Holiday Murray and Thomas Krane

On Saturday night, Durban got to meet Holiday Murray for the first time. The Capetonians got a warm welcome and were supported by home town folksters Thomas Krane at Unit 11. Matt Knight tells us about this meeting after the jump.



Durban, I sincerely hope that you’re starting to get the picture that if you’re not coming out, you’re missing out.


The quality of bands that are making their way through your great city is fantastically high at the moment – and it doesn’t look like slowing anytime soon (See our gig guide for the latest). A big well done and thank you must be sent out to the guys at UNIT 11 for making sure Durban stays on the map from a touring-bands point of view.


This past Saturday saw one of my favourite Durban acts, Thomas Krane, pairing up with a band I’d never seen before, Holiday Murray, from Cape Town.


And driving there on the night, it felt a little bit like the could-be-awkward or could-be-brilliant invitation to come and meet the friend of someone you really really like, but who is also a little bit weird and quirky… knowing them, it could go either way. It could end up a great night out with interesting and fresh conversation, or you could end up tied naked to a rock reading poetry and attempting to escape the escalating conversation about what happens in the meadow at dusk. Or getting punched by Mark Wahlberg.


Luckily I’m a fan of the I Heart Huckabees risk metaphor, and was therefore as excited to meet the new guy Murray as I was to see my old friend Thomas. (See what I did there)

and ended with what was possibly the biggest cheer I think I’ve ever heard from any crowd at Unit.

Thomas Krane were up first, this time taking the form of an experimental-ish three piece, moving around between songs on various instruments and pieces of percussion, setting the tone for the night with magically dark two part harmonies and all sorts sick new guitar and bass tones.



They were as creative and brilliant as I have seen them, mixing the set up to keep us intrigued, from their usual old favourite songs top some superbly worked covers (the Pixies’ ‘Where is My Mind’ and Cold War Kids’ ‘St John’ need a special mention here, they were pure magic). There was even a new song, with a crescendo rock and roll number, and was the highlight of the whole night for me. It involved Dan the front Man consuming a mic almost entirely, and ended with what was possibly the biggest cheer I think I’ve ever heard from any crowd at Unit.



It was a fantastic set, though not my most memorable Thomas Krane gig ever.


That would have to be the day they opened for Mango Groove.


That’s right, Mango Groove.


At Botanic Gardens.


On Valentines Day.


To thousands of middle aged people.


Need I say more?


That Gig was momentous, or monumental, or monstrous. Or one of those M words. It was also one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. It can be summed up by two contrasting statements you would have overheard, had you been there on that fateful February day: The first was from our beloved front man, telling the crowd that he hoped their song about doomed Siamese Twins would be, quote,  ‘Our break out hit’. The second statement came from an old man behind us, wanting nothing more than to treat his old lady to a nice romantic afternoon out, who leant out of his camping chair to ask her curiously ‘Wat die fok is dit!?’ which, loosely translated, means ‘I don’t understand ’


And there seemed to be two similar crowds at the Unit 11 gig  – those who understand what Thomas Krane are (this time in the majority) who would have been squealing with delight at the musical creativity and talent oozing off stage,

and those that prefer a little more groove in their mangos, or something, who may or may not come back.


I , for one, loved it.


That led to the second act of the night, our new friend Holiday Murray.


As they took to the stage I was excited to see a Violin and Ukulele alongside the standard rock ‘n’ roll instruments, and was also, as Bob so beautifully put it, struck by just how ‘Cape Town’ the band looked.


The first thing that should be said is that this four piece are obviously incredibly talented. I have seldom seen guitarists work so well together – and each member really listens to what the other is doing and they compliment each other freaking well. They have an obvious wealth of ideas, and seem to draw from a lot of different sources.



Each new song is pretty different from the last, and I found that every time I thought I had a particular song worked out, they would break into a new section that was completely from left field. And not in a disjointed way, or in a trying-too-hard kind of way… In fact, not in any negative way at all – I remember thinking to myself several times during the set, ‘Wow, I wasn’t expecting that, but it’s pretty damn great’



This lead me to some reviewer’s-insecurity, and I started venturing around the room looking for different angles, hoping for an epiphany, stopping in at points along the way to ask some of my more astute mates what they thought. Their views were varied, as I’d feared – each would mention a certain influence they were hearing, each one completely different to the others. The one thing they were all agreed on though, is they were digging the vibe hard.

for the life of me I just couldn’t pin our new friend down into a genre.

Eventually I gave up on trying to figure my friends’ friend out, and did what I should’ve done from the start of the conversation– I started tapping my feet and listening hard, and just enjoyed getting into the show. And for this reason I can’t really tell you who they’re like musically, or whether or not they’d get along with you and your friends, because for the life of me I just couldn’t pin our new friend down into a genre.



But I was consistently and pleasantly surprised by each new song, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire set in all its variations.  And for one reason and one reason only, I want to seriously recommend that you get around to meeting Holiday Murray as soon as you get the chance, and here it is:


He wasn’t boring.


And in today’s musical world, that might just be one of the best compliments you can get.


Even though he’s clearly a hipster.


*All images © Matt Stroud

4 Responses to “Holiday Murray and Thomas Krane”
  1. Nick says:

    Not the hugest fan of Holiday Murray, but, you know, they’re a decent band. I watch them often enough in Cape Town, and I guess people should go out to see something new once in a while. You can certainly do a lot worse than Holiday Murray.

    Btw, really decent review, Matt. It’s really nice to read a review that doesn’t have twelve preceding paragraphs about the author’s drug use or cynicism or other oh-my-god-I’m-so-Gonzo traits.

  2. Jed says:

    Ha! Hear hear, about the gonzo wannabes nick! ^
    A well written, honest-sounding review. Thomas Krane is definately one of the most creative and ‘artistic’ bands in Durban.

  3. Bear says:

    Hunter S Thomas Crane

  4. Stathi says:

    I agree with Nick fully (bru)

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