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Durban music picks: January 6 2012

Alex Sudheim

Gary Thomas has been described as "an überdextrous wunderkind", "a rare breed of genius", and a "a psychedelic one-man anti-folk jamming machine".

He has been variously described as “an überdextrous wunderkind”, “a rare breed of genius”, “a psychedelic one-man anti-folk jamming machine” and “the brooding anti-folk protégé”.

He is renowned for creating towering walls of sound and seething musical maelstroms armed with nothing but a guitar, his voice, a stomp box and a bewildering array of effects pedals. He is Gary Thomas, the Durban-born Capetonian who is as famous for his relentless ­touring schedule as he is acclaimed for rupturing the mould of the ­conventional singer-songwriter. The quixotic ­troubadour has spent his many months on the road honing his delivery to a hard edge that results in ballads infused with weathered grit and epic soundscapes of majesty.

St Clements Restaurant, 191 Musgrave Road. Friday January 6 at 8pm. Tickets are R50 and albums are on sale for R120. Tel: 031 202 2511.

? An excellent recital featuring two of KwaZulu-Natal’s most exciting young classical musicians takes place this week. Performing an inspired selection of music by Piazzolla and Liszt are concert pianist Christopher Duigan and saxophonist ­Maxine Matthews. Duigan is renowned for invigorating public appreciation for classical music through his innovative Music Revival initiative and was recently named a Steinway Pianist, one of the highest international accolades in the field of classical piano virtuosity.

Matthews studied saxophone under the tutelage of Werner Dannewitz and Theo Venter at the Durban Music School and recently returned to the city following three years of study in Athens, Greece and Besancon, France, where she was awarded her diplôme de perfectionnement with distinction. In September she will take up a position at the ­illustrious Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Paul McCartney’s school that specialises in music, dance and drama.

Durban Jewish Centre, 44 Old Fort Road. Tuesday January 10 at 7.45pm. Tickets are R70.

? David Marks’s maverick Durban underground music initiative, 3rd Ear Music, this week proudly presents the renowned Dutch blues musician, researcher and radio DJ Joep Pelt, who will be brandishing his chops at 3rd Ear’s legendary lair on the South Coast this weekend. A blues man of peripatetic proportions, Pelt was raised on the muddy banks of both the Mississippi and the Niger by the likes of RL Burnside and Ali Farka Touré as he divided his time between the back roads of the United States and Africa. A synthesis of the various music styles he has absorbed over the years and the stories he has collected while on the road provides a firm basis for his songs.

Pelt has performed at several SXSW [South by Southwest] festivals, on the chitlin’ circuit of Mississippi, at Clarksdale’s Sunflower Blues and Gospel Festival and the Festival sur le Niger, as well as countless other venues in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Ethiopia and Mali. He has toured and recorded with international artists such as the Malian Bambara Blues guitarist Lobi Traoré, South African Hammond guru Black Moses Ngwenya and many more.

The Rock, Umzumbe. Sunday January 8 from 2pm. Tel: 083 359 5610. Website: 3rdearmusic.com.

? “You can see by the way I walk the walk I’m a ladies’ man, no need to talk” are the immortal opening lines of Staying Alive, one of the biggest hits of Seventies’ disco-pop sensation the Bee Gees. Despite—or perhaps because of—singer Barry Gibb’s castrato-high voice, the band differentiated themselves from the pack to create a unique brand of ­sinewy, svelte androgyny that came to define the spirit of the disco era.

In ­homage to the Brothers Gibb, the ­Australian Bee Gees Show is touring the world with the slick, sexy Night Fever: A Tribute to the Bee Gees, a hyper-modern multimedia feast in which the three talented singers and musicians from Down Under belt out all the classics. They are accompanied by state-of-the-art sound, superb hi-tech lighting and giant on-stage screens playing footage of famous Bee Gees concerts and musical highlights of their career. The Australian Bee Gees Show tribute has been successfully performed before more than a million people in sold-out shows across the globe since 1996.

Suncoast Casino, January 6 to 15. Tickets are R195 from Computicket. Tel: 031 328 3161.

? Send the Fire is the name of a suitably sizzling new show soon to tread the boards at one of Durban’s top supper-theatre venues. Impressario Martin Sigamoney has drawn on Durban’s finest to put together a 10-piece live band featuring a smoking-hot brass section. The band comprises musicians from across the spectrum of generations, from veteran trombonist Mario Monteregge to young vocalist Marion Loudon. Also in the line-up are Sigamoney (vocals, saxophone), Mark Royeppen (keyboards), Mageshen Pillay (guitar), Jason Naidoo (trombone), Gabriel Joseph and Khulekani Bhengu (trumpet), Bruce Baker (drums) and Jill Murray Brown (bass). The band performs hits from the early days of swing to the most contemporary of pop stylings.

Heritage Theatre, Westville. January 12 to January 21. Tickets cost R190 for Wednesday to Saturday and R165 for Tuesday evenings and Sunday lunchtime. All prices include a delicious two-course meal. Tel: 031 765 4197. Website: heritagetheatre.co.za.

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