Cakeman’s Love for the Kenyan Rock Scene

The Kenyan rock scene is my second home. I use the term ‘home’ loosely because it is more than that. There’s always love and happiness, whenever I’m in the company of all the rockheads and metalheads.

I attended my first rock gig in 2012; The Battle of The Bands at French school. I was a bit skeptical at first since I didn’t know what to expect. I had just finished high school the previous year. My love for rock gathered pace when I was in high school. I was into P!nk, Blue October, All American Rejects, Dead By April, etc. I hadn’t yet delved into metal stuff. So on this day, Tonnie Mac Jared, my fellow awesome metalhead, dragged me to that gig. The most exciting thing was that there were actual rock and metal bands playing! they were freaking loca! This is our own music!!That blew me away!! I remember Mortal Soul performing, and I was like ‘Fuck’ I actually yelled that, in the middle of the crowd. Looking around I saw these cluster of peeps, headbanging in a group, others growling and screaming, in their metal attire… I felt so happy. I told myself, I need to be a part of this. I need to feel alive. That was the beginning of many beautiful days.

I have formed many friendships and entanglements in this scene, scratch that last part hahaha. But yeah, I have met some of the most kindest and loving humans in the metal scene; humans who not only care about the music but also about those who listen to it. It is a community, that seamlessly makes you want to be yourself, makes you want to laugh more and makes your heart happy. Someone like Bizzaro; if you live under a rock, and you don’t know who he is, simply ask the rock. It will tell you who he is; The life of the party, I met him at Marabou Lounge, and I could tell he is like the main ‘character’ around here hahaha, he is a cool dude, who has helped me out, even when I didn’t know, I needed any help. He is more like a brother to me now. That could have never happened, if I wasn’t in this scene…

Every gig is always a chance for me, to forget whatever is happening in my life and just focus on the love and the laughter that is surrounding me. Everyone I talk to makes me smile. The moshing, the karaoke stints at the Blues, the pre-gig drinks, chilling with the bands and listening to their music for the first time… Every single moment contributes to one’s happiness.

December, 2018. My father had just passed on, The second parent to leave me. I was so distraught. The hospital bill was huge, and I didn’t have that kind of money. Then Yvonne happened also Edygrim with the help of the bands; organized a fund raiser gig for me. So many rockers showed up to support me. I remember in the middle of the event, I was taking shots with ‘akina’ Nimm I had to excuse myself to go to the washroom; I looked myself in the mirror, and started crying, tears of joy, because I couldn’t believe guys actually came through to help and comfort me, that was just touching. My heart was so content and for the rest of the evening, I kept on smiling, but fighting back the tears. I’m a sensitive one, and good deeds like that get imprinted in my heart and soul forever!! Thank you to everyone, who was there for me on that day, and every other single day. Special mention to Valerie and Nekesa, for being the amazing humans, they are. 💜

A few days later, towards the end of 2018; I was very low. I had just already buried my dad, the weight of it all, came crushing down on me. I was a mess. I wasn’t eating, all I could think of was how I could just stop breathing. I was like, why should I should I live when my parents aren’t even here, it didn’t make sense to me. I told myself, I won’t live to see the next year, I will just end it, on 31st. I was prepared I bought some pills, to help with the transition. But on that day a good friend called me in the morning, she was like, are you attending tonight’s gig?? My eyes were puffy from the crying, and my voice sounded so shrill. I cleared my throat, and I said, I might go. Edygrim had an end of year rock party at the Blues. I attended the event;I forgot everything that was happening in my life. I was alive in that moment, I was alive when the clock struck midnight, I was alive, in a new brand year. That was my saving grace.

The rock scene is my family since I rarely talk to my own family. It has given me a home and comfort. Covid has hampered a lot of awesome stuff, that were to happen last year and this year. But somehow, we are still together as a family. I know there are so many rockheads out there, that are yet to experience the adrenaline of live shows, or the amazing camaraderie between the rock fans, but I swear, once you do, you will want to have more. We have been through a lot mentally, emotionally and physically, during this Covid period. I just want to let you know that you not alone. Reach out to your fellow rockers. Just a mere laughter, or vybing over a song together, can make you smile again.

A big shout out to Heavy & The Beast, for giving me the chance to appreciate the scene. They are doing some good stuff. I’m sure you will see a few more wonderful articles, in the weeks to come.
Many thanks to all the rock and metal bands out here. You might not know this, but your music keeps us sane, and alive. Your music is so dope, yes we have very talented humans, who grace us with their gifts. I really appreciate you. 💜
Many more thanks, to all the platforms, that spread the rock gospel: The Rock Tour, online radio show and mixes, by Edygrim, and all the mixes by Tumz, Kevntyce, Justin Rich, Moonplug, etc.. You guys are awesome.. shout out to Rico of Hardcore Help Foundation who has given us some beautiful memories.

Lastly, to the fans out there, I wouldn’t be comfortable attending a gig, on my lonesome, and just stand there naaah that shit is so scary. I feel ecstatic when I’m drinking and moshing with you, or when we are just catching up. That right there, is my family. And I love you. Stay safe. ❤️.

By Antonio Samaranch