Fitting five musicians onto the small outside stage is no small feat, but Joburg happy-clappers Shortstraw are more than obliging, even going so far as to aptly stick their drummer behind the "Never Hide" Ray-Ban frame that adorns the &Union stage on Tuesdays.
Shortstraw are a curious phenomenon. With their comedic odes to "Keanu Reeves" (a clear fan favourite) and more recently "John Cusack", their hysterical lyrics succeed where The Brothers Streep's fail, for the simple reason that they're better-polished.
Frontman Alistair Thomas and his naughty smirk are engaging without trying too hard, and the three-part vocal harmonies between he, Gad (synth) and Ol (drums) add an interesting dynamic to their tracks.
They also very clearly know how to write a catchy song. It's not every day you get the &Union locals singing, "Lower your standards and go fuck yourself".
Even after a bit of a rocky start, by the end of their set the trash-folkers have the characteristically tough venue regulars clapping, cheering and nodding their heads in all the right places.