Words by Ruan Scott. Photos courtesy of Sweet Nausea Photography.
Ragazzi is empty upon my arrival. My watch reads 21:30. The first band, Verona walls is set to play at 21:00. As with shows of this scale, they are small and intimate, really just catering to keeping the scene alive. Promoters have that leeway to bend time until the venue fills. My mindset for this show was simple; get there early and support all the bands.
JJ, the vocalist for local hardcore band Take Hand mans the door with his lovely girlfriend. We share some high fives and I pay my dues. For once I remember to bring foodstuffs along for the Food Aid he runs. It felt good to support his cause and to know I too can help in some way even if it is in the form of two cans of pilchards.
Inside, I look around; I spot some familiar faces and make my way upstairs to the mezzanine level. Ragazzi is great in many aspects, but the mezzanine level looking 360 degrees down on the dance floor is such a radical attribute. If one is not inclined on standing between sweaty punks and moshing kids you can view acts from above with ease, comfort and safety.
Verona walls are about to start. I’m amped as I have heard a lot about this act lately.
I order a Coke. The bartender looks at me shocked. He knows me, knows I love to party. “Starting off easy?” he asks. I shrug it off with a laugh, pay my bill and head back upstairs to my vantage point of safety and comfort.
Verona Walls have been playing for over two years now but have been on a hiatus from gigging for a while. I believe it was to channel all their efforts into practicing and getting things tight as a band. From the first chord that was strummed to the last beat that was bashed it was evident that these guys take their musicianship seriously. The end product is a well-polished act and every member handles their instrument with ease. Heavy rock, almost metal, riffs and screaming mixed with singing vocals. Think Coheed and Cambria vocalist, De Souza started of the show a bit weird. Taking on multiple personalities between each song and really ‘feeling’ the music like he was in a trance-like state. You know how Inge Beckman used to trip out on her own tunes on stage while she was singing in Lark. It didn’t quite fit the image of the act but luckily by song four (I can’t remember the title) he shook the antics to my relief and presented the crowd with himself. A fun, humorous guy that likes to rock, swear and party. The drummer for Verona walls was hands down the back bone of this band. I really think without him the band might not go down as well. He is on a level that few South African drummers are today. On time, technical, hard and rolling with style. A solid act that deserves to be seen when you get the chance. (more…)