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Dit maak nie 'sakie' in Mossel Bay

2011-01-13 14:03
29 December 2010

So this is a summer road trip, right? But it's pouring so loudly you can't hear the guy snoring in the next tent. What a dismal day, in a lush camp site with another, nice brakrivier to swim in.

Only it's c-c-c-cold,  everyone's spirits are damp and limp (except the all-round helper, Shorty, with his long history of mystery and that permanently lopsided grin we love). The pool party we were looking forward to has been cancelled on cue. What are we going to do? We are going to drink. Juice.

At the last minute, the venue changes from outdoor to town hall, which we know is nice, floor-to-wall with woodwork, and huge. But there's no liquor licence available, even though we had one for the other place. Because why? Because some local official, who is probably off dopping, doesn't want to take the five minutes it requires to scribble a signature on a piece of paper that legally allows the music lovers sip some wine.

So it's twice in two nights that we play it safe - first in Hartenbos where the bad boys opted to play with preteens in the parking lot, and now this.

No matter, there's a charming (and wholly unprepared) Chinese eatery just five minutes wet walk from the venue. It hosts a whole lot of us for the entire afternoon.  We finish a big bottle of oriental alcohol, then toddle back up the road (via the gay bar) to the show.

Or to the bus or thingy's car boot to get some more …cooldrink.  We really like cooldrink tonight, it turns out.

It turns out it also sounds good here – the music resonates off the wide, wooden floors, and high ceiling, but also, the sound team does a pristine job of balancing input, output and environment, something they generally struggle with in smaller venues (note to organisers).

Underpaid rock stars ride the long stretch of stage for all they're worth, and we watch from the wings, talk, clap, snap photos and slap backs. Until it's Mr Cat And The Jackal's turn, and suddenly, nobody remembers they're sober or insecure, and almost everyone is dancing.

Sticks and stones

This is the blessing of five boys from the ‘burbs – they mix and match their musical inspiration so well that few can aptly classify their music, or keep still when they make it.

They make it with sticks and stones and home-made steel drums. They make it with growls and yowls and fee figh foe fums. It's brassy and bristly, a robust mix of canteen punk and crazy folk that can be incredibly delicate in places. It's relentless, and it's what you'd imagine brawling sailors to sing, only the band has been typecast quite annoyingly as a bunch of hairy pirates.

Sure, they are hairy; Jacques could replace Rapunzel if he applied the bottle to his hair instead of his lips, but pirates don't greet you sweetly over a breakfast of bacon bits – they eat you up for  breakfast in one clean gulp.  

Of course, being creative delinquents, what these boys know and uphold of boundaries socially, they break all the time on stage, generally at the expense of everyone's repose (which is a good thing; we pose too much).

So ok, maybe part-pirate, and wholly irresistible. Feet fly, and hands clap and arms wave, and this isn't only happening on stage, my love, it's all over the hall. Way back at the back of the room, where there is more space to let loose, there is a theatre of movement  - strange silhouettes illustrating  just why we walk the plank every time the Cats and Jackals howl by. Who needs booze? Where's my shoes? My oh my.

Previously: Hartenbos goes bos
Next: Avontoer Day 4: Hip-hip-Hermanus

On day 3 of Avontoer the venue changes from outdoor to town hall at the last minute, but there's no liquor licence available.
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