Fetish, Mercury Live, 15 February 2013

Just a brief note to say “wow”. And to say that if you’re a fan of Fetish, or more generally a fan of smart rock music and talented performers of it, you should get yourself to one of the gigs on their current South African tour. Tonight it’s Stellenbosch, and then (from the 20th, successive nights in) Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.

My advancing years led to a departure at the first encore, but I left wishing I was 20 years younger – which would have pretty much been when I first went to a Fetish gig, perhaps even in the same venue (but no, that’s too convenient – those early gigs were in skanky Observatory dives). Some highlights:

1. The tracks they played off the new album, Little Heart, were made to be played live. The album – even though I claimed it should win SA music awards – doesn’t do justice to their raw power.
2. Ross Campbell (drums) was fantastic last night. Connected to point 1, the drive and energy of these tracks requires a steady hand on percussion, as well as a heavy one where necessary, and Ross gave us both in spades.
3. You have to hear their cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”. It was wonderful.

So yes, go if you can. And buy some albums on Bandcamp.


By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.