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In Review: The Wintyr and Paige Mac at Blah Blah Bar

A juxtaposition of two uniquely contrary artists welcome the turn of the season.

21 Jun 2016 / Opinion / written by Skye Mallac

In rather apt coincidence, The Wintyr’s latest gig was accompanied by the palpable onset of Cape Town’s winter. Within hours of their performance the Mother City was propelled into a bitingly chilly morning and I woke to find myself nursing a cold. Consequently there is really no higher praise than that, which I can grant to the appropriately dubbed, electro-folk trio.

Blah Blah Bar on Kloof is swiftly gaining a reputation as one of the better live music venues in Cape Town. The venue boasts an intimate upstairs live music setting, while downstairs you’ll find a variety of nooks and crannies into which to tuck yourself and indulge in one of their signature pizzas. We have arrived early and settle to do just that. By the time we make it upstairs Regina Spektor is issuing from the sound system and we settled ourselves on the red Persian carpet flung at the foot of the stage.

Paige Mac makes her appearance, armed with a patterned jumpsuit and an endearing smile, a bassist at her side. With her music having been subject to a significant amount of praise of late, I have been itching to catch her live for quite some time – and she certainly does not disappoint. Feminist ideals aside, there always remains a certain level of admiration to be held for women who can really play the guitar – and Paige is one such woman.

Her fingers slip fluently over the strings as she hammers out intricate fret-work, occasionally pairing it with an electric peddle she utilizes as a kick drum. Her ornate vocal style slips effortlessly through octaves, pitching and rolling with easy grace. Her soulful folk musings are catchy, delicately bouncing and wholly emotive. It is liquid sound. It is profoundly unique.

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It takes some time for The Wintyr to take to the stage. Evelyn Hart’s new collaborative, born in 2015, is on a mission to make musical waves. Their debut album, Fury dropped late last year and they are set to embark on a European leg of their current tour in August. Hart is dressed in a heavy, fur-lined coat, her fingernails catch the light, long and green, as she raises her hands into the air on the first note. Synthesisers, keys, percussion and vocals merge with rapidly increasing momentum.

Collectively they gather their wild forces and then proceed release them in a burst of musical energy. This is group doing something incredibly unique, but I can’t help but feel that this is the wrong sort of venue for their sound. To contain the uncontainable in so small a space simply results in slightly overwhelming bursts of power. Nevertheless they are striking, setting alight the night with cinematic urgency as they usher in the winter.

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Check out our gallery from this event.

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