… And yes, I know exactly what a huge statement that is to make. But I’m making it anyway. Only a band that excited me this much could have brought me out of my semi-hiding on this blog. I heard them, and I simply had to get out a post straight away.
God, I’ve missed that feeling.
South African Band aKING
So, here’s the deal, in a nutshell. I noticed that an old buddy of mine, Dave Macmillan, was proclaiming his love for a band that I hadn’t even heard about, called aKING. Now, those who have read this blog for quite a while might remember Dave Mac’s name; that’s because I mentioned him in my list of “30 South African Bands you NEED to hear!” post, back last year. So, when someone like Dave is impressed by a South African band, you might say that I pay attention. And I’m stoked that I did.
Turns out that I did actually know aKING somewhat; two of their members are from a South African band that I had some major respect for back when I was living there, called Fokofpolisiekar. Fokofpolisiekar were, always, uncompromising musicians… as could be discerned from their choice in band name. “Fokofpolisiekar“, in Afrikaans, literally translates to “Fuckoffpolicecar“. So it’s really no surprise that Hunter Kennedy and Jaco Venter, both Fokofpolisiekar members, have another band that shares this uncompromising position on music. Having joined with friends Laudo Liebenberg and Hennie van Halen, the creative culmination that is aKING is, quite simply, inspiring.
The music is a fusion of alt.country and classic rock, riddled with wry (in fact, often downright cycnical) observations, that somehow still remains positive.
Earlier this year, the band released their debut album “Dutch Courage”, and it’s some of the most exciting stuff I’ve heard out of South Africa in ages. My love for South African music is, of course, no secret… but apart from a select few bands, in the last year, I’ve become increasingly worried about the musical output that I’ve heard from SA. And that’s not to say that it’s bad, by any means… but there’s this homogenisation that seems to be spreading through the bands starting out there, and that worried me. aKING might just be the band to change all that. Their music’s certainly marketable, and there’s no pretension about that; these guys are out to be heard, and they know what they have to do to achieve that. Even the tune “Guilty as Sin”, one of their most mainstream songs (and yes, it is mainstream), has a bridge that simply comes out of nowhere. Seriously… wait until that 2:00 minute mark. You’ll see what I mean.
But it’s singles such as “Safe As Houses”, that are shining lights, proof that they have no fear to step outside what is comfortably heard in SA. Watch the music video below…
I’m seriously hoping for great things from these guys… they deserve it.
Listen. Love. Support.