“Dear friends, After 3 albums, countless tours and shows, amazing experiences and so many great memories, Wrestlerish are calling it a day. We have had the most amazing run and we would just like to thank every single person who came to a show, bought an album, sang along, offered us a lift or bed, took the time to hang out or tell us what our songs meant to them. We are so grateful that we had the chance to experience these things with all of you. To every band we shared a stage with, our amazing agent and friend Jessica, the wonderful Rachelle Crous, Duncan and Paul at Sony, our publisher Jay Savage, all the club owners, promoters and festivals that booked us, Anton and everyone at Music Connection and Dale our homie at Swede and Crowe, Thank You. We have one or two shows left and these will be our last ones. We’ll keep you posted on that. We’re going to miss you all. Thank you for everything! So much love, David, Werner, Gavin, Candice and Etienne. Wrestlerish.”
I have to admit that this announcement caught me by surprise. I’ve always been a passionate fan of SA Music but there was a time that I completely lost touch with my passion. I went to gigs and festivals and I enjoyed myself to the max, but at some stage it felt like there was just no real new talent coming through in the industry – discovering Wrestlerish (and a few other bands who were making waves in the industry in late 2009) changed my perception completely though. Hearing songs like “Bad News” and “Oliver Tambourine” re-established my faith in the SA Music industry and gave me hope for the musical future of our country and the urge to write more and more about it on this blog.
I still recall the first time that I watched Wrestlerish perform in 2010. They were the first act of the day at the first RAMFest in Johannesburg at Emmerentia dam. I remember telling my girlfriend at the time to move her butt so that we did not miss their set and luckily we did not (despite the fact that Jozi’s traffic did not play along). I was blown away by how tight the band was and the passion that they showed for their art. The fact that there may have been less than 100 people in front of the tiny stage did not bother me, somehow I just knew things were going to get bigger. I took a photo at that show by the way and it’s above this paragraph (and I can’t believe it’s 4 years ago already).
And I wasn’t wrong with my assessment… Later on in that year, Wrestlerish played on the main stage at Oppikoppi. Sexy. Crooked. Teeth and attracted more than 8,000 people (who all knew the words to “Oliver Tambourine” and “Bad News”). Over the next few years the band played at many of the festivals and gigs that I attended – a constant reminder that the SA Music industry was alive, well and growing. Hearing tracks off their 2nd album, just re-affirmed this belief for me and even though I did not like ALL of their songs, they definitely grew on me with every gig I attended and I started to learn the words of the songs.
Wrestlerish also turned into one of my favorite acts to photograph because their stage performance was humorous at times (Werner referring to Dave’s neck-growth as “Oliver Tambourine” at one stage at RAMFest Cape Town comes to mind), but still professional and always down to the point when it came to the music. They may not have had the “kick” that some of the rocks bands out there have, but they could still put on a damn good show.
Even though I realize that nothing good lasts forever and that life goes on, this is still a sad day for SA Music. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the band’s members the best with their future endeavors. I hope I can catch one of their last gigs before they finally split up. This is the video for their song, “Oliver Tambourine”.
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