The unexpected rain didn't deter the &Union crowd from enjoying the sounds of the Nick Turner Trio on Wednesday. The Mikanic and Sons of Trout-like melodies mixed with a fresh blend of traditional African, ghoema and reggae inspired beats made for an uniquely South African experience.
Nick Turner, the accomplished singer-songwriter and Woordfees award winning guitarist and Schalk Joubert, world class bassist, composer and producer were joined by former Zap Dragons drummer Ash Read and trumpeter Adriaan Brand from Springbok Nude Girls.
"Mother City", written for Mikanic by Turner and Mike Rennie, was followed by "Met Jou Aan My Sy" - a very traditional-sounding composition by Les Javan. Javan also writes some of the music performed by the learners at Solms Delta - a community project where both Turner and Brandt are very actively involved.
Turner then tells the story of how his American dream was cut short by a visit from homeland security officers at five in the morning, who handcuffed him in his kitchen in New York. He lived in the States for 5 years and overstayed his visa by three months. The song "Cuffed in my Kitchen" was born out of this story and has a strong protest-rock sound that takes a dig at the concept of the "American Dream". Turner riffs off Sinatra in the song: "If you don't make it there you can always try elsewhere."
"Same World" is set to another catchy melody with an almost ska-like, offbeat rhythm that shows off the experience of the solid rhythm section. Brand's alternating accompaniment on trumpet and accordion adds up-beat flavour to the song's get-up-and-dance appeal.
The highly entertaining set left the audience on a spiritual note with "Lord Have Mercy on Me" an "African Gospel" song as Turner called it.