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In Review: Stelth Ulvang at Café Roux

An incredibly energetic, eccentric set that withstands The Lumineers’ shadow.

9 Jan 2017 / Opinion / written by Timothy Kohler / Pics by Laura McCullagh

Café Roux’s exciting new venture in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD has produced a significant tremor for all involved in the Mother City’s music culture. With an increasingly high rate of discontinuing live venues, the extension of one of Noordhoek’s favourite establishments induced a sweet, sweet breath of fresh air for many weary enthusiasts. Just over a month of opening its doors, the impressively-cosmopolitan venue saw Stelth Ulvang, of esteemed The Lumineers, grace its stage.

Cape Town’s pop rock trio Stone Jets set the evening in stirring motion, engulfing the atmospheric yet consistently overbooked venue with their minimalist-layered wall of jubilant sound. Noticeably, frontman Given Nkanyane showcased an impressive array of improvisation techniques, with occasional makeshift efforts from the rest of the tight, merry group.

Prior to closing off with the buoyant ‘Hurricane’, the audience and I were surprised with a brief, endearing collaboration with The Lumineer himself. “He’s leaving them to join Stone Jets,” jokes Nkanyane.

An extensively beautiful and enticing guitar prelude, accompanied with a promise to not tell the same humorous, eccentric stories, brings Stelth Ulvang’s set into the forefront. Accompanied by his partner Dorota Szuta on bass and violin as well as local drum heavyweight Werner von Waltsleben (Francois Van Coke, The Taros et al), Ulvang’s impeccably eccentric and charming charisma effortlessly infatuated the audience before him. The artist’s peculiar foot-stomping and incredibly animated antics amongst his powerful, minimally-layered sound was a treat for anyone, familiar or not.

In between frequent random, albeit delightful, stories, apologizing for the disputable politics of the West and including Stone Jets in one of his track’s performance, Ulvang showcased a set that stood comfortably in its own light.

Undoubtedly, many attendees were there due to Ulvang’s association with The Lumineers, so I was impressed by how, almost instantly, the audience before him seemingly forgot anything before and became totally engrossed with the remarkable songsmith before them.

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Check out our exclusive gallery from this event.

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