Black Cat Bones – Expressing cross-culturally as South Africans at A Place in the Sun
After scoring the well-deserved Best Live Act MK Award a few years back, The Black Cat Bones exploded. They’ve since become the must-book band for every major music festival around the country, so there’s nothing strange about their slot at the new outskirts-of-Pretoria festival, A Place In The Sun. Oh wait, there is something strange about it: They’ll be sharing the stage with the super energetic, Soweto-based, abstract African band BCUC.
We asked Bones guitarist Andre Kriel about their band, their albums, and what A Place In The Sun will bring.
The band recently underwent a transition – from traditional four-piece blues-rock band to playing with a rotating set of drummers: Jason Oosthuizen and Michael Canfield are the most notable faces who’ve been behind the kit in the last few months.
“Working with different drummers is like learning to play your own songs for the first time again,” says Andre. “Every new drummer has his own feel and dynamic, and that ensures that every show is, although familiar, vastly different from the previous one. Keeps us on our toes to say the least.”
On the weekend of 17-20 November 2016, The Black Cat Bones will join BCUC on stage for an exclusive collaborative set – the kind of thing that’s seldom seen at a music festival’s debut event. But A Place in the Sun (at Nkwe Resort, Pretoria) is definitely something different to most new festivals that pop up.
“Other than most first-time-festivals, these guys don’t promise you a record turnout with massive headliners and inflated ticket prices, just to bomb at ground zero leaving everyone gig-less and jol-less (hows THAT for a word?) at the end of the day.”
“In this game it’s all about experience and mileage, and you can tell that the organizers of a Place in the Sun are packing tons of it.”
While Andre is looking forward to seeing Hellcats, Ultra Natives, and Albert Frost at A Place In The Sun, a big highlight will be the The Black Cat Bones‘ collaborative set with BCUC. I was very curious whether it would be a freeform jam session – given the bands’ styles, I can’t imagine it being a carefully choreographed set…
“We have indeed planned rehearsals for the colab, but to tell you the truth I believe those are intended for us to rather get to know each other better instead of slaving away on structured songs.”
“We are familiar with each other’s music and style, and both bands come from a place where improvisation plays a pivotal role in live entertainment. We’ll work on specific intros and outros, but the magic will once again be found in the making-it-as-we-play-it aspect of the set, without being too loose or experimental.”
Whose idea was it to combine BCUC and The Black Cat Bones? “It’s all [festival organiser] Gareth Wilson’s idea. Something he’s been losing sleep over for the past couple of years.”
“Most probably,” Andre explains his hope for the collaboration, “[it will] showcase the value of cross-genre expression of our art. As South Africans we have the unique ability and cultural background to tap into just that, and instead of just reproducing music that’s been around for the past 100 years, we will put forward a sonic fusion of sounds and styles true to ourselves and our great nation. Watch out world… we are ‘Simunye’!”
Since The Black Cat Bones doesn’t have a permanent drummer, and BCUC has way more percussion that melodic instruments – is this actually a recipe for the perfect complementary combination?
“You can bet on it. Nice one Gareth, you actually thought this one through…”
WIN TICKETS: We’re giving away a ticket to A Place In The Sun to one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, simply answer the follwing question using the comments section below: Name one of the acts that Andre Kriel is looking forward to seeing at A Place In The Sun. Competition closes and winners will be selected/contaced on 9 November.
UPDATE: Unfortunately A Place In The Sun has been cancelled – see here for more info.
Floris sometimes writes things when he’s not watching movies or playing video games or editing videos or folk-rock singing/songwriting.