Julian Redpath at Unit 11

After going on a musical adventure to England for a couple weeks, Matt Knight returns home to Durban to catch yet another world class performance, this time at Unit 11 by Julian Redpath.


I’m a big believer that folk music is the most honest and exposing of all the genres.  What I mean is that it is fairly hard to get away with shallow lyrics, okay-ish concepts or mediocre musicianship with the amount of open space and sensitivity that exists in folk.


Recently I was lucky enough go on a little holiday to London, to catch up on some whinging and get my friend’s wife a Peppersteak Pie from the Sainsbury’s at Tottenham Court Road. While we were there, there also happened to be some of our favourite bands playing all over the UK.


Just this year I’ve been lucky enough to See Nathaniel Rateliff and James Vincent Mcmorrow in gorgeous chapel gigs where it is so intimate that all the bearded men and fringed ladies are too nervous to even breath out too loudly; I’ve watched Bon Iver as a 9 piece tearing Blood Band a new one, just minutes after Vernon single handedly made sweet collective love to ten thousand of us with Regarding Stacks; and I’ve been beautifully surprised by newcomer Ben Howard’s charm and musicability at the Scala.


And there is a point to all this pretentious name-dropping, other than the fact that it’s been a very good year. The point is that when sitting down to watch Julian Redpath play at Unit 11 last Thursday night for another Cake or Death session, I couldn’t help but think to myself that there was very little, if any, change in quality from the previous few gigs that I have been at.


He is that good as a musician. He is that brilliant a songwriter.

I was that drawn in, as were many of Durban’s finest who turned up seemed to be.


I have waited a few days to write this review because I wanted to avoid being hyperbolic and caught up in the moment.  I wanted to allow some time to pass before penning some thoughts.

It’s now nearly a week later, and I would like to say that these are some of the finest songs I have ever in my life ever been lucky enough to hear live, ever.


His voice is perfect, his musical ability is worldclass, and I know of very few men, even internationally, that can turn a phrase like Julian Redpath.


I remember a few years back, when a good friend of mine Zane sat me down in my car just off Windemere rd and told me to shut up and listen. He popped in an EP which he said was astounding to listen to, so I sat and listened – astounded. He then tried to convince me for ten minutes that this was not the next big thing on the world’s Fairtrade Second hand Folk stage, this was not a bootleg album of someone famous who had killed himself by inserting several sets of nail clippers into his eyes, this was, in fact, a friend of Zane’s, who he had just recorded. In his bedroom. In Glen Anil.


It was the Shipwrecks EP by JP Redpath.


I didn’t believe him then, and I don’t believe it now. This can’t exist in our own back yard; it’s just not possible.


*All images © Tyrone Bradley

You can check out his website here and his blog here

4 Responses to “Julian Redpath at Unit 11”
  1. savage says:

    all true words, mr matt!
    julian should be famous.

  2. danny says:

    a worthy write up! nice one!

  3. SvS says:

    Was so sorry to miss this gig! JP got me into folk music with his home made cds, names like ‘the weakerthans” scrawled across the front. in boogaloos when all we had was hip hop and rock, puffy shoes and decks 🙂 didn’t know back then what the man was capable of. Hope Julian can grace us with his gifts again soon! good review – shot Mattie as always!

  4. Dobby says:

    Talented little hobbit

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