Killer guitar riffs over lyrics that contain more heart than an Adele song. That is what lovers of rock music are going to be treated to at this week’s edition of the Saturday Social Club.
On the line up this weekend, at the Red Roman Shed at Emperors Palace, is The Narrow, WONDERboom, Newtown Knife Gang and S.D.O. For Emile de Jong, guitarist of the Pretoria based band The Narrow, the value of events such as these was that they showcased the best of what is brewing on the local rock scene.
“We’re such a small market. Rock can be thought of as similar to jazz. Our fans are very knowledgeable, they love their rock like people love jazz, so it’s not a mainstream thing. So it’s a great thing because it helps showcase what South African rock music really has to offer.
“It’s a mix, showcasing some of the established bands like Prime Circle who have been around, slogging it out. It shows that we don’t have to stand back for any international act. We have some of the greatest creatives in SA, and this is a platform to showcase that.
“It’s a brilliant venue. Some people believe to see a rock show, you have to go to some venue you wouldn’t usually go to, but this is a place where you can relax, have a bite to eat and then go watch a great rock show. If you’ve never seen a rock show, this is the night for you to go and check it out,” he enthused.
The Narrow have been around for 16 years, and is still riding the wave off their sixth studio album Dream of Perelandra.
“Every one of our albums has a story behind it telling specifically where we are as a band. Personal experiences, to depict the struggles the we have gone through. You don’t get to quit, specifically, was in 2010. Around the time, we had to make a decision: ‘are we gonna call it quits or just push on?’
“We had to make some tough calls, but we decided there’s still a lot of music that needs to be written as a group. That’s where that album came from.”
“So it’s (Dream of Perelandra) got a lot more energy, a push-on message behind it. This one runs through all of that. This one talks about new frontiers, learning about ourselves and the world.
The title Dream of Perelandra is from a book trilogy penned by CS Lewis. The book was called Perelandra and the character in the book goes on a space quest, a whole adventure. It was quite inspirational for us. We love sci-fi so it was quite cool. The album was very much inspired by that trilogy,” he explained.
His favourite songs on the album? Ones that reflects holding onto hope and dreams.
“My first favourite track is the instrumental, called Earth Rising. I think that song came out beautifully. But besides that, it’s the title track. We are are going to be launching that one next. We’re trying to see what we can do in terms of a music video, and following that one is Hope. I think it's because it's a rock ballad, with inspirational lyrics,” he said.
Looking back on their journey that started way back in 2002, de Jong said one of the most important lessons he’d learnt while chasing the music is to always remember to see the bright side of life. “I’ve learnt to be real, honest and to not take myself or life too seriously. I mean we all make mistakes, we all learn from them and I think that’s the thing.
“You need to be real with yourself. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Be yourself. Trust yourself to do the right thing,” he said.
As for the gig on Saturday, de Jong said their fans should expect to be taken on a musical journey through the history of The Narrow.
“It’s gonna be a big spread. We’re playing from the first album all the way up to Dream of Perelandra. Expect some golden oldies, some nice sing-along ones, expect some of the new stuff.”
* The Saturday Social Club takes place on Saturday, August 4 at Emperors Palace. Tickets cost R250 per person/per show and are available through Computicket.