So long had I deprived myself of the good ol' boogie that the very thought of contorting my body into less-than-desirable forms was becoming taboo. 'It is time to change this' I thought to myself throughout the rest of last week. The words echoed in my mind, they got entangled in an infinite loop of unending reminders, forming a long tail which swerved and penetrated the deepest recesses of my psyche.
The deal was struck: Saturday afternoon, my dancing shoes would have to be dug up and given a new lease on a life which had been doomed to a barricaded, inhibited existence for more than their memory could recall. Yes, my dancing shoes do have a special device which can recall all the joys of yester-year!
I had realised that the band 340ml
was posting up dates of shows on their twitter account
,and that no mention was made of Cape Town
. Upon noticing this, I promptly undertook the task of inquiring as to why they seemed to be ignoring the Mother City. Unlike my shoes, my memory recalled very well that it had been well over a year (bar from the one show they did earlier on this year) since this Mozambican 'afro-dub-demented-rudeboymusic
' quartet of Pedro
, and Rui
graced our shores.
'Heita, we're playing #TheAssembly next Saturday... There, no excuses please!
' was the reply to my tweet. Prompt. Short and sweet. A winner! Not only had it been ages since I last saw 340ml
, it had been eons since my last visit to The Assembly
. These two facts of life, coupled with my initial commentary about how dance-deprived I had been, dictated that I had to be there pronto. Yes, come rain or shine (or the warm wind as is the norm with Cape Town
evenings the day before it rains), I was going to break the mould!
The lovely melodies and enchanting basslines of 340ml
were first revealed unto me in the earlier days of this millenium - 2003 to be exact. I was tuning in to the Jo-burg-based regional radio station YFM
, and thought that I was mistaken because what was coming from the radio sounded more like [the UK-based reggae group] Steel Pulse
. My reasoning went something along these lines: 'It's a Saturday morning. The only time they play reggae is on Jah Seed
's show on Sunday evenings, at ten! How then is this possible?!'
Well, it turned out that I was mistaken. Not one to accept defeat, I put the blame squarely upon the vocalist, who sounded a lot like Steel Pulse
's frontman, David Hinds
. The magic that is 340ml
was further revealed during the months to come. That tune, 'Nancy's Nightmare
', was followed by 'Movimento
', which featured Tumi Molekane
. The momentum really picked with the release of their still much-requested song (at shows at least) 'Midnight
'. Nothing fancy, just an addictive call-and-response chorus from a song at whose very core lies one message: boning!
A lot happened between the release of their debut, 'Moving
', and its follow-up 'Sorry for the delay
'. On the launch of their sophomore effort, guitarist Tiago Paulo
jokingly commented: "we should have called the album 'it's about fucking time!'". Yes, he's got jokes. Those jokes, along with the boundless ability to play the life out of their instruments while putting on a memorable show, made for yet another night to remember at the gig on Saturday, September 4th, 2010
. Keen as I was to hear guitarist Gary Thomas
' music, it is the main act which I shall focus on.
Their set of songs had changed since the last time I'd heard them. Two songs from their catalogue which I had not heard played live before were incorporated into their one-and-a-half hours of pure sonic, mind-boggling assault. Through tempo changes, psychedelic mind-shifts, indelibly idyllic harmonies courtesy of Pedro, and a crowd which was hungry for more, 340ml once again proved that they are quite the force to reckon with. 'Radio', the precursor to their sophomore effort, was given a new lease on life, pushed up a notch or three. The title song, 'Sorry for the delay', got chopped up into bits; guest vocalist Drean's lyrics were replaced with the four gentlemen's version of the chorus - 'I'll be back, when things get better' as the lyrics go, found a new existence among the Cape Town ravers and ravellers. 'Make it happen' somehow made it onto the set, a feat which they pulled off amazingly well despite the absence of Thandiswa Mazwai, who is featured on album version of the song.
warned the crowd to 'watch your backs
', for 'neanderthals are living among us
'. At that very moment, Gazelle
's DJ Invizable
rocked up behind the bands' back, complete with a Basotho
hat, an effects pad, and one of those piano-looking guitar-shaped instruments whose name I know not. The crowd marvelled, clapped along, and left replete with joy. As for my shoes, well, let's just say that it will be a while before they need some replenishment in the form of another boogie.
The Saturday date was the last in South Africa before the band embarks on a European tour beginning from November. All the best in their travels.