The Winston's "3 Years Later" Birthday Party

  • Written by James Hammerton
  • Published in Gig Reviews

Every city has that rock n roll venue, the one where the floor is sticky and the walls are coated in layers of sweat, the booze is decently priced and there is consistently mind blowing live music. These are the places where new bands cut there teeth and established bands go to to feel at home again. They act as creative hubs that develop a pastiche of people, they attract artists, junkies, musicians and others from the fringes of society. They give a sense of community to those who feel dispossessed.

 In New York there is CBGBs, in Pretoria there is Schivas Rock, in Joburg there is The Bohemian and in Durban there is The Winston.

The Winston is a very friendly place, the line up on this evening was great. First up were The Tazers from JHB. They played a decadent set of Rock n Roll noise, and their recent touring experience is paying off as their blend of high energy, effects driven, stoner garage punk was well received, they actually blew a hole in my head with their explosive set. Their energy was consistent and they were fully immersed in the pure joy of performing. You got the sense that The Tazers are a band who would put the same amount of energy into a performance wether there were 10 people or 1000 people in front of them. They got the look.

The Tazers The Tazers

Photo credit: Leigh Taylor Photography

After enjoying some time outside on the astro turf lawn, indulging in what was on offer. Noises coming from the smokey belly of the beast that is The Winston's bar area suggested that Black Math were taking the stage. Consistently powerful and consistently amazing Black Math provided well for the guests in their home. During their set, The Winston became a swampy jungle and people appeared out of the misty smoke as coloured blurs. After a climatic end the audience was left to simmer in their own juices while Japan and I prepared to rock the festering, bubbly crowd.

 Black Math

Black Math

Photo Credit: Leigh Taylor Photography

I have been watching Japan and I live for about seven years, but the last time I had seen them live before this occasion was at The Boh, 5 years ago. They have matured into confident musicians who comfortably command the stage and their audience. Their brand of catchy, tight punky rock n roll had me bopping along. There was no sense of nostalgia that I was expecting to feel and their music seems more relevant now in South Africa's current Rock n Roll climate than ever before. Instead of performing a “Best of Legends” type of set they slotted in nicely amongst the other acts of the evening and it was really cool that their music did not seem dated at all. They looked brilliant and sounded awesome.

Japan and I

Japan and I

Photo Credit: Leigh Taylor Photography

After the bands, DJ lil' bow took over the audience steering wheel where she layed down some truly interesting and rare hip hop, vintage RnB that had the crowd busting moves into the early hours of the morning.

lil' bow

lilbow

Photo credit: Leigh Taylor Photography

There ain't no party like a Rock n Roll party and their ain't no party like a Winston party. God save hole in the wall venues were Rock n Roll dreams are born and the underground spirit of raw Rock n Roll and experimental music is kept alive. Amen