This weekend, Le Club reopens, just for one night on Saturday at the Barnyard Theatre in Rivonia. One of the headliners of this celebration of a bygone era is Wonderboom. Early Le Club DJs, Adrian Skirrow and Richard Sinclair, will be on the decks and Barney Simon as well as Kerry-Anne Allerston will also appear.
IOL spoke to Wonderboom lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Cito, about the upcoming event and his band.
What are your fondest Le Club memories?
In the 90s, Le Club was an alternative music institution for me and my friends. Besides the great music we were fans of, the dance club culture and its memories were my fondest times.
There were many hangovers, though, and a couple of compromising situations with other club-goers in the Joburg CBD area. The scene was second to none. One of the few places in Jozi where punks, skinheads, goths, indie-kids, mods and metalheads would congregate and party.
What does it mean for you to be playing in honour of the legendary club on Saturday?
For me, it is a full circle and an honour. I used to dream of creating music like the songs we would dance to on the Le Club floor. It still is a dream, because when I write and record, I always envision what those songs would go down like on an alternative dancefloor. It’s also something quite different; to combine a live rock band performance with alternative dance clubbing.
You won the Best Live Act award at the Silk Road Indie Music Festival. What was that like?
To be quite honest, that experience was like nothing we’ve been through before. It was like some kind of wonderful movie. When we were initially approached to be involved, it was just us going to China, to perform to a Chinese audience.
Then it became a competition against 14 other countries. China just blew our minds, too. The infrastructure, population, industry, landscape, culture, language, everything, just really pleasantly surprised us.
The crowds were very polite and reserved, but equally expressive when something rock and roll happened on stage; like me swinging the mic around on its cable or Martin doing a kickass guitar solo. Like they really pay attention and are appreciative.
The other bands were mostly really good and, at times, looked like they were going to take it. But when we went up in the final performance, something that’s very Wonderboom just happened. We clicked into high gear, dug in our performance heels and those two songs that we played just oozed with confidence, edge and sexiness. I think it was that performance that won it for us - the swag.
What inspired Wonderboom’s latest album, Rising Sun?
Quite a few elements inspired the album. A big one for me is the honest snapshot of where we’re at as a band. Kind of like a new chapter or sequel in our 22 years of rocking. We wanted to create an album that we would listen to ourselves, from beginning to end, without skipping songs or cringing - an album as diverse as we are and that takes you on a journey - one that’s colourful, dynamic, hardcore and yet soothing.
You’ve been active in the music industry for over 20 years - what keeps you so committed?
I love the fact that music can never be conquered. I always feel like I’m striving and learning and unlearning and am sincerely intrigued by it. You cannot put a price tag or even “own” it because it is not ours to own.
It’s like being in a relationship with another being. It can be heart-breaking and frustrating, but also relieving, fulfilling and always evolving. No matter what my circumstances are, music will always play a dominant part in my life.
* The Le Club Reunion Party at the Barnyard Theatre in Rivonia, Saturday. Book: www.barnyardtheatre.co.za/rivonia.