Graveyard of broken bands

By Ilana Koegelenberg

It is weekend again and it is gig time. Tons of national bands are flooding our town, yet there is not a local talent in sight. Is the Grahamstown live music scene dead or merely sleeping?

Between traveling and having ‘real jobs’, the majority of Breach’s band members are gone. Undone has moved on to bigger and better things in the UK, Orangutan Bitch’s lead singer and cellist both graduated this year and Soma was left incomplete when some of its members left. Acoustic Kill Session, Monstrous Regiment, Peyote… RIP the bands that have been.

It has been a tough year for the live music scene and all seems grim with the Old Gaol Festival falling through and the influx of gig cancellations. Claire Martens, chairperson of Live Music Society commented that “There are simply no bands that are ready to play.”

“The band scene moves up and down like a sine graph and this year we were hit hard because so many great musos left at once,” Richard Hampson, drummer of Soma explained. Gareth Lloyd, Breach and Motara drummer also raised the issue that “The mushrooming of bands last year for the battle of the bands had members playing in various ‘side-projects’ that created the illusion of a rapidly growing music scene.”

Various reasons left incomplete bands scattered all over town, and LMS has been trying to get all these leftover musos together by providing them with equipment, practice venues, fireside jams and by compiling a data base of all the musicians in the society. 

Fans need not fret. From Buckfever Underground to Man Friday to Even Me and Cypher – there will always be another big Grahamstown band. “I don’t think it will be long before a new band will fill our space,” said Bruce McNabb, formerly of Motara and Breach.

Martens is not worried about the live music scene either. “Bands formed in the past, so I know they will form again.” Motara’s reunion gig was a huge success and Dave Knowles has just made it to the final of the Nokia Indiefest competition. Battle of the Bands is also coming up next term and if all goes according to plan the Old Gaol Festival will indeed still take place, even if it is only in fourth term.

So go visit Live Music Society’s newly renovated website and stay on top of the big things to come. Long live live music!


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