Last Band Standing

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews
Tags: , , ,

Band Survivor Hout Bay – First published in Cape Times

Kicking off your shoes at a beach bar, sipping on an ice cold beer and listening to young, enthusiastic and upcoming local bands thrashing it out on the stage is a pretty cool way to end a working day.  And, you get to do this gazing at the backdrop of Chapman’s Peak Mountain, glowing a fiery pink from the setting sun, with the smell of the ocean lazily drifting into your nose. We are rather lucky in Cape Town.

But it’s not really all about the audience. Band Survivor Hout Bay is offering local unsigned bands a free platform to show off their stuff and, as the event organisor, Aidan Harper says, ‘help to launch their music careers more so than dragging a drum kit from gig to gig or using beer money to replace snapped guitar strings’. The wining band walks away with R10 000-00 and a production recording of a single.  The 2nd prize is the production recording of a single. 3rd prize is two, three hour rehearsal sessions.

Survivor Band runs for 6 weeks at La Cabane, a super chilled out beach restaurant and bar. Bands play in front of the audience members who all receive voting slips. Each vote contributes to the final weekly score. The top 4 acts of the week will compete on the Saturday. The semi-final play-off is on Saturday 24th March.  The final is on Saturday 31st March.

So far, the bands that have made it through to the semi finals include; Al Bairre, Hotel Iris, K Ray and the Bird, Ratrod Cats, Wild Lettuce and Shamanzi. These guys are relatively unknown at this stage of the game but they are playing their hearts out to make a name for themselves.

Hotel Iris, a four-piece band, pulled in a good crowd with their soulful bluesy rock pop songs.  They are less than 3-months old but they seem determined to fight their way to the top.  It is a rather eclectic band that jams with an acoustic guitar, electric guitars harmonica, drums,  mandolin, bass guitar and, keyboards.

Ratrod Cats certainly got my vote for the day. Their style is a rockabilly psychabilly fusion of old and new. They dress up in two tone shirts and shoes , vintage glasses, slicked back hair and lots of tattoos.  One of the categories on our audience voting sheets include appearance, stage presence and audience interaction, and the guys are giving it their all. The girls in the audience are quick to get up and gyrate in the setting sun and they howl when it is the Cat’s last number.  Ratrod Cats write all their own music and it is a refreshing new style that doesn’t fall into a rock solid genre and they are striving to not follow the style of popular American bands.

Ratrod Cats - Band Survivor Hout Bay

Bands bring their own instruments but the sound, lights and gear are professionally managed by Aidan Harper of who has this seemingly endless passion for growing the local music industry.

The venue, La Cabane, is perfectly suited for Band Survivor. With its gorgeous mountain backdrop, custom-build stage and plenty of dancing and seating spaces under stars, they are aiming to establish themselves as a leading live gig venue.  And the food is delicious. Belgian owner and chef, Joe De Jonk, lusts after good music and great food and he has combined the two in a easy going venue which makes you just want to kick back and chill out.

Play offs take place every night of the week, from 7 to 9pm, with two bands per night. Audience members each receive a voting slip. Each vote contribute to final weekly score. The audience only pays to watch the semi-final and final gigs, which are R20 and R30 respectively, and a percentage of proceedings go to DARG (The Domestic Animal Rescue Group) in Hout Bay. DARG, a pro-life, non-profit organisation that rescues, cares for, and re-homes abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs has had no less than 4 break-ins over the last few weeks and they certainly need the support. So go and have a fun night out and help them back on their paws.

Some of the judges include: Lionel Jardin (Studio owner, Music shop owner), John Belyeu, (Recording artist, producer, music business consultant), Joe De Jonk (La Cabane owner), Toni Lehmensich (MyMusicMatrix), Darrel McLean (Drummer for Anton Syndrome and Thought Police), Anton Marshall (Digital Content editor for Rolling Stone SA, Bass player for Long Time Citizens and Cedric Sampson,SABC 3 Producer).

Unsigned bands interested in competing still have until 20 March to sign-up, and they can do so by phoning 021 820 3851, or e-mail    For a look at the venue, go to

*Two double-tickets are up for grabs for the finals.

e-mail, for a chance to win.

The End

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