Ashes at Schivas Rock


Schivas, that skanky girl

You see that girl sitting there on her own?

The skanky looking one who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the “in crowd”. Sitting there. Chain-smoking and sipping at her can of beer while wearing a short skirt and snagged fishnet stockings. A fluorescent light shines down onto her messy hair to reveal a very bad dye job that she most likely did on her own. Her makeup is smeared and she bobs her head to music some people only call “geraas”. There are traces of a white substance around her one nostril and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s hiding some track marks under that old leather jacket.

It’s easy to dismiss her as just another hollow washed out girl who is a product of her surroundings. Who got her heart broken too many times and got mixed up with the wrong crowd. Who has an identity crisis. Who is afraid of what the future holds and still tries to hold on to the glory days when she still had that sparkle in her eye.

I am however not talking about an actual girl, even though I have met my fair share of these creatures.

I am talking about Schivas Rock located in Lynnwood.

I live in a dodgy part of Pretoria. Where around every corner you’ll find a liquor store followed by a pub. I practically grew up in some of these places with my parents going through a midlife crisis or whatever while I was still very young. They dragged me along where they would party and drink the night away with some of the dodgiest characters while I would sit and keep myself busy with my action figures and then fall asleep in the corner of the place under my Spiderman blanket.

Schivas Rock, even though located in Lynnwood will fit in perfectly here in my valley of Pretoria Gardens. But unlike the places found here, when I walk into Schivas to watch a gig, I walk in with a smile. Because as soon as I walk through that little entrance I am greeted by familiar faces. From friends I see often to friends I haven’t seen in months. From old friends to new friends. From the sweet blue haired Christelle who always takes the most amazing pictures to the one and only Roxanne who tries to look tough while working the door.


Ashes | Schivas Rock
© Christelle Duvenage

And that Thursday when Ashes from Belgium stopped by to play a show with some of our local hardcore bands, it was no exception. The thing about Schivas is that you go for the show. You don’t go for the sound. Because the sound is always shit. But you go to watch a band perform. Especially with the tiny stage, you are face to face with the bands and the crowd in itself becomes a performance piece. Everybody, band and audience, just feed off of each other. It’s art. It’s punk as fuck. No fancy lights or production.

All the bands had decent shows again. It was my first time seeing  NO FUCKS and everyone in the crowd enjoyed them. Loud, aggressive, intense. Then it was my buddies in Home At Last. Who started off strong and full of energy and got the crowd properly going, but unfortunately had their set cut short due to technical difficulties. Taking the mantra “always leave them wanting more” to a whole new level. I heard a few songs from South Africa’s hardcore heroes Conqueror from the bar but as always the sound was shitty so I couldn’t hear a thing. And then Ashes performed and by this stage I was drunk. All that I know is that after watching a song or two from them, I was actually impressed with the quality of our bands compared to these guys. It’s not often where every local support act on the bill can easily go toe to toe with an international band– or even come out on top.

But anyway, Schivas is that skanky girl.

With the bad hair and fishnet stockings and who has an identity crisis. But god, I have fallen for her.

Because even though it would fit in so perfectly here in my neighbourhood it doesn’t offer you fucknut artists with names like Dawie Steyn or Quintin Prinsloo who basically just cover Neil Diamond and shit even though they might have the occasional evening where these people might perform. They offer alternative and hardcore bands and music and are one of the few remaining places in Pretoria who cater for this.

It’s charming even though it’s a shit hole and the guys playing pool on the other side of the bar look like they’ll ambush you from behind when you take a piss but that’s just how Schivas is. It’s real. No façade. They don’t pretend to be something or somebody their not.  You’ll find all kinds there.

It’s my local pub away from home.


About Author

Knowledge hungry. Music lover. Drunkard. A product of everything I ever experienced and everyone I ever met. Foul language connoisseur. A series of small victories and large defeats. Sufferer of internetlessness. Born and bred in the lower middle class. A copy of a copy of a copy. Underpaid Payroll Clerk by day. The Fuss by night