock mayhem.

This band seems to have everything. A supremely talented guitarist, an intense drummer, a buzzing bassist and a vocalist who is not only a very capable singer, but also serves as some eye candy for the ladies in the audience. The perfect mix of hard rock riffs and vocal melody left me quite simply  blown away.

Kudos to Zula for hosting another rocking night of South African music. Events such as these are the most brilliant platform for showing just how many truly talented musicians we have in this country and that we are by no means inferior to the international music market.

Craig Feris

Woodstock Mafia launched the video for Electric Light at Zula on 11 May 2012.


The music video itself…

It’s near impossible to believe that a video of this calibre was shot on a scratch budget of R12k. The cost of the coffee alone on any ‘normal’ video would set you back that much.  But these guys knew what they wanted. They found just the right blend of passion, commitment, and unbelievable talent and through their shared vision they managed to pull together a visual masterpiece of post apocalyptic Cape Town.

If you know anything about video editing, you’ll recognise just how much dedication went into this. Director Rick Shields and the director of photography, Euginio Galli created a true work of art with the help of an amazing team. The sound is sick, the visuals are phenomenal, the costumes, makeup, camera work and editing are all what you’d expect to see from a top class hard rocking vid. In its first 3 days on youtube, it received over 3000 views.  For a band few people have heard of… yet… that says it all.

I’ve now watched it several times and each time I notice something extra. Hell, with a 1984 Orwellian them, we wouldn’t expect any less. Good luck to everyone involved with the video, they are surely going places.  And to Woodstock Mafia, who brought them all together… may the gods of rock bless you and open their doors to Valhalla, where you will surely be remembered forever!

Faheem Abz Abrahams

Watch the video here.

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