Isochronous Inscape Launch 2

As we stated in the previous post, Isochronous were here on Saturday to launch their Inscape album. This is Matt Knight’s take on the evening.

Living in Durban for our collective adolescence, we got a little used to what one could call limited options. Gateway or The Pavilion. Town or Umhlanga. English or Zulu. Florida rd or Davenport. Surf with sharks or Support The Sharks.

Heck, even our seasons are limited to two; we only really have ‘Summer’ and ‘that week in June where you have to wear socks’.


But these days our sleepy city is beginning to rumble with an array of exciting things. Exhibitions and shows, great coffee shops and local restaurants, markets and events that are clogging up my news feed in all the right ways.


And on Saturday, instead of the Durban two band, two-season mentality we’re used to – we were treated to four great South African bands playing at one venue, on one night, for a meagre R60. It almost seemed a bit like living in London again. What a deal.

Gangs of Ballet


Strolling in to Unit 11 at 9:00pm on Saturday for an on time start (the first in musical history?) I came down the stairs and through the doors and was slapped in the face with the first taste of the summer heat as our beloved Durban humidity sweated off the 300 people who were already in attendance. (Ultimately there would be about 480 people who came to the show. Well done Durban)


Suitably Gangs of Ballet were up first, beginning their third ever gig together. If you haven’t seen them before, think tight and catchy rock anthems. Think pretty and powerful songs that you find yourself swaying along to, humming the quickly familiar tunes. Think Coldplay or Bloc Party in all the right ways. Think the accessibility and ease of a great day out on a Durban beach in December.


The thing I found most interesting is that, for having played live so few times, so many of the crowd knew the words, particularly to two of the songs. This can be put down to a clever release of singles in the weeks before the show, and I think really got people bought in and excited to sing along. Gangs have tapped into a market in Durban that no one else I can think of his hitting, and they will do well because they are smart (they have teamed up with one of the most inspired young videographers I have met, and the video will be released soon. Plus they already have playtime on 5fm, less than a week after their EP was finished) and because they have all the right ingredients for this kind of music:

Great vocals and harmonies, a tight as anything rhythm section, plus a combination of songs that are both easy to pickup and can also still surprise you.


My personal high points were the first and last tunes, where you could see they had put a ton of effort and energy into the arrangements, and both ended with a roar of approval from the crowd who was there.


The Plastics


Second up on the night were Cape Town’s The Plastics. A band which is admittedly unknown to me – mostly through my own lack of effort. The only frame of reference I have was seeing one of their videos on MK. But only once. On mute. Unhelpful I know, but I seem to recall a Napoleon Dynamite type dance attempt that looked funny until the end bit when two black guys started dancing and embarrassed all the white folk around them.

So basically I had no idea what to expect.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the set. They are good musicians, and I heard the name Arctic Monkeys being thrown around a lot as an obvious influence. I don’t see this as a bad thing at all. In the middle section of the set in particular, two of their more upbeat tunes surrounded a cover of the Pixies ‘Here Comes Your Man’, and the three song run was my highlight for The Plastics.

My only negative thought was that perhaps their set was too long for a night with four bands playing instead of two, and they seemed to lose the crowd a little toward the end.


But I would happily pay to see them again, and am enjoying re listening to their songs online.

Jono from The La Els getting down

Next in line were Durban’s The La Els. I missed a bit of the set due to a friend’s car being towed, and there was a hard to overcome technical difficulty that hampered some of the set. But, when everything was working right, I had a lot of fun watching and dancing to The La Els. They are a fresh and fun band, nothing overcomplicated, just good old feet tapping tunes designed to put the Spring in your step. (Diep Indie Kak is, I believe, the bands adopted slogan. I like it)


I’ve always liked the idea of a front man not being stuck behind an instrument, and he (along with the whole band) were superbly engaging with the crowd and looked like they were having a whole lot of fun up there.

I also think the variety of bands on show on Saturday played into The La Els’ hands – I spoke to a good few people who had come out to support one of the other bands, and had thoroughly enjoyed their first taste of this Durban band.

Franco from Isochronous

Finally, up came the Headliners for the night. Launching their Inscape album were the Pretoria group Isochronous, a band whose name takes as long to spell as it does to pronounce (see what I did there) and who, in my opinion, are the best live act in the country.

From the first note through to the final song where the individual bands members got to show their talent, the dark and bone chilling melodies had my full attention, as this band and their magic always does.

I never ever get tired of how ridiculously talented and together this band are. The perfect harmonies never get old, and I should like to settle down in front of the fire and listen to an Isochronous set at least once a month for the rest of my life.

I have been lucky enough to see a few incredible bands perform worldwide, and I am happy to say that Isochronous would not be out of place anywhere in the world.

They are that good.



They played a few of their newer songs that I hadn’t heard live before, which was a treat, and I realised that I actually may have a bit of a geeky fanboy type problem when I wanted to hit the person in front of me for talking to their friend during the set. How dare they interrupt this perfection.


But, trying to put my subjective musical crush aside, I find it hard to see why anyone who understands music would not love them or at least appreciate them. The lyrics are inventive and far from clichéd, the crescendos and instrumentals in each song are massive, and the vocals damn near perfect.


You’re probably surprised to hear I bought the album. Two copies. In case one gets scratched.

*All images © Matt Stroud


6 Responses to “Isochronous Inscape Launch 2”
  1. Homegrown says:

    Great review dude!

  2. Anonymoose says:

    Awesome review.
    Like I said in russel’s review comment thread, plastics were cooler when they were a punk band.
    What happened to melodic punk in this country? Apart from lowprofile keeping it real it seems all the good ones are gone or now singing in British accents.

  3. Creepy Steve says:

    That girl being swoon in the last photo?
    Cum Face Cutie 2011

  4. matt_theknight says:

    Its a generally accepted fact that 90% of the swooning on the night went toward Franco

  5. Bob says:

    James Franco was there? NO WAYS!

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