About 3 years ago I was hanging around the rock stage at Up The Creek Music festival. The sun was shining brightly, it was the first day of the festival and the vibe was just electric. The opening band is usually a crucial part of any festival because that one band determines the rest of the festival atmosphere. This is how I set my ears to the sounds of The Swingsetters.
The name can be dodgy if you really think about it, but what the band produce is mind blowing. No other band makes this kind of music anymore. They are made up of 8 band members playing drums, bass, guitar, saxophones, trumpets, keyboard and feature a hot black coffee song bird and hillarious lyrics. It’s swing music meeting modern meeting the coolest vintage you will ever hear.
Of course this band can only be from Cape Town (the hub of all things cool – or at least I tend to think so). The band’s members are Jackie Kwenda (Vocals), Chris Haw (guitar and vocals), Dave Bryant (drums and vocals), Nate Woodman (keys and vocals), Mike Davison (horns – trumpet, flugelhorn & trombone), Tim Mosh (tenor saxophone), Jamie Faull (alto saxophone – yes, the dude from Jeremy Loops) and Cameron Nyce (bass).
The Swingsetters almost reminds me of a cool chameleon. It can switch colours, change the way it moves and you still be staring at it wondering how the hell it did just that. Let me tell you, this band had us all swinging and even after 3 years I still can’t get their songs out of my head. Imagine my excitement when I found out that they finally released their album on SoundCloud (the best invention in history after sliced biltong).
If you’re like my human who grew up listening to old school singers like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others, then the Swingsetters might just swing you. “Hoot Hoot Hoot” is a love story about an owl (yes, that nocturnal bird that sends fear into most people). “Red Bow Tie” is a sexy song about date nights, champagne, summer and fun. “Girls have the power” is for all those guys who have fallen into the marriage trap or have experienced girls who use you for your money. It’s clever, sung by the beautiful Jackie Kwenda and I want to dance like they did in the 1940’s when I hear it. One of my favourite songs (which is not really part of the album but is on SoundCloud) is the “Zumalema Blues” – a song for our president. All I’m saying is listen to it, it’s very tongue in cheek.
Would I recommend this band for a festival? Hell yes! They are the type of band I will hire for my wedding just because I like the way they swing. It’s groovy, it’s mood music, it’s sexy, it’s like nothing else you’ve heard. I give their music a 8 out 10 RWR howls.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.