Johnny Cradle is the rebel noise the black millennial needs

Johnny Cradle is about as representative a sound for the black youth – and everyone at Kitcheners agrees

It’s not easy being sober at a Johnny Cradle show. What I did find easy though was forgiving the incessant weave flicks to my face and stomps on my feet because when Johnny Cradle enters a space, they turn it into a moshpit.

As a quick interjection, special mention must be given to Melo B Jones who captured the Kitcheners revellers with her wavy alt-R&B and refreshing HHP and Sisqo covers. Her EP is available for streaming now on SoundCloud so best you check that out. Also peep some clips we caught of her after the jump.

So we discovered this young starlet by the name of @melob_jones last night. ✨

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So by the time Johnny Cradle had taken up their armour, the groundwork was set for a celebration-cum-rebellion of what it means to be black.

If you’ve been to Kitcheners before, you’ll know what I mean by the music room in the corner between the kitchen and the second bar. You’ll also know that it’s incredibly intimate. So when a three-piece band takes over, a lot of sound and energy reverberates through the room. And it was glorious.

The setlist, which included fan favourites and staples, like “uLate” and some new material had a clear objective in mind: celebrate blackness and champion its push forward through the adversity.

Revisit Johnny Cradle’s “uLate” music video

When I first met Johnny Cradle back in 2016, the band spent two to three hours unpacking their underdog philosophy to me. Standing at Kitcheners watching them deliver an arena size performance in a matchbox room painted the picture for me so vividly (more on this later).

When I first met Johnny Cradle back in 2016, they were a three-piece band. They still are but Chris Lombard has left and been replaced. At the end of the show, I extend my congratulations to the trio and ask drummer, Tebogo Mosane, to introduce me to Lazola Ndamase, the new-addition DJ and sound wizard of the crew. Replacing a bassist and guitarist with a musician like that might sound ludicrous but I tell him after I greet him that it’s just lifted the band’s sound so much higher.

When I first met Johnny Cradle back in 2016, they were three inspired, hustle hard, grind until your knuckles break, unsigned musicians. On this night (yes, I’m writing this at at 12.49am after the show), with a bottle of Moët Imperial each, they celebrate signing with Just Music. My first reaction is to turn to my friend and say, “I couldn’t think of a better label for them.” And it really is a big deal – so big, even the strictly no-alcohol drinker Mosane pops a bottle and takes a swig.

Revisit our feature interview with Johnny Cradle

Even if they weren’t signed yet, there was so much to celebrate in that room. Frontman, Saki Qumana has an effortless knack for working a crowd to the point where things almost felt spiritual. Johnny Cradle concerns itself with the struggles of the underdog which resonated so clearly with the young black Braamfonteiners who packed the room and Saki was their channel through the pain to a site of healing.

From when I first met Johnny Cradle back in 2016, I have been pestering them with the same question that everyone else hounds them with: Where is that damn album? Following the signing it looks like we can expect a project as soon as June. Until then, allow me to close this feature review with the same song Johnny Cradle closed their set with tonight.

Well, what do you think?