Rock away the artvark bluesc

The Martell Blues Rock festival is likely to blast any art overload right out of your addled brain. If trudging from one serious exhibition to another, viewing angst-ridden portraits and intricate plays is starting to make you feel like Vincent van Gogh before he chopped his ear off, a good dose of rock ‘n’ roll is the recommended antidote. For the choosy punter, the evenings have been arranged along generic themes.

Catch the hip-hop night with The Original Evergreens, The Firing Squad, Blunt and Abashante on Tuesday July 6, a combination which is bound to produce some crossover links as rappers mix and match between the bands.

As part of their Eastern Cape tour, the ever-unpredictable Evergreens will be providing that weirded-out hip-hop edge for which they’ve become famous.

For other interesting combos, see Sugardrive and Just Jinger heading up the rock night sessions on opening night, Friday July 2, along with the newly reformed Squeal.

For those who like a good dose of crazy humour, there’s the wild combination of Boo!, The Honeymoon Suites and Wonderboom the following night.

Thursday July 9 brings some dance crossover sounds to the stage in the shape of Benguela, Ohm, Colourfields and Naked. While none of these acts is a true dance band, each brings different elements of dance to their live shows. With Benguela it’s blissed-out psychedelic jazz and with Ohm it’s elements of drum ‘n’ bass. Colourfields bring trance into the mix and Naked dabble occasionally in commercial dance sounds.

With many artists guesting in each other’s bands, fireworks are bound to happen. Fetish’s Michelle Breeze has lately been known to crop up with a wide range of bands, notably Van Der Want and Letcher and the legendary Nine.

As an overall theme, this year’s festival is also a tribute to Frank Frost. Frost, who died earlier this year, initiated the Blues Rock festival, and countless other projects. His contribution to the South African live music scene, both as a musician and organiser, cannot be underestimated, and it is fitting that such a tribute be paid at this stage in the industry’s development. It’s his wife, Maggie, who has taken the lessons from the last few festivals, and concentrated on putting together complementary bands that draw like-minded people on the same night.

This big and diverse line-up means that punters will be able to get a good cross-section of some of our hottest bands in conveniently packaged dollops.

The venue is the Rhodes Union Building and the doors open every night at 8.30pm. Bands begin at 9pm and the entrance fee is R35

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Dave Chislett
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