As You Were
Hours dropped their much anticipated (by punk kids at least) first full length album, As You Were, recently at Live The Venue. Matt Vend was there and he explores the humble roots of band whilst taking us on a trip down Durban punk’s memory lane.
I remember the days of a lesser known Durban band infamously known as Filthy Friend, and this is where new act, HOURS’ story really begins. Filthy Friend epitomized the youthful cliché of being crass, sloppy, unapologetic and young. However they still managed to write some instant deviant classics such as (correct me if I’m wrong) ‘Bob the dildo’ and ‘Beer Island’, and the members went on to form some pretty important bands in Durban’s underground, including Bad Murphy, Fruits and Veggies and City Bowl Mizers. In Durban everything has a humble beginning of days spent surfing and skating, loitering outside shopping centers and spending way too much time at The Winston Pub. Filthy Friend was a band that provided a soundtrack to our adolescent lives and there are still people to this day who remember their prepubescent brand of unashamed rock ‘n roll.
Filthy Friend was a catalyst, and it was the first time that live music in Durban was introduced to characters such as Sweet Lu (original drummer for Fruits and Veggies and still the drummer for Bad Murphy), Kurt Peinke (City Bowl Mizers and The K-Bomb), Alistair Heath (City Bowl Mizers and now HOURS) and Matt Reardon (City Bowl Mizers and now HOURS).
So seeing something like HOURS live, and how much energy and old hand knowledge is being put into every ounce of the project, it seems that their reckless youthful history couldn’t have been such a bad place to start. For over a decade the guys have been plying their trade in various bands previously mentioned (Russell Grant, HOURS guitar player, even did his time on bass duties for popular Durban hardcore band Go! Go! Bronco) so none of them are strangers to the thankless ranks of Durban rock ‘n roll.
The show at Live for their launch just oozed the kind of heartfelt moments that take you back to ‘98, which actually seems like quite a distant memory now. However, the maturity of the band members and their collective experience shone through, and the sentiment to me seems to be one of “yes we know we are getting older, yet we’re trying to hang onto some semblance of our youth”, and why the hell not! You’re only as old as you feel after all. They even pulled Paul Ten Hoorn Boer (Mr. Smug and Sheep Down) out from the solitary pastime of brewing beer and back onto the skins. As mentioned, Paul is too busy these days to play drums as he has become an award winner beer maker, so the show was also kind of a valediction for him as Paul was instrumental in getting this new act kicking with his production skills on their debut ep (Paul also runs Bro Studios when he’s not getting drunk off his beer) as well as playing the drums on it. Daniel Philogene (better known as Faddy D) will now be taking over on the drums from Paul. Fatty is another stalwart of the Durban underground, playing in quite the list of punk and hardcore acts over the years.
The release itself came in the form of a pocket sized zine, and all the artwork was done by local artist Skullboy, who also did a live art piece whilst the band was performing, giving their dark pop/punk a bit of context and depth, showing the angst that can be portrayed when a different angle is put on the same object and in this case the object being the music and the different angle being a giant canvas and some spray cans. Pop/punk is usually a genre associated with girls and high school, yet HOURS subvert this in the same vein as some of the other acts in the genre who pioneered the idea that pop/punk doesn’t have to be only for kids. (Also check out Alkaline Trio or The Lawrence Arms)
HOURS is definitely not a band for everyone, and although I have seen Live far quieter for various local acts, and if the show was at a smaller venue it would have been packed, it still was a regular night in Durban with most of the people in the crowd folding their arms in indecision. Maybe it was the enormity of Live or maybe pop/punk and its tendency to be nostalgic and slightly introspective just won’t work for an audience that is seeking something faster, louder and possibly more electronic. Yet beyond the sea of indecision there were certainly some smiling faces and shaking bodies and who knows, maybe, just maybe, rock ‘n roll in Durban is making a comeback in the form of this pop/punk foursome.
*All images © Tyrone Ping