It sure does. Old school like the 60’s – only cooler, if that’s possible. Woodstock’s my old ‘hood (pre 1x catastrophic move to The Bay) and even though my bike got stolen and my car broken into, there was something magical swirling amidst the dust and decaying buildings. I’ve long said it’s the suburb to buy in – property prices are still relatively low (compared to the rest of Cape Town) and I believe there’s a major renaissance happening here – kinda like the mountain version of Melville. Just look at what’s happening on Albert Road and you’ll see what I mean.
However, this is not a post about property or the state of the economy. It’s about music. And the profound gig I had the pleasure of attending on Saturday. Wild Land maestro, Nate Maingard has been instrumental in supporting local music (and their musicians) and has strongly supported friend and fellow muso, Miles Sievwright latest project, the Woodstock Acoustic Sessions. It’s the gig to catch. The intimate, open air courtyard of West Street Cafe offers a perfectly hip, hot and artistically edgy but old-school venue to host a band of down-to-earth but über cool indie folk erhm… folk.
< aside: >
seriously, I’m in love with the Foundry (longer post to follow). if you haven’t been yet, get thee hence. immediately. you can thank me later.
But back to the music: Nate rocked a beer crate stage with lyrical Tim Hutchinson, ethereal Miles Sievwright and powerhouse Joshua Grierson. All four performers are rapidly rising stars in their own right (individual posts to follow) but to see them together, well, it’s sheer magic. Which is why you should scour the web and make sure you catch all future Woodstock Acoustic Sessions.
Tim opened to a bright, azure sky. His gentle molten chocolate voice lends an earthy counterbalance to the mystical quality of his songs. Influenced by Bob Dylan and inspired by Vusi Mahlasela this man means his music. His songs are moving, insistently questioning and oh!so! lovely to listen to. There’s a wonderfully playful synergy between him and Nate when they share the stage. And wait til he whips out his sax: it’s mesmerising.
Nate steps on stage with sunlight steaming behind him. I’ve had the privilege of knowing this practically minded idealist for almost a year and am still in awe of how his already brilliant music just keeps getting better. His haunting voice now has added complexity, greater depth and richness reminiscent of an exquisite merlot. This man’s all heart: a storyteller and giftedly romantic bare-foot young man. Both his music and manner reflect this. Make sure you see him this year at Splashy.
Twilight floods the sky during Mile’s set creating a fitting backdrop for this beseechingly beautiful man. A philosophical singer/songwriter with a degree in maths and economics, his ephemeral voice is otherworldly and makes you wish you could drown any noise in silence to better catch each lifting lilt. Spellbinding: like Legolas covering Sigur Rós – with harps. Tender, heartfelt music invokes an abiding sense of peace: I can imagine him performing at dawn in a Norwegian forest. In spring.
The sky’s turning technicolour tricks by the time Josh takes the stage. Wild swirling energy, intense as a cyclone snaps suddenly into focus as he begins to sing: it’s a little like watching the Tasmanian Devil transform into a veritable angel. His songs are wrenching, visceral with a beguilingly broken Tom Waits-y sadness. His voice is refined but raw, he exudes power. Think Johnny Cash meets The Lizard King – at their zenith. Sheer genius – he’ll blow you away. Watch this space: I predict Josh’ll move millions.
If you weren’t there on Saturday, you missed something special. Make sure to visit the Foundry – and whatever you do, make sure you get to the next gig.