Andy - a breath of fresh air
People can say what they like, but the renaissance of Cape Town ’s alternative music scene would not have been possible without one bald headed, rug-sack bearing freak in particular: Andy Hawes of Parow. He’s 32; he lives with his parents; he has a game boy advanced; but make no mistake, he’s our very own William Wallace.
2005 has been a blessing to the local scene. We have had some inventive live shows, performed at some of Cape Town ’s most accommodating venues.and in contrast to the last couple of years -where things were beginning to stagnate - Andy’s involvement has brought with it a breath of fresh air. "Where ever I go or whatever I get involved with, I just want to bring something new, something fresh, and keep it interesting for everybody", says Andy.
Prior to 1997, Andy viewed the local scene in distaste: "I thought that the local scene sucked - I didn’t support it at all," states Andy harshly. At that time, he was working for Absa where he was climbing the corporate ladder, and landing a job at Cape Town ’s - 30 floor plus - head office. Then one day, "I got fed up with that whole fucking crap - the whole concept", and "burnt my suit, ties, and everything"; vowed never to work an office job again, and fucked off to England.
Seven years later, after working forklifts, seeing a number of top international acts, and accumulating a wealth of metal magazines, he shipped 95 boxes and himself back to Cape Town and bought shares into a Panarotti’s with his sister and brother in law.
It was Andy’s first time at Gandalfs that got him thinking seriously about making something happen. "Someone dragged me down to Gandalfs one night," says Andy. "I was kind of impressed. I got tra-shed. But I felt there is a lot lacking. There is so much that can be done. But, everybody just pitches up, gets drunk, stands around, and listens to the DJ [makes distressful groaning noise at this point], and plays pool or foosball. Gees isn’t there anything better."
It was with Pandemonium Productions where things started to happen - or rather, where Andy got the platform to make things happen. Andy joined the initiative following Pandemonium’s first event: a metal party, held at Stellenbosch’s Brullocks, which drew up to 150 people (Andy was working here at the time). Ben, who organised the first party, asked Andy to help him organise the sequel. "So I got involved with it, it was looking good, and then the owner was getting full of shit about it. And we had to stop it." This was not, however, the bitter end for Andy.
It was around December, last year, when Andy started to contemplate a big metal party...that which would eventually materialise into Pandemonium’s third event, Shock Therapy.
After about six savage ales and a tantalizing head bang, I remember staggering wearily down from Mordor, and finding myself face-to-face with a terrifying sight: a smiling, bald dude trying to recruit me for something that seemed suspiciously military. So, I happily gave the contact details of myself and my closest friends, and thought nothing more of it...at least not until I started receiving numerous SMS and Email reminders, not mention the pocketfuls of flyers that the bald guy kept handing me at our every encounter, over the passing weeks.
With the amount of publicity, and mystery for that matter, that Shock Therapy aroused, there was no doubt that it was going to be a genuine brain cracker. And by God, it was: a stunning metal sculpture, with three tyrant acts, carefully placed on the outer rim of a legendary insane asylum. What could be more refreshing?
The Venue, PJ’s blues bar, offered its audience a grass rectangle, with a stage at one end, and the bar at the other. There were playstation booths; music videos being aired on a TV inside the bar; pizza slices for sale; CD, magazine, and alcohol giveaways; free shots at the door; merchandise stalls; half of Mordor; and overlooking us all, a colossal stage where 4 DJ’s and three bands would treat us all to ream after ream of structured chaos.
The event drew 450 - 600 people (depending on how many snuck in through the back entrance), and was a huge success. I woke up with several bruises - on my back and upper thigh -, ringing ears, and a deathly hang over.the potency of the experience had left scars. And the Pandemonium team, with Andy at the helm, had pulled off, in my mind, the most invigorating live alternative event that Cape Town had ever seen.
Since then, Pandemonium has dissolved. But Andy is still very active in the local scene. On the two shows in Worcester , this year, Andy was the appointed bus prefect: looking after the people on the bus, making sure everyone got there beers and tequila, and that they didn’t smoke. Last month, Andy organised the "Blood Moon" event that was in celebration of the wedding of Kurt and Marie. Currently, he works for Subterania as an events organiser, promoter and DJ.