There’s an audience of maybe thirty-five people for this gig, but the Freebutt is one of the smaller music venues in Brighton. I’d like to know if they’ve been playing to similar numbers on the rest of this tour though.

Blk Jks are four guys from East Rand, an area of Johannesburg with huge sections of the population living in large townships. Rock music in South Africa was seen by the Black majority as the music of their oppressors, and the band have stated that they did face initial hostility to their music when they first started.  However, their songs are a mish-mash of several influences, the main ingredients being a potent mix of psychedelia, dub and straight ahead rock guitars.

They’ve also since decamped to the States and I think they’re now starting to appeal to people due to the fact that they’re a good bunch of musicians who’ve been around for a few years and there’s enough going on in their music to deliver something for everyone. I guess in a post-Apartheid South Africa this sort of band makes perfect sense.

It’s an energetic performance, with vocals shared between the drummer and lead guitarist. Their songs really flow – it’s not just a dischordant wall of noise for the sake of it. I’ve been listening to what’s on their MySpace page a few times and can hear the more nuanced parts that I’d missed when they did it live just because there is so much to take in.

The drummer is alternatively powerful then subtle but is always entertaining, flinging off his t-shirt after only three numbers because he’s already sweating buckets. The other three guitarists are seriously tight, playing fast and loud amidst the competing voices of three vocalists. They’ve got an EP out called “Mystery” and it’s the track called “Lakeside” from this that gets a cheer of recognition when it’s played.

A good band, worth checking if they come back over here. I suspect once they release their album in the Autumn they’ll be back and playing to bigger audiences.

Peace.

http://www.myspace.com/blkjks

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