Music Exchange: Star power

Music Exchange: Star power

Why do we go to shows? We, as the audience, want to be entertained and leave replete, knowing that I money was well spent. We have a plethora of acts coming to South Africa in the next few months .It was announced earlier this week that Nicki Minaj is on her way in March. She will no doubt put on a great show as she explores a new market .The market is so diverse, so an important question is whether she will draw full houses and will she have SA acts to open the show?

Until a few years ago the A-list acts that came to South Africa where the older, established likes of Phil Collins, The Rolling Stones and Sting, not to mention Bruce Springsteen and what we are seeing now is the younger, newer star power artists touring outside America .For some acts back in the day a world tour was 30 dates in America and Canada and then 20 days in the UK and Europe. The problem the bigger acts have because of the distances being so vast in South Africa and the market so much smaller, is that you can only really do five shows: up to three in Johannesburg, and perhaps two in Cape Town. The touring act has to give up almost 10 days to tour SA, whereas in the UK you can do 10 shows on the trot, so it becomes a scenario whereby the artist must decide, “Do I develop a new market and explore this place,” or is it going to be the usual, “Do the same cities in Europe again”?

The ticket prices are also vastly different .I just saw that the 1980s band Deacon Blue (remember the hit ‘Dignity’?) have reformed and are doing an outdoor show in May (they are calling it a summer festival in May!) near a castle on the outskirts of London, and the starting ticket price I saw was £33 – over R825 a ticket. Now, R825 would be near the top end of ticket charges in SA. So now you see the dilemma touring acts have: exploring new markets can be dandy, but you as an artist need to charge your performance fee out for less, and not all the band members and crew can fly business class. As an audience member, go and see the show of the band you like. Not every act will be your cup of tea. Josh Groban will not appeal to the same audience as Minaj – same venue in Cape Town, the Grand Arena at GrandWest, but it will be a wholly different vibe, as the audience profile is so different, and therein lies the charm of the music industry.

What often happens with South African acts is that the gig market is so small that bands tend to overexpose themselves in a particular market, and someone in danger of doing that is Jimmy Nevis.
A few weeks ago he was at Kirstenbosch and this weekend on Saturday he is part of the line-up at the races at Kenilworth, and then on Sunday he is doing a free show at Nantes Park. Let’s hope the set list changes.
Management has been astute, or lucky, as none of these show have any risk attached to them. The true judge of an artist’s pulling power is when they do a two-week run to six hundred people a night, and sell out each and every show. That’s star power, and we unfortunately have very few acts that can do that on a regular basis throughout South Africa.

Gig of the Week

On Saturday, January 30, at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, its SuperSokkie time.
They have taken all the chairs out and the show features some of the top names in “Sokkie Music”, including Kurt Darren, Juanita du Plessis en Die Campbells, as well as the Bok Radio DJ’s, who will be spinning the decks playing classic Afrikaans hits.
Tickets start at R150 and are available from Computicket and the door.
Revelers will be treated to a four-hour party featuring the artists’ popular hits, such as ‘Vat my vas’ and ‘Rooi rok bokkie’, to du Plessis’ ‘Engel van my hart’ and Darren’s ‘Kaptein’ and ‘Dans op die tafels’.