The band formerly known as Flat Stanley is back. Renamed Macstanley, they performed in Cape Town last week for the launch of their first album in four years. QV54 was the chosen venue for this long-awaited occasion. The name refers to its location, 54 Queen Victoria Street, and the building is an old bank which has been renovated into an upmarket venue. Considering the band’s blend of mellow vibes and rock ‘n’ roll, it seemed an odd choice; but the disparity was soon forgotten, because as far as the fans are concerned these guys could launch their album in the middle of the street and they’d be there cheering them on.
The crowd consisted of many die-hard fans, amongst them several Germans. The band having spent some time in Germany, signing a record deal while there, and considering the vast amount of Germans that can be found in Cape Town, their presence was hardly a surprise. The stage was set, quite literally, awaiting the band’s arrival. Coldplay and Snow Patrol, their sounds redolent of Macstanley’s own flavour, leaked out of the speakers. People mingled and drank, all the time watching the stage out of the corner of their eyes. Before too long, the band took to the stage and proceeded to spoil everyone with a long set. Frontman Andy Mac embraced the audience with his wit and warmth and they were swept away, singing along to old favourites and cheering for the latest songs off the new album Lucid, Alive and Dreaming.
Epitomising the feel of the band and their music was the moment they pulled a few stools to the front of the stage, sat down and played unplugged. With people taking to the floor like energiser bunnies with electro and dubstep, it was great to experience an old-school moment such as this. They kept things alive, however, through continual banter with the audience, who was more than happy to interact. It even reached the point where girls started throwing bras at them. Although this was mostly due to the promise of Levi vouchers as a reward. Macstanley always seem to be giving things away at their shows and the crowds love it. Top prize for the night was a guitar and winning this entailed something even more daring than losing underwear: singing one of the band’s songs. On stage. In front of them. There was one person brave enough to try and he did a pretty OK job, helped along by the band and the crowd. At one stage, though, he seemed set to takeover with his rendition, but was quickly ushered off to good-natured laughs.
The set was long and the heavily-draped ceiling created an oppressive heat, but the audience demanded an encore and Macstanley graciously obliged. What’s more they offered not just one more song, but three. Afterwards they were more than ready to party with everyone. They are a great live act and remind everyone why every time they perform and it is quite apparent that their fans will be holding on to them for as long as they can.