Monday, 27 June 2011

Live: Shangaan Electro @ Rich Mix (25/06/11)

Shangaan Electro: Tshetsha Boys, DJ Spoko & Nozinja

No combination of words would ever prepare you for the experience that is Shangaan Electro. This isn't music made for listening to on your ipod; this is music for dancing. Or in this particular case, music for pretentious, white, middle class London wankers to make arses of themselves to South African electro.

So the gig begins with a number of DJs testing the water with some unknown (South?) African pop/hip-hop/electro records (reminding me exactly how much Vampire Weekend have ripped off African music). Enter a bloke who sounds remarkably like the guy from Real 2 Real of 'I Like To Move It' fame, who 'adds' to the music with inspired remarks such as 'yeah', 'uh huh' or 'la la ley la la ley la la ley'. A cringey rave horn is also sounded far too many times. But we are just getting started. It's getting busy and it's getting hot. England's mini-heatwave laughs at us all.

Now then. Around 9:30pm cues Shangaan Electro; a combination of South African DJs/artists/dancers. A number of which are dressed in boiler suits and clown masks. I'm not sure I remember this being traditional South African attire. The fat dude in the middle delcares that the whole event is to push their tempo to "one... eight..... FOUR!!!" beats per minute. This, as I would later discover, is very, very fast.

So what is the music like? The only way I can describe it is this. Take some African style drumming/grooves. Take away the traditional drums and acoustic instruments and replace them with fairly cheesy digital sounds. Add a number of African whistles and tribal style vocals. Speed up the tempo by a thousand. Now press play. Dance about jiggling your ass and hips ridiculously for 3-4 mins. Press stop. Turn up the tempo. Repeat.

Now, this may sound a bit bizarre. It is. There are no intros or outros. There are just ever-increasingly fast grooves. It is better than it sounds and highly enjoyable after a number of Stella Artois Cidres. This is not so much a gig, but an experience. The African dancers are going mental on stage (all the while dressed as clowns) and the audience is doing the same.

After you realise that each 'track' is essentially the same thing sped up ever so slightly by a few beats per minute (the bpm is announced prior to each track..), it does become a little tiresome. I swear the fat guy is literally setting the tempo and pressing play. But like anything that is repeated enough, the enjoyment comes back around and you are dancing like a twat (or attempting to move your body quick enough) well into the night. At the climax of the show, there is no fat lady singing; just a fat guy gyrating centre stage.

Conclusion: absolutely random, silly, wearying yet awesome. Youtube it to see them move.


Listen HERE

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