If you’ve been searching for some raging rock that doesn’t spill over into testosterone-induced madness, your search stops here. Here actually means Cape Town, South Africa, where Taxi Violence have been blowing away club audiences for seven years. Known for their heart-attack inducing live act, these long-locked musicians create giant guitar anthems that Led Zeppelin could have shredded to, with just the hint of Soundgarden’s moody minor keys. Classic rock is alive and well in the southern tip of Africa — since these guys have started their thing, other acts like Dirty Skirts and Van Coke Kartel have joined in on the thrashing fun. But taking notes from other hard rock acts with tasty pop centers like the Foo Fighters, Taxi Violence continue to keep their retro rock raging, yet also hooky.
Since their growling hit “Untie Yourself” hit number four on the South African radio charts in 2009, T.V. have kept pushing their boundaries. This year’s Unplugged: Long Way From Home switches the boys to acoustic — and somehow they still manage to kill. It helps that Louis Nel’s still propels the songs on a complete drumkit, and that guitarist Rian Zietsman and bassist Jason Ling live to rock. But they also sneak in a few ballads that show off George van der Spuy’s soaring pipes. Tracks like “Waking Up” could woo sighing tween girls with cello and chamber piano arrangements, but dirty blues rock like “The Mess” prove they’re still preaching sex, drugs and rock and roll. “Far From Home” and “Heads or Tails” are on heavy local rotation, and with their muscular drums and catchy melodies, it’s easy to see why.
Photo by Deborah Rossouw