By the time
the Corporals got up for their second set, the crowd had shrunk to about
twenty enthusiastic school kids. The Corporals were plaing an absolutely
outrageous second set when our good friend the manager arrived again,
this time with a not overly polite ultimatum to turn down the volume or
stop. The Corporals stopped. The manager called the police.
By this time
we had been given an hour to get off the premises, and as the original
arrangement had been that the tour party could sleep in the hall, we felt
that the ten rand deposit on the hall should be returned. Carl Raubenheimer
went to discuss this point with the manager and received both the ten
rand and a blow to the face.
4. Salt Rock
The next morning,
shaking the sand from our shoes we headed north to Salt Rock. We arrived
at Salt Rock Country Club, the venue for that evenings gig, to find a
bowls tournament in progress. Here were two new wave bands about to play
in one of those "last bastions of British colonialism" that
are dotted around Natal. And at the annual Christmas fancy dress ball
It was a brilliant gig for the Corporals. Because of the age and presumed inclinations of the audience, the Corporals decided to go easy on the volume and concentrate on playing a clean, tight set. Here was a chance to listen to the Corporals. The hall's acoustics were superb and the sound beautifully clear; I scrounged some beer money from the Leopard lasses and got into a somewhat less frenetic than usual Corporal Punishment.
some great songs: 'Godess of Depression' is a sci-fi love song, 'Johnny's
Conscience' tells of Johnny (natch) who murdered his wife, and 'Darkies'
is an apocalyptic number that desperately warns of a black revolt. But
not all the songs deal with such dark subject matter (oops - Herbie).
'In the night' is a look at nocturnal joys, and 'Rock 'n Rolls Royce'
asks rock 'n roll where it's gone and implores it to come back. The Corporals
were well received by the club members, a number of whom came up to the
band and payed them genuine compliments, "but can't you play us a
on and played a set devoid of subtleties and finesse. They showed an inability
to play at anything less than flat out, and were generally sloppy, noisy
and disappointing in comparison to thier performances at Marina Beach
and Scottburgh, those two gigs representing the peak of Leopard's performance
on the tour.
end of the evening the older club members departed and the Corporals,
left with a much younger crowd for the final set, decided to let their
hair down a little and have some fun. The audience obviously thought this
to be a splendid idea because they decided to cash in on the act and took
the shine off the dance floor. So much fun was had, in fact, that the
corporals had to play four encores. A fifth, though much in demand, was
out of the question after a pint of draught was spilt over Mark's organ,
causing it to produce noises that a whole battery of moogs and ARP's would
struggle to reproduce.
5. Richards Bay
Leopard were also reduced to a four piece for the gig at Richards Bay
when Blanche O'Reilly, who was suffering from bronchitis, was unable to
play, and Karen Peck drank herself into oblivion. This time round, Sharlene
Whitely sang the the missing vocal part.
was much more fun. We arrived a day early and spent that day relaxing,
swimming and lusting for a cold beer, which we didn't get till the next
afternoon when the Corporals set up and the rest of us sunned ourselves
around the Selection Hotel's pool. Many thanks for the beer Marion!
But what about the gig? Well the audience wasn't much better than at Richard's Bay, but they did at least pay and there were three guys in the crowd who were incredibly enthusiastic (and also in a state of altered consciousness). Both bands were rather loose, especially Leopard who were unable to play a second set due to the sudden unwillingness and subsequent departure of Linda MacGregor and Debbie Bell. The undoubted high point of the evening was the Corporal's last number, 'She's so Positive' which saw Mark Bennet taking the bass guitar over from Carl, who proceeded to front the band in a most dynamic fashion.
7 ,,,and finally Durban.
And so it was
into Durban for the last gig of the tour. Swingles was where it all happened.
And if the crowd was small, at least it was enthusiastic. A pleasant surprise
was a jam by Dead Babies' Budgie, on bass and vocals, and Patrick Dilemma
and Sydney Good of The Gents on guitar and drums. They only gave us three
numbers, but if this is a taste of what The Gents are like, then give
me more! Particularly noteworthy was Patrick's sparkling guitar work,
which was amazing when you consider that his regular instrument is bass.
a mediocre set, neither good nor bad, and seemed rather disinterested
and tired of playing. However they received a lot of applause from the
audience that consisted predominantly of Durban new wave fans, a bunch
that I found just as plastic as the "disco bagels" that they
run down. The difference between the disco and new wave fans in Durban
seems to be that the disco fans dance from side to side, whilst their
new wave counterparts move vertically.
The new wave contingent, quite predictably, went absolutely gaga for the Corporals. Admittedly they did play well, but I don't think our new wave friends know the difference between a bad and a good gig. This was "new wave", a rather nebulous categorisation anyway, so it had to be good. They even bayed like rabid dogs for 'Darkies', a song that a lot of them had never even heard and which had the whole damn club pogoing.
And the Corporals?
They just play the music and and don't sweat about the rest. And maybe
that's what this thing called rock 'n roll is about. Play the music and
don't sweat about the rest.