Review Summary: This not a review
Listening to this band again reminded me of the time I saw them at the Art café. I think it was more than ten years ago; it was a dinner and a show type of place but I could only afford drinks (priorities). Location maybe, but my mind drifts to the night we hit the curb on the way home, and I changed the wheel in the rain wearing my cheap dinner jacket. The material attracted droplets like dew on a carnivorous plant, and when I was done, we pulled the car into a deserted petrol station for a last inspection; the forecourt was still lit up like a spaceship and we kissed under the fluorescent light.
Fast forward to now; more than ten years of monumental corruption have passed. Our last president was a man of the people, and thus he bequeathed the contents of the state coffers to two guys who were selling CDs out the back of a car. The Buckfever Underground address this in ‘Pay back the money’, but I like the way they do it. Not the usual offensive, entitled way, but rather by drawing a parallel between basic ***ing human decency and someone, say, stealing money from poor farmers to stage a wedding. It’s hard to verbalise raw, health damaging anger in a way that isn’t insulting; this is as good as it gets. To quote them: fist pump guys, fist pump.
Lately though, I think about death more than I do sex; this is how I know I’m getting old. ‘Ek skryf hierdie vir jou’ is a step away from the joy of travel and diaspora that the most unfairly privileged of us enjoyed after ’94. The Buckfever loved to talk about that – the way the world opened and how we could now feel like aliens. Now the topic is a friend passing away, and memories, and the diaspora is the other side. It feels more like these times; every person leaving is like a red flag. Travel is no longer a joy but a symptom of failure to mesh or adjust.
The middle is more normal stuff. I don’t agree about smart phones, I mean I’ll never ask for directions again, but I get what they’re saying. Keep your chin up, count your blessings. I’m not good at hearing that, I sneer at that usually. It’s not just nostalgia here though, I’d like to think there could still be some good stuff going forward and so do they. I wish I thought like that more often. I wish I could let go of that ingrained fatalistic desire to be right about how miserable everything is.
Bookends here go beyond all that, I mean this is all live and he’s piecing together all the prose he can find for more than an hour. He’s explaining how weird it is that there are stones out there in the plains, gongs that were used to create a ringing sound in a field of nothing. That sound is going to undulate, beam out, and bounce off all the surfaces out there, like people bouncing off the sharp edges of time, making copies of themselves that get beaten into different shapes by the impact they have with new things. Things you see later than younger people, people in different places, people with different tensile strength, different surface tensions.
The spare guitar, hypnotic rhythm, and dry spoken vocals on ‘Eat the Land’ takes me to the old poverty-stricken farm of my great grandmother, where the glass grade sand was worth more than anything the farm could realistically produce. I remember walking with my father in the veldt, trudging side by side, him with an old farm rifle. We both wore gumboots and couldn’t track a single thing that day (I was grateful he wouldn’t shoot anything). We saw rainbows and short spidery trees that fooled you into thinking the world was green. At some point we sat down on dewy ground cover and laughed at how beautiful it was, to be out there, together, simple. The last days of beautiful.