Violent Femmes Rocking Johannesburg

Friday Night’s LG Xtreme Concert turned into a really worthwhile event. For a mere R80 entrance fee we were entertained by Fokofpolisiekar, The Narrow and The Violent Femmes.

Being the first time I’d seen Fokofpolisiekar perform live, I was not sure what to expect, but any and all expectations were met and blown away. This is a rocking band with a solid sound. Afrikaans rock music is going from strength to strength, with these guys pushing it along at the front. Put plainly, they are a class live act.

The Narrow, of course, were their usual brilliant selves. I just can’t get enough of their heavy, passionate and powerful sound with a lead vocalist, Hanu, who can easily match their instruments when played at full volume. They’re making waves in all the right places, and they have the talent to take their group direct to the top of the international scene. I may just have discovered their secret formula for such a kickass sound – three guitars, two lead and one bass, leaving Hanu to concentrate on singing alone.

And then came the highlight, the Violent Femmes, who now had a huge task ahead in matching the opening acts. Definitely no easy task. But, surprise, surprise, as the saying goes,
“You do not fuck with the Violent Femmes”,
and they showed that quality in their own unique and uncharacteristic way. The band started off a bit tentatively, seemingly feeling out a foreign crowd and not sure exactly how we would react. It only took one or two songs and the band seemed almost surprised at the support from the crowd and the amount of singing that was taking place. Yes, even down here in South Africa the Femmes have a huge following – one they may never have thought existed.

The Femmes continued playing well into the night with hit after hit – they’ve got ten albums to draw content from. Later on they introduced a whole medley of ad-libbing from four South African artists who brought in their trombones and saxophones and twisted in a jazzy feel on a number of songs. They spread their sound from minimalist snare drum and vocals right through to an eight piece jazz extravaganza. Awesome stuff. I was delighted by their ability and enthusiasm to give us a great show.

As Gordon Gano pointed out – it only took them about 25 years to get here – but I think maybe, just maybe it was worth the wait.

Leave a Reply