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The Restless Natives At Headset

February 22, 2008 – 15:28 by John

Kesivan Naidoo is nuts. In a kinda enlightened way, and if you don’t know who he is, make a point of using veto power on the next Dirty Skirts gig and checking established jazz outfit The Restless Natives at some point. Even if you weren’t at last night’s Headset Sessions, you’d still be amazed not just at his Ganesh-like drum skills and the ability of Lee Thompson, Shane Cooper, Jason Reolon and saxophonist Chris Engel to create a bit of a buzz…

Headset Sessions

Held at the Armchair Theatre in Observatory, Cape Town, The Headset Sessions are where you go when you’re tired of jumping around and just wanna chill now. In our travels around the Mother City, Joburg and Durban, Overtone encounters loads of “look-at-me” and “f***in’-listen-to-us-rrrOOOAAAAARRR” artists and bands, but the essence of what these guys are offering is music that spans the volume range. In short, you’ll get the louds and the softs, the complex and the simple, the dynamic spectrum.


The Restless Natives. Restless bunch, really….
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At points, dreadlocked double-bassist Shane Cooper was ping-ponging his strings with a drumstick. Keyboardist Reolon tweaks his volume incessantly within songs to find the perfect level for the phrase, and Thompson played a backing, harmonising role effectively.

Chris ‘Afro’ Engel leapt off from the get-go, flipping between a vintage-looking alto and a lustrous bass sax (may be wrong about this – comments?), and grabbing the limelight and the flashes of a piranha-like photography crew. The sax is a bonor-ific instrument, and the closest word in the English vernacular to you know what. So the close-up shot photography was basically soft instrument porn with clothes and instruments.

We chilled, seated on the floor, with candlelight and a homely, conversational vibe.To be fairly critical, there were moments in the intimate venue where the drum kit blatantly overpowered the rest of the action, but the sound was tight, real, and live. And maybe a couple more cushions next time, please. But all in all, worth the R30 and the drinks are around R12 a beer. Good crowd, and definitely a weeknight gig.

  • The Headset Sessions are organised by Lee Thompson, and take place on occasional Thursdays at the Independent Armchair Theatre in Observatory, Cape Town.
  • The Restless Natives play every Tuesday at Asoka on Kloof St, Cape Town. Catch what we had to say about them.
  • Restless Natives Reach The Heart Of Jazz
  • Headset Sessions: Go Latin
  • More news…

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