Uprising Festival Day 3

2008-07-27 07:10
Parties at The Willowvale are always compartmental affairs. When you walk in, there's a hall on your right, a regular bar on your left, a "VIP" bar down the narrow corridor past the toilets, and an outside balcony where people congregate to annunciate. Beers get drunk by the quart, and looking around, you'd never know that the world's trying to phase out smoking.

I checked in at around 8:30pm. The DJs already had the regular bar section of the party's full attention, The Food Stand of Love was frying up hotdogs and serving dodgy shooters, and it looked like it was going to be a good party.

Fruit and Veggies were the first and best band of the night. Their sound's kind of like a not-so-clean- and-wholesome, rougher-around-the-edges Freshlyground – there's madness in their music. And the band's rhythm section (bass and drums respectively) features the iconically Durban pairing of barflies Loopy and Warren "Terrible Lu" Dolphin. In the short time they've been around, Fruit and Veggies just keep getting better; funk, punk, African jazz and cross-dressing.
For a post-school-holidays Wednesday night in Umbilo, the crowd was filling up pretty quick. And as far as Uprisings '08 goes, it was definitely the festival's most successful outing so far – third time's the charm. Manuvah to Land were up next – a band that "started playing in their hut in Warner Beach". Meanwhile, in the regular bar section, the-salt-of-Durban, Peter Webb, was DJing up a dub storm of some seriously-rude-boy proportions.

Made up of ex-Swarm and Lush Puppy members, Manuvah to Land look like four dudes that picked up tattoos on a surf trip to Bali. And they sound like it too. Mixing Jack Johnson sounds with a bit of reggae and no shoes, they'd probably own a small pub in J-Bay. But here at the Willowvale, interest was waning – partly due to the band's inexperienced-seeming stage act, even though together, they've been jamming for "10-15 years".

With the absence of emo-kids We Stole Snowy, who broke up about a month before the show, it was up to funk rockers The Otherwise to bring the party to an end. And, despite playing with a new bassist and drummer, they pulled it off. There's still some work to be done. But if this lineup sticks it out, they could be a Durban band to watch out for.

By 1am I was sipping pumpkin juice, the party was over, and it was time to head out in search of sustenance. The Food Stand of Love was still serving, but there's only so many hotdogs and Fizzers a man can eat. And I had my eye on something else, way across town, in another universe from The Willowvale. It's been an interesting week for camp Uprising – three shows down, and just the main event at Wave House on Saturday to go. But that's the safe bet. The show that started it all.

- Wayne Arnold
[PREVIOUS: Saturday's Uprising in KwaMashu] [page 3 of 3]

Officially rated one star, The Willowvale's the kind of hotel where you rent rooms by the hour and Asian sailors come to party on their time off. It's seedy, it's dingy, and definitely separates the slightly curious from your more ardent Durban party people – it's even an official Tab gambling outlet. But at Uprising's third show, the place felt different. Maybe the recent indie takeover forced the locals to find another, less neon watering hole. Or maybe it was just their mid-week night off. Bu

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