South Africa’s music talent has always been diverse, unique and creative and Go Barefoot is no exception. This local band has been creating waves and digging their feet into vast music territories that have excited their fans and music fundis alike. Go Barefoot can best be described as a mix of indie, alternative and African beats with the ‘local is lekker’ flavour being one of their strong points. Go Barefoot is made up of Clive Vickers (bass), Noah Bamberger (keys), Jonathan Smith, Michael Dawson (guitars) and Saul Nossel (drums).
Honourable mentions: ‘Stand Up Saul’, ‘Drive’.
- You Don’t Have to Go
The atmospheric nature of this track hits your eardrums right from the start with a great build up that segues into a charming little melody that just begs you to groove along. It is almost playful with the melody growing sweeter in the first verse. The song also has great individual parts that make up a whole and represent the variety of this band’s repertoire. The ‘You Don’t Have to Go’ refrain before the instrumental and guitar solo is one of the stand-out parts of the number. Another great aspect of this band is the dual vocals shared by Jonathan Smith and Michael Dawson. The two voices work really well together in creating musical harmony. The main melody and chorus also get stronger as the track goes out on a high with a gripping crescendo.
This is such a fun and frenzied song about the City of Gold and what it is like growing up in Johannesburg. ‘I’m just a boy from Johannesburg. I’ve lived here my whole life, there is still so much to explore,’ sings MikeDawson. Dawson also sings a Shona phrase “Chicha Chiri Murutsoka” loosely translated to ‘I discover new things through my feet.’ According to the band, Dawson learned the phrase from a Zimbabwean mbira player he met in 2011 when he performed in Yeoville with an mbira ensemble in 2011.The African flavour is amplified in this number with the guitars dominating and Nossel’s drums keeping a simple and very effective steady beat. A really unique track with a melody that will stick in your head for a while.
- Clouds of Rain
Go Barefoot’s newest single comes in at number three on the list and with good reason. This is probably the band’s most important song that carries the biggest message on South African realities over the past year. It focuses on the student protests and ‘Fees-must-Fall’ riots and the music has an almost Johnny Clegg-like vibe to it. The song is vibrant and textured with interesting guitar parts and other musical elements combining as a whole. ‘I really want to know what it means to be true to ourselves and each other,’ are great lyrics in this track that flows magnificently, almost like a protest march going forward steadily. A must-listen.
‘Hail, on my shoulder, ‘cause they don’t mind Running in circles, but it’s all right,’ is how this song’s catchy chorus builds up with a fantastic African based guitar melody that will get you moving, guaranteed. Noah’s keyboard melody and Vicker’s bass add extra depth to the guitar part and set the foundation with the guitar melody decorating the song into an aural work of art. The only complaint that you can have of this number is that it is way too short.
- I Won’t Back Down
The soft, soothing guitar melodies make you really feel the emotion of this track, while the keyboard notes give it an extra textural feel. This is a love song about standing your ground and not backing down, even if the odds or fate may suggest otherwise. ‘Let the good times roll’ is one of the major themes, along with a focus on youthfulness and the need to take chances and live life instead of contemplating, ‘what if?’ The great part of this single is also the band’s ability to form a united song while each band member gives his unique spin on it. A definite must hear to get an idea what this band is all about..