2011 Acoustic talent Search causes electric vibes @ Quay 4

The Bands4Africa 2011 acoustic talent search has been described by organisers, as a Four month journey of discovering new talent and seeing “old” talent being reinvented!  All this culminating in a fantastic contribution to local music and Cape Town entertainment. Starting in May, a record number of entrants battled it out in the solo and duo categories, every Monday and Tuesday night at Quay 4.

The finals were held at Quay 4 on the 27th of August. Walking into Quay 4 you could feel the tension mounting, serious electric vibes! With heavy weight sponsors like Quay 4, Wild&Marr, Paul Bothner Music and Jose Cuervo (Brandhouse) and Bands4Africa on board, the stage was set and in Francois du Plessis, from Bands4Africa’s words,” the Quay 4 cauldron was bubbling, filled to the brim with excitement and great expectation.”

At 5pm, the stage came alive Newton Theron ignited the air with a thunderous version of Walking by Myself and never looked back! The beautiful low timbre of his voice in “forever in Blue Jeans” would have made any parent proud.
Peter Wyness chose the second straw, and hit the stage with a myriad of Guitars, party tricks and Percussion instruments and he played them all (well), even if it was only for a brief spell.
His humorous stories and pleasant character kept us captivated the entire half an hour which ended far to quickly.
Enter Chris Swanepoel, better known as Crooner Chris to his friends and fans alike.
Totally out of his comfort zone, but a total example of what the passion for music is all about.
Not only did he blow us away with his powerful, yet subtle tones in his voice, but he enthralled us with a variety of songs and genres and definitely stood out as one of the top entertainers of the evening. For his efforts, Chris won the Most Improved performer during the competition award, winning him the Lexicon Desktop Recording Studio and a Shure SM 58 microphone.

Judges on the day, Adrian Larger of Zone Radio, Raymond Rix from Wild & Marr and Francois du Plessis from Bands4 Africa truly had some tough decisions to make.

Unfortunately, there could be only one winner and as it was, Peter Wyness who had set the bar a notch to high for the other contestants and claimed the spoils of a JBL PA system, a Shure SM 58 Microphone, a Cort Acoustic/Electric guitar and a 3 month performance contract from Quay 4. (see our gig guide on the inside back Cover)

After the solo performances’ it was the duo`s turn to rock the house and Clarify took to the stage, followed by ShenFM and A2Z.
From the onset of the competition Four Months ago, it was clear the Clarify had only one thing on their minds. They wanted to win this competition and they brought half of Langebaan along to support them in their quest. Would Louis’ electrifying rhythm and intense vocals, Armons’ lightning fast Latin licks and their passionate posse of cheering supporters be enough?

Tune in to the sounds of ShenFM and you will realize why this man is going places. Not only was he one of the most accomplished Guitarist’s and arranger’s in the competition but the minute he started singing the dancefloor was filled with beautiful, star struck young ladies, hoping to catch a glimpse of his handsome gaze as they sat spellbound to the sound of his smooth and sexy voice. Between Shen and Domenico Beningo, his passionate accordion and piano player they came up with some amazing renditions of popular songs, carefully arranged to showcase their independent musical abilities. Would this be enough to take the laurels this year?

A2Z came out firing on all cylinders, er,... bongos, and with a thumping kick from the bass drum wowed the crowd with a stunning version of Lean on me. Occasional instrument and vocal changes were impressive and Steve’s version of Sugar man left a certain arty person eating jinjer. Alex culminated their whole performance in a Bass Slapping solo which would have Mark King proud.

After much deliberation the judges came to their final decision and in the words of Highlander – there can be ONLY ONE (winner), Clarify made off with prizes of over R40k, including a JBL Eon 515XT PA System, two Cort Acoustic/ Electric Guitars, two Shure SM 58 Microphones and a three month performance contract at Quay 4.
What came next was always going to happen; the whole West coast crowd and support group exploded with delight, swamping Carl Gultig, the new Quay 4 General Manager alongside Francois on stage and showering their heroes with well wishes.  The boys from Clarify were so stoked with their win that all Armon could utter was a bewildered:”Ahwe b-bra! Ahwe” , when asked how he felt.

A fantastic end to a great competition and to end it all was the customary jam session with Alex on bass, Steve on percussion, Armon on Lead guitar and Francois driving the bus back home with the crowd singing” Sweet Home Alabama” at full tilt.

A big thank you to all our sponsors, our judges and the Bands4Africa behind-the-Scenes- team and most of all, you the loyal supporters. We’ll see you all again next year. Francois