A slightly late start on Saturday evening saw myself and co. heading into the middle of Pretoria, to the wonderful suburb of Scummyside, er, Sunnyside, in order to visit the Nile Crocodile Rock Bar and see a few bands. However it seems there is a conspiracy afoot to undermine my plan for a 52 week SA rock tour.
Yes, I’m onto the conspiracy that is attempting to sabotage my efforts: Firstly the weather was freezing cold, making the temptation to stay in and veg under the blankets extremely powerful. However, any seasoned rock fan will know that this is a problem that a good jacket and a couple of drinks can quite easily solve. Motivation acquired.
But that’s not all.
Nile Crocodile was closed.
Yes, closed! Toe. Klaar. Fokofgaanhuistoe. Exit only. Not a soul in sight. Thank you and leave your presents at the door as you leave. Lights off and nobody home.
And this on a night when they were supposed to have three acts playing? Wow! Ok, maybe I was horribly mistaken and very confused?!? Next action: phone and check. Result: No answer at all.
Oh dear. What now? Is this the end of 52 Weeks? Not like this!!!
Well, to be a true rock fan and be able to survive 52 Weeks in this fickle world, there is one thing you always need: (and which I had) The BACKUP plan.
And so we drove off to Zeplins…
Here, for the low low price of R39.99 we were treated to a warm venue, all the alcohol under the
sun moon, the prospect of three bands, *awesome* music in between, and an evening saved from the brink of annihilation.
A short deliberation lead me to choose Nemesis Army as the subject for scrutiny as the band for week 3. (The other two bands, Wickhead and Fokofpolisiekar, were quite exceptional but each indeed the subject of another week)
The first thing to grab my attention as the Durban-based Nemesis Army took to the stage was the lanky, long-armed, energetic drummer. Kentucky would have been proud – there were drumsticks all over the place! For their first song the timing initially seemed a touch off – barely noticeable, and perhaps even deliberate – but as they progressed further things solidified well into some good rock riffs. It also sounded like there was too much cymbal at first. I don’t know if that was due to my positioning or meant to be there, but that excess sound failed to be noticeable after the second or third track had been played.
Now I hope this is all coming across as constructive criticism – I’m no expert, I just know what I like, and I think that a lot of people tend to like what I like. Anyway, this ain’t bashing, this is my view at one venue. The lead mic was a bit too soft and I struggled to hear lyrics above the music. The lead singer’s guitar was also indistinguishable above the rest of the instruments, even during semi-solo sections. So yeah, the sound needed some work. No biggie, and not entirely the band’s fault, and all the problems were mostly resolved as their set played on.
My only other concern for the band is the lack of distinguishing wardrobe. They’re a touch too plain. I understand the guys just want to play rock and wear what they wear, but I tend to think they need to work on more of a unique rockstar look – just a little something to give them that edge and put them another level up. (By the way I’m no fashion guru either!)
Nemesis Army is a four instrument band – two lead guitars (one on vocals), bass guitar and the drummer, but I counted two spare instruments as there were four beautiful electric guitars on that stage. The drummer also uses two different types of drumsticks at different stages in their songs to give different effects. Very cool.
I was standing up close to the stage on the bass guitarist’s left hand side during one song, when all of a sudden he kicks into this wowness of frantic wild energetic strumming/plucking/tickling/stuff-he’s-doing-with-a-guitar for a spellbound moment. Wow! Impressive! Reminders of the bass guitarist of a certain Metallica flew past at that precise moment.
They also threw in a Deftones cover to help the crowd warm up to their sound, and it proved quite spectacular.
I lost count of the songs as Nemsis Army introduced us to their band and their new album – ‘And So It Comes To This’. Apparently there were some on sale but unfortunately I didn’t get my hands on it. (Did I mention I’m open to bribery? ;))
Thank you Nemesis Army, for being the first band (of possibly very many), to rescue 52 Weeks.
Quality of sound: 7.0
Rockstar rating: 7.5
Overall rating: 7.5
Why 52weeks? Cos I bet you wish you were doing it too!