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Show Review: San Bushmen, Somewhere in Botswana, Oct 9

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Day 7: Ghanzi

Sometimes you go to a concert, sometimes the concert comes to you.

Throughout my journey to Africa, I experienced many new and wondrous things. On this particular day, I found myself on the edge of the Kalahari desert in Botswana. The Kalahari desert is home of the San people, an indigenous group of people who have been living in this part of Africa long before it was colonized by Europeans. Ignoring all aspects of modernization that most of the world has experienced, the San people have chosen to keep it real, by eschewing modern technologies and relying on old tried and true methods of hunter-gathering. You can call them the originators of eating local, if you will.

On this particular day (and probably every other day), the San people came to our camp site to show us the ways of their culture and also, to perform traditional singing and dancing. It seemed somewhat exploitative for a group of mostly white people to sit around a circle and watch indigenous people perform, but if you don’t feel quite exploitative visiting Africa on vacation, then you probably are not getting the whole experience anyway (for better or for worse).

Since I review shows for a living (not really), it would be an injustice to not review the show I watched this particular night. Taking place immediately after dinner, the setup had a nice visual effect as two large fires were setup on the “stage”. As we were near a desert, the heat had left us quite early on and the warmth from the fire provided a nice element to the venue. The San people performing consisted of seven members, four elder female members and three younger male counter parts, kind of like S Club 7. The group wore traditional San Bushmen clothing, which amounted to not much (also, kind of like S Club 7). The three males wore additional items on their legs which they would use to generate percussive sounds during their dancing.

Sitting in a semi-circle by the fire, the four women provided much of the vocals throughout the set. The three males mostly provided the dancing and percussion via dancing and stomps, including some impressive stomps of bare feet into the fire for dramatic effects. With songs about Zebras, Orixes and other animals, it was refreshing to hear a group sing about topics other then love, lost and politics. I didn’t understand any of the lyrics, not having learned the local dialect but there was a translator on hand to explain each track before it was performed.

Despite the group’s enthusiasm throughout the set, I couldn’t help but feel most of the music sounded samey. The ladies gang vocal style was impressive at first, but it was a key component of every track and also, there was not much harmonizing and so it did sound mostly chaotic for much of the set. This might be because I don’t understand the language of it. The dancing, however was quite unique and the visual flare of the two fires combined with the stomping and the uniform made for a rather interesting experience.

All in all a unique show that most people don’t get to see, the group didn’t come out for an encore despite rapturous cheers from the crowd and promptly left in a pickup truck after.

Song Of The Day: Slim Twig – Fadeout Killer

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Slim Twig has been a fixture on the Toronto scene for a few years now, and to his credit, he’s always followed his muse wherever it takes him. In the case of his latest release, Thank You For Stickin’ With Twig it`s taken him to some interesting places, sonically speaking.

The entire album exudes a sort of woozy psychedelia with a strong melodic foundation running through it, like a narcotized, slightly bent version of classic rock songwriting. Also, I have to give it up to Slim for what I can only assume is the use of wood-based punnery in his album title (stick/twig). Check out “Fadeout Killer” off the album. It’s a good one.

Slim Twig plays The Horseshoe Tavern on Wednesday, October 21 with Crosss and Drainolith.

Contest: Win tickets to see The Darkness October 23 at The Phoenix

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Do you believe in a thing called love? If so, then you should get your hands off my woman … and onto a pair of tickets to see The Darkness in concert at The Phoenix on October 23. The band is touring in support of their latest release Last of Our Kind and courtesy of Live Nation, we have two pairs of tickets to give away to the show. To win, simply do one of the following:

1) Retweet this post and follow us on twitter (@panicmanual)
2) Email us at with the subject “I Believe in The Darkness”
3) Like us on Facebook and comment on this post.

Song of the Day/week/since last time: Lowell – Ride (featuring Icona Pop)

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It’s been a few years since Icona Pop entered our stratosphere with their dance floor hit I Love It and while Lowell has been around the Toronto / Canadian scene for awhile now, it appears she has finally gotten some attention outside that sphere. Together, they have collaborated on a splendid new song called Ride.

It’s infectious, it’s catchy and it’ll get you bumpin bumpin. Check it out.

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