Nothing tests a band’s mettle like tour. In our case, 8 stinky okes in a van travelling around the country for 30 minutes of blood, beers and metal each night. Picking up every member of this band takes about us much time as the drive to Durban itself, it really makes me appreciate the effort that the Boksburg lads make to be at every rehearsal every week. Hannes, Marc pal, you chaps are proper pals. Joining us on this journey was Tom from Haggis and Fuzi, our film gimp James and Photographer ‘Scraps’ Preyser. Doing one tour with Scraps in the past made it a no brainer to bring him along, just a bundle of laughs, optimism and great pics, pal, it’s always a pleasure. After picking up a case of happiness and liver lube from Jager Charl, we were good to go all in.
En route to Debbin, we pulled over at a Petrol station outside Heidelberg for a quick boost and to meet the cats in Dreamshade, at this stage it was still all very tidy.
Durban, hair frizz, Sharks rugby and sceptical expectations of crowd turnout. Live is a big venue and it was a school night. It doesn’t help seeing the carcass of Burn Nightclub down the street, almost standing as a monument of what happens when the turnouts become indifferent. Carnage Carnival was up first and really did a great job. Kris’ leads chops were something to behold. They smashed a Pantera cover to near perfection, a practice that normally gets me rather uptight – due to okes flubbing the solo, but fuck me was I wrong. Good work lads! Divine Affliction were also pretty excellent, scarily so at times. With both bands you feel that they’d do better in a more metal orientated town. We played our set (I’m not going to harp on too much about our own shows in this), we guzzled some (many) tequilas in the middle of songs and in between songs and would like to think we made a few new friends on the night. We then kept the bar upright and hung with some local cats – noteworthy mention to a chap called Alexandre, excellent meeting you pal. Now is the time to witness Dreamshade for the first time (I’m also not going to harp on about their shows too much), and shit, these okes are tight, well rehearsed and really left no production humility behind. Stef shat the bed at the sampling, click tightness and all round pro delivery. In many ways this band is a very stark contrast to what we do and the off the cuff nature of our live show – which is why I knew this would be an excellent tour. We were the Cowboys, they were the Assassins.
We then got hold of a big refuse bag and bought beers till it was full, headed back to the accommodation and drank Durban dry. Here we had a mild spat with tour manager and all round good guy Ashley about the merits of Crowbar. Fella and Kevin from Dreamshade joined us for a few pints as well, until we decided it may be good idea to retire to bed round 3/4am. Well, not all of us. Hannes, James and Elvis, the local barkeep, kept going till we had to bugger off at 5am to PE. Somehow Hannes teleported straight into the van, and off we went.
Now, to note. The drive to PE though the Transkei is one of the WORST commuting endeavors you’ll face touring the country. Also, it was the morning of the first tour hangover, here is when you see everyone for who they really are. Hannes woke up with a smile. It is worth mentioning, that someone in PE is probably paid a salary to plant an identical dead dog along the highway every 30 km’s or so. The long roadkill highway sucks many kinds of dick sandwiches. Failing brakes, trucks, dead cows, stupid stops… 14 hours of road AIDS.
We got to PE round 9pm, I was volunteered to the drive the Dreamshade van for this leg, truly testing the tolerance of the Swiss. Either they are very cool cats, or they couldn’t understand my ramblings (but Andrea, their filming guy was a pretty good sport). UP GUNTHER UP! We arrived at Pool City and knew that we were in for a very special night. Small PA, packed venue, Iron Maiden tattoos, We knew that this night was all about not giving a single fuck. The locals were eager as hell to have a good time. Mezzanine Floor had a tough time with sound and were visibly bummed out by it. It’s a pity though – they are a really good band, give them a listen. The Cake is a Lie came on and destroyed the place, again, it seemed like the locals were hungry to show what they were made of. We played a lekker set with some rough moshing (some PE ladies are destined for Valhalla), Dreamshade played a really lekker set. Next up, one quick dop, 2 buckets of KFC and back on the road again. Tom deserves 6 billion man points for taking on the overnight drive solo. When we woke up near Cape Town were in good spirits, still pumped from the previous night’s show… and getting thirsty.
We arrived at the Mitchell’s brewery at 9:30am, and we held no quarter. We went straight for the 12% Old Wobbly draughts, watched some Super 15 ruggers and caught up with recent Jo’burg defector and 110% of true champion Gord Laws and his lovely missus. We dopped till about 6pm (the sun goes down deceptively late in Papsak City) and made short trip to meet up top class pal Haddad, the mayor of SA Rock ‘n Roll. He stayed rolling distance from Mercury Live, the last stop of the coastal leg of this trip. He really nursed us back to gig form and off we went to the venue.
Forgive us Not had a lekker jam and Arc Reactor really put on a special show. Some burlesque action on stage and all. After being skillfully introduced by Gord Laws as SA’s “most openly gay band” we took the stage and jammed hard, got the place going and then got cut short… which resulted in a severe sulk from my side. The lads brushed it off, which quickly made me realise that being a douchebag diva has no place in our band. Dreamshade again killed shit hard. Good times, arguments over chicken (from PE) and a return to Haddad’s compound. I passed out a few steps away from bed but luckily momentum got me to the finish line. Apparently Jiggy and I had a snore off… and sadly, no-one won. If it wasn’t for the heroic beer intake, then no-one would’ve gotten any sleep.
The next morning… hangover hell. Cheeseburgers everywhere. Haddad was cooking up the best breakfast ever, unfortunately I was feeling too shit to eat any of it. The rest of the lads seemed in better shape. I tried to channel some of Hannes’ hangover endurance powers, but to no avail. Stef was looking fresh… somehow.
Now, hero points, man point, awesome points… all of the points on this earth needs to be awarded to Scraps, who took on 12 hours straight from Cape Town to Jo’burg. Now, dropping off everyone after the tour took around 6 hours when we arrived, I don’t know why, but around 3am Stef started getting the giggles and couldn’t stop. Considering how catatonic we all were, we all started giggling which lasted until around 6am when Jason and I realised that were about to get stuck in morning traffic around Fourways. But the memories of 3 really cool shows kept us going for more. Now, all we had to do was suffer through one week of our day jobs…