Thursday, 29 September 2011

aKING- Dutch Courage

With the obvious exception of Ice Hockey, I am by no means a hardcore sports fan. Football has never done anything for me and Rugby is only fun to watch occasionally. But when any international sporting event like a world cup comes around I'm filled with this immense feeling of patriotism and I even occasionally watch a game! So in celebration of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and my very rare patriotism I recommend to you all on this Plug in Your Head Thursday, South African Melodic Rock outfit, aKING with Dutch Courage.

In 2009 at the Jo'burg Day music festival I was at the front of the crowd embarrassing myself to SA bands like Prime Circle, Just Jinjer, Freshly Ground and Zebra and Giraffe. I squeeze through the hordes of drunk Afrikaners in their deck chairs and braais to ensure my place in front for Zebra and Giraffe a band I have never heard of walks on stage shaggy looking with road worn instruments and jeans. (as opposed to the sequins worn by the shitty pop acts of the day.) The drummer has a joint in between his teeth and their look definitely tainted the family friendly vibe of the day.

But when they started playing no-one in the crowd cared about what they were wearing because they played the kinda music that makes me proud to say I'm South African! 

aKING is made up of Fokofpolisiekar member, Jaco 'Snakehead' Venter, Laudo Liebenberg and Hennie van Halen with their latest member Andrew Davenport who joined in 2010 after the departure of Hunter Kennedy.
I wouldn't say that aKING bring anything new to the music industry but what they do, they do well! I can't really compare this band to anyone, they kinda have a little bit of influence from everything in the rock music industry.

The album starts out strong with Decomposing Lullaby. A delayed, palm muted guitar and Laudo's... Grizzly voice. (I can't think of another way to describe it but that's how I've always thought of his voice.) The bass in this song is very prominent, but not very noticeable. For example, in the pre-chorus there is a little bass lick that I never really noticed until now. It isn't quiet either, it's just kinda uninteresting. I love how in the second pre-chorus, however, the Snare drum is struck on "Gunshot." Very cheesy, but very cool. I also like the Galloping guitar in the chorus. It sounds different to most galloping pieces because it's done with very low distortion.

I love the drumming in this album. It shows indefinitely that simple can be better! Snakehead isn't an amazing drummer, but he is very tight and knows how to play with his band. I always say that a good drummer knows when not to play and can make the quieter parts brilliant with a simple tapping on the rim of the drum. A perfect example of this is in Track 2, Holy Train.
His Clickety-Clack Train sounding drumming in the intro is also quite effective without sounding cheesy, (Due to the Song being called Holy Train.) He can also bring it right down and build it up again instantly and seamlessly!

My favourite thing about this band is the lyrics. I don't wanna say they're arty for the sake of being arty, because I know that lyrics can often make no sense to anyone other than the lyricist. But in this case the lyrics can really make no sense! However they are beautiful. Beautiful lyrics and an absolutely beautiful voice. aKING will also double track the voice at parts to give it more thickness and depth but not like John Lennon who will do an entire song with a double track. The backing vocals also create a great atmosphere in many songs. Laudo's brilliant vocals and lyrics are beautifully showcased in songs like Lonely Hands and Thirsty for Love.

My Favourite song on this album is Track 9, Safe as Houses. It its a duet with Laudo and Inge Beckmann. This is such a beautiful song. Beautiful Lyrics, Beautiful Voices and an AMAZING feeling this song leaves me with. It really captures you and almost hypnotises you. This is the only song I have ever seen my best friend sing along to (Other than Eluvietie.) The lyrics in this song paint a beautiful picture in my mind and I love the simple instrumentals. The guitar piece is really... Pretty! There I said it! Now I gotta get my masculinity back by means of driving fast cars and talking about girls! But I got a busy day tomorrow so forget that.

This is really a brilliant album and as far as SA bands go, aKING are possibly the best. Go check them out and support South African music! 
After I saw them at Jo'burg Day I went directly to the Look 'n Listen tent and bought both their albums! And then Laudo came out and had a conversation with me! He signed my CD along with the rest of the band and was really cool. Until my Step Dad shouted out, 
"I LOVE YOU ARNO CASTENS!" to which Laudo flipped him off and walked away. So unless you mistake Laudo for another South African Rock musician, you should have no problems with aKING!

Here's a Link to aKING- Dutch Courage on Go check it out and tell me what you think! You can leave a comment, tweet me @Xtianzzyzx or email me at You can also recommend me an album or ask me to review something!

Finally, please can you guys all go to Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz were kidnapped by Somalian Pirates in October last year and a ransom of US $4 million (ZA R28-million) has been demanded by their captors. I know that their families would love to see them safe again but they are unable to pay this sum. So please go to and make a donation! Ontop of that, for every new follower Plug in Your Head gets between now and their safe return I will contribute R10. If everyone works together we can bring them home.

I'll be back next week with another Recommendation, so until then, Turn Up the Volume and Plug in Your Head!

Go Bokke

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