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This Is A Heart - Make Overs, The Moths, The Sisters, Mouse

I was anxious and overwraught with excitement to see what seemed to be a collection of some of SA's most edgy garage rock n roll bands, the king flies in a garbage heap full of maggots at the Winston.Word had it that a ragtag gang of true believers who were all totally fuzzed out, toured out and loud as hell were descending on the Winston for one helter skelter night of filthy rock n roll.

On another warn sweaty durban night we walked into The Winston with all cylinders firing. Fuzzes and squeeks and the occasional thump signalled that the only band I had not seen before was taking the stage, this was the one band I was most interested to see

It is a strange thing to see Mouse before you for the first time. They have a tiny vocalist and goliath drummer and the epic almost ironic juxtaposition of characters seems almost comedic until they begin to play. Just a few downstrokes in and everything began to melt. I looked around and my vision slowly slurped downwards in slow motion, peoples faces and eventually their bodies were becoming flesh coloured, sticky pools that were slowly spreading over filthy floor, this was the night of beautiful noise there was no mistaking it.


Winston Mouse 1999



Mouse hits you like a wave of an impact, sludgy yet intricate, doomy and energetic simultaniously. I definitely did not expect to hear what I did from the very young two piece, a jack white infused artic monkeys being butt fucked by Black Sabbath.

After relaxing outside on the plush astroturf in the rain for a bit, the reverb drenched fuzzed as shit sounds coming from inside signalled the next band taking the stage, The Sisters had astral travelled on to the stage and I swear that guitarist Tyler's bare feet were hovering at least two inches above the ground and did not quite make contact with the stage at any point throughout their performance. As usual they took the audience on an exhausting psychedlic journey where you are almost always on the dark side of the trip.


Winston Sisters



Winston Sisters Crowd

Everyone was by now seriously drenched. Those who were watching the bands and those outside smoking in the rain were equally as wet and the most danceable band of the evening was yet to take the stage. With a passion, comitment and drive that has lead to them having successful American tours and landed them a spot on American label Hoxac records The Make Overs did what they do best, their set is like an institution and they performed it like they were slipping on an old pair of gloves but contained the intensity of trying to put a thread through the eye of a needle, the music made me feel uncorfortable an exuberent and their raucus upbeat and in your face garage set left the audience and band swimming around the Winston in sweat.


Winston MakeOvers 2128



The Moths were up on tour from Joburg, they'd just driven to Durban for the gig and were driving back the next day in true road warrior spirit. The stress of their travel arrangements didn't stop them from sinking deep into the bottle of The Winston and they had no problem with soaking up the spices that were on offer. Their late set saw them taking the stage with glazed looks on their faces and they still managed to pul off an extravaganza of surf rock that was way more “experimental” than their sets usually are, the Moths boys were fast and loose. They have shirts now, they're rad(buy one). A highlight of their set included drummer Cale setting his drums on fire at one point in the set.


Winston Moths 2247



DJ Fuego heat took over the reins spinning soul and funk nuggets that had the crowd twisting and grooving. Followed by Jol Stransky, playing his dirty hip hop until sunrise.


Writen by James Hammerton

For full image gallery visit: Leigh Taylor Photography

The Winston's "3 Years Later" Birthday Party

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


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

What Happens In Between: The Durban Music Scene


Sandwiched between humidity and sugar cane fields is a minuscule music scene. This is the music scene that belongs to Durban. Durban does not have a big bustling scene nor is there a lack of one, it is just stagnant. Perhaps, I’m being biased. If your choice of ear candy is Gospel, Kwaito and Boeremusiek then Durban caters for such. If your choice of ear candy is heavy metal, alternative live music and Pop then you better start seeking elsewhere.

That’s not to say that Durban has no talent. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve been running around the local scene for several years watching live music shows, supporting bands, writing about the local music venues and getting the word out about acoustic acts happening at the local pub and grill. During my time of doing such I have noticed something truly unique of Durban-grown talent. I’ve noticed that performers try twice as hard and face twice as much rejection than their associates in larger cities namely, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Why is this? While I reason finances are a common central issue there are also a few others such as; no fan-base growth, lack of supportive venues, no back-up from the Arts and Culture departments as well as absolutely no promotion or education of music.

There are many alternative/metal bands that originated from the shores of Durban but most of them disbanded due to a lack of support from a fan base and finances. Many bands never saw an audience after several live music venues closed their doors permanently. And of course, many musicians packed their creativity in suitcases and moved out of Durban to broader horizons.

Not too long ago, a little bit of hope trickled in. Live The Venue, The Red Door, The Winston and Jack Rabbits opened their hearts and door steps to Durban musicians. Could it be that Durban’s live music scene is able to reunite with it’s counterparts in other cities? Perhaps so. While these venues are pulling out all the stops to put the energy back into live music there is one main ingredient missing: fan-base growth. With a limited audience, there is limited opportunity and with limited shows there is stagnation.  No musician of any genre and style is willing to gamble in a music career that lacks an audience.

This is why I stated at the beginning that Durban’s music scene is miniscule. Loyal but limited.  Intimate but stagnate. It is just the way it is and despite coming from the sugar-cane fields of Durban, I cannot sugar-coat the truth about the Durban live music scene. 

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