i would have preferred a public flogging

All photos Erin Wulfsohn

To be honest, I wasn’t even going to write this. My position on it was that if no one could have been assed to put on a semi-decent show, why on earth should I bother to even write a semi-decent rant about it? That was until I came across another review that seemed like the person who wrote it was either at an entirely different show, or completely fucking clueless as to what a decent show is. I won’t stand for utter bullshit from a complete novice standing as the only account of Ramfest’s first visit to Durban. The fact that it was on overtones blog that puffs itself up as a bunch of leading experts on SA independent music is another issue entirely… Another example of how media, no matter how small and independent, panders to musicians giving them the okay to be sub-par and shate.

I arrived at Gateway Theatre of Shopping late… What a surprise. If you stage a gig, or any event, on a week day expect people to only arrive after 7. The organisers frankly fucked up. It doesn’t matter that you have two international bands, the biggest act to come out of SA in years and massively popular local acts playing as support… People work. They have to, to be able to afford ticket prices. So I was late. I was sipping on my first beer as Die Antwoord took to the stage. Since we were in a “minor-friendly” venue where the bars and people consuming alcohol are caged and forbidden exit with any drink in hand, I had to watch the start of the gig from what might as well have been a kilometre away. I hate the Wave House for its unbelievably strict rules about alcohol. Mark the kids with different bands and leave it at that. If the bar staff are too blind and retarded to spot a 16-year-old trying to buy booze then invest in some better staff. Why punish us, the of age binge drinkers because of our need for social lubrication? I hurriedly finished my beer, which resulted in my uncomfortable burping for a good ten minutes, and made my way closer to the stage to watch Ninja, Yo-landi and DJ Hi-Tec do their thing.

Die Antwoord, Ramfest, Durban, 2011, Ninja

come all my zeffers kneel before your saviour

Die Antwoord, Ramfest, Durban, 2011, Yo-Landie Visser

fok jou, jou naai

I haven’t seen them in their new guises before so I was interested in how this now internationally known and successful band performed. My first impression was that whoever was doing the sound hadn’t planned for Die Antwoord’s particular ruckus. Standing closer to the stage, their sound was as muddy as my Sunday afternoon toilet breaks.  Die Antwoord were amusing in parts, but it all felt a bit stale even for me a first timer. Perhaps the overexposure and fuss about them had built them up too much. The only song that did anything for me was their single Evil Boy which they followed with the song that gave them their break, Enter the Ninja. The choreographed “dancing” if you could call it that, pushed me over the edge. I gave up supporting them and left to drown away my disappointment so far with something stronger than beer. I only listened to the rest of their set. Of course the Wave House would position one of the only two bars in such a way that watching the stage from their Nazi booze pens was crap. From what I heard their rendition of Doos Dronk went down the best, I have no idea if Van Coke accompanied them as he had done in Cape Town. I couldn’t care less if he did… So far this gig feels like a sham. I wished someone on stage would shout, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” I’m pretty sure the bands, and the crowd felt they were. I definitely did, because once again the Wave House has failed to even stock their bar adequately. They have no rum. They have Spice Gold though, which some dunce of a bar lady, who doesn’t look like she’s been drinking legally for a year yet, pours me when I ordered one. I will state this for emphasis; I fucking hate the Wave House as a venue!!! If someone involved with the Wave House events booking ever reads this I would like you to know that you fail as a human being and as an event organiser. You should be fired, then fired upon with heavy artillery. I digress… Despite my losing interest in Die Antwoord I did like the use of the big screen backdrop. The images were sufficiently disturbing to the lesser informed members of the audience and in places quite good accompaniment to the group’s performance. The other acts to follow failed to do anything but stick their names up, which would have been fine if they themselves had been more entertaining.

Between the acts, I was roaming the bar area looking for someone to amuse me, instead I had people expressing concerns about the size of the crowd in attendance. Given it was only going on 8 or 9, I assured them, that by the time the last band played the crowd would be larger, and rowdier… I was mostly right. Alkaline Trio entered the stage, and thoroughly underwhelmed. My only impression was that I was watching three old men on stage playing music made for teenage girls. Always an issue with me and these types of bands, regardless of skill and popularity that should give them some sort of credibility which it doesn’t, they have taken the foundation of punk and watered it down so much and to the point that my only comparison to it would be that of music for weeping vagina. A comparison I feel stands after seeing the type of Emo trash running up to the stage when Alkaline Trio started. Fuck Alkaline Trio and their shitty pop songs centred on love and all things I don’t care about. Their sad attempt at crowd interaction was sullied further by the front man’s condescending remarks about whether the audience knew the lyrics. What a fucking tool this guy is. You’re at a mall, in a skate park, playing to a bunch of white kids…

Alkaline Trio, Ramfest, Durban, 2011

look at all those damn white kids

Do you really think that they’re never going to have heard your crappy albums before? It should be a given that any moron in the crowd has at least heard you, if not, an avid fan. They were so boring in fact, that a bunch of guys took it upon themselves to entertain us with daring feets of drunken stupidity, doing back flips off the skate ramp and landing on their heads. It was hugely entertaining until the stuffy mall cops put and end to it. Once the torture of these three balding fucks do nothing on stage, expect play through guitar malfunctions and move as little as possible I spoke to some actual fans who mostly expressed nothing but bitter disappointment about the bands show. I was partly sympathetic, but I laughed a little to myself. That’s what you get for supporting weeping vagina music, I thought. Some Alkaline Trio sympathisers suggested I go watch some of their live performances on YouTube, and that their performance that night was in fact the norm. Actually, my time is far too precious to me to want to waste it watching their boring display a second time on my computer screen, so no, I won’t.

Alkaline Trio, Ramfest, Durban, 2011

old man serenading his bored teenage fans

Thankfully, the last act was coming up. I heard from most people I spoke with, even two muscle-bound, rugby fan types, that this was the band they had come to see. In truth I had completely lost interest by this point. Ramfest was a bust. The attendance even at this stage was less than impressive thanks to ill thought out date and time. The bands were dull and lacklustre probably thanks to playing two better attended and better planned gigs in less than a week. All I hoped for was that this embarrassment of Durban would end quickly and I would be drunk enough not to feel the shame of it too acutely tomorrow. To give Funeral for a Friend credit, they played as if they were playing to capacity crowd instead of what looked like only a few hundred. A band that gives every performance they’re all, whether it is 10 or 10 000 people is admirable in my book, and is how a real band should behave. Again though, they are watered down, soft cock, far too friendly sounding fluff to me. Sure they are slightly more aggressive in parts, but at the end of the day mixed up suburban girls are singing along to this shit with tears in their eyes after a boy from class broke their young hearts. It could be suburban boys too, but then they aren’t really male are they? All the fists in the air while they sing about love look pathetic to me. I go back to the bar to find my happy place at the bottom of a glass.

Funeral for a Friend, Ramfest, Durban, 2011

at least one dude agrees with me about the hands in the air

Funeral for a Friend, Ramfest, Durban, 2011

funeral for a friend says hello to Durban

I am only just in time for last rounds. It is halfway through the bands set, and the motherfuckers of Wave House are already closing up shop. I can’t tell you how much I hate the Wave House and the people who run the gigs there. It’s a fucking soccer mom, I know it. You bitch! In my opinion, I don’t think the organisers gave a fuck about the Durban leg of their touring festival. They tagged it on at the very end as a sort of experiment to see if they could add another venue and possibly make more money out of it… The experiment failed from what I could see. They’ll be lucky if they break even. I can only partly blame the Ramfest organisers though, because they aren’t in control of what the people of Durban do. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramfest neglects to put a show on in Dirtbin again and I wouldn’t hold it against them. I feel it’s entirely necessary to chastise Durban folk, when they utterly fail as a metropolis, like they did.  The people of Durban sit and complain about how acts don’t come to our sleepy coastal town, but when possibly the biggest collection of international and national alternative bands of the year visits they sit at home and watch television. I hope that episode of Grey’s or whatever was on was the highlight of your week you sad act cunt. I hold no love for you, even less than I do for Ramfest organisers or Wave House cretins. How can anyone expect to see anything other than the likes of U2 and Lionel Richie visit KZN if there is never any support? Regardless of the dismal night I had at Ramfest, I would probably go if they bothered to venture this far East again. At least I can say I was there, and I support live music in Durban. This by the way gives me license to criticise, if you weren’t there and dare to moan even an utterance about never getting any cool bands in town, I will slap you across your filthy whore mouth and make you regret those words dearly.

The long drive back from the Theatre of Shopping, was a melancholy one. The booze and depressing show had taken its toll. In the passenger seat passing through central Durban, I decided that I wouldn’t be writing about the nights events. I couldn’t think of enough positive points to be able write anything and not come off as a miserable wretch. Then after reading the lies and the pure fabrication about how proud of Durban this silly little twit was. I felt the truth should be told, regardless of how my character may be viewed. Take from it what you will, but be sure to remember that I will slap you regardless of gender, and that I am above all, honest…

Check out Miss Wulfsohn’s tumbler to see more of her magic with pixels and light – erin-wulfsohn

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