The Action Thrillers
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The Action Thrillers

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"The action thrillers - Crowd-pleasing sound"

Both the band name and album title (a take on the Xhosa name for Spider-Man) here suggest a healthy sense of humour on the part of this local four-piece, but they’re about far more than punchlines. There’s a pleasantly gobby in-your-faceness about everything, with singer Hendrik Marx comfortably in the look-at-me class of Ricky Wilson of The Kaiser Chiefs.

There’s so much confidence oozing out of these recordings that you could probably get a crowd pogoing by playing it at a venue, without the band actually being on stage.

And there are ideas aplenty – even in the limited material (four songs) on this demo.

The title track is a punch-the-air anthem, while The Devil You Know takes a little of that and combines it with Radiohead-ish links.

There’s also an atmo-spheric, radio-friendly ballad (think The Fray) called Perfect that will trigger a flood of lit cellphones across any venue the band play.

Closer Devil Woman (not the Cliff Richard tune) sounds like U2 playing the blues – a neat overall summing up of a wonderfully crowd-pleasing sound. – BD
- The Citizen online


Discography

Raboobie (1st single) Download from: http://www.crowrepublic.com/archives238/238/

India (2nd single)

The Action Thrillers EP

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

FADE IN:

EXT. A BEACH IN DURBAN - DAY
A YOUNG MAN SITS ON THE BEACH, LOOKING AT THE SEA, NEXT TO HIM A GUITAR AND AN AMPLIFIER. IN THE BACKGROUND, PEOPLE ARE FILING IN AND OUT OF A BUILDING PLASTERED WITH POSTERS READING "FAME ACADEMY".

A shattered dream at the time turned out to be a blessing. Had Hendrik been accepted on the show that was a bit like the lovechild of Big Brother and Idols, he most likely would not have developed the healthy “I’m gonna fucking show them” attitude that is in the process of producing a fantastic album.

The short and semi-sweet version of his musical past starts with some choir experiences as a kid, but soon he was told that “singing is for gays” and to rather try sports. Growing up in the Vaal, the choice of “manly” sports was clear, but even looking at him now, it would take some serious squinting and colourful fantasy to imagine Hendrik playing rugby. Other attempts at running around on fields and courts were equally unsuccessful, so it came as a nice break when he accidentally stumbled into a musical audition in high school and immediately got one of the lead roles.

DRAMATIC MUSIC SIGNALLING LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT

Unable to afford a guitar to follow the newly found passion, Hendrik spent a lot of time in music stores. When he eventually got his grandpa’s old acoustic, he played it untuned for months, practicing the chords. One month, feeling particularly generous, he spent 250 of his monthly food allowance of R300 on a tuner. No big deal, that’s what peanut butter is for, right?!
Now equipped with more than an air guitar, lots of talent contests followed - with much success. So when Hendrik bought the bus ticket to Durban for the Fame Academy try-outs, he had no doubt that he would get in. Although that didn’t quite go as planned, it did spark the conviction that he won’t go anywhere without own songs. He started writing. His life offers enough material. The difficult childhood and having to be on his own very early on, but determined to stay true to his dream… how perfect for the image of that sad artist type! Great for marketing! Unfortunately not useable, because that image wouldn’t hold up when you actually met him: always happy, constantly bursting into song, occasionally dancing around in a mankini and already making up parody versions of his own songs.

For two years, he lived in London to be “where the best come from”. A large chunk of the time was spent getting addicted to excited crowds at open mic nights. London brought new musical influences to the until then limited choice of Queen, Korn and Elvis. An own sound developed and when Hendrik got back to Pretoria in 2007, he was ready to turn the one-man project into something bigger.
South Africa welcomed him back with getting robbed and having a car accident. The open mic nights didn’t have the same vibe as in London and he even thought it might have been a mistake to come home, until…

ENTER CRAIG (GUITAR)
…one day he ran into Craig. Hendrik said “I can sing and write songs” and Craig said “I can play the air guitar”. See? Founding a band is easy!
As it turned out, Craig also played real guitars very well. He started playing at the age of ten and worked his way through several bands from his teenage years on. The first one – a cover band – even got to open for Steve Hofmeyer and with the following bands of diverse genres, he made a name for himself in Joburg while studying at Wits. Later, he studied Classical Guitar to further his passion. In 2007, he was in the process of looking for a new project. Something bold and original. His guitar skills combined with Hendrik’s song-writing made them a perfect match.

And just like that, the Action Thrillers were born. They started practicing and a few months later they played in front of 5000 people at the KFC Battle of the Bands. They quickly recruited Dave and John – a drummer and bassist – to be able to play the gig. The sound at the event was awful and combined with the relative inexperience, it was quite the nightmare. Still, the songs and performance were great. They made it to second place, Hendrik won the prize for best vocalist and Craig for best guitarist. Not bad for such a hasty start.
The Action Thrillers then continued to play gigs throughout 2008 and 2009, but by 2010 it was clear that there was a general confusion about where the band was going and what sound they wanted to have. Different influences were almost clashing and a better vision had to be found. Dave and John left the band and Hendrik took a year to write songs.
The results were well worth the wait and in 2011 the story continued!

ENTER CHRIS (BASS)

Hendrik met Chris at a music store and after exchanging the usual pleasantries of musical influences and preferences, they joined forces for open mic nights.
Chris’ attitude to music is that there is no limit to it and that people shouldn’t restrict themselves with genres. You kind of have to have