This stayathome period got me thinking a lot about the scene. 2019 was an eventful year. It would have been the perfect time to have a documentary on the rocks scene because a lot of crazy things happened.
One thing that definetly stood out for me was the crazy amount of content. We witnessed song releases like never before. It’s like the bands said ‘hatutaki ujinga’ – new song after new song.
There were plenty of releases from the household names. One of the oldest bands in the rock scene – Murfy’s fLAW gave us their third ever album Nataka/Sitaki. It amazes me that thirteen years on they and they are still in the game. If that isn’t consistency I don’t know what is.
Last Year’s Tragedy also came back with two songs which I absolutely loved called Perihelion and Mammoth. Shout out to Andromeda Studios for such great production work.
I also enjoyed seeing new bands come to life and 2019 served us with that in plenty. Nekesa showered us with her new solo project. Dead Skin Remedy released an EP. Three relatively new bands, Powerslide, Straight Line Connection and Refuge released full length albums. Powerslide came out with the first ever full length punk rock album called “Cheshire Grin“.
Refuge blessed us with a blues rock album called “Haven for A Heavy Soul“. This was a very mature record by a group of pre-teen expats living here in Kenya. Straight Line Connection was not to be left behind with the first ever full length metal release from a band.The album is called “Spaceless“.
We also saw DUMA an grindcore/doom metal project of Slammy Karugu and Martin Kanja played tours in Poland and Germany. You will also remember that Refuge also played the Baus Festival in Germany.
There were also lots of shows with Nairobi Rock festival, Nairobi Metal Festival and Heavy and the Beast Awards standing out.
One thing I have noticed about the scene is lack of consistency. When the year started bands came out with a bang but with time the fire died.That is an issue with almost all the bands, when it comes to music/album releases, live performances and even organizing shows. It sounds like an old complaint but even with all the changes and growth that the rock scene has had in all these years.
I think the scene can really grow if bands can work on their consistency. I mean you can’t just give your fans a little taste of good things then keep them waiting for a long time it’s not really fair. But I totally understand why though. Because our bands face so many challenges that fans have no idea of. I haven’t lost hope though. I know we can overcome all these challenges.
Consistency does not only apply to bands only but to fans, the only way the bands can maintain theirs is if we maintain ours in terms of support. Let us attend shows, buy the music both online and physical copies, lets buy that merchandise. That is the only way the bands will get the money to record more music, pay for practice space amongst other things. Consistency is that ‘virusi’ that is killing the scene if we all fight it, we will witness nothing but greatness in the Kenyan rock scene.
I should also include my missing in action on writing. honestly I have no excuse or maybe I was still celebrating the fact that I was among the organizers of the first ever rock music awards in east and central Africa.(Or maybe she was just eating cake) But I am back like I haven’t done shit in months. I promise you’ll be hearing more from me this year.
I may not have been in the scene for very long, but I noticed that most bands don’t attend shows unless they are on the lineup. If bands attend other shows its not only for support but also as a way of the bands to learn few things from fellow bands. Learning doesn’t stop and that should apply to bands too. This is also a good way to bond with fellow artists as well as fans.
There are two bands that try their level best to attend gigs: Last Year’s Tragedy and Murfy’s FLaw. These two bands have been around for years, I might not be right about this but I think these bands learn a lot from attending shows, you can tell that from their amazing live performances and just how long they have been around. Dear bands let’s always show up and support our fellow bands, tujengane bana.
It breaks my heart to see the scene divided over some petty issues. Some of these issues are not even worth the fights and the grudges. We need to find better ways of solving our problems because we are in this together. As they saying goes, no man is an island.
We always say we are a family. I know families sometimes differ but they always find a way of working together. Families don’t go around bitching and labeling each other stabbers. If you have an issue with a fellow artist or a rocker on anything to do with the scene, please talk it out and find a way of working together.
This scene is too small to accommodate fights. If we fight then that ka-small hut will come crumble down and we will be left homeless. I believe no one want to see that happen, so let’s always spread love, peace and unity. Let’s encourage above all else forgiveness and a spirit of understanding.
In the spirit of collaboration and openness I’d also like to appeal to Rock Society of Kenya. You are the only rock registered society in Kenya, and I am sure a lot of fans would agree that we are yet to feel your existence, please do more. Let the fans and the bands feel like they have a society that supports them fully. Involve fans too in your activities and decision making because those humans have lots of ideas that can be of great benefit to the scene.
At the end of the day we are all human. It is important to acknowledge our weaknesses. There will be times when we will fall short. Sometimes things may happen that are beyond our control and we may start to feel that all our hard work has been in vain. But I want to encourage everyone of you. Brighter days lie ahead of us. And despite all our shortcomings I believe, like 2019 has shown us, that we are still destined for greatness.
I would like to appreciate one awesome human being and maybe one of the best thing that has ever happened to the scene, Issa Khalid; thank you for trusting heavy and the beast with the awards idea, thank you for giving us a chance to work with you to make it happen. Because of your idea our artists felt appreciated. Can’t wait to do greater things as team again.
Stay safe humans and remember to take a daily dose of Kenyan rock/metal atleast 1×3