Anyone who has ever done a live show with me will tell you: I am a pain in the ass. I am anally retentive about being on time, and I get very anxious about attendance. This was bad when I was managing artists. Now that I am playing again as well, it is not a good thing.

Last Thursday I played a show at the legendary old Bohemian Bar in Richmond Johannesburg with Hagen Angler and Jon-Pat Myers. It was going to be an acoustic night of songs, poetry and mayhem. El Jimador Tequila came aboard with some free cactus juice and we were set for a rollicking night!

David Chislett Live Poetry
David Chislett playing live poetry

Of course I am early. Of course Hagen is late. But that was all OK. Sound check was grand actually, sounded awesome. But then the crowd was slow and late to drift in… Jon-Pat got up to play… on his electric, playing rock n roll and I thought… hmmm, maybe I got the name of this gig wrong.

Then a torrent of rain fell, driving everyone indoors just as Hagen was due to take the stage. He kicks off on electric guitar with a rock song in isiXhosa. The crowd goes mad. They are loving him. From that into a spoken word number in English and vernac, back out with the electric for some reggae. My acoustic gig is going down in flames and I lam loving every second of it. Well, actually Hagen is SO on fire that I am worried about MY reception now!

Hagen leaves the stage to rapturous applause. Wow. Did I mention he killed it? I get ready to get up. Mak Manaka is in the house. He asks if he can do a piece. I am like, well what the hell man? Yes!
Make does his thing, introduces me. I am having trouble with my guitar jack… sounding way too soft, my mike is too loud… Hey it’s ok, buy song 4 I step way back and turn all my poetic acoustic songs into high speed acoustic punk thrashes. The next day I could barely talk. I finish and get off stage, exhausted

It’s someone in the crowd’s birthday. She gets up on stage and drops an acapella R&B number… she’s awesome. I suck down one last beer and head home.

Gigs hey? You never REALLY know what is going to happen next!