AS the year come to an end …and we make more resolutions that we probably won’t follow through let’s reminisce has been one hell of a year for the Kenyan Rock n roll scene. Like seriously this was probably one of the most eventful years in the Kenyan Rock Scene. 3 International bands in one year (yes, I’m counting the Backwards lol),Kenyan bands releasing songs in plenty, gigs almost every week per month among other things. So we here at heavy and the beast thought it would be really cool to make a listicle of all the dope stuff that happened on 2016.
So in no particular order LETS GO
- Traitor Like Judas HardcoreHelp Foundation/rock society of kenya gig
The year started with a bang…before we could get over the awesomeness of the previous march from the underground gig ..we get told that a certain metalcore band from Germany is coming on the next show to blow our minds on the next march from the underground gig, and boy did they blow the minds of the masses…one of the craziest mosh pits and crowd surfs I have ever seen. The usually large-seeming Highwaymall Lounge was small that day nearly 400 people in there screaming lyrics over Traitor like judas’ songs played loud as hell over Rock Audios monster Sound system …. everyone was there …rockers from all over Kenya, familiar faces …unfamiliar faces ..etc. people overflowing to the bars outside lounge…all the other bands destroyed too RASH PLG and Rock of Ages brought the Rock LYT brought the Metalcore this was one hell of a gig. First time a European metal band to play in Kenya. Thank you A traitor like Judas please come again .. give hardcore help some love and support their cause on www.hardcore-help.com
- Nairobi underground/blues bar free jamming gigs
Maybe I’m being biased because I like Live music or I play in a band but the Blues bars free jam every first Sunday of the month brought so much to the Rock Scene. This was unimaginable when I first started going to shows. Gigs were rare and you were lucky to get 3 actual gigs in a year. To top it all the bands in the bill are plentiful and the booze is cheap and the gigs free. Also the free jamming jazz/blues concept brings out so much from the musicians and music. Thank you Nairobi underground and blues bars keep doing year thing.
Rock djs all over town Dj-ing actual Rock constantly in westlands and the Nairobi CBD
A while back when I was walking through town and I saw a flier for a club claiming to play Rock music I’d laugh to myself and just go home and listen to my playlist in the matatu, or I’d just cringe so hard passing by the said club on these ‘rock night’ and hear avicii or lady gaga playing with firetruck siren transitions in between ugghh. But then an awesome group of actual Rock/metal djs who only played at rarely organized rock shows and on few actual rock radio shows said ‘enough is enough’ and started playing actual Rock in Westlands and the CBD. To top it all this year they were doing it every week and actually filling these clubs.XFM djEddygrimand Capital Fm DJ Tumz and DjHueskills were on a rampage across Nairobi spreading the distortion gospel to the masses. I enjoyed those nightly weeknights and weekend night shows hehe..even without any live bands .playlists were killer.
- Mapjam gigs in different places with better sound and newer bands
This year was filled with lots of live shows all over the place ,full of new bands ,old bands returning , new people , better sound etc. and we have guys like the people at www.mapjam.co.ke to thank for that. Offering really cheap or free practice space and sound to practice on ..or to do gigs with…basically helping all new bands like the seeds of datura and powerslide, band with no name, and irony destroyed jam ,practice and get gigs and germinate and take root in the rock scene in such short spans of time. Previously with only expensive and restrictive practice space and sound to hire in town to use in town they would probably not have giged and blown our socks off this year. Also the Halloween, lake Naivasha andNoizefest gigs were killer free CDs and high fidelity sound and live music by the lake is bae. Cheers to YerMapjam. Check out more about their cause on book.mapjam.co.ke
- New bands coming up and doing different subgenres.
As I have previously mentioned before ,probably too much,this year has been a year full of new bands coming to the scene and knocking our socks off. Aaaand these bands are actually bringing newer music to our beloved droptuned Yamaha through behringer distortion 4/4 time cheap drumset Swahili/English altrock/metalcore ridden scene . With Todd Crane’s n ronjeys one man guitar dense-chord tech indie rock, to powerslides zero-fucks given powerchord n futwafutwafutwaskatepunk to the seeds of datura’s misty swampy doom metal sounds to the band with no names serious deathpit causing BC rich humbucker pickup deathcore haha ..and most of those who jammed alone or with bands these year brought new shit to the scene ,I even remember even Okal of DEOWA fame playing bass harmonics at blues during one jam session haha .All these newness came this year so lets celebrate it and appreciate it and bring more new stuff J or keep hemesha-ing those drop-tuned yamahas through them behringer pedals..its all good.
- Older bands coming back to the scene
Apart from all these new bands coming up there was a resurgence of old school bands coming back to the scene and showing us how it’s done and reminding us why they are awesome. Starting with Murphys Flaw really killing it at all the blues shows they played at to Bohemia bringing the moshpit like they used to back then , even jamming with Harvey from old school Kenyan punk band Class suicide was a charm ..oh and dude ..rock of ages at the platform 7 gigs and the first HHF that was really something no? no one was even moshing guys just stood there and watched the masters at work ..keep gigging guys..
- More Rock/metal fans at shows than ever before
This was a year of abundance for the rock scene I bet you all agree. Lotsa bands ,lotsashows,lotsadjs representing ,lotsa booze n drugs (lol I jk) ..but also there was a really huge number of people at shows this year..its crazy….the biggest I ever saw being at the second HHF gig ..ThisisAfricafest ..i don’t have the exact number to say the truth..but I’d estimate 500 or 550 ,,but I was drunk.idk… but these time most shows have been packed to small shows like the platform7 and Nairobi underground gigs attracting a sizely number of nearly 100 on a monthly basis and djs at clubs filling maybe 90-200 on good days in the cbd on a weekly basis. This was unheard off before ,before it was just me some homies I knew so well and a 10 guy moshpit in some club far away from the CBD …Not that that was a bad thing , it’s just really overwhelming to see so many guys at shows including the homies and people I never saw ever in my life and a 100+ guys moshpit *sigh* I cry :’) ..
- Many releases from lotsa bands
here I go again with the year of abundance stuff….this year was full of releases ..well not so many as some previous years …but we had an album, a compilation and a number of singles releases and new songs ( even most though still unrecorded or in the process of being recorded) from all over the place. The album being Shinigami records’ goodbad guys Rash’s debut album all the last survivors being introduced at the freaking gnarly Alliance francaise show complete with back up singers and an MC n stuff go buy it its awesome ….The compilation being underscore the architect from Andromeda studios featuring a myriad of artists from the labels roster….check it… also new songs coming from The seeds of datura,Simply Thomas, Bohemia and powerslide (both unrecorded), todd crane (probably recorded) and many bands now in studio working on new stuff ..like legends LYT ,Void of belonging/culture horizon, and also all new bands working that crazy studio time to get stuff out..we wish you all the best guys…
- All for Nothing and Norbromide at #ThisisAfricafest
AAAAANNNND the icing on the cake ,the cherry on the pie, the olive in the whatever alcoholic drink they serve olives in…. the This is Africa fest gig ….two international bands on one bill in a show ..with three awesome Kenyan bands to back them up. All for nothing from the Nertherlands with their super fast abrasive hopeful n politicalHardcore/metal and Norbromide (NMD) from Mozambique with their super heavy and brutal technical Death metal were off the chains crazy… their mosh pits were the most brutal I have ever been in… RIsh killed it as usual as the opener musician Rash and LYT brought the fire as they always do with a brief cameo from Nazizi ..hahah.. everyone was there even a dude from one of the early 90’s now defunct bands Naverone and like almost every metalhead/rocker I had ever met everyone had a really good timeeveryone was hyped and is ready for more.I bet Hardcore help raised a lot of charity money then and these international bands have a very interesting story about Kenya, to tell all the other rock/metal bands in their countries. Crazy to know that Hardcore help foundation isn’t slowing down and are organizing another show this coming March with another international act “ Stick to your guns” coming to rock out with us .My body and soul is ready is your’s ?
- The spirit will live on…It has been proven.
And last but not least this year has proven that the Kenyan rock scene lives on …It showed us that where there is a will there is a way like the awesome story of how HHF started doing gigs in Kenya with the Rock society of Kenya. Or all the stories of the bands’ struggles and tribulations (lol ‘tribulations’) and hopes …. stories of how much fun that has been had among metalheads and rockers and the camaraderie and love still built on the love of this beautiful music. The Idea that we don’t care if its 3 people sitting at home or under a tree or wherever listening to some rock n roll from a phone or boom box or 1500 guys at the show with 7 killer band ready to play..the spirit lives on…and It’s always great to be part of this awesome culture \m/