SA Artists in London
Syd Kitchen @ The Royal Exchange, Camden, 8 June 2004
Nestled under an arch of a bridge over which a railway runs, in a side street off the main, bustling drag of Camden Town is a little pub called The Royal Exchange. It's a musos’ hangout and has an open mike night tonight. While various unknown but talented musicians ply their trade in the dimly lit back room of the bar, we share a drink with Syd in the beer garden out back. It's a balmy London evening, but in these relaxed surrounds one is oblivious to the fact that you're in the middle of the bustling metropolis.
Syd's on late, so as the last glimmer of the sun disappears and a chill hits the air, we head indoors to watch him play. He is at home here, and it shows in the relaxed manner he approaches his songs and the small crowd that is quickly impressed, clapping along and even adding spontaneous tambourine and bongo's to some of the songs.
The half hour set seems to fly by as we are treated to songs like 'Muse', an 8-minute version of 'Amakoologik', and a bastardised version of 'Sarie Marais' that's had the words changed to be an anti-war, anti-Bush song. His bright, alert eyes peer out from behind his long locks every now and then, taking in the scene with a quiet smile. He's enjoying himself, and so is the audience.
HEADING TO HEADINGTON
Syd Kitchen At the Headington Festival Of Music And Dance, Headington 5 June 2004
Headington is a small town just outside of that well-known university town of Oxford. It is also home to an annual festival of music and dance and this year we ex-pats were fortunate enough to have one of SA's top talents on show in the form of our hippiest hippy, one Syd Kitchen.
Syd's slot was in one of the local pubs called The Royal Standard, which is a typical English pub and which had a fair sprinkling of locals who were there for the drinking rather than the music. However as our man kicked off there was generally speaking a good reception of his music with several nods of approval, especially when he went into the more complex guitar playing of 'When The Boogie Dies' and 'Amakoologik'.
His half an hour slot drew from all areas of his career, including material from all his previous releases as well as, I believe, a track from his upcoming Bafa Bafo album. With his long locks flying, eyes closed and his colourfully-sandaled feet fairly pounding out the rhythm, it was good to finally see the man in the flesh after having thus far been confined to enjoying his music in the comfort of my own living room.
Admittedly it was probably not the greatest venue for the gig and the sound quality wasn't the best, but The Ama-hippy was ama-kool and all I can say is Ama-fan.
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