You can have the voice, have the rap, have the tunes, even have the energy, but it’s all gotta be put together right to make a group break through from good to great.
Blaqseed have almost all the elements in place. They certainly have all of the above, but they aren’t greater than the sum of their parts, although the parts of this young acoustic soul band from Vanderbijlpark are impressive. Singer Lesego Moerane has an incredible voice, the kind that can add its own inflection on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep with seeming ease, yet, as she briefly revealed once or twice during their set, roll a blues growl on the low end. Rapper Krabao Mokoena is brimming over with energy and can string his lyrics fast and clear while acoustic guitarist Gabriel Chauke keeps the chords flying in a masterful rhythmic mix.
A singer, rapper and guitarist as a musical threesome is quite unusual in itself, and they do well to make it work, although they did invite a lead guitarist and percussionist to Cape Town Fringe to “make their sound bigger”. They do need it. Their songs are all too much on the acoustic/vocal register, as they would be, of course. A bass and drums would put needed meat on the bone.
They also need to think about their staging. While they are chatty (especially Karabo) and developed an easy rapport with the audience of ten or so who watched them with us in the Standard Bank Studio, Karabo’s energy needs to be harnessed to perhaps be expressed in more innovative ways. Loose is good, too loose becomes wobbly.
Lesego’s voice is not used to full potential, there’s too much ‘oooh-ing’ going on, that woman needs lyrics. Good ones. Their writing needs work, I was cringing at the cliches. And it was all so squeaky clean. Admittedly I’m of the punk, goth and grunge generation but you can sing about the shit you’ve been through. I’d prefer you to put it into music rather than tell us about it between songs. Getting a little dirty can do a lot of good.
If Blaqseed can pull their substantial talents tight (and get a bassist and drummer) they could really turn heads. I’m rooting for them.
— Steve Kretzmann