‘Brown Paper Bag’ puts the grit into Blues/Rock

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Swakopmund/Walvis Bay

They have been dubbed the best blue/rock band in Namibia. And this past week-end ‘Brown Paper Bag’  grew an even bigger fan base after they pulled out all their ‘stomp’, in a number of rock solid shows at the coast, where they emphasised that the power of live music in this country is neither gone – or forgotten.

During two separate performances held at Walvis Bay’s ‘Sarah’s Se Gat’,  and the recently transformed Lighthouse Pub in Swakopmund, the guys were unstoppable, as they delivered a high octane  set of Blues/Rock numbers that lifted the lid on what music fans can still expect from these lads. Whilst the four piece band has been flying mostly under the radar, popping up here and there for live performances, they have recently fast forwarded themselves onto the top of the music scene, despite the fact that all four members are from different towns, and still live apart.

Yet putting down a two-hour set of live non-stop music for the band who share little practise time is no sweat. In fact these boys just need a stage, their instruments, a few string tunes here and there and they are good to go. Brown Paper Bag, formed in Swakopmund three years ago, when front man singer/songwriter, Doane Madeheim, hooked up with the three other members, Edward Taylor on bass, Wayne Wentzel on drums and Oliver Reissner, better known as ‘Ollie’ on blues harmonica, have since merged as one the tightest knit groups on the local music scene.

Their tangible on stage chemistry, and playing ability of each band member, has cemented what is fast becoming the country’s most talked-about group,  describing their genre as “old school dirty Blues/Rock”, which belts out a powerful sound that sets them apart from the rest – whilst reaching a wide audience base.

From their ‘kick ass’ rendition of Steppin Wolf’s Born to be Wild, to an all original Dirty Black Money, audiences are kept entertained by these boys, who clearly play for the love of it. It must be said that throughout their rock solid set,  Ollie turns up the dial on every song, whilst blowing full throttle into his range of 12  Blues Harmonicas.

Ollie who is an industrial designer by profession, and recently turned men’s hair designer in Windhoek, is in a league of his own. He is no stranger to his instrument, which he first picked up over ten years ago, and is the cherry on top of Brown Paper Bag’s distinctive Blues sound, which would go down well on any international stage. Front man Doane, whose influence is amongst others the 1970s bearded trio – ZZ Top’s Southern dirty blues style. And has a knack for churning out the band’s unique hard hitting sound they are known for today. Doane, a goldsmith by trade, has had a love affair with the guitar since he was seven years old, and has fronted two other incredible bands at the coast – and it shows.

Edward’s smooth bass delivery on his pearl white Fender is the band’s heart beat, and ‘piece de resistance’ , as he slaps that instrument with just enough passion and zest, to bring out the oomph in a song. Working by day for a Swakopmund tour company, Edward’s longstanding relationship with his bass has added just the right ingredient for Brown Paper Bag.

Back then he teamed up with his childhood friend and fly drummer, Wayne,  to play in an ‘ou toppie’ band that was around Tsumeb at the time. Wayne followed in his dad’s footsteps as a musician and started playing drums at the age of five, and professionally at 15 –  and in between his day job as fleet manager, he now teaches drumming classes in Windhoek.

Coincidently these four young men have hit just the right chord, to become a part of this incredible ‘Brown Paper Bag’ experience, and it looks like they are all set to go for many more years to come.  All four band members will agree to one thing, that they have such an incredible music connection between them, they foresee  themselves still making music together when they are “old and grey”. Kind of the stuff that legend bands are made of, and the promise of many more performances from these super cool ‘dudes’.

Uniquely Namibian….. Brown Paper Bag, here ‘Ollie’, Doane, Wayne and Edward performing at the Lighthouse Pub one of the venues where they pulled out all their stomp during  live shows at the Coast the past week-end.

Picture: Browncool

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