Rudi Cronje
Rudi Cronje

Dropping zipper against the wind?

I’m sorry. This is not about the fractious Malema, Zuma’s ever-growing brood or Eugene Terre’Blanche’s horse. My bone picking is of a different nature, and not as busy as JZ’s. My face-off is at odds with issues of corruption, feminism and accounting. My general apathy towards things that don’t have a direct influence on my life is hopefully blatant.

More to the point …

It might just be me, but I feel sometimes we as South Africans put international acts on beautifully, decorated pedestals (African themed, complete with giraffes, elephants and gold trim).

Yes, deservedly some need to there, but in the last couple of months I’ve come across two instances where South African promoters have booked “international acts” — only for them to arrive here to play a DJ set.

Now, if my common sense does not mislead, bringing an act over is not a painless, cheap job. And if my common sense does not let me down for the second time in a row, why the hell would anyone want to go see half the band playing their own songs via compact disc or MacBook?

I get how this can be seen as a draw card for patrons, but in my mind events and the like are started to create longevity. Next year we want more patrons, right? Growth, expansion etc.

These DJ sets, unless the budget includes pyrotechnics, strippers and a free round of tequila for everyone there, are going to be (or has been in the past) a let-down for most.

Another argument we can have is that it’s not particularly good for the South African live music industry. I mean, if you think that just because the guys’ foreign accents make them better at spinning discs than a host of local talent, then I fear we might have a problem the size of Mauritius on our hands.

Even though I’ve heard Mauritius is a nice place, if a tsunami-sized mindset problem hit it, we’ll be playing fund-raising events for the rest of our lives.

Are we jumping the gun by conning ourselves into thinking that bringing out half an act is the answer or are we going to hang on, grow ourselves first, and then do it right? Is it that the local acts are just not up to scratch? Or is it actually beneficial for us to witness these acts and pick up our game/learn and apply the expertise?

Although this all can very well be dropping zipper against the wind, I do feel these are all valid points of discussion. Not that we’re going to get into them.

I also know some of you are thinking: “ha, he’s just jealous” or “they didn’t get booked” or something along those lines. I assure you that’s it’s not the case at all. I wish we can get more international acts over here. We need to see them. Call me old school, but it feels from time to time that we need the old Sun City days back. The Queens, Earth, Wind and Fires and Bruce Springsteens of the world to come give us a show again. Times have changed, but I’m certain they wouldn’t have settled for anything less than their standard performances.

If we’re looking for someone to blame, we can probably blame the internet I guess. We’re spoilt rotten and some of us are losing our baby teeth from the www-sweets we get handed so freely.

Back to the point.

Getting short-changed is something no one enjoys. Perhaps my act of typing here is premature, which is also something no one enjoys, but climbing in your car late on a Sunday morning after a weekend filled with alcohol, insufficient sleep and dust, you really do not want to think to yourself “damnit, that was a bit lame. I would have rather have wanted to see (place alternative act here)”. I bet old Juju (Thanks Mr Roper) would have had something along those lines to say.

Ultimately, we’re getting a perceived big act from overseas and although one can argue that it’s only a small minority that supports them here, chances are they’ll love this place and hopefully come back — dragging some other groups of people with quaint accents and eurodollaryenpounds along in their wake.

On that patriotic note, we’ll leave this to chance and see what happens. Maybe a DJ set is all we need.