For a little while now a group of Cape Town music lovers, tired of the constant assault of crap music and faux fun, have been rallying together once a month to respond to the dissatisfaction.
Shake Some Action, a rattling, gritty, retro circus housed by The Kimberley Hotel every four Saturday nights, is fast becoming the resolute answer to a call that’s gone ignored for too long.
Says Alexia Smit (one of the mad masterminds behind this terrifyingly awesome operation), “There are not many places in Cape Town where you can go out and just dance to good music, and we wanted to fix that.”
“It’s a dancing night that plays 1950s and 1960s music – what you might describe as retro music, but retro music that’s fun to dance to.
It’s just a night of DJs playing a really good mixture of rock ‘n’ roll, surf, 1960s soul, vintage reggae and rhythm and blues. But not Craig David rhythm and blues.”
The culprits on the decks include 2 residents and a guest DJ each month.
“Liam Revenge handles a lot of the soul and rhythm and blues stuff, and Rockin’ Rael F handles a lot of the rockabilly, psychobilly and garage-y stuff, and there are a couple of people that come back to us regularly, like Mandy Party Robinson. This month we’ve got KC Royale.”
Tomorrow night, the insanity returns with the usual suspects.
“Ok, Shakers, following the absolute fucking MAYHEM of last month we’re back again upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel on Saturday, June 2nd, to bring you good people more of the hottest, sweatiest, most foot-movingest, titty-shakin’, body-breakin’ rock’n’soul choons you’d wanna hear. From rare gems, to dancefloor classics, if it gets your body moving, we’ll spin it!”
In a city where preoccupations with implied cool regularly override the real thing, Shake Some Action is a sucker punch of unapologetic fun.
Says Alexia, “I mean, everybody, in their hearts, just likes a good song! I think there’s a group of people in Cape Town who’ve been desperate to get out of the house, and we’ve had people coming up to us and saying they didn’t have anywhere to just go out and dance.
“Personally, I can’t deal with having to sit through a really shit band all night. I always wait for the two minutes in between the bands when the DJs play (usually too softly, and usually crap). And we just felt, “Gosh, there’s really a need for somewhere where you can go out and have dance, but not to utter shit, but something that’s actually quite good.” ”
Victims, so far, are all sorts. “We were worried about it being this niche, rockabilly, “scene” type of thing, so we’ve been quite careful with trying to accommodate a diverse array of just good music.
We’ve had your hardcore punk kids to your Cape Town hipsters, to just random people off the street (we get a lot of that!).
Weirdly, we haven’t had the hipster deluge that I thought we would. There’s only one or two that make their way up the stairs, and they usually go straight back down cos it’s too much fun for them.
Actually, I think Cape Town’s just dying for something that’s just pure fun.”
Or better yet – turn up at The Kimberley Hotel tomorrow night and join the SSA circus. It’s a wild ride.
In the vacuum between dark and light, Siouxsie Sioux and Emmylou Harris, Amelie and Travis Bickle, Huntress Thompson is an idiot lost, and reporting from the field. If you’re after irrational, impassioned rants about cupcakes and Johnny Cash (and you probably aren’t), she’s grumpy, but she’s your girl.