Sunday the 9th of August 2015
Venue : Club Rumours
Time: From 2pm into oblivion
Time is racing toward the moment of anticipation. The hour hand strikes the number two with a heavy groan. Like its saying I’m finally here and you’re not. Every second spent on the road after that feels like an indictment. And the prosecution’s case is open and shut. Society’s hag stands as lead counsel on the prosecutions side. Levelling charges of philandering, necrophilia, burgery and blasphemy. The sentence is swift and sure. Off to the threshing floor of hell you go. But what mainstream opinion court doesn’t know is that they’ve sent you to the one place you want to be. Where the voices of tormented souls and fallen angels are called out by the stormy fires of hell. A place of torment in most self-plagiarized folklores around the world but on this day a place of refuge where young spirits will play with the concept of darkness and the drives of the carnal mind.
Nitrogen is in the air and the weather is dreary and beleaguered. A typical trip from home to the city center is riddled with knee jerk intermissions at bus stops; and every such pause on the road to Satan’s Threshold seems like an unwanted detour. I want to call out to the bus conductor who seems to be blind to the fact that the self-obsessed lady with cheap lipstick and the smell of industrial eau du toillet isn’t interested in a ride to town in this ramshackle matatu. By degrees we reach familiar surroundings. Nairobi even on a Sunday is barely relieved of human traffic. Always seeming to choke on the streams of people going nowhere.
Moi Avenue. Club Rumours its 2:15 late as usual.
Outside the door there’s a charming lady manning the door. She gives us a few choice words about bringing in alcohol to throw us off balance. When we think we are done with being patronized we reach the helm of the stairs which opens into the belly of the establishment. Just at its edge is a burly mountain of a lady dishing out tickets and blocking out most of the way with her hulking frame. Seems like she can take on all of us and I make a silent prayer that she’s isn’t allowed onto the moshpit. most metal heads who’ve been waiting to vent were already here by 1pm. The band Irony Destroyed, are already set up. Skylar their other vocalist is missing. Must be personal commitments this time too.
“Even the devil demands decorum”
He is the prince of darkness and everyone must attend his court with that in mind. As a metal head there’s so much to pick from. Anything that says extreme hedonism, aggressive or I don’t give a fuck will do. Best dressed? Well there were many. Bizzarro looks like a Russian spy with orders to vanquish every enemy of the Soviet Union. Lawrence Muchemi is definitely the Lord of the manor in that spiked manipulation of a portmanteau. But the one that caught my eye was Irony Destroyed’s bassist with his gas mask which was a testament to the total nuclear meltdown of a performance that they were about to bring down on everyone.
Disgrace to the family? Wow this one just won the lottery. A walking calamity I must say. Pulled off I don’t give a flying fuck a little too well; broke the gas pedal and drove off the cliff wearing his Nigerian print blazer and timberland boots, total train wreck. I’m actually surprised people were kind enough not to tear his throat out on the mosh pit. But it’s not all that bad his get up. In some quarters where the music isn’t as good; obviously dumbed down by the murder machine for simpler minds; it doubles up as a warrior’s medal. That jacket means so much to the ladies in particular. Some are so taken by it that they’d die if he doesn’t take them home with him. Sad reality though that the breed of women here aren’t too fond of such colorful prints. One walked up to him and said that he looked like a village dweller who borrowed different articles of cloth from various homesteads to attend a wedding. Or a graduation ceremony for an uncle he met some years back time out of mind. The cocktail of apparel that was conjured in the process she said was enough to ruin her night and we chance that this fair weather brother’s charm won’t work on the birds tonight. But the night is still young.
The music is nothing short of upbeat. It is true to the atmosphere. Throughout, DJ Atreyu and her compatriot keep the spirit of the place alive weaving the timelines of heavy metal from the 80’s with stuff from bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath and taking a jump through the oceans of space into modern day bands like Eluvietie.
The mosh pit comes to birth at the rise of the moon. Metalheads like a dark cloud of bats swarming and blackening the twilight, appear from the solitude of their conversational caverns. We huddle in expectation and reverberate to the sound of the beast that refuses to die. Some violently as if in a magical trance. There’s pushing and pulling, hoarse shouting and those who fall and meet the ground do so gracefully. At times it is a meeting of elbows and haws and on occasion and a rising boot meets a swininging head. When I withdraw to catch my breat at our table, the bong of shisha is gone and the taste of blood lingers at the edge of my tongue.
Performing Live – Irony Destroyed
How they take a leap from the fledglings of the scene to Masters of Mayhem in but a couple of weeks is astounding. Last time I watched these guys live was at “March from the Underground”. Carlito the drummer went head to head with former PLG drummer and rock god Carrey Francis Ronjey in a drum slam contest. Both were at ease displaying different sets of skills and entertained the crowd during an interval of time when the lights had gone out. Carlito is particularly fond of the snare, hands work as fast as magic and he more than matched his band mates in artistry. Lenny the lead guitarist is a freak of nature. Calm in demeanor but a throttling whirlwind of electric power that carries all and sundry in a wave of euphoria. The bass is soul crushing to say the least. It was the heart of the performance and impossible to do without. Among colleagues Lawrence Muchemi takes things with new stride. Terrifying when finally unleashed and those covers he’s been doing on YouTube don’t even compare to the abysmal range and throttling force of his vocal technique. They keep working the crowd with every song. That psychosocial cover too never gets old.
Chief and Ian are remarkable individuals I must say. Pulling off an event like this with an exclusive metal theme is stuff of legend. And chief seems to be particularly proud of that achievement. One minute he’s standing next to our editor Trix (who unfortunately happens to be the oddly dressed chap we mentioned earlier) the next minute there’s this grinding super riff playing off of Lenny Kiano’s guitar, Lawrence Muchemi calls in the hounds with his vicious growls and everyone on the mosh pit goes into beast mode. Then chief does something unexpected. Engulfed in smoke, and his silhouette mapped out by the flashing strobe lights, amidst flying fists and flinging heads and beneath the sound of crushing bones he spreads his arms out like an eagle in classic crucifixion pose with a smug smile across his face and says “ I told you this would be amazing”. More than 72 hours later I still remember the bewilderd look on my brother’s face, marveling at the spectacle. From a distance the pit looks like a drug induced orgy of bearhugs, fist fights and disparate bags of flesh bouncing off of each other and falling to the floor. It was better than anything that I have ever dreamed of.