Archive for February, 2010


Folk Rock Heroes

Most South Africans over a certain age have heard of McCully Workshop. A great 70’s and 80’s band, they produced some real classics like Buccaneer and Chinese Junkman, (not quite as memorable as Buccaneer but a pretty big hit for them anyway). Mike McCullagh, founder of the band with his brother, Tully has been active in the music industry ever since mostly producing, and sometimes performing in, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s revival shows.

His latest show, Folk Rock Heroes is now on at On Broadway. It’s a collection of songs incorporating elements of rock and folk music. I always enjoy On Broadway as a venue, its cosy enough to make the show intimate but not too small that you feel cramped and they can get a decent size crowd in. The dinner theatre vibe is always popular with many patrons arriving early to enjoy a meal and you can enjoy a cold beer, glass of wine or hot chocolate during the show, always a plus in my book.

The music covered included some Bob Dylan, his ex flame, Joan Baez, some Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and quite a bit more of older, instantly recognizable tunes. The 6-man band, including McCullagh on drums and backing vocals all performed well and the show was certainly entertaining but it lacked oomph for want of a better word. Besides McCullagh and lead female vocalist, Bronwyn Reddy the rest of the band lacked stage presence and the show suffered as a result. Maybe it was too early in their run, maybe the audience was a bit subdued but the show needs to be more than just a few musicians singing a few songs, it needs to capture the era and the audience’s hearts but didn’t do this. Entertaining but easily forgettable is the only way I can describe it.

This is often a problem with revival shows, what do they do to make it come alive? Some have tried weaving a story into the music, but unless expertly done this seldom works, so the musicians on stage need to really rock to connect with the audience and make the

foot-tappers become get-out-of-your-seat dancers. Reddy rocked and McCullagh always rocks, the rest are good musicians and singers but they need to connect with their audience more.


Speaking of revivals Muizenberg is also undergoing a revival of sorts and this sea side town is slowly making a return to its glory days. In summers past it was the place to be seen and a social hub of note, ask your folks about the snake pit at Muizenberg. Millionaires owned large fancy properties close to the beach and many Joburgers wouldn’t stay anywhere else when making their annual summer visit to the Cape.

Over the last few years, many people have made the move to this deep south suburb, its run down hotels are one by one being revamped, coffee shops and restaurants have sprung up and slowly but surely Muizenberg is once again a place where people want to visit regularly and many have moved to permanently. This is great news and I for one wander why it took so long and why it’s still taking so long. This is a good spot, mountains in your backyard, the warm False Bay water to swim in (so what if you share it with a few great whites), long stretches of beach to walk and play on and nice weather, albeit frequently visited by the south easter.

Anyway, Sunday, the weather was crap on the Atlantic Seaboard so we took a drive to Muizenberg. Popped into the Gaslight Café for coffees and chicken mayo sandwiches, both were good and reasonably priced, unlike some of the other pretentious coffee shops in the area, where the food might be good but not always so reasonably priced. Gaslight also makes a superb chocolate cake, it is pretty rich so beware, I once got a head rush after taking a large mouthful – but its good stuff.

With Scoops getting impatient and bored with the laid back coffee shop vibe, it was off to surfers’ corner, just opposite. I love this part of the beach, there’s always a mixed bunch of surfers, from old hippy long boarders to young fearless short board riders. No matter the conditions or shark warnings, and there are shark spotters on the look out, the corner is always abuzz. It’s a great learning area for wannabe surfers and it won’t be long before Scoops has his first lesson, although Scoop’s mom will be kept in the dark – too many shark stories for her sensitive ears. More importantly its a great place for Scoops to run around, build sandcastles, get wet in the small surf and spend some quality time in the sun. We definitely need to do this more often because as much as I love swimming in the refreshing Atlantic, the warmer water down south can be a blessing.