A few years ago the presenter of my favourite MK shows went bald; it really didn’t suit him, I thought, in my horribly judgemental teenage mind. Neither did the cancer, but that didn’t stop Herman Pretorius from taking what time he had left to leave a beautiful legacy with his Vrede Foundation, which generates cancer-awareness, promotes early detection and raises funds for young people with cancer.
In aid of Vrede, the Blood Brothers band brought together 10 local rock ‘n’ rollers: Jason Hinch, Albert Frost, Rian Zietsman, Francois van Coke, Arno Carstens – take a deep breath – George van der Spuy, Kobus De Kock Jnr, Hunter Kennedy, Loedi van Renen and Isaac Klawansky. They united on one stage with the awesome Catherine Grenfell as host for a mind-blowing three hours of rock in all its mutations.
With multiple ‘lead singers’, the stage dynamics made for fascinating viewing. Francois van Coke and George van der Spuy played solid backup when needed, killing it when they had the main mic. Black Cat Bones’s Kobus De Kock Jnr stalked the stage like a caged lion. Arno Carstens seemed content being in the background on his tambourine, until he too reared up, in the form of a flamenco dancer.
With the Blood Brothers out of their comfort zones, some audience members responded in kind. For the first time in years we stood close enough to see the crazy in Kobus’ eyes and feel the swoosh of air as Francois twirled his mic on its cord. The emotion of Van Coke Kartel’s ‘Tot Die Son Uitkom’ brought out a few lighters instead of the usual cellphone screens; no worries about scorched fingers. Then there was the middle-aged guy standing rigid all night, until he started what can only be described as ‘jiving’ to Bubblegum On My Boots. But the biggest fans of all seemed to be the Blood Brothers themselves, showing raw enthusiasm for each other and the music they were performing.
One of the standout covers was Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ with Arno Carstens on lead vocals and Albert Frost rocking the bowed guitar (he plays an electric guitar like a cello). For three minutes Grand West became a charismatic church, the kind held in circus tents in the middle of a veldt, with frenzied dancing.
Blood Brothers took place at the Grand Arena, GrandWest on the 23 September 2015.