Johan van Niekerk started playing guitar at age 14. His earliest musical
influences include Credence Clearwater Revival and The Rolling Stones and
he has also played in a band covering the music of The Shadows and The
Ventures. Over the last 13 years, he has played in various rock line-ups
and in venues accommodating more than 1,800 people and has performed more
than 500 times. Although he is largely self-taught he has also been tutored
and influenced by Richard Pryor (Boulevard Blues / Pebbleman) and Morne van
der Merwe (an in-demand performing and session guitarist). After seeing
Boulevard Blues perform a few years ago, his love for the blues was
re-ignited and led to the formation of Local Escape.
Local Escape is a blues rock band that covers the great blues standards and
also plays original material. It consists of Johan van Niekerk (guitar &
vocals), Jason Reinecke (guitar & vocals), Colin Gordon (bass) and Johan
They have successfully entertained fans at Die Boer, Dorpstraat Teater,
Plaasteater, The Jolly Roger, Mercury Live and at private functions. The
band members share a passionate love for the blues and count as their main
influences John Mayall, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale, Joe Bonamassa, Fleetwood
Mac and Jimi Hendrix. We welcome Local Escape for their first appearance at
the Barleycorn and hope they have a great performance!
*TRENTON & FREE RADICAL***
With his feet firmly planted in African soil, Trenton Birch has a global
musical sensibility. Having done his time in London developing the distinct
sound and conscious lyrics of his reggae-infused Afro-beat band, Trenton
and Free Radical, his return to Cape Town is a major score for the South
African live music scene. Birch believes there’s a revolution afoot. A
tidal wave of changing attitudes; around the way people think about their
world, their responsibility towards each other, the planet, and the type of
music that’s being churned out.
Trenton and Free Radical is a musical partnership between Birch and writing
collaborator Marco Wielander, is evidence of this revolution. Ibiza-raised
Marco is a studious musician who is never without his guitar; having played
with the likes of Roots Manuva and Killa Kella, he’s developed unique
techniques for laying down tracks, sampling, and layering, giving their
music a distinctively individual character. Their sound—seductive,
acoustic, urban—elegantly marries catchy tunes with meaningful lyrics.
Their songs have the energy and impact of anthems, their words pack meaning
and their rhythms are ones you can’t help bopping to.
Birch says he’s disgusted by apathy. Pay attention, and you find yourself
intellectually engaged; they’re stoking awareness, activating listeners.
They’re not radical in a purely political sense, but Birch is a poet with
something to say, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind. The band sings
about war, about social injustice, about love; and they sing the praises of
heroes like Mandela, offering thoughts on making the world a better place.
Before setting of for the UK, Birch was prominent on the local music scene
as part of electro-rock band Anti-Gravity which opened for South African
performances by both The Prodigy and Faithless. Whilst in Europe, Birch
promoted Johnny Clegg, and headed up the African hip-hop website / label
Afrolution and ran the record label Black Mango Music which helped launched
Birch and Wielander are joined by local bassist Thabo Mobo, Keyboard Player
Clem Carr (Rudimental, The City, Little Kings) and drummer Ruby Crowie,
filling out their live sound as they constantly strive for a richer, more
authentic, local flavour. As Birch puts it: “Although we started playing in
London, our sound and inspiration was always from the African
continent—this is where my roots lie.” Mobo has played with, amongst other
bands, Ill Skillz, Archetypes, ShapeShifting and Calabash, and leapfrogs
between hip-hop, funk, jazz, and soul house. Swartz, whose roots are in
gospel, has also worked in diverse genres, from jazz and rock/ska to
hip-hop and hip-hop metal crossover. He’s played at all the country’s major
festivals, recorded locally, and toured internationally.
Free Radical delivers honest beats—although there are diverse influences,
including hip-hop and electro, the result is sufficiently distinctive and
edgy to evoke a sense of being unique, avoiding tired genre labels. Theirs
is a contemporary African sound with universal appeal, and the muscle to
unite divergent tastes. It’s revolutionary music geared to ignite
dance-floors while exploding our thinking.
*DIGBY AND THE LULLABY (previously DieselVanilla)
Digby and The Lullaby are the indie singer-songwriting duo that’s stirring
hearts all over South Africa. Although their musical partnership spans just
two years, Rouchelle Hubsch and Darren Digby Peens have already been hailed
by their growing collection of fans as a match made in heaven.
On piano and lead vocals, Rouchelle Hubsch plays and sings with a haunting
depth of emotion that far surpasses her young age. As an only child,
Rouchelle found the piano a profoundly rewarding companion, and has been
writing songs since she was seven. Now just twenty one, Rouchelle has
already written over 60 songs, and caught Darren’s attention at the
Kingfisher FM Do you Rock original music competition.
On guitar and backing vocals, Darren Peens fell in love with music when he
was just 6 years old. Darren then got his first taste of ‘rock stardom’ as
guitarist in Eminent Child: a band that found relative success in South
Africa and Europe. These days, armed with a Dictaphone a note pad and an
acoustic guitar, Darren never stops creating.
Collectively influenced by anyone with a great song, Digby and The Lullaby
thrive on intimate performances. They love small venues. “It makes our
connection with the audience so real and tangible,” smiles Rouchelle. “It’s
also really helping us gauge which songs to put on our album,” adds Darren.
Digby and The Lullaby have just finished tracking their debut album in New
York with producer Kieran Kelly (Sufjan Stevens, Angus and Julia Stone) and
are aiming for an Easter release.
Although they ultimately want to grow their audience, and are currently
working to express their music through film and television as well, they
like the idea of keeping their live performance roots in theatre.
Live performances to date include shows at Seabrooke’s Theatre in Durban,
The Chaplin at Uptown Theatres in Port Elizabeth, Googies in New York and
an invitation to play at the prestigious Hilton Arts Festival in Durban two
years running – where extra seating had to be put in after their first
performance. Ralph Piaden (the Fleur du Lys’ theatre manager) commented
that they were ‘the most complimented act’ in his theatre throughout the
Goosebumps, standing ovations, and an audience moved to tears are not
uncommon at Digby and The Lullaby shows - So a fine way in which to finish
off the evening!
The Barleycorn meets every Monday at 20h00 at Villager FC, 11 Lansdowne
Entrance is (usually) R20 for members and R30 for non-members.
A full bar and pub food kitchen are operational at the venue.
For directions and more info, visit http://www.barleycorn.org.za
or find us on Facebook (Barleycorn Music Club).
* Tune in to ‘Songcatcher’ on Fine Music Radio (101.3fm) every Sunday at
when Shiloh Noone presents the only folk music show on radio in the Western