Albert Frost and Matt Vend

DJ Fuego Heat finds himself battling Durban’s greatest enemy, Apathy, with the help of Matt Vend and Albert Frost at Jackie Horner.

Apathy. A Durban staple. Maybe it was the 18ºC evening (fresh by local standards) or the Johnnies sugar bean roti (a steal at R10) or the 3 car guard (jut) bongs that followed. It may have been a combination of all these factors, but either way, I unenthusiastically headed to Jackie Horner’s to watch Matt Vend and Albert Frost last Thursday.

I don’t know where this guy came from but, were it not for his clean cut appearance, 1968 would not have been a completely unreasonable suggestion

Arriving early, I settled down with a draught in a stuffy smoking section to watch the football. Thursday night at Jackie Horner’s is fast becoming a staple on the Durban social calender, with parties comparable to the last days of Rome. But this night was not the usual. No stairwell fornication, glasses to the face, pukes in the bathroom or motorboats at the bar. It was sensible and I wanted nothing to do with it. Where was my couch? Where were my Ghostpops? Where was my tea? Italy scored. That was a surprise. Then Matt Vend started and my indifference started to dissipate.


Matt combines the folk sensibilities of Dylan, the raw emotion of early Against Me! And the songwriting ability of Frank Turner. His songs are stories. Honest stories that have been crafted by years in the Durban scene, travels through South East Asia, heart break and the associated loss of youth and innocence. The sound may not have been great but that was eclipsed by his showmanship and song quality. Wild eyes rolled back in his head and stamping the floor and guitar case with the ferocity that would have rendered a stomp box excessive, the small crowd stood captivated by Durban’s pioneer of hobo chic. With the last chord of each song the crowd would break free from the musical trance and reward it with the appropriate cheer. The evening was beginning to win me over.



Albert Frost stepped up to the plate with a complete arsenal of guitars. Two acoustics (a 6 string and a 12 string), two electrics and a second mic to deliver phono quality vocals stocked his quiver. I don’t know where this guy came from but, were it not for his clean cut appearance, 1968 would not have been a completely unreasonable suggestion. He played sensual blues rock that would have any woman of appropriate age frothing at the gash. Shit, I’m pretty sure I even creamed my pants a bit. His first set was characterised by more acoustic blues songs that, if you had to criticise, lacked the conviction of their more electric counterparts. But the last track of the first set squelched any longing for a night spent at home that still lingered. Layering up to five tracks, he did things that would require a technical knowledge that I unfortunately lack to describe but could nonetheless appreciate. I was won over and had Rudi and Spider been present, they would have found the new sound they so eagerly sought after.



The second set ran in a more electric vein and the crowd was appreciative. Ok, half the dance floor was filled by a man that danced like my father rushing his tits off while having an epileptic fit, but people were dancing. Frost continued where he had left off the first set, shredding over multiple layered acoustic riffs and flawlessly switching between guitars. His appeal showed no bias towards age, as weathered locals and youthful Thursday patrons were captivated alike. He ended off with a banging Pink Floyd cover and these words of wisdom: “Don’t be a doos, buy a CD”.



And that was that. Over the course of several hours, three sets by two skilled artists turned my unwilling arrival into a regretful departure. Jackie Horner’s once again supplied top notch Thursday night entertainment, albeit at a slower pace than I’ve become accustomed to. Oh, and apparently Italy won. That was a surprise.
*All images © Russell Grant

5 Responses to “Albert Frost and Matt Vend”
  1. benjamin fish says:

    “He played sensual blues rock that would have any woman of appropriate age frothing at the gash”. Such poetry would wake shakespear from his grave.

  2. Jolling! says:

    I’m pretty much completely and utterly in love with Fuego Heat

  3. N says:

    Cool review. I know it’s only a quick aside in Feugo’s piece here, but the mere mention of it at the beginning reminded me of how much I wish many Durban-based writers and people involved in its music community would get over their apathy complex.

    Durban is a very spread-out city with not many interested people, not a lot of disposable income, awful public transport and a small student culture compared to many of SA’s other large urban centres. Despite the fact that it has excellent musicians and a lot of good things happening in its artistic communities, often a number of factors will align and only small crowds will turn out – and that’s totally fine. Hundreds of talented musicians play to crowds of 20 or less all around South Africa – small crowds are a staple of live entertainment everywhere. It happens.

    And sometimes I don’t feel like going out. Glad things turned around for this night.

  4. Nicely put “N”, if we all had to support every single event, gig and party that happens in Durban, we’d all be quite poor.
    With all due respect to the writers of DIY who do a great job at running this site: fuck this apathy shit, it’s not fair to make Durbanites feel bad because they feel like doing something else with their evenings, rather than support every flea circus that strolls into town. When it’s a worthwhile event or party, everyone will be there and you won’t have to feel like you’re the only ones drinking and glad handing your weeks away.
    And if you were one of the lucky 20 people to watch an awesome act on a night like this, that was deemed a “failed turnout”, enjoy it and don’t feel bad for other people who missed it. This “Durban apathy” loser complex has to vaai.

  5. Dayle says:

    I had a fucking rad time on this night and thursday nights at jackie horners has become a staple for me……plus fuego heats outfits always make me happy.

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