Words / Photographs – Joanne Olivier
There are some bands that literally come out of the womb holding tiny guitars and hair all placenta styled up like Indie Rockstars. The first time I saw Ben Dey on stage at The Good Luck Bar, I knew they were such a band. Here at Captain we like bands that get you away from the bar and to front stage, bands that grab you by the jugular. Let’s be honest, they are pretty far and few.
Now a full 4-piece band, Ben Dey and The Concrete Lions originally consisted of Lead singer Songwriter, Ben Dey and his sidekick Ongama (Ongs) – the crazy African man with the massive hat and the Juluka esque moves. They sound like a druggy mix of Afro Indie Rock. Their single ‘Easy Love’ is magic. It’s unlike any song I have heard from a South African band in a very long time. It reminds me of what it would’ve been like to see Richard Ashcroft playing one of his first ever gigs to a tiny crowd.
“I wrote ‘Easy Love’ as a comment on man’s relationship with the world. The song was recorded at Sunset Studios in January 2016 and released as the bands first single. It will be the title track of our debut EP which we are currently in studio recording, says Ben. Easy Love made it to No1 on the Top 10 at 10 on 5fm
On their path to World Domination, Ben and Ongama recently went to the UK to play some shows. The band who are pretty much forging their path in the music industry and sussing out the correct route to go, are making sure they make as few mistakes as they can.
Ben adds – “The UK was an excursion to gain perspective on how to attack foreign territory best. Ongama and I went alone as a duo set to test out the waters. We were there for 10 days and played two shows. One at the famous George Tavern (venue for recent UK number 1 hit music video” Rockabye” by Clean Bandit ft Sean Paul”) and over in Oxford at a club called the Bullingdon. Both shows provided great response – people really seemed to engage with our music. We hope venture back to English shores with a full band in the not too distant future.
On the way back Ben and Ongama were detained at Heathrow airport for hours on end, battling Visa Issues and Red Tape. “Boring stuff,” says Ben, “but at least we got a song out of it, I wrote this literally in a cell.
Here’s the first few lines.
“We were detained and rearranged
upon our arrival in Britain
We were detained to our names
Early morning before the train
In the wild vibration of a foreign lands sun
there came a push through the gates for us to run
In the wild vibration of a foreign kingdom
we have arrived
we have arrived
in London ”
MEET THE BAND
Ben Dey – (Singer Songwriter – Cape Town)
Studying BSC Earth Science at Stellenbosch University.
Passion for politics and the environment,
Enjoys – Horse riding, surfing, hiking and football.
THE BROTHERS –
Alex Birns (Drums/Percussion – Noordhoek, Cape Town.
Studying Fine Art at Rhodes University, majoring in painting and photography.
Dillon Birns, – bassist and Bassett Hound lover – Noordhoek, Cape
Studying History and Politics at the University of Cape Town.
Ongama Mona (Lead guitar/ Backing Vocals) – Big Hat, OverHead sense of Humour. Cape Town.
THE BEN DEY CONCRETE LIONS PLAYLIST
A selection of Favourite Tracks Inspired by the band
Creations Finest – Mothers Cake
Alt J, ‘Warm Foothills’
Moth Wings – Pond
Bombay Bicycle Club, ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’
Leonard Cohen – NeverMind
‘Someone Purer’ – Mystery Jets
U2 – One
Bob Marley – Natural Mystic
Breathing Underwater – Hiatus Kaiyote –
Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man –
Coldplay – VivaLaVida
Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play