The Stellas Live Charge The Pub

The Stellas recently hit up the trusty Winston Pub for the launch of thier new EP, Live Charge. They were supported by local shredders Black Math and Catlike Thieves. Russel Smith reviews the show and chats to The Stella’s for a bit.

I don’t think I’ve bothered to watch a Catlike Thieves show for two years. I can’t recall the reasons for my aversion to witnessing them play again, but they were strong enough to get me to shun them for that long. For the first few songs, I swear they were channelling the City Bowl Mizers. I will admit that it might just be that “Durban sound” that permeates through bands regardless of genre in this city, but I am sticking to the notion that they are so desperately trying to be popular, that they unashamedly borrowed a bit from that Durban stalwart band.


Then their set descended in to a lukewarm bowl of radio friendly mush. I couldn’t help drifting away from what was happening on stage and got distracted by the odd punters that had showed up at The Winston of all places to watch this band. There was a high schooler in a mini and heels, squeaking loudly, standing next her much, much older and drunker escort. The noise she made was so inhuman I thought that the drunk guy was molesting her. Then I had to come to terms with the fact that a girl can make those noises without being molested. My ego is still recovering from my shattered delusions of sexual prowess.



I couldn’t really place Catlike Thieves in a genre any more specific than bland generic rock music. The kind of blandness that only got popular from being in those formulaic, unoffensive teen movies from over a decade ago. The soundtrack to Can’t Hardly Watch 10 Things A Loser Does for Sixteen Candles In An American Pie. When the bands lead singer proposed we were listening to, “hillbilly shit” it was just blatantly obvious, that I may just know more about music than they do irrespective of degrees held…


Next up were the touring band, The Stella’s. Never having seen them sober I had misgivings looking at the line-up. Punctuation aside they were a great band to watch, the unquestionable musical highlight of my evening. The Stella’s took the stage like they had been drinking lightening. Dirty, four chord, rock ‘n’ roll reminiscent of the proto-punk days of The Stooges and MC5, filtered through the school of The Hives’ retro revival.


They were the perfect antidote to what had come before, and a band that fit in the black interior and low stage of The Winston Pub. A band made for intimate venues where the crowd and band swap bodily fluids like gross lovers who aren’t shamed by public affection. The Stella’s grabbed the audience and didn’t let them go until they were thoroughly done with them.



After they got every punter roused and sweaty, I cornered them and had a chat about their side line ventures in to the porn industry and some rather poorly considered cosmetic surgery, and then fired some slightly more pertinent questions at them. The Stella’s joined the pub locals and Durban fringe elements to promote, what they’re calling, between an album and an EP. Live Charge is their first substantial recording, a gritty yet tasty 8 track morsel they recorded in just a day, capturing the energy and rawness of their live shows.


The Stella’s lads proudly have their roots playing in street punk outfits and the like, eventually progressing to their current incarnation which explains Michael Wright, of Zebra and Giraffe, formally of Swivel Foot fame, producing their album/EP. Already getting radio play on 5FM and Highveld and making their presence felt on MK, you’d be a touch of a short bus case to miss out on seeing The Stella’s live as they make their way round SA.



I could see the connection with getting a band like Black Math to join the bill with The Stella’s. I hope our Durban darlings learned a thing or three from their elder musical peers. Like how to end a song on a high and, how not to milk a solo till it’s as colourless and insipid as milk. They set stages and hearts afire with their skills, but it becomes forced and lacks sincere energy to me. Having watched them just over a week ago, I tired of their repetitive fall back riffs and twenty different chord progressions in one song. Maybe it’s because they’re still teenagers, but their endless and insatiable on-stage masturbation bored me quicker than normal.


Yes, they are talented young musicians. They have great potential. They are also playing music that closely borders on what killed the hippie movement. Not that my opinion is shared by many since the crowd surrounding the stage showed none of my misgivings.


*All images © Russell Grant

10 Responses to “The Stellas Live Charge The Pub”
  1. No. says:

    He get’s bored watching teens masturbate.

  2. Jc says:

    “punctuation aside” lol!
    Nice write up, summed up the night for me too.

  3. Mick says:

    All I know is that the Stallas are definitely not as talented as Black Math.

  4. DAZLA MATRAz says:

    Well, I am glad that someone finally has something critical to say about Black math because although I like them I don’t think they deserve the amount of smoke that has been blown up their arses. I do believe they have HUGE potential and that is what they’re showing us at the moment. They are young and will mature, so I think after an album or two being made they will probably be world famous.

  5. Jesus H Christ says:

    Must’ve been a very different show to Joburg.

  6. Jesus H Christ says:

    And believe me, you’d rather watch Catlike Thieves than the band that supported them up here. Jet Black Camaro I think they were called, worst vocals I’ve heard in years.

  7. Musoman says:

    If anything is insipid it’s this review. Hmmmmmm, wonder how many times Smith rewords his adjectives to get what he probably thinks is a ” brilliant review”. Quite frankly think that this idiot needs to get his head out of his arse, hence the crap that comes out of his mouth. Obviously has no musical ability and is pissed most of the time, as he admits. For shit’s sake give us someone who knows what he’s talking about.

  8. Pink says:

    Think that Dazla doo dah might just be Russel Smith. Go figure

  9. Bob says:

    Why would we do anything for the sake of shit?

  10. DJ Fuego Heat says:

    Better than doing something for christ’s sake.

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