Formed in South Africa’s winemaking town of Stellenbosch, the Nude Girls burst onto the indie music scene in the late-90’s championing an eclectic approach to rock music that instantly struck a chord with the diversity crowd around their hometown.
Signed early on to Sony, the band recorded some of South Africa’s best-loved singles. No other African rock group can claim to be the soundtrack to so many people’s lives. On the performance front, the Nude Girls reputation as SA’s dominant live act was driven home with stadium shows alongside Lenny Kravitz, Smashing Pumpkins, INXS, Portishead, Beastie Boys, Goo Goo Dolls and The Cult. Their popularity extended to the shores of Britain many times. The band have worked with the legendary Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley, known for his work with Silverchair, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Soul Asylum, The Black Crowes and The Darkness.
After a hiatus in 2001 to pursue solo efforts, the band reformed in 2006 due to popular demand, and with all five original members in tact – the Nude Girls were taking on the world-at-large. A new album released in 2007 along with numerous local and international tour dates kick-started their triumphant return. 2010 saw them return for two of South Africa’s premier rock festivals and they went on to perform as the opening act for U2 in Cape Town and Johannesburg during their South African tour in February 2011. In UK they performed a sold out show at Shepherds Bush Empire in London and an explosive show at The Isle of Wight Festival in the UK in June 2011. It’s rumoured the Shepherds Bush gig saw the highest turnover on the bar ever recorded!
Whilst the music that the Nude Girls create certainly gravitates towards the balls-to-the-wall ‘school of rock’, coming from such a culturally diverse country, it’s inevitable that the many micro-niches of South African musical taste have crept onto the bands palate since their inception. Lead vocalist Arno Carstens’s fizzing calamity of rapid pidgin-English and an array of surreal vocal effects (think of him as a Tom Morello of the microphone) make for an enthralling sight live, and exhilarating listening on record. Making unabashed use of vintage keyboard effects and liberally blasting out funked-up trumpet hooks (both courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Adriaan Brand) has imbued the band’s sound with some real, unmistakable character – which means whether they’re playing tongue-in-cheek reggae-dub or thrashing out an all-out rocker, it’s always unmistakeably the Nude Girls.
The backbone of any great band is a solid rhythm section, and drummer Francois Kruger and bassist Arno Blumer more than oblige. Their in-the-pocket grooves have kept the Nudies bringing down the house wherever they play since the band first confused punters by simply not being the expected procession of scantily clad strippers!
Serving as the Nudies’ sonic anchor is SA’s own guitar hero Theo Crous. His killer hooks and ‘like daggers’ sound have ensured that the band have continually enticed, yet defied the custodian gate-keepers of radio play-lists…
“This band kicks ass!” - Michael Hutchence, INXS, 29th May 1997
"The Nude Girls are of the same calibre as bands like Silverchair, the Stone Temple Pilots, or even a Pearl Jam" - Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley, Producer
“…this band do not bore, due mostly to Carstens’s multi-layered voice. Live they are louder still” - Rolling Stone
Catch them live in London next month!
The Springbok Nude Girls will be performing in London next month on 5th November 2016 at the Clapham Grand, thanks to hosts Rainbow Nation Events UK. South African expats are in for a full day of Springbok celebrations as the Nudies perform at 12h30, then the Springbok Barbarians rugby game will be shown on a big screen at the Grand - or even better … you can buy a ticket for the bus and go straight to the actual game at Wembley after the concert. They will also be showing a screening of the new film about the Nudies at 5pm. The film is a documentary directed by Michelle Pretorius charting the bands meteoric rise from its humble beginnings in the winelands of Stellenbosch containing lots of archive and fan material as well as interviews and the music of course. Watch the trailer here.
Tickets are from £30 from GJ’s Wandsworth. Tickets including the bus only to Wembley are £40 (excluding game ticket) - or £65 including the rugby ticket itself.