Doesn’t the name Armageddon just ring “death & destruction” and a mean party for heavy moshers and bangers with loose brains? Certainly by the end of the evening I can say the remnants of Armageddon was evident as the moshing and stage diving made for a great party and certainly excellent entertainment….. with one rather heavy stage diver enthusiastically concussing himself 3 times till he totally knocked himself out all together… .read on and you will find out the finer details…
Armageddon for those that do not know is a platform launched by hubby and wife team Moose and Liesl of Lockdown Entertainment a few years ago, to get the local bands out there performing and getting a fan base…maybe even a name!!! It caters for all ages who have a love for the harder side of music and its lifestyle but enforces the strict alcohol policy….. no ID no drinkie…. Simple, plain and well enforced by Chevron Risk and Event Management, peacefully done with absolutely no incidents (congrats to all patrons for your reserve ;o).
Arriving at the proposed venue at the Scouts Hall by Edenvale Sports ground was by no means an easy feat, especially if the East is not familiar to you….. even one member of Mudd Pony got lost….. **Signs Moose, signs….** Now being aware that one of the band members of the first band was lost, you guessed it, the event started late… but typical to the South African tradition, NOTHING ever really starts on time and no one was fussed. Sadly there were minimal attending at 12 in the afternoon (probably still recovering from the night before) but be that as it may… when this band started with an pretty good intro with Ray shouting and bellowing his vocals to the audience, though minimal, none less affective …. then seemed to lack the follow through by the third set. They nicely redeemed themselves in the 4th song “Ode to Hell”, with the nice drum brought on by Charles "James May" Dubber and guitar solo interludes by Tai "Prince of Darkness" Jirira – Guitar. Ray "Captain Cock" Harrison, the vocalist confessed that “Line Whore” is his favourite song, due to the message contained there in about drugs and addiction and the results from its abuse. Powerful messages from a band that can end a shaky middle routine with Magnolia and Ruan "Papa Bear" Rabie on Bass … nice tune dudes.
Then came a gothic feel band, I Saw Red headed up by an Evanescence looking and sounding Laura-Ann Harvey…. **Oh my god was I looking at a younger and almost cuter version of Amy Lee,.. Nice look girl….** With the intro, all synthesised I might add, one was expecting a short build up…. Was long… but, I must say (even though personally I feel they should have had a quiet, motionless and impressive beginning instead of talking to the audience and each other…)…. Besides that, they made up for it with BANG… fuck me sideways without lube man… this chick could sing, scream and bellow with the best of them… and to top it off the new bass guitarist Craig Taylor though limiting the full set to only 3 songs, fitted in very to the I Saw Red appeal. Rounding off the ensemble are the first two original founding members, both on guitar, Luke Cayzer and Warren Richards and the banging drummer Daniel Fisher.
First of the real “attendees” to arrive were a bunch or cute little 14 year old nuvo riche, hard rock wannabe’s, with the wind swept “L’Orel” gel look…. Black interlaced with bright splashes and huge colour statements. Shocking pink Pants, tiny tank tops (forgetting that it is a rock hard nipple winter), finger gloves, way too much eyeliner and mascara which actually works with the look and thankfully none of them plastered on the base… And what a surprise when I saw Marnus Oosthuizen and Marizanna Scholtz, both dressed similar to these little “chicky-boo’s”, but with Flair… Marnus and Marizanna are the frontman and drummer respectively and are part of the crew which includes Jacques Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen the bassist and Deon Muller the rhythm guitarist of the Retro Punk band called Sons of Signal….. Not only did this band have great stage presence with each of the members making a considerable effort in their appearance, forgoing the unkept look of the misunderstood punk of the 70’s and the metal grunge look of the 90’s, these guys are sharp and precise mixing the look and sound into a unique package that is known as Sons of Signal. From the sound check, with them singing with the feel of creed, hooty and the blow fish and Jade right to the end, they held my attention. Their internal interaction together with the great finger work from both guitarists and impressive energy from the drummer made for good entertainment…. And if you guys hadn’t figured out yet… the drummer is a chick; a cute, well styled and spunky one at that, who certainly knows how to handle those sticks while she beat life into the kit. I loved watching her work. The harmonising and acoustics and the rapport with the audience was refreshing… These guys are a style of their own and I am certain will rock the music world …
Dark Matter… such a foreboding band name, but so apt… these old school rocker are well versed in the art of metal and the fine intricacies that is the art form of being a metal head. True to his roots, Jacques Kirsten on Vocals and bass growled his way through the songs… taking me to a dark place in metal I have never been… Man these guys are HEAVY and DARK….and the guitar precision was brilliant… Warren Dalto and Morné Linell on rhythm and Mark Bell on lead guitar and with Gero Bezuidenhout on drums, whose technical know how on how to bring out deeps sounds… showed their experience and years…
Dark Matter took me on a journey back to where the HARD rock was born. In their second last song Sharleton, they got the banger in the audience shakin’ their brains… allowing themselves to be transported back in time with these tried and tested metal heads. (one last note – the only person in the entire festival that actually wore Dr Martins 18 hole or more lace up boot – was a member of Dark Matter… true all the way… Rock on Man!!!)
What was noticeable about We Shall Embrace, was not only did they too have a female front man but they had a decent following as well. Though some members of the audience said Kelly Grevler was too soft and sweet who needed to scream… I personally feel that the balance they had with Spencer on Lead Guitar who was a great screamer did more than make up for it… Occasionally flat on Kelly’s side during a harmony, this is still a great starting effort and with a little more practice and more flair in her presentation, this sexy slender singer can have a hot look… raking in more supporters… The accompaniment of the rest of the crew in the flavour of Liamon rhythm guitar, Dave on Bass and beating the times right is Jonno on drums… made for great entertainment and the audience showed their appreciation by singing their last song with them… from start to end… great following guys!!
With the onslaught of Torment lead by a varied vocalist Westley Engelbrecht who belts out the\scream with as much vigour as his mean growl….who, as one of the guitarists also played an acoustic set with a great intro and interlude in their second song together with Itai Jirira on Guitar and Ruan Rabie on Lead Guitar The drummer Charles Dubber on Drumskept the tempo going as the bassist Eugene Kok was noticeably absent. Although the sound was good, and the momentum was not really lost, the absences of a bass guitarist is, for me not the best presentation… Be that as it may, the end of the set rocked … almost as if the instruments took on a life of their own… falling in the self professed genre of Hard Rock/ Metal/ Tribal
Next up came State Dependency, whose metalic hardcore and experimental brought along a loyal fan base who shook those empty heads from the get go… it was awesome.. Dreadlock drummer, full of vigour Ogi on drums, took the floor in my eyes and gave new life to each of the 5 drums, caressing will absolute force and raping the symbols with glee, Ogi beat Dylan on bass and Aiden on Guitar and outstanding vocals to a well supported movement and rhyme… these guys knew their audience and they seemed to know them… for most of the songs were animatedly alive, bringing forth the 5th melody that enticed those that followed to enter into the liuvely world of MOSHING… there after till the final song, were intermittent breaks of truly heartfelt head banging of a loyal fan base
The dead will tell band of Hard rockers made up of Zoran on vocals who was impressively good looking for what the general metal rockers are like, and managed to bet out each song with as much gusto as its last, making each new song a iron filled journey. METAL all the way with the advent of, the 6th song in the set , the slower and melodic guitar work by Henri and Mike on guitar, Lloyd following up on the rhythms of bass. This was not to be out done, but as equally enjoyable to listen to was the 7th tune beaten to perfection by drummer Spence... they were good enough in sound to bring out fellow rival band members Gabs of R.E.B.U.K.E.D and Chris of Guns Go Bang to get up in the audience and rock; both of whom looked like were warming up at a fast pace for their own sets to be performed this night.
Well rather than keeping the crowd waiting, the long awaited bands for the evening, R.E.B.U.K.E.D graced the stage. This being only the second time I have seen both R.E.B.U.K.E.D; and together with Guns Go Bang who took the stage after The 11th Hour and Facing the Gallows, commanded the floor of writhing and undulating bodies moving together in this thrillingly perverse dance of self expression both in rhythm and rhyme. Simple said… they rocked as usual. (see review BSL – 14.08.09 for their stage performance review).
As I said, Guns Go Bang were preceded first by The 11th Hour who where the first Rap metal I had seen live. And the most noticeable point I is the idea that Limp Biskit may have some personal influence on their work. Musa “Moose” Mntambo on vocals gives a convincing performance of one who not only sings the music but lives the life of a metal man as well.. From the bass intro of the first song skilfully done by which brought on a frenzied burst of moshing….to the great acoustic work in the forth by Bruce Middleton and Jonathan Thorburn on guitars… Though, outwardly the technical aspect of Keegan Amorim’s drum worked was of an average standard, his performance and delivery added weight to the thought that “presentation is the key to making a good sale”… and he got my bid. I really hope to see these guys go far… we need more bands and people with the passion for the music that Moose has. I have to add, though it was gutsy that the Beatbox chap “Capital” and his freestyler rap friend “Bionic Blaze” took centre stage… (Hip hop at a metal fest??? – Its all good… music is music …yes??) Any way, it would have been more effective for what ever they were doing if the beatboxer had the beat down…. Practice man, practice… I have no doubt that you will rock in the future and maybe have the audacity to cross bread the genre... but until then…. Practice! Together with the 2 cute little outfitted girls in uniforms selling shooters, they did make for a nice distraction but stood out like a sore thumbs just as the two “raver” boys desperately trying to dance their way to metal… Dudes… better you don’t try something you don’t understand… Feel it in your soul fuckers not just for feet…
Folding nicely into the next Thrashcore band Facing the Gallows whose guitarists Chase and Cadillac melodically and expertly moved there fingers in a crazy dance across their strings ripping the crowd apart allowing the bassist Ray to bring them all back together in a ferocious and dare I say romantic twist .. which is metal. Facing the Gallows’ forth song erupted on the floor like a mini avalanche… bringing out all the stops… with Nem on drums, pulling the rear.. Sadly some dumb ass Russian (yes actually he is) dove off the stage 3 times and each time no matter how much the audience tried top brace themselves like the great bangers they are, he kept on misjudging and greeting the floor with his head…. VODKA?? But be that as it may and though he knocked himself the fuck out… the band took the crowd exactly were they wanted and back again….
After GGB finished their great set (as usual), and again having guest screamers such as Gabs from R.E.B.U.K.E.D, Hour of Blight took centre, but it seems a tat unfair for them as most of the audience started to move off and leave… **Rude little cranium bashers** Any way it was their loss as the Darkest Hour style influence band called Hour of Blight, consisting of James Wolmarans on Guitar and Vocals, Rei Blight on bass, Culan Hinchley who all did nice finger work in the third song Seven Angels. Bringing in the frantic rhythm on drums and finally Nici Booyse on keyboards… Yes keyboards… amazing the slight change in feel when on introduces a classically trained pianist into the frey… Hour of Blight introduced and unusual but good feel. Though hampered by 3 power outages, they still belted their dark vocals at the remaining loyal metal crowd, who drank it in enthusiastically.
Over all the Fest was a great success, but…. Yes but… they would be so much better attended with sponsorship and advertising … Though I would recommend attending Armageddon next year if not any production undertaken by Lockdown Entertainment.
____________ Philip Howard
_____________________ Phil~Sky Productions inc. SKYE Models SA MUSIC NEWS 072-933-5842 Journalist, Reviewer, Events Coordinator Artist, MC,