By Marley

Join the revolution!

Any good guitarist worth his salt knows that a good guitar is hard to come by. There are many, to the public, it might just be another guitar, the music guys and girls know that this isn’t true. A Fender Stratocaster is one such guitar, of course, the man playing the guitar has a whole story of his own. Such a man is Hans Bronkhorst, known as Blue Torch. This is what Save The Strat is about.

Hans found himself in a position where he needed to sell his beautiful black beauty of a Fender Stratocaster. Everyone who knows this local musician can tell you that Fender is as part of Hans just like his limbs are. Quickly friends saw this post and were upset that he was no so much willing, but need to sell it. One such friend, Carin-Lee (also a local drummer) suggested a fundraiser to help save this unique guitar. Another well-known face on the music scene, Mel Davids, decided to put action to the words and the “Save The Strat” event was born. Within 45 minutes a team was assembled, 12 bands were confirmed and the ball started rolling. The Pub in Nelspruit opened their arms to welcome the Save The Strat to their doors and stage on Saturday 04 February 2017. The Pub is known for the tremendous support of Lowveld bands, excellent food (like steak and espetada) and home-like vibe.

The Lowveld is such a hub of artists and there is no shortage of good music. The 12 bands all have a connection with Hans – he has in the past set them up with gigs, did their sound at a show, entertained them at a festival or gig. Hans’ story with us started around 2010 on a Sunday evening at Pappas Kitchen in Nelspruit. It was pizza and beer era that time, it took some time but Hans made his mark with us. Now he is considered one of our closest friends, the go-to person when it comes to music and sound as well. So doing this for a friend is just a great pleasure.

So, what can you expect at Save The Start? Here is the line up:

Keri Culver (Nelspruit)

Moonshine (Lydenburg)

Duende (Nelspruit)

Johnny and the Latin Express (Nelspruit)

6 Degrees (Nelspruit)

Monkey Queen (Nelspruit)

Mike Average (White River)

The Acoustics (Nelspruit)

Blue Torch (Nelspruit)

Gibraltar (Nelspruit)

GoatnHare (Nelspruit)

Back Stage (Komatipoort)

Some names here, like Gilbraltar, have been around since 1995 and need no introductions to the Lowveld fan base. They have played at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Innibos Nasionale Kunste Fees and the Lowveld Toy Run. Someone brand new to the scene is Keri Culver, this 20-year-old is busy building a name quickly in the Lowveld. Her voice is extremely unique just like her personality and she does a great job keeping the crowd captured. She is set to make a name for herself, one you won’t forget soon once you have heard her cover of “I Want To Be Like You” from The Jungle Book. Moonshine is a 3 piece band all the way from Lydenburg, they very new to the Lowveld music scene with their country vibe. Come early and check new kids on the block Duende and Johnny and the Latin Blues Express. Other favourites, Goat ‘n Hare, Mike Average, Back Stage and The Acoustics are also on the lineup. Generally, all these bands are a showcase of what we have in the Lowveld.

Blue Torch, of course, the man of the hour, is the must-see. Hans along with his pirate drummer Dave Schutte and new member, Alan Wicks, you can expect the blues and rock songs from the ’60s, 70’s and a bit of modern contemporary. Hans is blues in Nelspruit, there is no other and of course, his famous Strat makes the songs. He received this unique guitar as a present in 2009 and in that same year, Dan Patlansky (the ultimate SA bluesman) signed the head. He first played the guitar in 2010 at the Vryfees in Bloemfontein, Free State. And his first solo as a lead guitarist at the Da Loose Mongoose Festival in 2013 with Bright Lights Big City.

Save The Strat will help Hans to tour beyond the Lowveld borders to create a substantial career for himself but if he loses this Fender Strat then well, you know the ending. The thing about this event it is an example of how strong the music community is in the Lowveld and that they are willing to help a fellow musician out the best way they know, to have a live show. In a world where we are all saddled up with our own little crises, we tend to forget that there might be a friend in true need. And this makes Save The Strat a worthy cause.

Tickets are R80 pre-sale and for this, you get 12 bands from 12 pm till 12 am – yes 12 hours of live music. Tickets are however R100 at the door on the day so don’t delay to buy beforehand from us or from The Pub.

Be sure to listen to Radio Laeveld on 100.5FM or live stream them from around 5 pm on the following dates. They are interviewing some of the bands that will be performing:

Wednesday 18 January – Keri Culver

Friday 20 January – Johnny and the Latin Blues Express

Wednesday 23 January – Goat ’n Hare

Friday – Moonshine

Wednesday 01 February – Blue Torch

Friday 03 February – 6 Degrees

Keep on listening, they have tickets to give away!

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.