Picture this. It is 1983. I have jumped down the stairs into the cavern basement smoke of The Mix. I am in first year at ‘varsity and my Cape Town is a triangle between main campus, Drama school in Gardens, and Shortmarket Street, where The Mix is. It is a Friday or Saturday night and Ella Mental are playing live. I can barely contain myself. The band starts up and a new wave/spidergirl/chameleon/warpainted/cousin of Adam Ant/jerky dancing magician arrives on stage. And then there is the voice. That voice.
Ella Mental sang out my youth, my South Africa, my creative passions. Ella Mental was the band version of what I wanted to do on stage. Heather Mac was exactly who I wanted to be.Â
Today I have just come back from a rehearsal with Heather Mac and her new band as they put final touches to the show that launches her new album, Within, tomorrow night at The Baxter. And, I was standing in a doorway, listening to them, and I got that feeling again. I can only describe it as sheer inspiration connection. Â Obviously, the songs are much more grown up, the mood has shifted, some stuff is mellower, more layered, more loaded. But, there was a moment, with even her back to me, I was transported. I went straight to that magic, Heather Mac of my youngness, and I fell in love all over again.
Join me when I celebrate tomorrow night at The Baxter!