I head home from the Mother City. The flight lands at King Shaka in Durban, and I must fetch the hired car, get back to home base in Pietermaritzburg and will walk straight into rehearsals for the new theatre show that Tammy and I are involved in.
My week away from home forces her to leave the stage and embrace me – all four limbs – as I walk into the theatre. The rest of the cast laugh. Some of them were there in that same theatre when Tam and I met all those years ago. And then follows more of the gig guide…
Fri 13 July
Four days of intense rehearsals later, we’re into a brand new theatre show with our company Just Theatre. This one is called That’s More Folk – a follow-on from the runaway hit of the previous show called That’s All Folk.
The premise is genius: six voices, two acoustic guitars, minimalist stage design… and a selection of songs from the 60s and 70s showcasing the folk era of anti-establishment, revolutionary songwriting. The first night is just over 50% full. And then word gets out.
Sat 14 July
That’s More Folk show number 2 has picked up in bookings and word is out on the street after the previous night’s soiree. The Hexagon Theatre Dive venue is buzzing with tables and nostalgia as we journey the audience through the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Janice Joplin, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as we pay homage to the folk era. The weekend ends in rapturous applause.
Thurs 19 July
After a week of looking after kids and getting back into the swing of school and various other work, it’s clear that word has got out. That’s More Folk at the Dive in the Hexagon Theatre is now sold out, and a waiting list has started. The show goes splendidly, despite our fears of cobweb accumulation over the five day period between show runs.
Fri 20 July
That’s More Folk has now exceeded the venues seating capacity and as I walk on stage the crowd is leaning into my kneecaps. It seems like everyone is breathing in and out alternatively just to fit in the venue.
Sat 21 July
The morning starts with an early exit to Hilton where I am performing in my solo capacity at the high school that is Grace College, at their annual Founders Day. The gig is from 9am until 12pm, and I am jamming background tunes on an outdoor field area to suit the multi-generational mob. I have a steady stream of familiar and unfamiliar faces (young and old, all colours and cultures) walking by and stopping to chat. The music connects us all.
The evening sees us in a completely packed-out final performance of That’s More Folk. Somehow it feels as though this SHOULD be the climax of a busy four weeks… but it’s not.
Sun 22 July
Coffeeberry Cafe has invited me to debut at the award winning restaurant, the weekend following the incomparable Chris Jenson. This particular gig is non-stop from 4pm until 8pm. That’s right. Four straight hours of uninterrupted music, and I’m solo. The crowd is full of show mates, old friends, new friends, fan club, and a bunch of people I’ve never met who have showed up to pay homage to the tunes I offer from the PA system. It’s a very successful evening, and I count myself blessed to be in the mix of the local music scene.
Sat 28 July
A week later, and I’m at Atasca Restaurant at Cascades Shopping Centre. The buzz seems to be following. As I finish setting up, my phone rings.
A mate of mine from church has linked me to a local venue. Turns out there’s a local wine estate in the KZN midlands which has been abandoned by their scheduled muso, and they’re looking for a last-minute replacement. “Yeah sure,” I reply. Two gigs in two days is nothing to sneeze at after I thought it would all slow down after the previous weekend… little do I know. What follows is a number of Sunday afternoons of performing in the picturesque midlands. And it’s only just begun…