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Backstage with Wonderboom

2011-05-04 15:57
It all started off so well…the notes were clear and legible. Made sense, even.

But after several hours of hanging with Joburg rockers Wonderboom during the Cape Town leg of their tour last weekend, it was slightly messy, very sweaty and as witty as it can only be at 1am. Unfortunately there’s no real record of it so we’ll have to wing it from memory.

Cito, Martin, Wade and Garth don’t come down to the mother city nearly as often as they should so it was a real treat to have them here for three whole days, celebrating the release of their eighth album, The Automatic Shuffle with back-to-back gigs at Bertie’s Landing, Assembly and Aandklas.

The album marks a change in attitude in the band, says Cito. “It’s been deemed our most alternative record so far. There seems to be more groove and musicality and fresh energy. It’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had recording.”

We hooked up with them at the uber funky Protea Fire & Ice hotel in the CBD for a shoot with photographer to the stars Deborah Rossouw, a true rock chick herself.

Blinding everyone with a ridiculously bright flash light (“don’t worry, the purple rings will go away in about 10 minutes” – it’s actually quite pleasantly trippy), she tells drummer Garth he is one of her heroes.

“But I don’t wear a cape,” he replies.

Backstage at Assembly – which is, according to guitarist Martin Schofield (baby, you WANT to be that guitar) one of the nicest club backstage areas apart from Sun City  – things got a bit hazy, with something about Cito doing the best “blue steel” and the bar fridge which seemed bottomless. For a while.
After more than 13 years together, Wonderboom remains one of the spectacular live acts in this country. Ever. Their energy on stage is electric, raw, sexy and powerful and if anything they just get better.

Cito may not take his shirt off any more but he still writhes and shimmies in his skinny jeans, howling into the mic about how he’s never ever gonna let (me) go.

Watching from the wings certainly gives one an interesting new perspective on that, an angle with which Garth says he is intimately familiar. He probably doesn’t appreciate it as much as he should.

Rocking through new stuff like the hit single On The Radio to classics like Jafta Rebel with their superb tributes to other South African greats – Shadow, Africa, Charlie – it was a hot, tight package of more than a decade of Wonderboom.

(Pics by Deborah Rossouw)

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