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In Review: Sit The Folk Down with Hatchetman, The Shabs and Nomadic Orchestra

Barefoot stomping in windy Scarborough for all ages with a diverse line-up of Cape Town favourites.

12 Feb 2018 / Opinion / written by Maya-Rose Torrão / Pics by Kevin Ramage

I had been driving for about 40 minutes when I began to wonder whether or not I had missed the turning to the Cape Farmhouse Restaurant. The scenery for the drive was beautiful but I couldn’t see anything in the way of a man-made structure, rolling rocky hills, perky little fynbos bushes and Aloes were the only things that sped past. Then I saw it – a traditional big white-washed farmhouse in the middle of the countryside.

The stage was set in the outside concrete courtyard, covered by a stretch-tent and facing a congregation of fully-occupied chairs and tables. I decided to venture onto the grassy hill next to the courtyard for my seating, where the rest of the audience were grouped about the sparse trees, trying to keep out of the hot sunshine.

It was incredibly windy, but it seemed as though this wasn’t going to stop anyone from enjoying the show, as the first band Hatchetman started us off with some folk rock blues. This was the perfect opening band for the afternoon; Jonathan Tait sounds uncannily like a young Neil Young and the band was the perfect mix of rock ‘n roll and easy-listening folk to ease the audience into the event. I was pleasantly surprised that, despite the middle-of-nowhere setting, the turn-out was impressive. The crowd was a diverse mix of old and young, with many barefoot kids running around the large property and shoeless parents lounging in the sun, smelling of patchouli oil. I was also impressed by the venue’s fully-stocked bar, as well as the delicious hand-made pizzas that were flying into happy hungry hands.

It was a bit too blustery up on the grassy hill for my liking, but we were well-protected from the blustery weather once under the stretch-ten and everyone was getting ready to have a proper boogie. Folk-punk legends The Shabs upped the energy of the afternoon with their quick tempos and cheeky lyrics. The band are recording their second full album and played some new songs for the crowd, which were met with plenty feet giving the dance floor a good beating.

Nomadic Orchestra brought the afternoon to brassy crescendo, with their ska-chants and self-described “TOODLE DOO TOODLE DOO of the saxophones”. Gabriel du Toit, frontman and saxman, was the only musician I recognised from the original crew I had seen performing about three years back, but that didn’t stop the fresh faces in the band from toodle-doo-ing their hearts out and coaxing the entire audience onto their feet with complicated horn harmonies, jazzy riffs and popping drumbeats.

The sun was still warming my bare feet and as the music came to a close for the evening and I drove back along the gorgeous southern peninsula, smiling, knowing that I had seen three world-class bands all in one evening, at a quaint farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

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