He kicked-off the show with a track titled “If You”, and if I still had any reservations, they were quickly forgotten. A few songs in he played “Days Like This“, a feel-good track with a gentle country melody and nostalgic lyrics. Despite the unfamiliar territory, based on the applause after each track, I don’t think that the audience cared whether they could sing along or not. Kahn has spent more than a decade showcasing his talent and proving himself as a musician; his captivating lyrics and stage presence will command your attention no matter what. And that is exactly why they bought a ticket to a show not knowing what to expect. None-the-less, he engaged the audience by accepting a few requests that saw session musician Rob Davidson join him on stage to play keys. It came as no surprise (being on that side of the “Boerewors Curtain” and all), that the first request was “Lisa se Klavier”. That was followed by crowd favourites “Giant Mistake” and “I’ll Be There”. The latter of the two solidifying the extent of The Parlotones popularity – he stepped back from the microphone and accompanied the audience from start to finish on guitar, only lending his vocals to the chorus.
Kahn’s sincerity is evident in “Delusions of Grandeur”. He spoke about his dilemma of giving it all up and entering the corporate world, but quickly returned to his senses, music is his business. For an artist that has been writing, recording and playing with a band for his entire career, being on stage on his own must seem a daunting feat. There was little trace of this as he comfortably chatted and joked between each track. “Optimistic Eyes” and “Sorry if I Never” are more tracks from the upcoming EP and give way to bluesy country melodies – an experimental side destined to pay off. He sealed off the performance with “The Candle” – a largely conceptualised track with thought-provoking lyrics that guide you through a picturesque nightfall until “The sun begins to rise, exploding through the stratosphere like fireworks on New Year’s”.
When asked where his focus is, he reaffirmed his commitment to both projects; The Parlotones is very much a band now as they were before. “I’ve written so many songs, they don’t always fit into the realm of The Parlotones sound and the solo project gives me the opportunity to explore those songs without limitations”.
So, to answer my earlier question of how far his voice could veer from the familiar? Quite simply, in its entirety, K A H N is a project that can stand its own. The songs are structured in such a way that illuminates his diversity as an artist. His musicality allows him to lend his vocals to almost anything and make it sound unique. He recently recovered from vocal surgery and is no longer able to reach the high notes on tracks such as “Giant Mistake”, but that hasn’t hindered his delivery of falsetto across a number of these new tracks. Kahn’s virtuosity, coupled with gentle melodies and calm voice makes for easy listening, most of all, it’s the lyrical journey that will engage you and make you come back for more.
And if you want more, visit his website here for details of his upcoming EP and shows.