Diane be Beer
What does one do on an Easter Sunday night in Tshwane?
The city is empty – ish. Of those left, most are doing the family thing and then an unexpected house concert is announced in Rietondale.
Journalist/editor Marguerite Robinson is hosting the affair and The Buckfever Underground (with SkreeAlleen for this leg of the trip), would turn up and around in Tshwane for the final leg of their most recent tour.
Timing was perfect and even if the weather promised to deliver a storm, it was one of those nights where the wind lights up for a brief moment and then disappears. The rest of the evening had signs of the winter chill but nothing too hectic and under a large avocado tree in a quiet suburb, a group of music/poetry enthusiasts turned up with their chairs, cushions, snacks and wine for an evening interlude of poetic musical bliss.
Vocalist/performer Toast Coetzer (with Stephen Timms on drums, Michael Currin on guitar and guest artist, Gerhard Barnard, on bass, previously from Brixton Moord en Roof) calls Buckfever a random spoken word band which captures it best, but without thinking too much about it, their performance was perfect for that particular night on that particular weekend.
While gathering around, fairy lights were being added for festive effect and someone was heard murmuring about sound checks which might be more effective. But none of this had any impact and the lights brought magic and lightness while the sound was perfection – under the night skies.
Art was the genie on the night, a random night with a random band but nothing about the spoken word or the underpinning experimental music was any of that. It was balm at the start of a chilly season, had everyone smiling, gasping and simply listening to the random yet thoughtful words held by music that seemed to attach to those thoughts and prevent them from flying off without just some space to linger a little longer.
It is about what takes our hearts and minds a’wandering, how these sentences strung together in simplicity but also words selected with care and cunning, allow us to view things anew, from a different stance or simply just to listen and allow them to wash over you.
Artists at work are always a sight to behold and on this particular night it started with SkreeAlleen (Willem Samuel), a guitarist/songwriter whose name captures his style with an offhand charm and embracing style which does its own special thing under a tree in a suburb somewhere on a Sunday night. His songs on the night were mostly around the theme of love – whether lost or found or simply explored.
But then to taking on a completely different rhythm, dominated and determined by both voice and music, The Buckfever Underground get rocking, gently, while Toast Coetzer speaks in words that sometimes sing, at others sting or stupefies and stuns – all of these.
If on a night you slip into a chair and listen to a solo performer and a random spoken word band, neither of which you know, it is especially meaningful to listen, the be given the glimpse of the minds of others, to catch something as offbeat as a protest smart phone song reminiscent of Johannes Kerkorrel’s Sit Dit Af which was more personal because he was referring to PW on the TV – or was it. Smart phones are as invasive, persistent and sustained as politicians selling their usually self-serving wares. The more things change, they say…
Fortunately everyone listening would have attached their own thoughts to the Coetzer lyrics – as poetry often does, it allows for that, almost like slipping down a rabbit’s warren.
Luckily that’s not all the night was about. It reminded one of how easily one can escape in the arts, how it takes you off and away and how hard artists have to work, just to make a buck – and hardly living.
But these talented performers all have many strings to their bow, and probably the musical one is also their escape. After all, The Buckfever Underground is celebrating 20 years and they would be doing this for love rather than money.
That’s what artists do. They put their wares out there for you to catch if you can. And like on Sunday night, we were the blessed ones.
Catch their final show in Darling on Freedom Day or check them on the internet if you don’t know them. They’re quite something.
Here’s to another 20!