Tribute to tragic 27 Club

2015-05-13 06:00
Kerry HIles.


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THE talented Kerry Hiles will be introduced to Port Elizabeth audiences when the dynamic singer/bassist/actress fronts the new Centrestage production, The 27 Club, at Old Grey on May 15 and 16 May, playing the roles of Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.

Backed by the seven-piece Centrestage All-Star Band, the show would pay tribute to the members of rock’s most tragic club - the surprisingly high number of famous musicians who died at the far too early age of 27, Centrestage’s Jessica Randall said.

“Besides being among the biggest legends of all time, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are also members of this large and sadly still growing fraternity,” she said.

“Wayne Kallis will emulate the broody Doors front-man, as well as performing a number of celebrated Nirvana unplugged classics.

“Bluesman Rob Thompson steps ably into the shoes of Hendrix and another 27 Club luminary, Crossroads blues pioneer Robert Johnson, and also plays the blues riffs on some of the best-loved Janis Joplin songs, while Hugo Kleinhans salutes founding Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones.

“The rhythm section comprises of Andrew Warneke on bass, Kevin Mattheus on drums, and Gavin Grundlingh on the keyboard.

“While the specifics of the untimely deaths of the members of the 27 Club obviously vary from case to case, the underlying story is often the same - the pressures of sudden fame, the stresses of a gruelling life on the road and the seductive, deceptive escape of alcohol and drugs, now easily obtained due to new-found wealth, proved too much for these still very young people to handle,” Randall said.

“Joplin, Hendrix and Winehouse all died after mixing alcohol with drugs, and the deaths of Morrison and Brian Jones are surrounded by some degree of mystery as they were found dead in a bathtub and a swimming pool respectively.

“Most members of the 27 Club endured strikingly difficult childhoods, which inspired them to express themselves through music and to turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape, bringing into question whether the almost limitless resources in adulthood can undo the impact of their adverse childhoods.

“It could also be argued that the wealth obtained so early in these rock-stars lives and the removal of much of the need to adhere to society’s standards of good responsible behaviour, actually made these musicians much more susceptible to addiction and tragically early deaths.

“Currently based in East London, where she runs her own cheese production business, Kerry Hiles spent a number of years on the Barnyard circuit as bass player and lead singer. She has fronted many top theatre productions, travels regularly around the country with comedian Gino Fabbri and even did a two-year stint on Isidingo a while back.”

The 27 Club features Janice Joplin classics such as Me and Bobby McGee, Ball and Chain, Summertime, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Rehab, You Know I’m No Good, Jim Morrison’s Light My Fire, Roadhouse Blues, Hendrix’s Purple Haze, All Along the Watchtower, Nirvana’s unplugged Where did you Sleep Last Night?, Come As You Are and Smells Like Teen Spirit, among many others.

The shows start at 7.30pm and tickets costing R140, or R130 for eight or more, can be purchased through Computicket. – REPORTER

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