By Stuart Thomas
It is difficult to write about the Bourgeois Ninja Club without descending into epic platitudes. This is especially interesting when one considers that they have at various times claimed to have had more performances than practices. Perform, however is what this group was destined to do.
Conceived on a hazy weekend afternoon, the group- consisting of Dave Knowles (formerly of PE band Chenoby) on lead vocals and guitar, Paul Voigt on bass, Luke Clayton on guitar and Grant Mears (also of Undone) on drums found themselves providing a much needed counterpoint to the mainstream being broadcast at the societies and business extravaganza on the first Sunday of orientation week. This was after a single practise.
The day saw the birth of the group’s only set song “Seal Clubbing in The Springtime” and was the first public display of their high standard of improvisation. This improvisation is what defines and sets apart Bourgeois Ninja Club. Knowles says,” It feels alive cause it changes.” The pressure of knowing exactly how to play a song is removed and replaced with a seeming enjoyment of the fact that their skill will get them through anything.
This has created a scenario where all are free to put in their input. Clayton describes his band experiences by saying “I’ve never looked this comfortable.” Another tactic the band implements are vigorous warm up sessions, which Knowles feels helps the individual not to worry about what they’re playing and the band to concentrate their efforts on each other.
This is something which guitarist, Clayton agrees with wholeheartedly, “There’s this collective bubbliness.” he says speaking of being on stage
Audiences have been treated to such diverse song themes and titles, from “Microphone Man”, a view on the abusive and at times redundant advertising
undertaken by certain corporations and “Die Deutschland Raga”, to a funked up Reggae version of “All Along The Watchtower”.
Most recently the Ninja Club performed at the Live Music Society concert at the Old Gaol. Playing to a venue at full capacity failed to dent the relaxed vibe the group pervades, while still bringing about the desire to move one’s body.
Mears feels that this is one of the goals of a performer and especially bands,saying, “I hate crowds that stand still.”
On the hype surrounding them, the band are for the most part, amused, “I wanna be the next big thing” says Clayton, laughing. Crucially they do not sound like anyone. Rather they sound like what they are. Highly skilled musicians expressing themselves in a creative way while having a good time.
Perhaps the best way of summing the Bourgeois Ninja Club is in the words of Voigt: “We kick ass, there’s no doubt about it.”