I was born into the SA Music Scene - whether I liked it or not. In fact it was this entertainment scene that has bought me clothes, fed me, sent me and my sister to one of the most expensive private schools, and to varsity. My dad (as many will know) is part of the comedy/music duo Abbott & Crabb who are local comedy legends (speak to your folks) and still gigging t this day.
As I became a tweenster I started exploring the other parts of our music industry besides the pubs and barnyards. One weekend I ended up at this stretched out, packed out pub. 2 stages, 2 dance 'floors' (well a beach and a barn) and an ominous looking playground. The place was also an all ages family venue. My lil' sis and I went crazy for this tight cover band by the name of White Rabbit... yes my readers,... we'd stumbled into the loving arms of Tempo's, Entertainment Park. ;)
And that is where the local metal & rock n roll scene took off and flew. Anyone (and I mean anyone) could organise a gig there. A mere R500 for bouncer hire - you were good to go, charging whatever entrance you saw was fit, and allowing any bands you thought were worthy of a stage to play (or gonna bring the crowds).
I also had a band at the time. A rock n roll indie outfit called Alarmhouse (R.I.P. Good times we had) and despite Tempo's shithole-ness (adjective yes) it was our favourite venue to play.
Cause lets be real, there was ALWAYS a crowd (even if you ended up with a unlucky 4pm/4am slot), there was ALWAYS a party, and even though your sound guy (more than not) didn't know what a mixing desk actually was, the response from the drunkern, underage,drugged up crowd was mind-blowing!
And so it became tradition. Every Saturday( sometimes Friday as well) the Tempo's crew would pitch up - pay their R40 entrance to some cock who thought they owned the industry (no names mentioned - you know who you are! ) and spend the evening either moshing to noisy unkempt metalcore bands, having sex in bathrooms (scary since half the girls there were 15), getting high, getting drunk or bitching about how boring and crap the bands you paid R40 to see were. But that didn't stop us pitching up the next week.
It was something, and it was something unique to this city.
Immediately, a group of mostly unoriginal (but unique to our country) group of metalcore bands sprung up... namely show-stoppers The Dead Will Tell & Facing the Gallows. They joined the already established metal bands Chromium, Agro & Sacrifist etc etc on the Tempos stage's... not soon after this every person thought they could start a metal band - and so they did (most of them only surviving long enough to play a single gig). Assault on the ears, but who cared - it was fun!
It wasn't only deathcore crap. Many wonderful local music gems got their chance to grace Tempo's stages and those where the bands I went to see. (I never liked metalschmetal you see) They were fantastic. Tempo's was a launching pad to many of these bands. (*cough* The NARROW *cough* )
Unfortunately the gigs were too many, the sound was too bad, the booze too much, and the kids were too young (not too mention the original crowd grew too old). The raids started, the crowds dwindled, the big bands disbanded, the owners immigrated and sold the place to Authentic Ideas who struggled to handle it. The hell-hole was sold to a catholic school (the irony! ;) Kids would be corrupted by the ground they walked on) , and then finally to a group of people who opened up the beach, put on some pub bands and called it Hickory's (no jokes).
My dad is now playing regular gigs at Hickory's. They've done up the beach all nicely - lots and lots of time, money & paint. It was a very bizarre experience sitting and watching him play. After a while, my sister and I, as well as a few old Tempos goer friends who'd also come to watch the old-farts play decided to go exploring the rest of our beloved home.
Wow. It was a creepy nostalgic moment. Next time I go there I'll take a camera. The playground (what I always called the teenage wasteland) is completely overgrown. You can barely even get to those swings I used to have such 'awesome' conversations on.
All the tempos signs have been taken down and piled by those bathrooms where you used to find lines of coke on the toilet seat.
The big main stage area looked a bit likea construction site - some one has used power tools to cut up planks of wood and the entire bar has been removed. The only thing that really remained was that sign that said "Dream" in bright tropical colours... it did feel like a bit of a dream. Even then Tempo's felt like a weird surreal dream - and I don't even drink or abuse.
We all got on stage. Vivid flashbacks. I remember playing up there. We auditioned for Woodstock up there and got in. We played with Japan & I & The Privates.
I got down and looked towards the stage. I remember my first heavy metal appreciation moment when I watched Agro play for the first time. Cliffy (Agro's frontman) was wearing 3 shirts - anti drug & anti-abuse. I screamed "HEAVY METAAAL" with him. (Grimfest - that was an amazing gig - anyone else remember it!?).
I remember watching Greenisforturbo - my favourite indie band of the time (I'm a lonely dinasaur!) and the most awesome post-hardcore band:
We walked past the food area - Prego Rolls! YUM! Even the Sushi was great.
By far the saddest thing was the Beer stage - my favourite stage. Where you could get right up and personal with the band (or crowd if you were playing). Countless awesome gigs. The first tempos gig I saw was there. Joday was the head act. She was fantastic. Suicide Kings played, along with Cellardoor Diaries. So much fun!
Today, the place smells of death. Literally. I nearly stood on a long dead rat when I stood on stage. Everything has died.
I laughed when I stood at the entrance - the tempos stamps are still on the wall of the entrance booth. It's name lives on in history ;) My teenage wasteland, the charming sh**hole of childhood memories. From Season's to Grimfest to the lost indie gigs
Next blog is titled: METAL IS DEAD. Its about the demise of the metal scene. Tune in ;)