Thursday, November 6, 2014


I've had the immense privilege of being invited to play a small part in Anton Marshall's wildly ambitious themed evenings of live entertainment. Now, before you picture me on all fours, in a pink latex 'My Little Pony' outfit surrounded by whip-wielding gimps, it's not those evenings I'm on about...
It's just the normal ones where normal (and not so normal) music lovers come out and enjoy a few sets of well chosen  - and beautifully performed - songs. Songs that are so well chosen that everyone is left standing there going "Fuck me! What an inspired choice! How did I not see that one coming? Awesome!" while they tap their feet and struggle unsuccessfully to keep the smirky grin off their face.

Last night was the first in a series of nights like this in which a "house band" performs "SONGS WE MADE FAMOUS" and are joined by an array of wonderful guest artists. Joining Anton are Stuart Scott on guitar, Damian Staz on drums and Dave Muller on bass. These evenings are themed by decade and the songs selected are precisely those that brought the original artists their fame.

I'll give you a clue how it works. You can't do a show featuring showstopping acts from the seventies and not include Iggy Pop. And if you're doing Iggy, you gotta do Lust For Life. Or it could be the other way around. Incidentally this was the song they chose to launch the evening's entertainment and they couldn't have chosen better. Throughout the night the performances were stellar - especially considering the virtually nonexistent rehearsal time allowed to polish up these classics.
Gareth Vorster provided the vocal impetus for Lust For Life and got the festivities off to the perfect start, before Mr Tony Shine smoothed his way onstage and crooned out a wonderful rendition of Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a delivery only eclipsed by his abrasive version of Bowie's Suffragette City, which closed the first set.
Sandwiched in between all this devilishly handsome swagger, an angel appeared and took my breath away. Tamsyn Leigh has something special. Anyone who can pull off Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde and (particularly) Stevie Nicks deserves to be followed around by fawning acolytes spreading rose petals in her path forever. Her gorgeous vocals on Blondie's Heart Of Glass, The Pretenders' Brass In Pocket and Fleetwood Mac's Dreams were indeed heavenly. And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, never mind the second set.
On saunters Riaan Smit. Off buggers everyone else, leaving him, his guitar, and a simple mouth organ to mesmerize us with Billy Joel's Piano Man. Fuck, this guy has a voice. It's like Jack Daniel's, Cuban cigars and weathered leather. But many of you probably already know that from his regular Bluestown Sessions...

On to the second stanza.

A poignant solo performance of Lou Reed's immortal Perfect Day by Stanley Zive got the rest of the evening going, and heralded a very difficult choice, but ultimate winner for performance of the evening, a raunchy rendition of Don't Fear The Reaper, the Blue Oyster Cult classic, replete with a Bruce Dickinson lookalike leaping about the stage abusing the shit out of a cowbell. True Art.

Another salvo of Riaan Smit's grainy bourbon-soaked vocals graced the haunting Hotel California (Eagles) and the rather more upbeat I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), followed by Black Sabbath's seminal stomper Paranoid, with Gareth rocking out on vocals once again.
Then came that guy. That unknown (at least to me) guy that always finds his way onto a bill and pisses you off. You feel like you should just fuck off and start listing your lifetime's worth of collected equipment, dreams, aspirations, blood, sweat and tears on Gumtree and be the fuck done with it all. Ebi Johnson, where the fuck have you been?
For most people, being asked to play and sing anything by Jimi Hendrix would probably leave them a little nauseated, but this guy...
This guy just fucking KILLED IT! Voodoo Chile the way Voodoo Chile DESERVES to be played... I have no more words. Just... fuck.

Most men shy from such a hard act to follow. Not Mr Marshall, no! In his most impressive Morton Harkett falsetto he belted out Led Zeppelin's Rock'n'Roll like he was in the shower without a worry in the world - testament to the man's awesome ability!

And finally, as if all this wasn't enough, we were treated to The Sex Pistols' anti-establishment anthem Anarchy In The UK with Tony Shine adding his own velvety vocal take on Rotten's rabid lyric.

And they managed to do all this without ever slipping into "wedding band" naffness territory.
To Anton - bravo! I hope the 80s and the 90s shows are as brilliant. Can't wait. (Still VERY bummed about the conflict of schedules...)

To all at Mercury, Lisel, Kevin, Lux and Syd, thanks once again for a great night,

NGDG: There may be a million ways to die in the west but there is only one way to prevent me watching it and that varmint Eskom be to blame. Shee-it.

Spread The Love. It Is, After All, The Age Of Aquarius...

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