Few things are as magical as a connected band coming together with a savvy audience. It’s a combination that turns cool musical nights into memorable life events. Like the first of the gigs of Desmond and the Tutus are billed to give at the National Arts Festival this year.
The trio took to the Guy Butler Theatre at the Monument on Thursday night alongside Opposite the Other, another must see band. The gig charted that scintillating line between budding musical genius at work and the edge of hypnotic tomfoolery. Only, you want the whole thing to keep going. If not out of the thrill of discovery, because there’s nothing like seeing a daring idea come to fruition.
Desmond and the Tutus are a band with a knack for cutting a unique path out of familiar themes. They are youthful, inspired and irreverent. The long-haired vocalist, Shane Durant, dished out playful quirks matched so well by lead guitarist, Nic Dinnie. He staggered along in pretended drunken moves and some of the freshest melodic lines this side of Keiskamma River. The funky delirium was held tight by the unassuming skills of the drummer, Craig Durant. His rhythmic pallet is surprisingly wide for a dude on the righthand side of rock and roll. Always measured with no wasted flurry. One hopes the musicianship is not lost on the loving crowds that seemed to know each lyric of every song.
The Pretoria based band with fast growing global reach found a groovy chord with the audience when it sang their hit, Enjoy Yourself. It was like a kind of party people’s call to arms or a call to the drinks table at least. Except, we are in an auditorium and at best we can all join in and scream along.
The gathered horde of mostly female fans and their parents at the back of the hall gyrated and hollered. All of them visibly happy. And if a bunch of hipsters landed from Mars, it wouldn’t take them too long to figure out what was up.
The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown is officially under way. Here then, culture vultures are out for a good time.