Something’s happening in Pmb
and no one seems to know…
Every second Tuesday there is this little event called “Music on a Tuesday” that happens in The Dive at the Hexagon Theatre at UKZN. But here’s the kicker: It is a rare occurrence for the audience to outnumber the artists.
Growing up I watched a lot of movies and shows that featured or revolved around cool little dive bars, live music venues, clubs, all kind of on the edge of society, breaking norms, providing space for people to let loose and have some fun. I used to wish we had places like that in PMB.
She’s a tiny powerhouse of sound. She is something utterly unique while still managing to remind me of Ella Fitzgerald, Lisa Gerard (especially her work in Dead Can Dance), Zolani Mahola of Freshly Ground and Hannah Reid of London Grammar. If you’ve ever heard Pertunia before, you’ll be well aware of how she’s probably spent a past life drawing in sailors with her songs to smash their ships on the rocks.
Music on a Tuesday is Pertunia’s baby and she’s been pulling in local artists to perform at The Dive for the past year. When it was still a fledgling, she asked me if I would come and watch and write a little something about it. I attended, I enjoyed, but – maybe through my own apathy or perhaps the overwhelming circumstances around my own life at the time – I didn’t write. I’ve felt pretty much like a tool every time I think about it.
The Hex asked if I could work Front of House for Music on a Tuesday on the 6th of Feb, and I, always in need of work, said yes! I sat at the counter outside The Dive and listened to a show that was even better than the show I had enjoyed almost a year before. It was something else. What makes me incredibly sad is that the assembled artists had one paying audience member. One. One cover payment of R30. Well, they gave that woman a show to remember. I made a note that I – especially as a musician myself – should be coming to watch these shows and should be promoting this event as much as is in my power to do.
In 2018, Music on a Tuesday is stretching its wings as a bi-monthly event, taking place twice a month possibly in the hopes that having it more often might garner more attention from the surrounding students. So off I went on the 20th of February, armed with my phone and my cash for the bar. I arrived just in time, grabbing a drink just as the show began. The premise of Music on a Tuesday is an (approximately) hour long show featuring up and coming artists in whatever capacity they perform in, from singing and rap to poetry. Pertunia and her accompanist, Jeffrey, always open and close the show, and each artist is limited to performing three items (unless ferociously hounded to perform another).
I’d originally written a whole long schpiel about the entire event but, quite frankly, these video highlights make words entirely unnecessary.
After watching a show like this, (featuring the biggest audience they’d had to date and still maybe only a third of the venue was full), I ask myself – where is everyone? Where are all the people who talk about supporting local? Where are all the people who proclaim to love live music? WHERE IS EVERYONE?
This is one of those events, those things that should grow in popularity to where there are people standing along the walls because it’s so packed inside. The place should be a fire hazard. The performers should never be in danger of outnumbering the audience with music like this. For as long as I can remember, Pietermaritzburg has been filled with people complaining that there’s nothing to do (I, admittedly, being one of them from time to time).
Well here you go. At R30 entry it’s cheaper than a movie, it’s live, the bar is reasonably priced and it’ll leave you feeling like you’re part of a super cool underground club scene.
See you next Tuesday.