Pop Rocks, a Shadowclub Review

GMT seems to be back stronger than ever with two successful events in succession at Live. Their latest offering saw them bring the increasingly popular Shadowclub to the venue. Eliza Day takes the opportunity to wax lyrical on Pop and Rock and where the two meet.

Shadowclub have been busy boys lately. Having seen the Joburg based band three times in Durban in as many months, the gig at Live – The Venue this past Saturday night has the rare opportunity of being a write-up almost purely based on performance. The KZN creatures of the night, and myself, have been rewarded with the repeated privilege of singing and sweating along to what are becoming well-loved pop songs, destined to score the memories of 2012 in years to come. Yes, pop songs.


Why being dubbed pop, when you want to be called rock, is such a bad thing I don’t know. Pop isn’t a genre. It’s a phase of progression in the life of a piece of art once it has been pushed out into the public. It doesn’t just happen to anyone either. If anything, tap into your musical history and realise that the reference to pop does not necessarily mean the band is sans instruments and avec choreographed dance moves. In fact, Shadowclub has done something exemplary in South African music: They play great rock ‘n roll and appeal to a large and diverse audience. Precisely what the Stones did in the 60’s, where their monumental popularity only served to make each thrust of Jagger’s pelvis that much bigger.



We all remember the golden days when Barney Simon used to rock us to sleep with his Night Zoo show. We were always at the ready with our beautifully durable and reusable collection of tapes catching what we could in a web that had not yet been leaked online. I would then play the tracks over and over until I was word perfect and everything around me synced with those whirring, celluloid songs. The point I’m getting at is today we are so inundated with fresh media all the time that the simplistic power of repetition can so easily be forgotten and even worse, despised. Take something you like and listen to it properly, over and over, and that relationship you have through repetition will become a deep-seated love; impossible to get over.


It’s kind of like an arranged marriage with someone you think is a babe but don’t really know; the love grows. Ironically, it is refreshing to see something familiar in your midst when you’re surrounded by machines telling you about ‘the new aesthetic’ and waxing anti-lyrical in favour of alternative sound samples. Yeah, sure the avant-garde and hard-to-find art is always the most interesting, but it wouldn’t be half so snobby if it had nothing popular to snub. I like Shadowclub because it’s shawn to the sharpest edge of refined rock ‘n roll and they play sexy, honest jams that ride your booze-thinned blood hard every time.



Jacques Moolman, the front man, is an astonishing, masculine powerhouse. He holds himself as confidently as he does his unique pearlescent guitar and exudes raw, real talent. ‘Guns and Money’ in it’s archaic design of bluesy simplicity has every right to top the charts and clog up the FM sound stations. As a character, Jacques plays up to the swaggering, rock ‘n roll standard incredibly well. Passionate and larger than life, he literally  takes over the space he is in. Stamina is no problem for Shadowclub, especially since we were all wondering how anyone with their reputation for partying harder than hell, could maintain such energy after months of touring around South Africa.


They weren’t the only band with a terrible reputation to play the shit out of their set that night. Fruits & Veggies are fast becoming one of my favourite live acts to behold. I cannot praise Purity, the punked-out Afrodite (as she shall now forever be known), enough for her performance. The internet and people’s potty mouths are littered with horrible things to say about the behaviour of this band, trying in vain to discredit their talent. Since when was music a conservative corner of judgment? These kids are punks and don’t you forget it! Thank god too because half the time they’re getting preached about by prejudiced twenty-three year-olds for basically just having more balls than most.



Both these bands stir up emotion, albeit very differently, which as art is all they are required to do and they do it very well. Role models of society can be sourced elsewhere so let the Purities and Jacques of this world just glitter as icons.


*All images © Kevin Goss-Ross

25 Responses to “Pop Rocks, a Shadowclub Review”
  1. Jolling! says:

    What is this wankery? No mention of the other bands and just a long diatribe about why a shitty band is played on the radio? some review. Please stop letting this Cape Town hipster write for you.

  2. Dan says:

    Yea as much as Shadowclub have ‘made it’ their music is not particularly good or fresh – so I guess props to them for making money out of music in SA which we all know is hard to do but please don’t heap anymore praise onto them other than this… tired of us elevating average rock bands to god status just because they seem to have an inkling of commercial appeal…

    Fruits & Veggies on the other hand – while also not playing wholly original music at least it has a unique local feel and an image that is wholly theirs and no one else’s…

  3. TC says:

    Less writing, more KGR photos!

  4. Mick says:

    Its titled – ‘a shadowclub review’
    There isnt supposed to be mention of other bands.

  5. Mark R says:

    kief photos! Agree with Dan, shadowclub sucks. Would like to see Fruits & Veggies sometime, looks interesting.

  6. Erin says:

    Fuckaroodle. Epic pictures Kev!

  7. ManoLantern says:

    Jesus, you idiots out there with your snotty teeth at soured hearts.

    Thanks for noticing the writer gets paid to write.
    Therefore, paid for her opinion.

    Unlike all your shitty opinions, yes, like mine, which rot here on the comments wall.

    Fucking morons!

    Unless you have a literary complaint, that is a complaint with regards to style, prose, grammar, punctuation or spelling, GO SUCK A DICK.

    So stop getting personal about what she likes, we are all different, THANK FUCK.

    Oh, and, you realize negative publicity is more noticed than positive publicity yes?

    Thanks. Thank you. Thanks.

  8. Jolling! says:

    I’m pretty certain the title came after the review. I highly doubt Bob would send someone to a gig and say “Just review the one band, don’t worry about the rest, they don’t matter.” Every review on this site usually gives a well rounded view of the night, except this chick’s. Reviews shouldn’t be an excuse to suck off one band, I want to hear about the whole night, not just how some tool with a shitty haircut is soooo Rock ‘n Roll, OMG!

  9. Bob says:

    Uh, nobody gets paid to write for us. Just, so everybody knows.

  10. Venessa says:

    Jeez whatsup with all the haters and negative comments. Just want to say for those of you that can’t have anything good to say SHUT UP! Everyone is getting so technical and I bet you people that criticise Shadowclub can’t even play a freaking instrument so get the fuck over yourselves, this band ROCKS and by winning a SAMA have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with.

  11. Elvis McCartney Osbourne says:

    @Jolling! Shut your mouth hater. You bitch so much about everything I rate you are one dude with a 24/7/365 period problem.

    That’s all.

    p.s. nice writing and pics.

  12. ManoLantern says:

    Ahh, fair enough Bob.

    Her opinion would then be requested, where others, like mine, weren’t.

  13. The Lappies says:

    Sick pics Kev!!!

  14. Bob says:

    Your opinion is definitely welcome, everyone’s is.
    We have the comment section because we want people to discuss the articles and share their own experiences, even if it is negative.

  15. Jolling! says:

    Well done Elvis, sure added a lot to the conversation.

    And Venessa with an E?
    No wonder you write like a stripper.

  16. Ry says:

    Kevin, your photography is absolutely fucking amazing..

  17. pissingblood says:

    Pop isn’t a genre? So record labels, radio stations, artists and fans have had it all wrong this entire time? You didn’t even make a good point about it either you just mangled it and brought up the Stones.

    Barney would be stoked you brought him up. Your tapes are are now pointless and so is this little stroll down memory lane…

    Finger banging your keyboard over the lead singer of Shadowclub came across pretty strong on this one. It is all opinion, but honestly, your Mills and Boon fantasy crush is of no interest to anyone. Especially when they just want to know about the show.

    F&V… Punk… Yeah they behave badly… No they fucking don’t. Shut up!

    Otherwise, cool photos.

  18. Rhyan Rockingrolling Rudman says:

    OK MY stick of dried wors! Shadowclub are more of a Rockabilly band than a pop rock act. Pop rock does not sing about hang overs and fist fights, POP ROCKERS generally sing about love and tearing their hearts out or bleeding for someone.

  19. Ugh says:

    I quite enjoyed reading this article, could have trimmed a bit of fat but I agree that often people like what they know rather than know what they like.

    Also, seriously unreal photos. Mad props to Kevin Goss-Ross I do not even know how you get so much out of a black and white image, taken at night with about a hundred uncontrollable light sources around you. Excellent.

  20. Love E says:

    Don’t be sad and angry.

    Get finger banging too!



  21. Thanks everyone. Live makes it too easy… mad lighting. Check out http://www.kevingoss-ross.com

  22. MC Hammerd says:

    So much emotion, its good to see everyone talking about somthing other than a stupid painting.
    Its all good, good bands good sound, fantastic fotos. Durban is back in it, the live music industry is a buzz with the venue and we are all on the up an up….Huck Luvs ya baby.

  23. Se says:

    Photos are amazing….

  24. DJ Fuego Heat says:

    “by winning a SAMA have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with.”

    Awards mean nothing. Even DIY won an award.

  25. real says:

    hello kiddies,

    so everyone has their knickers in a knot over this here article? seems there is concern that an SA band is actually doing well for themselves and they need to be brought down to size. god forbid they end up doing a KFC advert. i just think it’s stupid to criticize people who work their arses off for what they love. if it ain’t your cup of tea…. oh well there are plenty other bands to suck off right.

    i think every band played well that night, all sounded different and as far as i could tell the fans had a good time. not good enough? ok what you didn’t know was that they where all holograms being beamed onto stage Tupac style, the lighting was harnessed from rainbows and every time you went to the bar an oompa loompa raided your wallet.

    see you at the next gig kiddies…

    @Jolling – go to a strip club, it’s fun and educational. you will see your first vagina guaranteed…

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