Pretty Blue Guns w/Coals of Juniper

It’s a two for Tuesday review day. Don’t ask me how it happened, but it seems we got two of the most negative bastards to review the Pretty Blue Guns show at Unit 11 on Saturday. First up, here’s what Russel Smith had to say.

It’s a Saturday night, and where else is there to go to get shit-faced in good company and listen to music that won’t make you violently sick on yourself? Depending on your taste, a few places, but I opted for Unit 11 who were hosting two bands; one that I’ve seen multiple times but never remembered and another from Cape Town.

The first band to take the stage that night where, Coals of Juniper who as I understand it have developed quite a following over the last few months. I have attended a few of their shows, and for the life of me, before they played on Saturday, had no idea what they sounded like. I can’t explain it. A band really has to be something special for me to have seen them no less than 5 times in a matter of months without leaving an impression on even my most booze soaked memory. My thoughts this time however were, it’s like you’re perpetually listening to the middle of a Pink Floyd song. Endless solos and musical rambling.

I have issues with purely instrumental bands. Well no, I don’t. I find them boring. I wouldn’t listen to instrumental music at home or in my car unless it was classical, like Beethoven. He didn’t need lyrics to convey mood or feeling because he was a master composer whose music has stuck around for over 200 years, which needless to say, is a great deal more impressive than a rock band without a vocalist, no matter how talented they are. I will give the band credit each member is an absolute authority on their chosen instrument, and I was impressed for about half a song, or a breakdown I couldn’t really tell when one song ended or began unless there was a distinct gap in their onstage wanking. I can’t fault them other than that it gets boring.

Fans of late 60’s rock ‘n’ roll and Prog Rock will no doubt have multiple orgasms witnessing Coals of Juniper’s performances; everyone else will be entertained for about two minutes and then wonder off to the bar for a drink or find something more stimulating.

Patti Smith, apparently

The main act where The Pretty Blue Guns who at first glance had an ugly girl in a hat for a lead singer… Novel, I thought, bit of a Patti Smith vibe going on. That is until I realised it was dude and the band was from Cape Town, and then I just thought it was typical Cape Town hipsters come to town. There is another four letter word beginning with a “c” that comes to mind whenever I have to witness these sorts of individuals. I discovered later that they list The Veils as an influence. They obviously also influence their dress sense too since the lead singer of The Veils is prone to wearing hats.

Catchy blues, indie rock, capable vocals, with a somewhat charismatic performance that pleases most crowds

Appearances aside I wanted to see what these cross-country coastal cousins had to offer us, the humble folk of Durban. I will give them their due they are a very good band. Catchy blues, indie rock, capable vocals, with a somewhat charismatic performance that pleases most crowds. They unfortunately fall rather neatly into the radio rock niche carved out by other indie rock bands that made it on to the radio. They don’t bring anything particularly new or interesting to the genre, but then I suppose not all music has to. If they’re happy to play the well beaten path to radio mediocrity then more power to them. They’ll have plenty of groupie fellatio and appearances on MK. If you’re a follower of fashion and find yourself compelled to dig what a lot of the other fashionable kids are listening to then you’ll probably want to be seen at their shows and listening to their music. If you’re a little more discerning and don’t like to hang out with the cool kids, you can listen to their offering, Shed Your Skin, in secret and hide it whenever you have people around.

Overall you may think I’m being negative about the bands. Which I am. I am however also saying that despite boring or offending me with boldface style pinching, it was a good night of music. Both bands are without question good at what they do. What they do just happens to not impress me for longer than a two songs.

*All images © Matt Stroud

14 Responses to “Pretty Blue Guns w/Coals of Juniper”
  1. Jeremiah Goochwilly says:

    All this Cape Town hate is making me keen to move to Cape Town

  2. Andre Leo says:

    It’s unfortunate that many people seem to share the opinion that people from CT are cunts or hipsters or whatever else.

    We had a great time, ‘playing the well beaten path to radio mediocrity’ in Durban.

    I’m gonna go listen to some Patti and try to do my makeup a bit better.


  3. youknowho says:

    I think its pretty funny that the dude who wears the same ‘punk rock’ uniform, every day of his life, is judging the bands look…

  4. Stathi says:

    fuck Joburg

  5. pissingblood says:

    @ Andre. It is unfortunate. The cunt remark might have been a touch too far. I’ve said worse about Durban folk though. Glad you had a good time, the crowd clearly enjoyed you. Like I said, more power to you.

    @youknowwho. Anonymous jab… Well done. Sorry I didn’t update my uniform like the rest of the kids. Since you’re already following me around everyday, mind giving me a lift next time my car breaks down?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Surely it’s advisable to give an UNbiased opinion when reviewing bands? Perhaps someone who clearly thinks he is the reincarnation of Sid Vicious should not review bands that do not fall into his extremely limited list of “bands that are talented” ?
    And, since you clearly have such a problem with the Durban scene, why don’t you fuck off to Cape Town so you can fit right in with all the Punk Rockers and Greasers?

    Props to @youknowwho

  7. antsychantsy says:

    Maybe the critics should spend less time at the bar getting intoxicated and more time doing their listening homework. Coals of Juniper takes me back to the days of Jethro Tull. And for their greenness, these artists are belting out some wicked tunes. I dig, and pooh-pooh to the nay-sayers 😛

  8. Bob says:

    There’s no such thing as an unbiased opinion, especially not in music. Saying a band is good or bad all depends on personal taste. There are nicer ways to put things though.

  9. pissingblood says:

    @ Anonymous. Are you seriously assuming that because of a jacket I wear I’m restricted to liking only one style of music? Don’t presume to know so much about me based on what minor encounter you’ve had with me, if any. I don’t even like Sid Vicious… I wouldn’t write for a site dedicated to promoting Durban if I hated the scene, where ever you got the idea I had an issue with it, I can’t tell from this review.

    @antsychantsy. I didn’t drink much that night, and you can hear the bands from the bar anyway… Jethro Tull started out in the… oh yes, the late 60’s… Read the review.

    As for my bias, see Bob’s comment. I stated the truth about the bands, I told you what they sounded like. Tell me I lied. I included my opinion, yes. You don’t have to agree, but attacking my dress sense as a way of telling me I’m wrong? It’s not even an argument.

  10. Gigantic Faggot says:

    Logical fallacies everywhere up in this bitch!

  11. Faggot Gigantic says:

    That ad hominem attack is intolerable!

  12. Nich_Hustler says:

    I just want to say that I really think that a reviewer should stand by their review and not comment when people disagree with your view point. This is why I avoid reading Mahala, writers attacking readers. No one said anything worse about you than you said about the bands involved. So in my opinion you opened yourself up for the attacks. So let your review stand on it’s own legs and most importantly, DO NOT attack your readers, that’s just bad business…

  13. Stathi says:

    Valid point, i think you hit the nail on the head!

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