By David Mann
I will always remember the first time I saw Desmond and the Tutus live. My friends had pulled me out of bed on a Wednesday night to hit the town and to go and see some live music. Upon arriving at Zula Bar in Long Street, Cape Town, I was immediately blown away by this band of odd characters with their matching facial hair and mesmerising stage presence. “Who the hell are these guys?” I asked my friend. “Desmond and the Tutus man, they’re crazy” he replied.
And crazy is exactly what they are. Formed in December 2005, the four piece indie rock ‘n roll band from Pretoria have made a considerable impact in both the local and international music scene. With their unique style and sound referred to by lead singer Shane Durrant as “Indie Dance Pop music”, the Tutus have made a name for themselves all over South Africa and have even toured in Japan, France, Sweden and the UK.
The band have been rather quite lately playing mostly small shows, but having just released their latest 11 track album Mnusic (which is very strangely advertised here
), they have reaffirmed their presence in the music scene. With songs such as ‘Tattoo’, ‘Zim Zala Bim’ and ‘Hit the Ground’ the album truly does the band justice by perfectly portraying their upbeat, zany energy and their infectious, toe-tapping rhythms.
One of the shows they played promoting Mnusic was at The Assembly
and it was a hell of a show. The venue was packed full of Tutus fans eager for a taste of the bands new songs. The way frontman Durrant shuffled and jerked around the stage, backed up with infectious tunes that kept the crowd dancing along to every song was something to see.
The band had not changed a bit since the first time I had seen them play and in that sense they are timeless, a truly talented group of musicians who have managed to transcend the ever trendy and sometimes cruel music scene of South Africa.
However in terms of personal growth and maturity, it is evident from listening to Mnusic that the band has grown. “The most serious song we’ve ever written is on this album” said guitarist Doug Bower, “It’s kind of like our odyssey, it’s called Hit the Ground.” Unlike the other tracks off their album, Hit the Ground is clearly heavier and a lot more stern which differs from their usual playful, funky sound, but is nonetheless a great song.
Overall the album doesn’t have one bad song on it and confirms Desmond and the Tutus as one of the greatest South African bands in the scene right now. They have great tracks that suit any occasion and they perform them perfectly live. With all the pseudo indie bands flooding the scene right now, we need some consistent talent that never disappoints. That band is Desmond and the Tutus.