|Between buyin’ beers and judging others, we take some time to review Odian and Marching Dead rock out with their proverbial farm animals out at Eye of Horus.|
So it’s 9:30 at night and we’re at the Eye of Horus Pub. We’re a little worried because the event information we have says this thing starts at 8, but of course it’s clear that stage area isn’t even set up yet, and we have not missed anything of significance. Reassured, and with perhaps some perturbing urgency, we latch on to the bar and get drinks, and put ourselves at ease.
The pub isn’t packed, but it’s full enough for us to warrant having to loiter around the bar counter and glare back at the opposing sea of eye-liner. Two extremely nervous-looking college boys in collared shirts and sweater vests try hard to blend in with the scenery, glancing fearful sideways glances at the people in the pub. They’ve paid to get in, but we make bets to see how long before they find a reason to not be there. Candice bunches up her fist and extends an incriminating index finger at something floor-level – “What’s up with that bitch’s red heels?” I follow her gaze and move up – we are apparently among the company of Dorothy Oz.
My Wookie buddy is suddenly plucked from his bar perch and dragged, backwards, towards the stage, where Odian has by now started setting up. His captor is a bald, middle-aged guy in shorts and a Death Stars t-shirt, who is aggressively coercing our dude to do a d o-si-do skank to Pantera’s Walk and is yelling something about the death of culture. My friend gentlemanly declines and returns, sullied, and downs his beer. Pantera Dude approaches us again later, looking distressed and unfocused. I ask him if he he’s seen Marching Dead perform before, remembering my journalistic intention for the first time that night. Spittle flies through the gaps in his teeth as he slurs something unintelligible but no less unenthusiastic. I try to ask him when he last saw Marching Dead, and I am again left feeling like I might as well converse with a lidless drinks blender. He won’t tell me his name, and by now is beginning to take downright offence at my innocent interrogation. The crowd starts pushing towards the stage for Odian, so I give up trying to get Pantera Dude to say something interesting.
We take up a spot near the front and watch the band warm up, and they launch into their first song without much introduction, or crowd participation, save for one lone hair-whipping Dave Grohl lookalike helicoptering, apparently to his own beat. The crowd begins to loosen up and get into the music by the second track and starts moshing by the third – here, Pantera Dude unleashes his pent-up pining for the Seventies and bodily crashes into everyone. Suddenly, most of the crowd seemed to be made up of big-haired youngsters which had hitherto escaped my notice – does Odian have a secret hobbit fanbase which crawls out of the woodwork? Still, in the middle of it all, was Pantera Dude, the lone behemoth, smiting and flinging aside those lesser than he as he tunneled head-first into the walls of spectators (and on occasion, actual walls).
Odian is a slightly confusing band in terms of genre. I’m not a stickler for categorizing everything in the world into little marked boxes, but these guys strike me as difficult to describe. They promote themselves as a melodic death band, and while their vocalist growls and screeches vocals, he occasionally breaks off into whiny warbling ballads, his eyes squeezed shut and his knuckles white around the mike. Their sound is solid, with fast drums, furious guitars – just weird vocals. “Weird” as in “ambiguous”. They seem to be trying to cover multiple subgenres of death metal, which doesn’t necessarily make for fun for the whole family. Or maybe they just don’t care. Any band that plays a deatchcore cover of Europe’s Final Countdown (to thunderous crowd reaction) can’t take itself too seriously.
Okay, so about these Marching Dead guys. Since arriving in Cape Town in the beginning of the year, my fellow inland immigrant and I have been perusing gig guides and scouring Facebook event pages for this band, because every time my buddy would mention the name he’d get flushed in the face and tremble like a bottle of homemade mampoer left in the sun about to explode. When finally we asked Candice, our lady in the know, if she knew about the band, her reaction to the utterance of the name was much the same. But, she knew no more of any secret band performances than us, so our trail went cold. Then, recently, we received a hot tip from classified sources that Marching Dead would be playing somewhere soon – pandemonium erupted from my two friends, and tables were flipped! Cars set on fire! We would go see this band if it meant we had to spill the blood of innocents!
So here we were, watching these guys take position on stage for their first gig since, as I gauge from research (i.e. as much as I cared to read on the interweb), January. They are skinny guys in cameo shorts and fake-blood-stained faces. We frown as we observe them setting up their drum kit – it’s an electric one. My buddy coughs something about Guitar Hero and looks at the ceiling. There is some palatable tension in the room – people seem to be both expecting either a great comeback or a massive disappointment – there is a hunger for blood. Their lanky vocalist/guitarist, Igor starts off the show by raising his fist, not to flip the horns, but to salute with the most unholy Shocker. (*If this doesn’t mean anything to you, Google it.) The crowd cheers, appreciatively or ignorantly.
The band rips out their first song, and, well, they shred the room to pieces. There is no push-and-shove moshing this time around, and Pantera Dude seems to have evaporated like a vapour of alcohol. The drummer does more fair justice with his little Guitar Hero drum kit, the vocalist’s screeching is solid – by the end of their set the whole room his head-banging and the audience is sucked in. Much of the crowd is from adhesive fandom, and there is a reason for this – both their sound and vocals remains powerful and consistent throughout the performance. They’re good at what they do and they clearly have a good time doing it - stage presence marks them as sexist, arrogant and perverse – massively entertaining! While trying to find information about them, I came across an article wherein the author expressed his disdain at the band asking the audience for drinks in between sets. I was sort of hoping to see if they’d do it again this time – while it wasn’t asked for, they did accept a lone half-finished Hunter’s from an offering audience member – which I direly trust is not a fair representation of their target demographic.
By the end of show? The general mood of the room seemed markedly post-coital. Odian wasn’t terrible, and served to entertain their crowd for what they were worth; nor I do not think Marching Dead disappointed – and if so, then only by staying underground for so long.
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