BY KYLIE HOLLIDAY

Once upon a town in a time far away… no that’s not right.

The circus has come to town! The Akelian Circus that is, and it is here to stay. Where its at? The Nameless Pub, no really that’s its name, in the so-called old-age home that is Somerset West. When is it? Every last Sunday of the month. Why should you care? I shall tell you!

 

The Akelian Circus is the collaboration of a truly talented group of musicians. On this wintry night, 29 April, this acoustic cluster of muso’s included Somerset West natives; Nick Kuiper, Richard Kuiper, Julian Bach and Neil Rautenbach, as well as MISTER & MISREAD band members; Kristyn Rӧhm, Nick Frost and Phil Joubert.

 

The Nameless Pub is as laid back as gets; a couple of couches cosy-ing up the corners of the room, some A-typical bar tables and chairs and the ever- faithful foosball and pool tables all centred around the make-shift stage- equipped with lights, amps, monitors, drum-kits and the kitchen sink.

 

The evening kicked off with a cover of STING’s “Message in a Bottle” by Nick Kuiper on guitar and vocals with Nick Frost on drums. Kuiper’s voice has a gravelly sound that, accompanied by his skilful guitar playing, fills the room. The atmosphere was relaxed; drinks were consumed like it was not Sunday, people were chatting, tapping their feet to the music and the Nicks did not miss a beat. A swig of beer and the last drag of a cigarette and they effortlessly moved onto a crowd pleaser; “Piano Man” by BILLY JOEL; the otherwise ambivalent Sunday-crowd sang along quite enthusiastically. After some John Mayer solo’s from Kuiper, Frost was back on drums for what was arguably the best song of their set; a cover of the iconic PINK FLOYD’s “Wish You Were Here”; the locals were basking in the ambience of old school.

 

Richard Kuiper joined, beginning with FOO FIGHTERS’ “Times Like These”, he harmonised expertly with notes that were astounding. The locals, unsurprisingly, loved it. Nick Kuiper exited as Frost accompanied, with beautiful harmonies, the other Kuiper taking the lead on THE USED’s “Noise and Kisses”; the vocals were pitch-perfect, Frost’s skills on the guitar were just as good as they were on drums and for a pretty ambitious first song they pulled it off with practised ease. After Kuiper belted out BOXCAR RACERS’ “Letters to God” near perfectly, it seemed time for some comedic relief from Frost who sensuously, and with a straight face, sang TENACIOUS D’s “F**k Her Gently”. The comedy didn’t stop there; an improvement on RIHANNA’s “Umbrella” by Richard ensued.

 

Another change and the present MISTER & MISREAD band members were on stage, with joker Julian Bach excitedly hopping on drums, starting with FOSTER THE PEOPLE’s “Pumped up Kicks”. It was fantastic; full, up-beat and succeeded in enticing the Sunday-crowd to sing along. Frost harmonising to Rӧhm’s, sometimes Hayley Williams-esque, vocals makes for a really beautiful over-all sound. The trio debuted some material for the local crowd with Misread whipping out a page of their newly written lyrics. Their first was lyrically sharp and naughty and the tone upbeat but somewhat eerie. Misread pushing her voice with such emotion added an element of depth to PARAMORE’s “Only Exception”, I think, making their cover better than the original. Some more new stuff, BLACK KEYS and MUMFORD AND SONS followed all with the most amazing harmonies.

 

Funny guy Julian Bach accompanied by his brother Neil Rautenbach, playing bass, and Nick Frost, made modulation seem easy with sneaky key changes mid-song done to perfection. They performed introspective Julian Bach tunes that were happy, up beat and kind of folksy, but do not be deceived they are no joke. Bach had such a naughty boy smile on his face while he performed, his passion translated and the crowd loved him. The bass made their set feel fuller, the skills shown on guitar were brilliant and despite some minor feedback difficulties their performance was stellar. It was at that stage of the evening that the most applause and interaction took place on behalf of the crowd, the room was abuzz with energy.

 

To follow, actually to return, were Phil Joubert, Nick Kuiper and Frost with some super up beat, rock tunes which the crowd soaked up. They started off with “Wonderwall” by OASIS with Joubert’s harmonies sounding top notch, then moved on to “Pardon Me” by INCUBUS in which Joubert took the lead with an incredibly strong chorus- line. Joubert then took on MUSE’s “Time is Running Out” with huge success as his ability to break out into screamo was evident, that is skill.

 

There was almost not a point during the night at which it was safe to take a bathroom break because you would definitely have been missing something, leaving early was also just not an option. Overall The Akelian Circus was a very interactive gig, with the artists frequently joking and conversing with the crowd, making for a highly enjoyable experience.

 

The night was a circus of harmonies from heaven so walk the long and winding tightrope to Somerset West, you will not be disappointed.

The Akelian Circus

Kristyn Rohm – Photo by Phil Joubert

The Akelian Circus

Nick Frost – Photo by Lauren Hochfelden

The Akelian Circus

Julian Bach – Photo by Lauren Hochfelden

The Akelian Circus

Richard Kuiper – Photo by Lauren Hochfelden

The Akelian Circus

Nick Kuiper – Photo by Clara Ilena

The Akelian Circus

Phil Joubert – Photo by Tim Hulme

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