VENUE: MARABOU SPORTS LOUNGE- HIGHWAY MALL
DATE: 28TH MARCH 2015
BANDS PERFORMING: DEOWA, IRONY DESTROYED,LAST YEAR’S TRAGEDY & RASH,
Blown out of the water, that’s my summation!!!! I barely walked out of there alive, completely famished and thoroughly sober. And who wouldn’t. Just tell me how you handle four performances in the span of one night. How do you go from a relenting week of work and school and hurl yourself into a cauldron of thundering blast beats, gut wrenching screams, smashing guitar solos and hysterical slam dancing at the mosh pit. No you don’t go into the brazen throat of the dragon and come out the same.
I will understand you’re frustration because I share it too. It was a fast night I can barely remember the faces of half people I spoke to, or those I got into bear hugs with. As my pal and I walked in we didn’t know what to expect. Having been to gigs that failed to take off and those that were barely shy of disappointing, we’d taken a few fail safe measures. Don’t raise your expectations. And if you do, make sure you’ve nursed those premature hopes with a gallon of vodka. Everything seemed to conspire against me getting there from finances, to rogue mother nature that saw it fit to dissolve the clouds and let down an unrelenting deluge. I got into a fair amount of pools of water too. To add salt to my wounds, two iconic bands, “Mortal Soul” and “Parking Lot Grass” decided to pull out last minute leaving revellers with a bad taste in their mouths. But the band members were there to celebrate with the rest of us.
I can’t estimate the attendance but it is unlike anything I have ever seen recently. The pre-performance moshpit orchestrated by an able DJ was nothing less than thrilling. The mid-performance moshpits and “walls of death” were thrillingly terrifying and I managed to lose my spectacles on one occasion and place myself in direct collision with a flying punch.
First band on stage was (you’ll forgive me if I am wrong) Irony Destroyed. Lawrence Muchemi lead vocalist was looking like a badass in black spiked boots and a large rain coat. He was flanked on his left by their other vocalist (didn’t catch her name) in a contrasting brilliant white dress. They did a few covers the one I particularly remember is of Slipknot’s ‘psychosocial’ and Puddle of Mudd. Unexpectedly these guys went ahead to perform one of their own compositions, I think the name was ‘Undying Souls’. The reaction from the audience was of complete hysteria characterised by synchronised head swinging, foot stomping all orchestrated by the bellowing guitars and the awesome guttural growls of Lawrence Muchemi. I wont be forgetting that in an instant.
After that it was back to the DJ. So I got time to catch up with a few guys. First was Deowa’s vocalist, a gal called ‘Wanjiku’ who tells me she’s an Engineering major at the Technical University. And we got to talk about what their plans are as a band. They have no plans as yet on where they want to record their music but they are sizing up a few prospects with the likes of Andromeda and Shinigami Records. They are a busy bunch these guys but they have a few surprises lined up including a list of about six songs that they want to release. And if their performance is anything to go by then I expect that the reception will be fairly tremendous. Theirs is a mix of alternative metal with an indigenous flavour. The crowd particularly liked this indigenous element, especially because Wanjiku is so fluent singing in Kikuyu. I cant recall the name of the song either but that is immaterial because I was among those that requested them to play it again.
They were followed later on by the imperious Swahili Hard Rock band Rash. Sam Warui was in his familiar fedora while Gakosh (on drums) rocked a pair of Ozzyesk circle rimmed shades. Their solos were the stuff of legend with Abedi and Max playing that twin guitar rendition that is reminiscent of British Heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. They performed the familiar Bon Jovi and AC DC covers which most people don’t seem to get tired of (rockers are a strange bunch). They blew us away with that Bob Marley cover again and capped it off with a soaring finale with “Sons of Robots”. The most surprising thing about this particular performance was the reception that the fans gave for the freshly released track “Beer Party”. It was thoroughly enjoyed and the band had to decline a third request for the song to be played.
Rash’s performance paved the way for the entry of the host band Last Year’s Tragedy. David Mburu aka ‘Chizi’ looked emotional to say the least. Perhaps seeing such a great turnout and an electric reception was too much to handle. Dialloh teased the audience with a roaring solo on his guitar. Ruto Kipkulei provided that otherworldly psychedelic atmosphere with his skills on the keyboard. I have to say everything else that happened from then on was legendary. The frontline of head bangers was led by the likes of one “Bizarro” who made sure the wave didn’t crush me and spit me on stage. With delirious abandon we sang along to thrashing melodies of emblematic tracks like ‘March from the Underground’, ‘Elephant in the Room’ and the much celebrated ‘Generation Light’.
Leaving the venue at about midnight I felt good about myself and sorry for all the morons that inexplicably managed to miss this one. It seems ‘March from the Underground’ is quickly establishing itself as the scenes frontrunner gig taking the helm from the much maligned ‘Rocktoberfest’. This gig was everything I expected it to be and much more. I can’t wait for what the year has in store. Stay tuned for more gig and song reviews and opinion articles. Keep the scene vibrant.
Images courtesy of ‘Blackperl photography’ and ‘Dagitari Wawira’