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The Parlotones

With the 2010 World Cup within touching distance, South African band The Parlotones will be performing at Fifa's Kick-Off Concert, and lead singer Khan Morbee told who will be rocking and rolling this summer.

By James Riach.   Last Updated: 16/06/10 4:09pm

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Khan Morbee of South African rock band The Parlotones

Khan Morbee of South African rock band The Parlotones

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With the 2010 World Cup within touching distance, South African band The Parlotones will be performing at Fifa's Kick-Off Concert, and lead singer Khan Morbee told who will be rocking and rolling this summer.

The pop-rock four-piece will line up alongside the likes of Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Shakira to a global audience of millions in the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

For front-man Khan it will be a proud moment as his group, founded 12 years ago, is the only African rock band to play at the show. Although, he admits to some nerves.

"It's possibly the biggest show we'll ever play, from a global televised audience point of view," he said.

"The figures that are bandied about are a billion people, so it's quite nerve-racking but we're obviously very excited."

Morbee, who many fans will recognise as the lead singer adorned with white face-paint, is eagerly anticipating the gig which he believes is a symbol for how far both his band and his country have come in recent years.

"I think when we first started the band many years ago in South Africa I don't think we could dream that we would be hosting the World Cup and that we would be representing our country on such a big platform," he added.

"There's obviously a lot of emotion attached to it as well. We're very proud. This will forever be with us and no-one will ever take it away."

The Parlotones draw on influences such as British bands The Smiths and Radiohead, and are compared to modern groups such as The Killers and Coldplay.

As well as hoping to catch a glimpse of Shakira in the flesh, the band will be looking to impress the crowd in Jo'burg and show the world what they can do.

Football fever

Morbee admits that he is a big football fan and says the whole nation is currently gripped with World Cup fever.

He remarked: "Even the people that aren't soccer fans, they've embraced it. If you were to drive around the streets now every second or third car has got flags hanging out of the windows.

"Every Friday the whole corporate environment becomes the national flag - they all wear the Bafana shirt to work instead of a suit and tie.

"If you go to a shopping mall the workers will all be wearing Bafana Bafana shirts. There are fans where there weren't fans in the past.

"The whole country is really excited about it - what's not to be excited about."

Following years of bad press and criticism of the decision to award South Africa the right to host the tournament, The Parlotones are confident that stereotypes of the nation can be reversed.

"I hope the perceptions about South Africa and Africa in general, and the ability to host these sorts of tournaments will change," Khan said.

"There is a lot of fear and some of it is warranted and some of it is exaggerated - hopefully some of those stereotypes will be eroded.

"We're all so used to seeing Africa fail and I don't think we will this time. We've exceeded Fifa's expectations and hopefully it will be a successful tournament.

"It won't be a European version of the World Cup. Surely you wouldn't want to fly all that way to get a 'Starbucks' version of the World Cup.

"The South African supporters are very colourful and vibrant in their support. In England people sing and chant, here it's a cacophony of noise.

"I'm going to the opening game, I can't wait. It's a once in a lifetime experience. You'll see me in the crowd with a painted face."


South Africa has long been calling out for a successful rock group and with their atmospheric pop structures and ambitious live shows, The Parlotones are receiving global recognition for their work.

The future looks bright as bands such as Razorlight and The Smashing Pumpkins have already supported them on home soil, but does Khan believe the national football team are destined for similar success?

"We're actually in a very tough pool. Mexico and Uruguay - they have both shown a lot of danger signs. And then France, they're a great side," he mused.

"They haven't had a great lead up to the World Cup but you can never write them off.

"We've had a couple of consecutive wins recently - one against Denmark and they aren't walkovers.

"The whole country doesn't hold much hope for South Africa when it comes to world football but I think they will do us proud and I think the whole nation would be satisfied if they progressed to the next round."

The Parlotones release their new single 'Push Me to the Floor' on 28th June and will be touring the UK in November.

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