The best thing about Taxi Violence is that they have been dubbed rock music veterans…in South Africa. The very fact that such a label can be ascribed to them speaks volumes about South African music’s progress in general and the band’s success in particular. But wait! I stand corrected: that is not the best part. What I love about this band is firstly, that they are a rock band; and secondly, that they do exactly what the name says: they rock.
They have just released their fourth studio album, Soul Shake, and the launch happened on Saturday night at Assembly in Cape Town. The vibe was definitely there and, better yet, the crowd was friendly and easy-going. I am still astounded at how different the people were in comparison to all the other times I have been to Assembly. I arrived in time to catch one of the supporting bands, The Plastics, and for a moment felt as if I had been thrust through a wormhole and landed in a conglomeration of Empire Records and High Fidelity, as the band members and their music certainly fit the bill.
Once Taxi Violence came onto stage and started performing I was sucked out of my movie reverie and instead felt as if I had been transported back to my varsity days, as their music hit a chord of nostalgia. Frontman George van der Spuy really hammered these recollections home as he welcomed people to stage dive, invited girls to flash them and sprayed water on the eager crowd who even started moshing! No one, whether on stage or not, was concerned about anything other than having a good time.
While revelling in age-old and treasured rock traditions, the night included a current touch with live Twitter feeds displayed on either side of the stage. Their set was energised, featuring songs both old and new, feeding the crowd’s enthusiasm which further fuelled the band’s vigour. If they continue like this, they are set to fulfil another music anachronism: “they’re here to stay.”