Durban Interpreted

This year’s Interpret Durban was an absolute humdinger of a party. All that were there haven’t been able to shut up about it and neither has Bob Perfect, he shares his memories of the night with us after the jump.


Over the years the BAT Center has played host to some of the most memorable shows of my life and last Saturday, another hefty deposit was made into the memory bank. It felt good to return to the BAT Center for this year’s all encompassing celebration of Durban made art, music, culture and youthful expression, Interpret Durban. Street Scene made a solid choice in picking the BAT to host this year’s event. It’s spacious, covered in art and has many explorable dark corners for those looking to relive their GMT days.



Memory can sometimes be hard to live up to, the last time I caught Luminati was at The Battle Of The Acoustics and in the small intimate setting of The Collective, they absolutely killed it but this time they had the tough task of being the first band to get the audience to their feet. They delivered a passionate set, but they had the misfortune of being the opening band to an audience that was unfamiliar with them. Only a few people braved the judging eyes of the seated and got on the dance floor to jam along, but that didn’t stop the big band from giving it their all and getting stuck into the crowd in front of them. The climax of their set saw Wesley from E.X.P.L.O.S.I.O.N throwing down his 80’s metal riffage over the jazzy hip-hop vibes to try and win the Muso Mix comp. Their track avoided Aerosmith x Run DMC cheesiness but was forgettable, and they were never going to win the trip to Cape Town to record at Red Bull Studios. It’s a curse to be first in band battles but it’s even more of a curse to have Fruits & Veggies play after you.

The uniquely Durban act have become the talk of myth and legend

Time will tell how we remember Fruits & Veggies but they certainly will not be forgotten anytime soon. They have hit their stride in the last few months, and although a lot of that stride is made up of much stumbling, it doesn’t seem like much is gonna break it or slow them down. It was a very different atmosphere when the rag tag group of punks took to the stage. Whereas Luminati had to do everything they could to coerce the crowd into giving them a listen, Fruits & Veggies had a loyal following ready to do the bidding of their leaders on stage before they even played a chord. Fruit & Veggies rewarded their loyal servants and converted quite a few new followers with their chaotic set of afro-gypsy-punk, or whatever the fuck you wanna call it (whatever, I just know it makes people dance). By the time they did their collab with Project B.H, a dub flavoured hip-hop number, it was a safe bet that they’d be the ones to go down in history to win the first Interpret Durban Muso Mix Competition.



Only Coals of Juniper could spoil their chances and with my memory of the three piece instrumental band, I didn’t think they’d threaten the previous performance. Memories can betray though and mine has clearly been betraying me because Coals of Juniper delivered a performance that I can only describe as epic. I felt like I could ride in anywhere on my trusty steed and sever many a head in battle if I had to. Being put between Fruits & Veggies and Big Idea is a daunting task but they pushed through the crowd’s chatting and indifference and forced them to take notice with dramatic build ups and breaks which either stunned the crowd into silence or into losing their shit in the pit. Their collab  for the comp was with Portia from Nje and my notes to the song say “Jazzy Rage Against The Machine meets 90‘s R ‘n B. Super weird.” I still can’t think of a better way to describe it. An interesting mix, but it just didn’t reach the mark set before them. Either way, it was a set that stuck in my mind and I’ll be looking out for Coals of Juniper and Portia again.


Interpret Durban as most of you should know is also a design, art, photography and video competition and whilst my main focus for the night was the music, I took the break between the music comp and the headliners to release my inner art snob and perused the entries.  In three seconds flat, the art snob was knocked the fuck out by the part of me that was just too proud to let a cynical douche get in the way of appreciating the talent of my peers. Nobody looks down on my brahs. And the brahs definitely did good. It swelled my heart and loins with pride when it was announced that DIY’s backbone, Stathi Kougianos,  took first place in the design comp. The theme was “enter durban” and Stathi illustrated it with an iconic VW van stacked with surfboards and styled in the blue and yellow of our beach front signage. Luke Mason won the video comp with a music video shot all over Durban which perfectly captured the theme, a moment, a place, a time, and Marcel Duvenage nailed the “What is a postcard” brief with an idyllic shot of surfers in the sea with the city reaching north in the background.




After knocking back the shots of 031 pride on display and a couple tequilas (the enemy of memory), I headed back into the auditorium to anxiously wait with the rest of the crowd for the return of “the best thing out of Durban since the poison made the place famous”, Big Idea. Up until Interpret Durban, Big Idea hadn’t played in four years and in those years, the uniquely Durban act have become the talk of myth and legend with shared copies of their Hot Box album being the only evidence that the band existed. I can’t for the life of me remember ever actually seeing Big Idea live, just vague blurs of memories that may have happened or that are in that weird, maybe-it-was-a-dream part of the mind. After Interpret Durban however, I’ve had flashbacks of their set running through my mind on repeat. Opening with Wentworth to Durban North, we lit a spliff in the crowd and let Big Idea spend the rest of the night taking us all around Durban and back again. They made their way through their catalogue with ease and you could tell Quincy, the front man, was having a blast and he appreciated the crowd as much as the crowd appreciated him. Every so often he’d just look at the crowd, take it all in, and a huge grin would roll over his face. To return home to find your music has lived on and that people still feel it after all this time, that must be an overwhelmingly emotional experience. Of course they did an encore, no way the crowd would have let them get away without one, but once the thank yous were said, and the cheers rung silent the weight of the moment remained on the shoulders of all those who bore witness to the iconic band’s performance.


*All images © Grant Payne

5 Responses to “Durban Interpreted”
  1. Martin says:

    Incredible pictures.
    Well written.
    I feel bad for Durbanites living in other citites, i’m sure reading this article brough the FOMO hard!
    I.D. is definitely something we’ll be looking forward to annually. It can only get better from here.
    Great work to the Street Scene team for making this happen!

  2. Wololo says:

    Its photo’s like these that make me really miss Kevin Goss-Ross…

  3. Katalyst Mthembu says:

    What an event! Great people. Great vibe. Outstanding Art. Durban is Unstoppable!

  4. MitchHATE says:

    I fucking miss Durban.

  5. Daisy says:

    Really well written Bob! I miss Durban soooooooooo much!!

Leave A Comment