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Last Rounds: Acoustic Coke

2007-08-01 13:36
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Lead guitarist Laudo Liebenberg opened with his careful chord phrasing and bluesy baritone. Then Van Coke took over, and we were silently overcome. Being “relieved” that this is your last acoustic gig is no excuse for leaving an audience hanging halfway through a song though. Still, it doesn’t matter how many times Francois vloeks and say he doesn’t care. The sincerity is in his singing, strumming and yes, lyrics. His differential rock ‘n roll sounds best stripped down to tensile vocals backed by a pair of terse acoustic guitars. Grizzly Afrikaans consonants and platteland vowels set against full strings conjure up the relief of open spaces and the restriction of tightly cramped feelings. Sure, the songs are anthems because they’re well written, but also because they’re honest.

Hey, the testimony of a disaffected - yet still impassioned - Afrikaans youth is important. Francois is an articulate voice of an emerging subculture that brings buried tensions to the surface. “This is the Bob Dylan of the Afrikaans youth,” a listener whispered while the audience sang along. But while Dylan was booed by thousands the first time he picked up an electric guitar, it seems this audience is aching for something harder and Francois is happy to oblige.

We’re looking forward to the next catharsis.

- Jess Henson

Fokof fans can expect new CDs from Francois’ Van Coke Cartel (with Fokof bassist Wynand) and Laudo’s The King (with Fokof’s Hunter and Snake) before the end of the year.

There was more angst than charisma in the air on the night of Francois Van Coke’s last ever sit-down ‘solo’ acoustic set with guitarist Laudo Liebenberg. Was it growing pains? Well, Fokofpolisiekar’s sabbatical has offered new collaboration opportunities to its members. This gig in the intimate embrace of the Dorpstraat Theatre in Stellenbosch proved a whipping by candlelight.

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