T.H.O.T.S and D’urban Knights

Wednesday night saw Prodigal  Sons, T.H.O.T.S, returning to their home town. Joining them on the bill were new comers to the Hip-Hop scene, D’urban Knights. Luke Smith reviews the night at Unit 11.


“Are Spitmunky playing?” It was a question I’d been asking myself for the last 15 minutes, searching for someone who could answer it. When finally presented with the person who could, I wasn’t surprised (or upset for that matter) to hear they weren’t. It had been a weird night and with the clock edging to the half one mark, I was keen to get home. Don’t get me wrong, it hadn’t been a bad night, not at all. Just a frustrating one. From a delayed start to another below par night of sound, the minor irritations had been accumulating from the beginning.

It’s the finer touches that often make good work great.

The biggest itch of the evening however, the one that I just couldn’t shake, was how many people there were. That’s a good thing you cry! It is! It’s fucking fantastic. Just why in the death throes of a club and not throughout the year is the question that burned through my head. This short notice haphazardly put together show with little marketing, drawing around 200 people on a Wednesday night in the week leading to Christmas: A straight up miracle. Virgin birth be damned, future generations of Durbanite’s should be celebrating the 21st of December as ‘The Day We Saw What Could Have Been’ , or ‘Tdwswchb’ (try saying that drunk). Either or is fine. The entire month of December has been an ode to what could have been, and frankly it’s all just a little upsetting. Anyway, my personal disappointments and this slightly misplaced rant aside, the night itself had plenty of moments and rewards. For starters, I finally saw an act that while still quite new, has managed to garner increasingly polar opinions.



Ignoring distaste for the genre, it’s easy to see why people may not like D’urban Knights. Over early 2000s sounding beats (with the occasional Ja Rule-esque R n’ B moment) they rap about topics from Point street living to star wars and sucking tits. The problem is is that it’s all too often a little too raw, out of key and messy. You battle to shake the feeling of them being the proverbial square peg in a round hole. And it’s hard to imagine the average gig goer waxing lyrical about how great they are, but fuck it. Everything that people may dislike about D’urban Knights is what I like about them. You can rehearse till you puke, plan out your set to the final tee, create the perfect witty stage banter but D’urban Knights have what no practice, dedication or money can buy. It’s the attitude, the eagerness and the hunger in their eyes that’s their charm. What the entire fuck do I know about huffing glue on the streets of Durban? How do I relate to it? I dunno, but on Wednesday night I’m drawn into what the 3 members jostling for the front position have to say. What draws me is not the beats or lines, it’s the individuals delivering them. D’urban Knights may still have a very long way to go before they can be a commanding act, but even in these early days the fact that they are doing what they love, the best they can, whenever they can, is a sure sign of potential.



Reviewing Tree Houses On The Sea (T.H.O.T.S) is an easy job. Sure, there was a fuck up and song restart, and yeah the sound was somewhat poor. They took forever to set up, only starting their set going on midnight, but with the opening notes of feedback, all was forgiven. Jo’burg has done T.H.O.T.S good. It’s sad to see creatives leave our city but the harsh truth of it is is that if you want to ‘make it’ in this country, you need to be where the money is. Beyond that, it’s turned this simmering pot of creativity and talent, into a band who still have everything that made them so good, just they now know how to get a half interested crowd late on a weekday night interested.



While the band are largely left to their own devices, weaving seamlessly between jazz, rock, and hip hop, frontman Raheem’s energy and intensity keeps the crowd following every note. It was a great show and while there were many parts that could be potential highlights, mine, ironically, was the DJ. Previously the DJ parts and ‘heavy’ bits tinged of a nu – metal sound, but tonight they make the set for me. One moment that particularly stands out is their 3rd song, the one for the ladies. There’s simple sample that’s continually scratched and faded throughout the gradual build up, but it just gives the song that much more impact. It’s the finer touches that often make good work great.



By the time T.H.O.T.S finally wrap up it’s almost 1. Mentally and physically I’m done. So it’s an unfortunate yet fortunate turn that Spitmunky feel it’s too late to take the stage. Liam, of Spitmunky and Veranda Panda fame, thinks otherwise though and kindly takes to the task of playing tracks to the few faithful that remain. A lot of people would have looked at the situation and figured it not worth it, so kudos to him. The crowd appreciates it as well because my last look into the now dead Unit 11 reveals a small mob flinging themselves with wild abandon.


The pangs of frustration and disappointment ease with that scene in mind. It was put more eloquently by another, but the fact remains that venues, scenes, bands, the kids with the cool hair and clothes, all of it, will eventually disappear. However, as long as we can keep performing the occasional miracle on weekday nights, I reckon we’ll be okay. So it goes ay.

*All images © Kevin Goss-Ross

4 Responses to “T.H.O.T.S and D’urban Knights”
  1. Erin says:

    Cool review & very very cool pics Kev!

  2. Daisy says:

    Great review! I wish i could be there!!!

  3. That Guy says:

    D’Urban Knights are the fucking heat.

  4. Willy Ears says:

    Nice one bru! Keep up the good work!

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