Sound Advice: KZN gigs (Aug 16-22)


The Radio Rats perform at Music in the Hills (MiTH) on Wednesday, August 16. The venue is a former barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Road, Hilton.

BILLY SUTER reports on a mix of gigs lined up for in and around Durban this and next week – including a Hilton performance by legendary South African band Radio Rats which is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new album. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

AND just when you thought legendary South African band Radio Rats had long called it a day, comes news of the band performing in Hilton on Wednesday, August 16 – To celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary and release a new album.

The group will make music from 9pm as headliner attraction at this week’s Music in the Hills (MiTH), in a former barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Road, Hilton, on Wednesday (August 9).

The band is promoting a new album, The Concise Rock and Roll Primer, and a tour that takes in the members’ home town of Springs, Durban and Johannesburg.

In the late-1970s, the Radio Rats had a hit with a song about a spaceman, called ZX Dan. That song and hundreds more songwriter Jonathan Handley has penned since then, remain an important, if sometimes overlooked, part of South Africa’s musical landscape.

The Radio Rats was recently the subject of a feature-length documentary by Durban-based filmmaker Michael Cross. Twenty-five years in the making, Jiving and Dying – The Radio Rats Story, introduces the music of Radio Rats and the words of J Handley in an attempt to afford them the place they deserve in the history of independent rock ’n’ roll in South Africa.

The film, which premiered at the 2016 Durban International Film Festival before a tour of its own to Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and Amsterdam, shows how the Rats were to influence one fellow resident of Springs, James Phillips (aka Bernoldus Niemand) to form a band and to write songs.

It was Phillips who went on to initiate the alternative Afrikaans music scene of the mid-1980s, the Voëlvry “movement” and, indirectly perhaps, the Oppikoppi music festival where a stage still bears his name.

The N3 Tour is a rare opportunity to see the the noisy little band from Springs, as they launch their 13th album. Be there!

Support acts will be singer-guitarist Kirsten Hunneyball, appearing from 7pm, and the lively The Alley Cats, specialising in Stray Cats covers and rockabilly tunes. The team will make music from at 8pm.

MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. It provides an opportunity for musicians to share the joy of their music with a friendly audience that includes fellow musicians – who have all “been there” too. (Non-musicians welcome too!)

Whether you’re a ‘newbie’ looking for your first opportunity to perform publicly, or a more experienced/mature musician simply looking for people who are as passionate about music as you are – pop along and join the fun. Visit for more details and directions.


THE Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, on the second level of the Shepstone Building on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is the place to be on Wednesday, August 16.

The centre is presenting the Brass Showcase and UKZN Big Band Showcase from 6pm.

The UKZN Big Band is directed by Burton Naidoo. The members are Riley Giandhari (drums), Micale Madurai (bass), Nick Pitman (guitar), Jaedon Daniel (piano/keyboards), Mlungisi Goge (piano/keyboards), Phuti Mofokeng (trumpet), Sinalo Zulu (trumpet), Kgethi Nkotsi (trombone), Siyalo Zulu (trombone), Pumlani Mtiti (tenor sax), Tseleng Mokhatla  (tenor sax), Simone van Niekerk (alto sax), Nwabisa Kheswa (alto sax) and both Nosihe Zulu and Nombuso Ratsha on vocals.

Saxophonist Simone van Niekerk.

The UKZN Big Band 2017 repertoire focuses on House music, a form of electronic music that has taken the world by storm since the 1980s. Created by DJs for the growing party culture House music has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon loved by the youth and the youngat heart. It is characterised by a “four to the floor” groove and minimalistic harmonic and melodic sequences.

The UKZN Big Band House performance focuses more on African House music, associated withthe likes of  Micasa, Davido and Black Coffee. The repertoire features arrangements by UKZN students Phumlani Mtiti, Riley Giandhari and Sinalo Zulu.

Doors open at 5.30pm show. Tickets cost R70 (R45 for pensioners, R20 for students). Contact Thuli at (031) 260 3385 for more details,

Note that the centre is also the venue for a Tuesday,August 22, gig featuring vocals by Thulile Zama and a host of standup comics, as part of the third Jokes and Jazz evening,The fun starts at 7pm. More info by calling (031) 260 3385 .


DOUG Weich, a popular Durban-based Elvis Presley tribute artist, backed by an eight-member band, will present the second weekend of his new show, Elvis and Me: The Priscilla Story, at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre, 42 Cunningham Road, Umbilo, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (August 18 and 19) and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (August 20).

The production will then be staged at the Pietermaritzburg branch of the Rhumbelow, at the Allan Wilson Shellhole, at 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday, September 10.

The show, seen through Priscilla’s eyes, tells the story of the relationship between her and Elvis – from when they first met until the star died 40 years ago, on August 16, 1977.

The band features Wade Wight on keyboards and backing vocals, Evan Cullum on piano and backing vocals, Glen Turrell on bass, Andy Turrell on drums, David Knott on lead guitar, Kirsty Madgin on sax. Claire Rowlett and Sandi  Da Cunha are on female vocals (representing Priscilla Presley).

Tickets cost R150 and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

NOTE: See my interview with Elvis tribute artist Doug Weich on this site – under “Music”. You will also find my review of the show there.


ROWAN Bartlett, Bryan Hiles and Darren King perform their supper show, Tie a Knot in It (Vegas Baby!), at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof, at 8pm on Saturday, August 19, and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday, August 20.

It’s a light-hearted salute to stars who played Las Vegas – among them Robbie Williams, Britney Spears, Bette Midler, Elvis Presley and The Rat Pack.

Tickets cost R150 each. To book, or for more information, phone Roland Stansell  at 082 499 8636.


THE fun and games of the weekly Tennis & Tunes event at Durban’s Windsor Tennis Club, Glenwood, is now over – but the organiser of that event, Roland Stansell of the Rhumbelow Theatre group, is continuing elsewhere with a variation of the event.

Now called BBC Beats, it is held every Monday at the Berea Bowling Club on the corner of Brand Road and Ferguson Road, where one can enjoy a game of bowls (bowls and advice provided, if need be) from 4pm every Monday.

Visitors are encouraged to stay on for varied live music from 6pm to 9pm, with a different artist every Monday evening, when the club pub will be open and eats can be bought.

Singer Belinda Dolphin.

The cost is R50 for the music, which includes the bowls (you don’t have to play if you don’t want to). A wide variety of musicians will perform each week.

This Monday (August 21), the spotlight will be on Jason Andrew, Lee Vee and Belinda Dolphin to performing acoustic favourites from the’60s to the ’80s.

Looking ahead, Calli Thomson will entertain at BBC Beats on August 28).

If you require any further information contact Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.



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