1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Jo Day”

School Kids – The Gents

School Kids – The Gents

School Kids – The Gents

Around 1980 punk arrived in South Africa with bands such as Asylum Kids, Dog Detachment and Peach leading the way. One of the lesser known bands to take to the genre was Durban band The Gents. Consisting of Kevin Flame, Tim Rocker and Sydne B Good (not been able to find out their real names), they produced, as far as I have been able to find out, a single single and a single album.
The album was called ‘The Gents’ and featured Jo Day on backing vocals, but oddly did not feature ‘School Kids’, their only single. Nor did the b-side of the single, ‘1917’, make the album. The latter is a darker, more sinister track and is a pretty decent song in its own right, but it would have had a less wider appeal than ‘School Kids’. Faster, lighter and poppier, ‘School Kids’ motors along on a sea of mixed up hormones as it tries to make its way in life. It features a rough and tumble guitar that has all the energy and innocence of a playground barney between friends while Flame’s vocals mix the coolness of a schoolboy that tries to hide a slightly romantic side.
It’s a catchy tune but with a bit of punk venom thrown in for good measure. It captures those angst filled high school days when one is caught in the no-man’s land between boyhood and manhood. Cocksure and vulnerable at the same time but played with a maturity and skill that belies the line ‘we’re just school kids, holding on’. Sadly, the band disappeared after their brief career and they weren’t noticed by many. Fortunately though there is a Youtube video of ‘School Kids’ so you can hear it for yourself.

Where to find it:
Vinyl: The Gents – The Gents (1982), Rap Records, SRLP C5

Video:

Above My Room – Jo Day

No Warning - Jo Day

No Warning – Jo Day

Somewhere between 1991 and 2003 Jo Day went from looking a little bit like Lisa Stansfield and sounding like Heart in their more relaxed moments to a leather-clad-spiky-black-haired-heavy-rock rock bitch, yowling like a banshee and generally making a lot more noise.

Some may say that’s a bad thing, but have a listen to ‘Above My Room’. It is a thunderous affair that is the perfect vehicle for Day’s ominous to a scream vocals. Starting off with some slightly laid-back guitar, one quickly feels the storm clouds gathering as a fiercesome electric guitar builds to flashes of lightning and a roll of thunder. The music quietens for moment as Jo starts off in sultry voice but one that has an undertone warning in it to be careful. It seems to prowl restlessly around the song before she leaps up and makes you realise just how perfect the word ‘scream’ is suited to being sung as a scream.

This is thick and heavy heavy rock. It is not the dense sound that earlier guys like Freedom’s Children brought us. This is a crisp and clear wall of sound not too dissimilar to Metallica and the like. Jo Day was one of the few local acts who took this style of music and managed to make it work and especially so on ‘Above My Room’. It is hard rock at its best. Lisa Stansfield had to go ‘All Around The World’ for her hits, but Jo managed to do it in the room upstairs.

Where to find it:
No Warning – Jo Day (2003), Legend Music, LEGMCD1

Video:

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