A look back at the launch of The River Band’s debut album
Last Saturday saw the intimate launch of The River Band‘s self-titled debut album at the magical Centre of The Book in the heart of Cape Town. The venue offered a warm shelter from the icy early-May weather. As guests arrived, they cosily gathered around a beautifully displayed drinks and snacks bar. There was a hint of almost tangible curiosity in the air; very few had really heard the new band’s music. This was truly the first taste of what they have to offer.
The band walked on stage, all talented musicians and masters of their respective instruments. They looked nervously excited, looking at each other in anticipation. But as soon as the first notes to the opening song dropped, they relaxed with the music.
During the rest of the night, vocalist Jandré Spangenberg guided the audience on a beautiful journey through all the songs on the new album. He is a compelling storyteller and he briefly shared an anecdote or two between songs; the audience listened with profound interest, not wanting to miss a word or a beat.
Between the stories and the songs, the intense feeling of nostalgia hit. There is a story about the small town of Augrabies, a few kilometres outside of Upington, where Jandré grew up, a story about the mighty Orange River that played such a significant role in his years growing up, and stories about self-discovery and acceptance. The music spoke for itself with the songs being offerings with substance. Every song received a great reception from the crowd.
Jandré’s voice is truly something to behold. It’s raw but rich and at times reminds one of a young Eddie Vedder. Skilled guitarists JP le Roux and CJ Duckitt and experienced drummer Jeanré Leo brought the rock ‘n roll with their effortless execution of each song, while Lindi Grobler’s vocals beautifully flowed with that of Jandré’s, creating a powerful performance. Musicians extraordinaire Morgan King and Hezron Chetty joined the band for the night on the saxophone and violin respectively, creating a spectacular set.
This was one of the most beautiful album launches I have ever attended – from the venue and the audience to the stories Jandré told and each and every musician who joined him on stage. I look forward to following this band’s journey!
Buy the album
Jandré Spangenberg – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Harmonica
Lindi Grobler – Vocals
JP le Roux – Guitars, Vocals
Carlo de Villiers – Keyboards, Piano
CJ Duckitt – Bass
Jeanré Leo – Drums, Vocals
Daniel Voster – Chief Visual Engineer
Justin Maree – Chief Audio Engineer
Hezron Chetty – Violin
Doné Janse van Rensburg – Guitar, Mandolin, Violin
Luzelle Cable – Guitar, Vocals
Morgan King – Saxaphone