Devil Music for Skatersby Devon Straticzuk / 06.06.2011
I’m at Revolution Skate Park in Kempton Park. It’s early evening. Facing the Gallows are the opening act, the traditionally shitty spot on the bill, and after watching them it’s easy to see why. Let’s face it, Facing the Gallows are not the best South African metal band on earth. Brian the Vocalist strains like a Fiat up a mountain most of the time. Too many choruses are just bad Idols auditions. Simon Cowell would say, “you’re absolutely rubbish piss off!” There’s a distinct lack of drive all round. You’d think after four years of this they would have improved.
The Dead Will Tell are on next. This is a band for getting kids, with enough angst to launch a thousand new Nirvana albums, to jump and shout. They rip into their set. Fast, energetic songs with enough complex riffage to rival Between the Buried and Me. Spencer the drummer is amazing. Deft and precise, he makes it look easy. I enjoy them but something feels amiss. The new guitarist? I mean he’s good but he isn’t Mike Harvey.
Truth and its Burden are a solid hard working band. Their European tour is testament to that. Vocalist Ashley De Beer makes full use of the stage and works up quite a sweat. Between songs though he goes on about faith and believing in yourself and standing up for what you think is right. A career in motivational speaking awaits if the whole band thing doesn’t pan out. You can feel the passion in Ashley’s words. I was lost in the music, smiling.
Waiting for the headliners, The Ghost Inside, to set up I coudn’t help thinking how ridiculous slammers are. Kids in shirts two sizes too big for them and jeans eleven sizes too small. They jump, kick and punch no matter who gets in the way. I get it, okay, you’re angry at the world. But why ruin the vibe for other people?
The Ghost Inside get into high gear right off and the few people there rock out. Chaotic wonder and immersive fury finally visits the stage. A great set.
Most of the songs are off the new album, Returners. The singer, Jonathan Vigil, thanks everyone on the bill sweetly and seems genuinely into being here in South Africa. Ashley got a special mention for all his hard work. But the highest praise was the music. The Ghost Inside were borderline sublime. It was a live performance as good as the album, just with added sweat and bonus swearing. They were calculated and relentless tonight. A band bringing it. The perfect mix of hardcore melodics. A slap in the face in a good way.
Still if I told you I had the greatest time of my life, I’d be lying. The whole night was quiet. Silence between bands and songs. The show was too early at 6.30pm but that’s how all ages shows go. All ages shows are a brilliant way to grow live audiences locally. Esential to the future of music in this country. But not on a Wednesday when your demographic has to be at school the next morning.
The lack of that age old combination heavy music and beer put a dampener on things. The music was impressive, the atmosphere wasn’t. It was ghostly inside.
*All images © Devon Straticzuk.