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Music Maker Jan 18 1980
New Wave hits coast
  Police raids, beach nights and a thump in the eye were some of the hazards to beset Corporal Punishment when they toured the South Coast with Leopard recently - ROBERT SUTTON bumped along and files this report
 

 

1. Pinetown

You probably never knew that they were there, but Corporal Punishment and Leopard toured the Natal South Coast just prior to christmas. The tour was badly promoted, not particularly successful financially, but it was a once in a lifetime holiday and an experience from which both bands could learn a lot. Had it been properly promoted it could have brought some good homespun rock to the people.


The tour opened with something less than a bang at the Fairydene Hotel, Pinetown. The sound was diabolical, the audience unresponsive, and the police - not the British new wave band, I might add - arrived with news of complaints about the volume and a firm "request" to turn down
Now some may deem it unfair to place part of the blame for a bum gig on the audience, but the best gigs are those in which the distinction between the band - as performers - and the audience - as observers - is broken down and everybody becomes a participant. And to break down that barrier you've got to push from both sides. More to the point, we're such an apathetic bunch, here in South Africa (in more ways than musically), so let's start making our own judgements instead of listening to whoever it is that purports to decide for us (say what? - Herbie).

2. Marina Beach


From Pinetown the tour moved south to Marina Beach, a rather attractive little spot about 12 kilometers away from Margate. From a social point of view the two day spell at Marina Beach was the highpoint of the tour. - it's always fun making new friends - but more importantly there was good music and good audiences.


Of the two bands Leopard had fared the worst at the Fairydene. Plagued by sound hassles and a lack of rehearsals - due to rythm guitarist Blanche O'Reilly's recent sickness - they lacked confidence from the beginning and were thrown by audience apathy. At the first of the Marina dates they were stronger, and they can count the second as a triumph. After two kitch and rather pointless opening numbers - designed to tell the people we are LEOPARD (L for liberated, E for ecstacy....etcetc) and introduce the members of the band - they rocked strongly, albeit simply, and soon got a few of the audience up jiving. This, in turn spurred them on, and the ball started rolling... the better Leopard played, the more the people dug them. And the more the people dug them, the better they played, eventually capping their performance with a jubilant "Underestimator" that should have been committed to vinyl instead of the insipid version on WEA's infamous and vilely produced "Six Of The Best".


As for the Corporals, I loved them, but on the whole they lacked Leopards instant appeal. They were tight and together, as evedenced by the amazing jam with wich they opened, and eventually the audience caught the Corporal's vibe as well. A splendid time was had by, well not all, but a good few.


Corporal Punishment, as a working entity, has been together just over a year now - although founder member Carl Raubenheimer (vocals, bass), James Phillips (vocals, lead guitar), and Mark Bennett (keyboards) have known each other and played and written together since they were fifteen. Forming a band to play their own compositions was almost an inevitability. They've had trouble with drummers, but Henry Jantzen, otherwise known as O'Henry, seems to have solved that problem. And recently, ex-Radio Rats bass player Herbie Parkin augmented the line-up on rythm guitar.


The Corporals are a strong unit now, almost a family in fact. Five close friends, they're all committed to the band, and thus the music, before anything else.


Leopard, on the other hand, are just six chicks playing in a band. A band that basically got together by accident....
It all started with vocalist Marion Kunst ( of "Feedback" fame), whose brother Budgie plays for "The Dead Babies"
"If you can form a band, so can I!" she said. The next thing she knew she was singing for one.

Wild Youth's Ruben Rose was the catalyst, and after less than three months together, Leopard had attracted enough attention to warrant the inclusion of two of their numbers on WEA's afforementioned new wave compilation - although this seems to have done them more harnm than good. People who have not seen them live are judging Leopard by their performance on a record that sounds as if it was made using tin cans and string instead of microphones. No fair!


Initial reports from Durban were encouraging, but now Leopard have lost their initial momentum and are stuck in the doldrums, progressing neither musically or in terms of stature. Their biggest problem seems to be a lack of individual committment to the band, as a result they're not as tight as they might be. When you consider the bands genesis that's hardly surprising. What Leopard need to do now is to get serious, get their heads together and get down to the task of realising their potential. On a night when they're all into playing they can be a great, if not musically accomplished dance band. However one often gets the feeling that the girls aren't always into playing. Perhaps the novelty is wearing off.

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