LIVE REVIEW- The Tazers at Bohemian

Written by Dave Mann / Photography courtesy of Christelle Duvenage and Leigh Taylor Photography

Thanks to everyone for coming through tonight,” guitarist and vocalist Jethro Lock announces before the band launches into their set. “We’re the Tazers and we’ve got some EPs we’re giving out for free tonight for those of you who dance extra hard. Alright, let’s go.”
The three piece Johannesburg-born psychedelic rock outfit jump straight into “Disease” off their latest EP and the crowd, at its most sizeable that night, are all clambering for a spot up front where a small stage houses a drum kit, a few mic stands and gives just enough room to swing a guitar. I’m standing at the back, a bit surprised that bands still give out hard copies of EPs.
The show was Rock, Paper, Scissors and if I’m being honest, this was my first gig of this kind in a while, dedicating my live listening exclusively to electronic music for the past few years now. Having recently moved to Johannesburg, this was also my first time passing through the caged entrance of The Bohemian. It all appeared homely enough, though. The smoke-filled venue, the beer soaked floors and high reaching walls that don’t do all that much in the way of insulating sound. Even the underage kids with their plastic cups of beer and tentatively held Marlboro Reds were endearing. I had missed this atmosphere and to have a band like The Tazers be the ones to bring it all back was a wise choice if I do say so myself.
Jethro taser- Christelle Duvenage (1)
The Tazers are a unique addition to the South African music scene and a band that is passionate about what they do. Still a young act, they’ve already brought out two EPs, both mixed and mastered by the band themselves and have accrued a sizeable following across the country. In terms of the local psych-rock scene, they’re a flagship band, but without the lofty mystique that so many others in the genre try to achieve. Can any other band pull off a set as seamless and dissolutely refined as some of the country’s most seasoned acts and still end it all off with a devilish grin and a taser to the arse? Not to mention they also commit themselves to one hell of a production rate.
Well simply put; we’ve decided to release an EP every six months instead of an album once a year,” explains Lock. “We also want to push our limits and continually develop our sound. Being on the road constantly has made us all amped to get back into studio and we’ve already started writing and discussing new song ideas. Our main goal with an EP every six months is to stay as fresh as possible in a growing and ever-changing scene.”
And if travel does indeed give way to inspiration, then their first EP of 2016 should be the makings of some of the best pubs, clubs and windy roads the country has to offer. Over nearly a month’s worth of on and off travel, The Tazers recently took to stages in Cape Town, Grahamstown, Durban, Pretoria, and even MieliePop Festival. Highlights include bassist Guido Assman missing his flight and narrowly making it to the first gig of the tour, Grahamstown’s dusty floorboards threating to give way mid show, Jägermeister body shots at Cape Town’s Manila Bar, broken guitar strings and raucous crowds at Lush Festival, and of course, ending it all off to a home crowd at this very gig.
The Tazers2- Christelle Duvenage
All in all, the tour was a roller coaster ride of partying and driving with very little sleeping. I’m pretty surprised we made it out alive after some nights,” says Lock. “The Bohemian for our final show was also killer. The line-up was a spectacle and we seem to receive this divine energy every time we step on that stage. It was also really rad playing to our home crowd after two months of being on the road.”
And what a show it was. Compared to their EPs, absolutely everything at a Tazers gig is turned up. Louder, faster, and when Lock hits those high, whiny, blues notes, it’s a howling, howling, howling that sends the crowd into a scrambling, feverish mess. No song is the same, but each one is entered into with the same unbridled enthusiasm as the next. Even on songs like “Greed, Love and War” where there’s more room for that considered brand of dreamy psychedelia, drummer Tim Edwards pulls through with a build-up that crashes down in a maelstrom of relentless cymbals.
The Tazers- Christelle Duvenage
Perhaps the best part of a gig like this, with its curtain of cigarette smoke and its stale beer stained floors, is that The Tazers aren’t even really putting on a show for anyone. They’re just playing on as they always would, and they’re having a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

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