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Rock on the Lawns with The Pixies.

It was the day we had been waiting for and excitement was running high at Carnival City for 16 000 rockers for Rock on The Lawns, featuring The Pixies and local support acts.

More than 150 000 drinks consumed and a large variety of food stalls catered for different tastes as well as the merchandise stand. The new cashless payment system, Howler, also proved to be very successful - just ‘tap and go’ and any unused cash was refunded at the end of the night. No mess, no fuss. Amp Events certainly proved that they were very well organised, clean and very safety conscious.

Due to time constraints, we missed new-comers to the SA music scene, Richard Stirton, winner of the voice and The Sweet Resistance. However, the word around the campfire is that they lived up to all expectation and have gained new fans for sure. ‘Local is Lekker’ and the spoils were shared evenly among all performing bands.

Shortstraw, have definitely earned their stripes on the SA music scene and rocked the crowd into the afternoon with their catchy “Indie-Bele” tunes and my fav “Couch Potato”. They will be spreading their South African vibes on the other side of the pond, heading on the UR OK UK/ Euro tour in April.

Crash Car Burn took to the stage to rock next. They need no introduction and never disappoint. They have been around for many years and showed their love for close friend and upcoming artist Justin Serraro whom they invited to collaborate with. He joined them on stage to sing 'Winding Road'. Justin too has made his mark on the scene and is one solo musician to keep a close eye on. Crash car played their new single “Juliet” that has been making waves after their release just over a week ago. Later into the Crash Car set, the band released massive balloons into the crowd that raised the rocking energy.

Of course, by the time,A-Kingand Prime Circlemade it to the stage, the crowd became much more rowdy and defensive about who was standing where, and even moving around between the crowds was becoming rather difficult. 

Prime Circle delivered a stellar performance as usual and how to deliver rock to their fans. Their production standard is world class and pour their soul into their performance. They brought the masses together and lifted the energy before the Springbok Nude Girls took over.

The most loved alternative rock band that SA has ever seen, The Springbok Nude Girls still know how to rock the stage. Theo Crous on guitar, ‘the main man with the hair’ illuminated the stage with his head banging energy as Arno lead the vocals and the sounds of the trumpet gently reminded us that the Nudies were in the house. Rock on the Lawns saw solidarity of the people as the Nudies pulled the crowds along finishing their set with “Bubblegum on my boots”. Some people we spoke to had not seen them since the late ’90s and this was the ultimate opportunity to see them in their mature years and rekindle their youth.


More people were crowding the stage after SNG as they were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Pixies, the ultimate headlining act. 

The Pixies can still rock after 31 years. The crowd sang along to the all-time favourites – “Hey”, “Monkey Gone to Heaven”, “Where is my Mind”, “Here Comes your Man”, “Gigantic”. Rob McLennan of No Friends of Harry was in awe of the Pixies performance, stating they are one of the greatest bands of all time. There was some disappointment as the Pixies did not communicate with the crowd. They got on stage, played their set, strutted their stuff and left, however, the music was great and delivered what the crowd was there to see.

As a true rocker, you need to get trolled at least once in your life at a concert (but that's a story for another time).  Taking a look around, I was already amazed at how many people were already passing out and just thinking, “These guys are going to miss the highlight of the show.”  I felt a little remorse for some of these young lads who obviously couldn’t control themselves.

In true rock ‘n roll style, some parents brought their kids to see the Pixies too and experience the diversity of our S.A music scene. Bands likeThe Sweet Resistance,Shortstraw,Crash Car Burn and A-kinghad done their part by attracting the younger crowd, just so they could experience rock icons such as thePrime Circle, Springbok Nude Girls andThe Pixies.

Let us not forget how the music reached us. The man behind the airwaves, Barney Simon brought alternative music to life by playing these iconic bands on the radio. He was the first DJ to play SNG and Pixies on radio. (Take a bow Barney, the music industry owes you a place in the Rock N Roll Wall of Fame for your contribution to the music scene).



“Here Comes your Man"

To add the cherry on the top (or the diamond), the highlight of the evening, just beforePrime Circle, came most unexpectedly for one lady from Durban, when John Mathers proposed to Michelle De Faria Marques, over the big screen.

 The Proposal

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The Happy Couple - John Mathers & Michelle De Faria Marques

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It is quite apparent that S.A music had certainly come, a long way and thanks to event organisers AMP Events, for putting on a great show. Thank you,  Andy Mac,  for you continued support and effort in providing us with some of the best entertainment from around the globe. S.A is certainly more entertained with you around. Keep the dream alive and we can’t wait to see who you will bring out next!

Feel free to tell us about your Rock on the Lawns experience, we would love to hear!

Thanks to bands like this that keep events like this coming!

Frederic Egersdorfer

Chief Whip at UP


those meddling kidsNew Music. A New Collective.

The last 18 months have seen SHORTSTRAW riding the waves of the success of their latest album, 'Youthless' (iTunes #1, SAMA Nominated). Never ones to ease up, they’ve consistently been working on a new collection of songs since then and are now ready to start showing this exciting new material to the world.

Always ones to do something a little different, instead of a conventional release where one gets everything upfront, starting from September, the band have boldly chosen to rather release one song on the first Friday of every month until the end of the collection. This unique move is aimed at giving each song its time to shine. 

“We wanted to put a strong focus on our songs this time. we’re writing and recording as we go, so we can release them as soon as we can and not wait for a whole album to be completed before people get a chance to hear them!”

In putting this focus on each song, the other exciting part of this collection is that each song will get its own artwork designed by a different visual artist or designer, and its own music video directed by the most passionate pitch. Everyone involved in this collection of music, artwork, and film, will form part of the collective ‘Those Meddling Kids’. Instead of just a small album liner note, the band will take every opportunity to profile, advertise, and celebrate all those involved. 

“There are incredibly talented people out there, both locally and overseas that we have been lucky enough to work with, and want to work with. We didn’t just want it to be another job for them, we wanted them to be a part of something! We’re excited about formalising a collective with them for the sole reason being that we can then share it with everyone who’s interested. Hopefully, people like what they see and want to work with them too.”

The debut single from the collection goes live on Friday 2 September!

As of right now, the music isn’t all finished, and the artists and filmmakers haven’t all been picked. The band is excited to still meet and work with those keen to join THOSE MEDDLING KIDS. To get involved, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information and to view the collective’s directory please visit: shortstraw.co.za/tmk

 Follow SHORTSTRAW: Website | Facebook | Twitter | BandCamp | SoundCloud

Drawing the Shortstraw

Shortstraw YOUTHLESS by Hanro Havenga 03

Shortstraw are definitely one of my favourite SA bands, my mate Tash is obsessed with them and I can’t say she has bad taste. The band has made huge, success out of themselves and rightfully so with their unique sound and quirky lyrics, really, what’s not to like? They are often playing gigs down here in the dirty South and have been added to this year’s Splashy Fen - Revival list. We had a chat with them about their last international tour and why they like playing at Splashy.

You guys recently did a tour in Japan, what was it like playing with Japanese bands?
It's a little intimidating, to be honest! They are all such incredible musicians - like serious masters of their craft - so they made us feel a little inferior a lot of the time, although once we got to know them - and I mean all of them, every single band we shared the stage with (and even some we didn't) - they made us feel so equal and at home on stage. It's such an incredible country with the most amazing people. So friendly and accommodating and, even with the language barrier in place, everyone we spent time with immediately became a friend. 
What are their festivals like?
I'm not sure if all Japanese festivals are like the one we played at, but the one we saw wasn't like Splashy where there's a bunch of massive stages a few hours out of town, this was all over a part of Osaka, in various clubs around an area that's called America, which is basically the musical hub of Osaka. Every venue has state of the art sound and lighting equipment, despite the fact that the majority of these clubs can't handle more than 100 people. But every show we went to, was packed and fortunately for us, the one we played was packed too. Didn't see any drum circles and there was no Fen, so still think we do festivals better. 
When are you going to do episode two of the 'Booshcast' on Soundcloud?
That's a damn good question! We really wanted to do one in December before we went on tour, but we were all chaotic trying to finish up work and I was sick and trying to recover before it started. I think we should do one bloody tomorrow! Look out for that. 
How many Splashy’s have you played at?
2016 will be our 4th year in a row! I've been going since I was a kid. Though, so it'll be about my 15th actual Splashy though. 
What’s your favourite thing about a Splashy Fen gig?
Definitely the crowd. Durban crowds are the best! Everyone is a little rowdy, without being aggressive, so there's loads of party and good times. 
If you were a Super Hero, what powers would you have?
I think it'd be cool to have the ability to control other people's sphincters. Like bad guy's sphincters only, though we wouldn't take advantage. 

Shortstraw YOUTHLESS by Hanro Havenga 01

Photo by Hanro Havenga


Today sees the release of SHORTSTRAW’s new music video for their single 'HIGH SCHOOL'. The video was shot while the band was on tour in Japan in October 2015. The video was shot by Tom Revington and directed by Russell Grant and Alastair Thomas, all Shortstraw members.

“This video is Russ' brainchild. He envisioned this badass Japanese schoolgirl just striding down a Japanese street and beating shit up as she went along. We then fleshed it out together to include some special effects and the band displaying some poor running form too!” - Alastair Thomas.

Shot in Osaka and Tokyo, the band had a day off on tour and decided to put it to good use and make a video. Fortunately their translator, Haruka, was super keen to get involved, and after she flipped off some queue jumpers at Universal Studios, they knew they had found their heroine. They scoured the neighbourhood called 'America' before they found the ideal road (about 4 blocks from Flake Records), and managed to find a trolley from a nearby music shop to use as dolly and tracks - they initially were using a minibus and shooting out the back, but the police told them they were not allowed to do that.

Whilst having loads of lost in translation moments as they tried to explain to the police and passers by what they were doing, they eventually got away with shooting the video. They were able to sneak in cameos from pretty much every friend of theirs in Japan, including Sawagi, Ai (their translator from 2014), Denims (another band they had toured with in Japan), Fabian (their sound engineer) and Dawa, who owns Flake Records, the label responsible for bringing them to Japan.

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The video can be described as a mean-ass Japanese schoolgirl who goes on a vengeful rampage through the streets of Japan in search of that meddling band, Shortstraw. She destroys them with a guitar solo.

The animation in the video was done by Marco Belloni and Waldo Buchner. The band wanted the effects to be as Japanese as possible, so they got the two of them to go wild on it.

“The song is just a fun ode to some of the noisier bands we all love, so we figured the video had to be somewhat lighthearted, but also a little badass. The schoolgirl ties in with what the song's about - high school - and the fact that she kills us with a guitar solo which is appropriate, because the song probably has too many guitar solos - overkill!"

“We love the video! It pays tribute to our time in Japan, which kinda kicked our ass, but we loved it more than anything too. It's also great to be able to feature all the people who were so kind to us when we were there. Getting them to try and act was a treat!”

Follow SHORTSTRAW: Website | Facebook | Twitter | BandCamp | SoundCloud

Halloween 2015


Date: 30 October 2015
Venue: 20 Solomon Street, Johannesburg
Entrance: R150 Pre-Sold (tinyurl.com/nzebvlj) / R200 Door / R400 VIP
Time: 18h00 - 02h00
Facebook Event: tinyurl.com/p8kcvy8


Date: 31 October 2015
Venue: Arcade Empire, Pretoria
Time: 15h00 - 02h00
Entrance: From R120 - R200 (Available online at ticibox.com
Facebook Event: tinyurl.com/owzjqrv

halloween jhb 2015


✝ Griet, Arcade Empire & Battalion presents : Halloween 2015 ✝

We’ve teamed up this year to bring all our Joburg friends some Halloween fun as well. Expect the same chills & thrills from our previous Halloween block parties, but with loads more fun & terror to be had at an abandoned post office right next to a graveyard.


➤ 70% under roof

➤ never been used before

➤ old post office and warehouses
➤ very spooky

➤ next to Braamfontein cemetery


➤ R150 Pre-sold Online
➤ R200 at the door
➤ R400 VIP
➤ Available via ticibox.com


Come as you aren’t, its Halloween & a lot more fun when EVERYONE gets their freak on!


20:00 - 21:00 We Are Charlie
21:00 - 22:00 The Plastics
22:00 - 23:00 Shortstraw
23:00 - 00:00 Bittereinder 
00:00 - 01:00 PH Fat


20:00 - 21:00 Pollinator
21:00 - 22:00 The Tazers
22:00 - 23:00 The Moths
23:00 - 00:00 The Ts & Cs
00:00 - 01:00 Hellcats


20:30 - 21:30 Kid Robot vs Phizicist
21:30 - 22:30 Pop Art Live
22:30 - 23:30 Metro Ticket
23:30 - 00:30 Chee
00:30 - 01:30 Hypomaniacs

This event is proudly sponsored by Jose Quervo.


halloween pta 2015


✝ Arcade Empire & Griet presents: Halloween 2015 ✝

Expect the same chills & thrills from our previous Halloween block parties, but with more fun and terror!

- 4 Stages
- 5 Bars
- 20 Acts
- Photobooth
- Mad sound and production
- Epic Decor
- Gates open at 15:00


- R120 Early Bird (limited to 200)
- R150 Pre-sold Online
- R200 at the door
- Available via ticibox.com


Come as you aren’t - it's Halloween and a lot more fun when EVERYONE gets their freak on!


16:00 - 17:00 - Whyt Man Moccasins
17:00 - 18:00 - Phoenix Turbine
18:00 - 19:00 - Float Parade
19:00 - 20:00 - Jamie Saint
20:00 - 21:00 - Rolo
21:00 - 22:00 - Kyle Watson
22:00 - 23:00 - Pop Art Live
23:00 - 00:00 - Timo ODV
00:00 - 01:00 - Chunda Munki
01:00 - 02:00 - Master Simz


19:00 - 20:00 - Arts Snakes
20:00 - 21:00 - Blazin Gooch
21:00 - 22:00 - The Black Cat Bones
22:00 - 23:00 - Zebra & Giraffe
23:00 - 00:00 - Shortstraw


21:00 - 22:00 - Kid Robot vs Phizicist
22:00 - 23:00 - Veranda Panda
23:00 - 00:00 - Bittereinder
00:00 - 01:00 - P.H.fat
01:00 - 02:00 - King Rat

This event is proudly sponsored by Jagermeister, Red Bull, Wellington, Black Label, Russian Bear, Red Heart Rum, Flying Fish & brought to you by the Arcade Empire & Griet teams.


The (unofficial) 2015 Oppikoppi Awards

The annual pilgrimage to Northam has been and gone, and the dusty rock city music lovers erect every August is already being longed for by the faithful. Odds are you’ve already scanned over the endless articles praising the authenticity and addictive consistency of this year’s epic event – and I know that if you’re anything like I am, these odes to our favourite festival have done little more than heighten your awareness of the fact that you’re not drinking and dancing in the sun right now.

Which is why I’m not going to write another piece of prose.

 oppikoppi 01

Photograph by Kyle Gregorowski

Instead, I proudly present the (very) unofficial 2015 Oppikoppi Awards (based on my experience):

Most energetic: Gogol Bordello

Watching the gypsy punk masters has always been a dream of mine and seeing their surreal energy in the flesh was nothing short of mesmerising. They broke the mould and every body in the audience and during a set that mixed the charm of Babylon Circus with the energy of an electro set.

Most musically pleasing: Tatran

In a festival that featured numerous hopeful “prog.” acts, the Israeli maestros reminded everyone who was fortunate to watch their set what genius really is. Dense, complex and melodic, what lacked in stage presence was made up for in sheer wizardry.

Most promising: Bark

The small group of intrigued ears who attended this set were blessed. Pretoria-bred trio Bark are touched by a deep, historic sound and remind of early Zeppelin. Their sound is balanced and profound but smooth and intriguing – I predict great things.

Most surprising: The Foolish Braves

Two of SA’s favourite frontmen shared the stage for the ideal festival set. The fact that the acoustic version of my favourite Fuzigish track of all time made an appearance was the cherry on a soulful, sweet show full of bluesy skat and laughter.

Most repetitive: Shortstraw

I have no qualms with Shortstraw – in fact, I value what their sound does for the South African palette, but for some reason this set of indie-driven guitar squeaks was a bit repetitive. Maybe it was just the track listing, but the whole thing seemed to miss the mark, which was a pity.

Most fun: Desmond and the Tutus

The masters of the indie movement produced one of their greatest ever sets to snag the “Most fun” award. Guided by their infinitely eccentric puppet master Shane, this was an effortless experience driven by the energy of a rightfully enamoured crowd.

Most unexpected: Tweak

It’s taken me more than ten years to understand what Tweak is all about. Watching them destroy the stage and singing along word for word gave me and thousands of others a new respect for these natural born entertainers. Quirky, fast, fun – it was super rad.

Best aphrodisiac: P.H.Fat

If aural conception was a thing P.H.Fat would have fathered an entire generation with their set. Dripping basslines and pulsing beats drove the crowd into a frenzy that nearly made me blush. It was very dirty – in a good way.

Most patriotic: Johnny Clegg

Johnny Clegg is the sound of South Africa, and his set confirmed his importance amongst generations of South African music lovers. His demure, humble performance was as inspirational as it was touching, and provided the ultimate soundtrack to an African sunset.

Most entertaining: The Nomadic Orchestra

The Nomadic Orchestra redefined my understanding of brass instruments. Bouncing to the reggae and ska beats produced while the performers defied the physics of performance was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Best Act: Twin Atlantic

From stage presence and interaction to strong lyrical content and genuine appreciation of the moment, the men from Scotland set the crowd alight with a set that delivered on every level. A new favourite that we hope will return to our shores soon.

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