Cape Town - It may not have been Mick Jagger and Keith Richards but, to the sold-out crowd at Thursday night’s concert at Kirstenbosch, Angus and Julia Stone were the particular Stones that they had come to hear!
The Australian brother and sister act opened their first-ever performance in South Africa under the stars, on a balmy Cape Town summers evening, which added a touch of extra magic to what was a sublime concert.
The duo, ably supported by their extremely tight band, brought their special brand of what has been described as "alternative folk" to Cape Town and were welcomed with open arms by a rapturous crowd.
This was not an evening at which most of the audience had come for “another concert in Kirstenbosch”, this was an evening for the true fans of the genre and this particular band.
On many occasions, it needed only an opening chord for many to immediately know exactly which song was up next – to the pleasant amazement of Julia Stone in particular.
Their sound is a mix of edgy, harmonious vocals, interwoven with guitars, banjos, keyboards and sometimes even the trumpet, ably played by Julia. Angus has a voice that eases its way through his songs, whilst also having an edgy “smokiness” to it. Julia’s voice, on the other hand, manages to vary between a waif-like fragility and a throaty growl which emerges on the heavier numbers.
With harmonies supplied by the rest of the band, the combination creates a full, balanced sound which is never too sweet nor too “out there “.
Both Angus and Julia have an easy manner and established a friendly, comfortable, personal rapport with the crowd, from very early into the show.
The set was a well-balanced mix of their older numbers, interwoven with some lesser-known songs, plus some new pieces. A highlight for most was their performance of their biggest hit, Big Jet Plane, which had everyone on their feet, adding their voices to the chorus, like one huge backing choir.
The fact that the whole experience was complemented by well-designed lighting and excellent sound put the cherries on what was already a very tasty cake!
All in all, an evening of musical magic. I am sure that the band will have even more South African fans once their performances in Johannesburg and Durban have taken place.