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Tearing the roof down in the name of Rock: Kings Of Chaos in Cape Town

June 10, 2013


Ultimate set List entry number 3 – see Slash live.

On Saturday night I crossed an experience off my list – My Ultimate Set List – a bucket list of musicians I must see in my time on this planet. A whole bunch of them very kindly decided to band together and inundate the republic with Rock n Roll awesomeness. Kings of Chaos made Cape Town home for a few days and at the smaller venue of Grand West, the fans ranged from the young to the still young at heart but not far from heart attacks. There were ponytails, leather pants, glam wigs and tons of make-up, but enough about the men. The ladies looked ready to rock and fine as hell.

Nine rockers of such high quality, it’s almost unfathomable that they can align their enormously entitled musical egos into a common goal. Business-wise it makes sense, none of them are big enough to fill a Gaga-size event alone. But together they can get back on the road, the life blood for these rockers. They can sing their hits to screaming fans around the world and satiate their need to stay relevant, whilst not earning what they once did, but surely scrambling enough together to keep their wives back home stocked with valium and draped in fur coats.

These are professional musicians and people forget how hard they work in order to maintain their brand and make money. The brainchild of King Of Chaos deserves a mention, albeit this is the second try at getting this going, with Rock-N-Roll Allstars proving that too much alpha male-ing leads to cancelled concerts. This time around it seems to work because the nine stars on stage may have varying levels of actual fame – Slash generating frenzy-like screams – but they all pull together to create an evening that the Rock gods are proud of.

A few years ago I saw Coldplay live in Liverpool, with Kings of Leon on the bill for the same venue the following evening. If they were in town, why didn’t Caleb come from behind the curtain and do a duet with Chris Martin? Am I too ambitious in what I think performances should be? I want to hear something that I can’t listen to on a CD or download, something memorable. This was that experience.

Matt Sorum, Duff and Dave Kushner (Velvet Revolver) had their duties first up and for most of the night they held those spots with class. Glenn Hughes joined them on the stage and really surprised everyone with what some claim to be a 5 octave vocal range – no dispute to that, he must have retractable testes. The man was all attitude and hearing the oft titled greatest riff ever “Smoke on the Water” had me thinking that if this was the start, what else was to come? This song used to close entire festivals.

Next up was Ed Roland, greyer than I remembered but I have nothing but the fullest respect for that man, he can hold a crowd and showed the true camaraderie amongst the group. Directing this cocky yet true statement to Glenn, “He may be a better singer than I am, but I’m taller than him”. I man-crushed hard, the songs were immense, my Soul is now a part of his Collective.

Joe Elliot was on deck and poured some sugar on us in the name of love, it’s cheese rock, but nobody was lactose intolerant. Gilby Clarke was not an original member of Guns, but showed a onetime replacement can bring the thunder, and stamp his own name on Rock history, the fact that we share surnames, sunglasses taste and have similar looking guitars makes me incredibly biased.

Then came Slash, the crowd went into apoplectic delight. In pure Rock style, he came to SA and didn’t wear a Nelson Mandela t-shirt but instead had Richard Pryor emblazed on his chest, antithesis defined. Slash’s chosen singer Myles Kennedy came through last minute from the States to help out his friends after Sebastian Bach pulled out. Being a massive fan-boy from his Mayfield Four days, (download it, you’re welcome) I hoped he would sing a couple of their newly collaborated songs from Slash’s new album. They didn’t, but that was not what the night was about.

It was about well-known hits, Guns tracks with a new singer who fans have accepted not because his voice is so eerily akin to Axl’s, but his work ethic in rock is second to none. Slash is extremely professional, and won’t work with any singer that isn’t world class. Myles gives Guns fans hope that those songs can be performed on time and I hope inside his tinnitus buzzing head, at some point in every performance, he takes a look around that stage at the men jamming with him and has a little moment to himself – “fuck, this is epic”. He gets to sing those songs that defined his childhood, at full tilt and we the fans accept him for giving us what we want with style and commitment. Myles, please, make a solo CD with all you have learnt, that is all I ask of you. But thank you for singing “Paradise City” and “Nightrain” the way you did, I hope the backstage rewards were as awesome as you deserve.

The acoustic set halfway through was a fly on the wall backroom jam session of how Rock should be – no egos and bullshit but guys and guitars, picking melodies and backing each other’s creations like a brotherhood. The producer’s idea to do this is brilliant. It’s what the fans want to see. Kudos.

The event raised R150 000 for the Rape Crisis Centre, so congratulations for everyone involved for managing to do something so amazing for so many people through something so entrancing. For the Kings of Chaos to have such a catalogue to call upon is insane, there were about 50 songs they could have played to thunderous applause, so come back and give us the rest.

To the 9, don’t stop what you are doing. This format suits you all, you look like you are having the time of your life which suits us fans just fine. It’s been a pleasure having you in Cape Town, now go to Sun City and tear the roof down in the name of Rock.

Jay Clark

Jay Clark

Jay writes, resides in, and absorbs pop culture akin to it being a real job. A connoisseur of comics, good taste and The Goonies, JJ’s a musical zealot but don’t ask him to explain his penchant for obscure musical choices, because he will annoy you into getting it. He believes all movies should have a buddy cop dynamic to them, even sad dramatic ones.

His inherent love of sloppy gastronomy make childhood pictures “awkward” to look at, and his 6 year world tour of cultural discovery helped him realise there is no place like home, so he moved somewhere else. Cape Town has him now, much to his mother's despair. Remind him to call his Mother.

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