Centre for the Book had a moody hue to it, somewhere between daylight and darkness – its own twilight zone. Whether this was intentional or not, the soft
ambers, the shadowy blues and the touches of green illuminating the stage certainly added to the eerie, mesmerising feel of the place. Upon entering, a manicured hand with a tight dress and an even tighter smile handed us a Black Bottle Whisky Cocktail. Chairs were assembled around the stage expectantly and, failing to find anything else to do, we sat down.
An odd assortment of people trickled in – some older and soft around the edges, others primped for an evening out in Camps Bay. Studio 7 founder Patrick Craig
ushered the audience forward in an attempt to recreate the intimacy of the gigs held in his Sea Point home. But the Edwardian building and the mismatched audience did not quite create an atmosphere in which an artist could engage informally. It almost felt as if we were waiting for a lecture or even – with the acoustics of Centre for
– a sermon. Yet, as Paige Mac took to the stage and opened her mouth to fill every inch of that dome, I realised that the preacher I had been waiting for had come in the form of an angel.
An extraordinarily humble performer, Paige Mac, along with her bassist Garry van Vuuren, captured the crowd with her shy charm and knowing smile. Her resonant voice and multiple octave range is reminiscent of Adele, albeit an acoustic, African Adele. It didn’t even matter that the words to her songs ‘Atrophy’ and ‘Wish Upon a Star’ were lost in the echo and reverberations of the building. Quite honestly, I didn’t need to make sense of her lyrics to appreciate her sound. She finished up with a song entitled ‘Love Makes you Fat’ and disappeared as graciously as she had arrived. Paige Mac really was an unexpected treat, and for me personally, the highlight of my evening.