422 Kabelo performing at Shine Studios in Braamfontein during the Castle Milk Stout Unplugged Experience. 150812. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Another SA Breweries Ltd beer has fallen in love with SA music. This time it is Castle Milk Stout that has decided to shift its appeal from an older consumer to one aged between their late twenties and early forties.

Enter Castle Milk Stout Unplugged. And, no, not like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. The idea, says campaign brand manager Tebogo Motsepe, leans towards the more urban version.

“It’s more about the craftsmanship of the music,” he said. “We didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves in the classic sense of what unplugged is.”

The idea is for a few of SA’s top artists to perform with a live band in an intimate venue of no more than 300 people.

The venues have been carefully chosen. “We want to drive seclusion and for the audience to savour the moment,” said Motsepe. “We chose venues that show the hustle and bustle of the city, but inside it is calm and relaxed.”

The campaign was launched last Wednesday at Shine Studios, Braamfontein, Jozi, and was the perfect example of what the beer brand was aiming for. Shine overlooks central Joburg and the notoriously busy M1.

The line-up consisted of Afrotraction, Kabelo, Zonke and Mi Casa all playing to a live backing band.

The audience was treated to free Castle Milk Stout and unending rounds of cocktail snacks, while some of the more sophisticated chose Black Velvets – a mixture of Castle Milk Stout and bubbly.

First up was Afrotraction who enchanted the people with his smooth jazz. Kabelo took us way down memory lane and back again with his large repertoire of hits. He chatted easily with the audience and it was interesting to note that it was the ladies who were loving him more. His final track, Amapantsula Jabulile, had everyone on their feet. He reinterpreted the big kwaito hit from last year by just using tribal drums and the bass guitar. It was so powerful. As the song built to a climax, Kabelo became more demonic. The music had possessed him. In all the years I have seen him perform, never have I seen such an intense performance from this legendary kwaito artist. It was a historic moment.

A half-hour break saw more servings of food before Zonke took to the stage, and she didn’t disappoint. Zonke is a world-class performer who should be much further along than she is career-wise. Sophisticated, talented, beautiful, charming and with a voice like no other, she gave a brilliant performance.

The evening ended with Mi Casa who turned Shine Studios into a disco. Their light and easy house music had even the nerdiest of people getting on down. This young group have come into their own over the last year and it is as if they were always here. A great way to finish a great evening.

• The Castle Milk Stout Unplugged event will be in Bloem and PE next month. It will hit Durban at Coastlands Ridge on October 13. Line-up: Kabelo, Liquideep, Lira, Khuli Chana. The final event hits Cape Town on November 1 at the Waterfront. The line-up: AKA, Zonke, Mi Casa and Afrotraction.