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Boobies and bands: Koppi Cool vs. Koppi Crap

2007-08-14 08:50
He’s not talking about the bands that have played before him. Most of them have been testament to the fact that rock ‘n roll is alive and well, in all its many manifestations. He’s talking about the MCs who’ve just introduced his band, two idiots from MK89’s Af program, which is a sort of South African “Jackass for Dummies” (yes, think about that for a while).

The one guy appears to be too drunk to say “Dirty Skirts”, and the other one – the bare-chested guy dressed in a pair of Superman tights - keeps making increasingly desperate pleas for girls to “show their boobies” in exchange for a bottle of tequila. When all else fails, he flashes his arse at the crowd.

It’s not the best of intros for the Skirts, a band that’s about sophisticated style as much as about dirty rock. A lot of the comedic stuff at Oppikoppi is on the gutter level, if gutter is actually a level. At 24, we’ve got nothing against crude humour, but it’s the humour bit that’s kind of essential to the equation. Hell, we’ve got our own Way of the Kwassie story up, and we think Sweat X’s “I love pussy” number is hysterical. But schoolyard humour is just not that funny, unless it’s done by Corne and Twakkie.

Maybe I’d have felt differently if the Af idiot had actually managed to get some girl to flash her boobies for the crowd. It’s not so much the crassness of it all, as the fact that, if you can’t convince one person to flash for you, in a crowd of kids who’ve been drinking themselves into oblivion all day, you’re just not very good at your job.

Why’s a story about Oppikoppi spending so much time on comedy? Because, ugh, sometimes the two get combined, either inadvertently (R. Kelly’s hilarious “Trapped in the Closet”) or on purpose, as with the utterly bladdy awful Kooler Box.

Quite why two fat white guys dressed as rappers and (apparently) lip-syncing to their own crap lyrics should be foisted upon the world, I don’t know. What do the Oppikoppi organisers think when they decide this? “We own the audience of ‘people who love music’, but we’re missing that vital segment of ‘people who like to say tieties’?” Anyway, enough time spent on Kooler Box, whoever they are. Bubba Sparkxx and Leon Schuster do that shtick better and funnier.

There was plenty of good music to kill the pain. The three girls of the quirkily named Japan and I rocked out wearing differently coloured frocks in a matching cartoonish bunny print, going for a Powerpuff Girls feel in red, yellow and blue. Their music could be described as aggressively cute, in a Shonen Knife kind of way.

Black Hotels are my new favourite band. Intelligent, understated country rock, with a calculated lofi feel and, incredibly, more than a hint of Neil Diamond in the vocals. Critics have been comparing them to the Velvet Underground and Interpol, but you’d have to throw Jim White into that mix to get the full feel. And as with many good bands, you spend the first half of the set using the references to try and get a handle on them. By the end of the set, they just sound like Black Hotels.

Other highlights were At Nel and Huyser Burger’s Somerfaan, a weird space opera kind of dance band, Paul Riekert and Anton L’Amour playing an acoustic set of stripped down covers, and the fabulously post-rocky Kid of Doom. Well, those are just my highlights. Other people might have liked the idiots shouting “boobies”.

- Chris Roper

Quote of the festival must come from Jeremy De Tolley of The Dirty Skirts, late Friday night. When the band takes the stage, Jeremy resplendent in a plastic Darth Vader helmet, mutters into the microphone “I think we’ve just seen the death of rock ‘n roll.”

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