The Brother Moves On ETA Launch

The Brother Moves On have spent this year making a name for themselves, so naturally, only about five people in Durban have heard of them. They recently braved the trip down to the 031 to launch their ETA EP at Live with Fruits & Veggies and Car Boot Vendors joining them on the bill. They made an impact on the crowd that was there and our new guy Msizi Sithole, who lets you know his thoughts on the show after the jump.



“The Brother Moves On, is that the name of the event?” That’s what went through my mind when I first got the Facebook notification from Live a week ago. I didn’t know who these guys were and just what it was that they did (I assumed they took part in the act of creating music, right?) I knew enough about Car Boot Vendors and Fruits and Veggies for me to know that they weren’t a bunch of hawkers and nutritional food items.


I got onto my dinosaur of a computer and told it to give me information on this band that was going to headline Live’s stage that night. After having it laugh at me, test my patience with its second rate speed and lacklustre performance, I finally found a site that would hopefully give me what I needed. The Brother Moves On, or TBMO, had a letter posted up on their site with regards to their stance on boycotting Cape Town World Music Festival. With mentions of boycotts, Israelis and Bi-Partisan politics, it was an interesting read. I was expecting a bit of a sermon on stage that night. I still didn’t have any idea who these guys were though.

 They looked like they were part of the message they were imparting on the crowd

I knew what to expect from one of Durban’s favourite live music venues, a place that has a lot of people talking and a lot more worrying about their own attendance figures. It’s against the norm to arrive anywhere early; it’s like an unwritten rule in the handbook of going out, but I got there at six, doors would only open at eight. I got there early because I was hoping I could catch TBMO during sound check so I could have more of a feel for what these guys had to offer musically, along with their political views. TBMO are on their ETA EP tour, to celebrate and publicise the release of two of their singles. Having Car Boot Vendors and Fruits and Veggies opening for them was the right kind of move for getting attention going. There were only a handful of people inside the large converted warehouse. I got there just as TBMO were packing up and getting ready to head out for dinner before coming back later in the night, my plan had failed. Luckily Live isn’t one of those places where you’re relegated to an arm’s length from the musicians. As I’m standing speaking to one of the bartenders, a guy hops off the stage, runs over to us and introduces himself as Zwash, It’s a little strange and I assume his name isn’t from the baby book but it’s good to see the musicians being so open. We have enough wannabe divas in this country as it is.


I love watching bands do sound check. Sound check is when a band is at its most comfortable on stage and it is the best time for you to make an assessment as to how the night is going to go. If sound check is in shambles, you may as well hook up a cd player for your set. I get a drink and wait for the people to arrive, they will be coming right?


It took awhile for people to show their faces as the night began to progress. The usuals started rolling in an hour or so after the doors opened. DJ Weird Beard opened the evening with his old school records setting a soft, reggae dub mood. He’s the kind of character you’d see in your parent’s photos from when they used to go out partying, the kind of guy who would be open mouthed and jumping all over the show. He spun his vinyls and jumped around behind his rig, really feeling what was going on. It was great to see someone pay homage to Old Lady Vinyl. His energy was wasted though on a crowd that wanted to soak up the night outside before they really got stuck in.


A few more people started to roll in as it gets closer to ten o’clock. Car Boot Vendors start to limber up and take to the stage. I’ve seen Car Boot Vendors a few times over the past few months. The first time I saw them was at Splashy Fen where they had the crowd lapping them up like spilt milk. The last time I saw them was when they played Riot Fest, at Live. I wasn’t too moved with their performance and I was hoping tonight would be different. What I like about them however, is their originality. They seem to have this sort of easy, open style that really should work. They have their own interpretation of what a band should look and sound like. Bands these days are focussed on stiff collared sounds made up of computer perfect vocals, indifferent bassists and expressionless drummers. Car Boot Vendors have a different twist to the norm. They have the unique vocals of Beard and his harmonica skills, the added threat of Badger on the bass who can go off in his own deep bass-fuelled world and Steve who beats his drums like a comical penguin-man but it just lacked that final bit. They took to the stage with the kind of energy more well established bands would fail to muster, putting on a show that saw Beard rolling on the floor, taken by the juju train as he writhed around on the floor, scissoring out a solo. Musically, they make the right kind of noises. I’ve been to shows where they topped the bill for me, even more than the act I’d originally come to see but there was always that fine line. They played a set that wasn’t the tightest I’ve seen them do before, there were a few minor hiccups here and there but they seemed to get a following going despite this. The final piece that was lacking in their performance puzzle, however, was how they put themselves across. It felt a little like they were trying too hard to become too familiar with the crowd. That’s great when you’re playing to hundreds of people who can’t seem to get enough of what’s on display but with people still milling around and sticking to the walls, it was a bit over the top. Every band needs to make a lasting impression, it’s the only way to really see progress but you can’t force it out and onto people. They need a big crowd to absorb their energy and for the crowd to give their own energy to the antics on stage. There can’t be an imbalance or else it all seems to come loose at the wheels. Given a more appreciative crowd and some better fine tuning, these guys could do some serious damage.



Next up were Fruits and Veggies. Everyone knows Fruits and Veggies to be that loud, unapologetic band that gets the crowd going. They are the perfect metaphor for the Durban music scene; in your face, bulletproof but ultimately, very enjoyable. They’ve been around for ages but it’s only been recently where they have finally started stamping their brand onto our faces.  If they were a person, they’d be that boy your father chased off with a shotgun but after a few beers, he’d happily give him your hand in marriage. “Come inside, we want to sweat on you!” I’ve seen Fruits and Veggies play many times before and each time always seems to be different to the last. They play from a place that knows no boundaries, like they threw out the rule book along with all their bills. Conventional rules don’t quite apply here. The last time I saw them was at Riot Fest. They played mashed up a set that totally blew them way up in my perspective and they went on to win Interpret Durban that night with that same energy. They were mellower this time around – as mellow as Fruits and Veggies can get mind you. They showed a level a maturity which has been much needed from them but they still were able to bring a level of debauchery into the mix. Purity was once again the ideal frontwoman with the way she moved around on stage, playing to more than just the crowd. James and Hezron almost play as if their instruments were one, the violin really accentuating the sound. I think if Cameron had been playing with them, it would have turned into one of those crazy Fruits and Veggies sets that make you walk funny for days. The new sound that the band has come out with has really added another dimension to their overall appeal; they’re finally growing up which can only be good for a band that’s so easy to love, with a reputation that makes them the kind of person that could give your mother a heart attack. Even Loopy behaved.



All that was left was for TBMO to take to stage. The room had filled up, Fruit and Veggies having left everyone juiced up. I had never seen these guys play before so I was a little unsure of what to expect. I didn’t have any past experiences to draw on so this would all be new to me – I didn’t even know their proper name till earlier that day. From asking around the room and seeing what people thought of them, it seemed like their sound was the golden love child between Blk Jks and 340ml. Having had members from both bands work with them on this EP, it seemed fitting. From my understanding, TBMO are a band of like-minded people who came together to use music to get their point across. I’m not fluent in the ways of the poetic movement that is Johannesburg music scene but it seems as if many hip hop/ afro-chic bands there are bearing the cross that is the plight of the modern working man. They are an afro-centric post folk rock band, which is a mouthful but important to say if you want to be technical. They use their music as a medium for their storytelling. Coming all the way from Joburg, where the plight of the working class man is often so easily forgotten on those bustling streets, they told a story that moved you with every beat that came off of them. Everything I had read about them wasn’t much of an indication as to what they would sound like and I’m glad. I loved the surprise that was the liquid flow of their delivery. Their songs spoke of people working the mines and of the hardships but it wasn’t thrust on you in an uncomfortable way. They looked like they were part of the message they were imparting on the crowd at Live. Looking around, you could see the attention zoned in on the stage as they beat through a set that I found to be quite spectacular.



I spoke to some of the band members after they came off stage. They told me of how the band had been made up from the space of necessity. They saw an empty spot that was there to be exploited. They brought forward the issues but did so in a way that didn’t stare you down into submission, but by playing a unique show that made you think and accompanying it with fantastic music so you felt like they were your own thoughts all along.  TBMO did what they set out to do. They delivered a message that they took with them all over the world and left us riding high on a cloud of good music, basking in the afterglow and feeling more educated. My concerns were thankfully unfounded. After knowing next to nothing about this band when the night began, by the end of it, it felt like they were guys who had always been on my playlists. It was a night that not only just met my expectations, knowing what a night at Live, and what live music can offer, but surpassed them beyond what I thought was possible. And with that, the brother moved on.


*All images © Jessie Singh

One Response to “The Brother Moves On ETA Launch”
  1. Joling! says:

    Was that a review or a short story?

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