14 NOVEMBER 2012
The album launch was held at Tanz Cafe on the 6th of November 2012 and was very well marketed, with Facebook events and emails flying around well before the time. The entrance fee was a mere R30 and the night promised to be something extraordinary. I arrived somewhat early because I expected a considerable amount of people to attend and I knew that finding a spot to sit could be difficult. Walking into the almost empty room, the vibe was already tangible. The stage was set up with an LED screen, there were cameras and photographers all over the place and a merchandise table greeted you once you climbed to the top of the stairs. Andy and his team spared no expense, and it paid off.
When Andy came on, there was such an unassuming, humble presence about him. On stage, some of the best session musicians accompanied him (Neill Ettridge – Drums, Trevor Donjeany – Bass, Alistair Coakley – Guitar, Ashish Joshi – Tabla, Hlengiwe Pitso – Vocals, Tumie Mfecane – Vocals). Events like these separate flavour-of-the-week bands from true, seasoned musicians. Instrumentals like ‘Gitane’ displayed nothing but pure talent, not only from Andy but also from the rhythm section that accompanied him. As a whole, the musicians were tight and flawless. Andy’s technical team definitely deserve a mention too, because all the behind-the-scenes work definitely contributed to the success of the evening.
One of the songs on Anthems of a Stranger features a tabla. For the live performance of this song, Andy invited tabla player Ashish Joshi to join him on stage. I thought this was such a treat for the audience, as most people in the room, including myself, had never seen that instrument played live. It was an unforgettable experience.
During his set, I looked at the audience and every person had their eyes fixed on Andy. Even Mr. Johnny Clegg sat there with a smile on his face. They did seven songs in total; just enough to leave you wanting more, tempting you to rush to the merchandise table and grab an album. I see what you did there, Andy! Each song took you to a different place and Andy’s gig was highlighted by culture, charm and humility that comes only from experience. He had nothing to prove to anyone and his aim was to have a good time with the band and with the audience.
Overall, the venue was great, the band was phenomenal and Andy brought it all together with a well-received and outstanding performance. As far as I know the gig was recorded, so for those of you who missed it, you can go to Andy’s website and find all you need there.
After this, Andy Innes has set high expectations for future gigs and I look forward to seeing him play again, and again, and again!
– Larissa Ferreira