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Casually Indifferent

by Rob Scher, images Shaun Bond / 21.03.2011

Wednesday nights are tough. It’s not quite late enough in the week to excuse a 3am McDonalds drive-thru kind of evening but is also long enough since the weekend to warrant not staying at home. Perhaps this is where the idea of the “mid-week gig” was born. There still remains the challenge of finding a gig that’s not too pricey and also without temptation of getting completely wrecked and beginning your weekend on a Thursday. Enter &Union Real Music Wednesday – the gig is free and at R40 a pop for a beer, there’s not too much chance of it turning into a big night.

&Union is particularly full tonight – I guess Josie Field, the featured artist this evening, has a bigger following in Cape Town than I originally thought, because the place is full-up. The set begins humbly with Josie plucking at a ukulele. My previous reservations against anyone describing their genre as “singer songwriter” falls away as her bluesy vocals drift over the crowd. There’s a lovely, lazy acoustic feel to the music.  Alas the first song finishes to mild applause. The audience seems largely disinterested. Josie’s performance seems to be providing more of a background music tableau than entertainment to this yuppie-fied, “post-youth” crowd who largely ignore Josie and loudly continue their conversations throughout the show.

&Union Real Music Wednesday

Josie continues unperturbed, mostly playing tracks off her new album – 1984. Having been on the scene for over five years now (1984 is her third studio album), she handles the crowd’s indifference admirably. Although mentioning, after every song, that this gig marks the release of the album, smacks of a kind of desperation to be appreciated by the indifferent, expensive beer swilling mass assembled.

As a solo performer it’s the nature of the business to self-promote as much as possible, but as a musician the line between business and music should always remain in tact. She should trust the music to do the selling. Nonetheless, Josie finishes the set strong and, without any encouragement for an encore, leaves the stage somewhat prematurely.

With a diverse and promising lineup of acts coming up over the course of the next month, and the lingering taste of Steph Weiss beer that literally leaves any other beer tasting like piss, I will certainly be returning for a fix of “Real Music Wednesday”.

&Union Real Music Wednesday

* Catch-a-fire this Wednesday for Durban rockers Dance You’re on Fire and Fire Through the Window at &Union, 23 March 2011. The gig is 100% Mahala. Alas, the beer is not.

*All images © Shaun Bond.

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