Cape Town, South Africa: it’s not too often that something bizarrely refreshing hits our local metal scene. Often (too often), the emphasis of “what is metal” focuses almost exclusively on the more obvious factors of “but does it sound brutal enough?” So much so that it seems almost too easy these days to get a position on a line-up at a gig, and it has to be asked if we as a metal community are more interested in satisfying an ideology than in accessing quality music? Notwithstanding, we love to support our junior bands and offer them encouragement to keep sharpening their tools and to come back and play another day; yet when we see something like Pyjama Planet hit the stage and capture the minds and hearts of audiences, it gives us great cause for celebration.
So what is Pyjama Planet? This name does not sound very metal at all! The band is actually more of a studio-project-turned-live-act, and is the brainchild of ex-All Guns Full Ammo guitarist, Mark Allnutt, consisting of himself on guitar with former band mate Gareth Lloyd on drums, Neil Bezuidenhout (Moment Of Clarity) on guitar, and Luke Otto (Black Moscow) on bass. Following the release of Max Chops, the debut album of this new collaborative musical project, it was decided to assemble a live act to do the work greater justice. Pyjama Planet as a live act is comprised of scene veterans and puts forth a musical powerhouse which few can outgun. The band steps forward with such confidence and conviction that it’s members, firstly, appear on stage in their Pyjamas, and secondly, chose their first live performance arena to be none other than the 2017 international Wacken Metal Battle.
“An incredible experience. We were lucky enough to have our first ever live show at a great venue, in front of a bigger crowd that we would’ve gotten an your average ‘album launch’ night.
We were super nervous as the music isn’t easy to play live – having been written for a recording project only originally – but once the lights went out and our Intro track started playing, we all settled immediately and played our hearts out. Win or lose, it didn’t matter to us. What mattered was that we saw people smiling and enjoying themselves at our new, fresh outlook on a metal gig.” ~ Mark Allnutt (guitar/composer, Pyjama Planet)
Whilst the band did not move through to the South African finals (another band sharing this weekend’s We Came To Build line-up hold that honour, with co-headliners Megalodon), Pyjama Planet made a powerful impression. It did not surprise us to learn that the band would appear live again so soon when we heard that Pyjama Planet would replace (at very short notice) the band One Eight Seven who had to pull out from the We Came To Build 2017 all-age concert this weekend.
“Funnily enough, the Pyjama Planet live band was never going to be a thing after the Wacken Metal Battle. But, we had so much fun, and got offered this gig within two days of the first show, so why not……” ~ Mark Allnutt
As to the all-age aspect of the coming show, we know that Pyjama Planet will be a great fit. They have a quirky, fun, and innocent theme, and the instrumental finesse to blow young minds and teach them that hard work and many hours of rehearsal sure do pay off. In short, you don’t get good, clean fun better than this within the metal genre. We asked Mark his view on playing the all-ages-welcome event.
“I believe that an all-ages show is a beautiful thing; giving younger people a glimpse into what they can expect in the years to come. That, and teenagers get a chance to leave their house for a while, hopefully.” ~ Mark Allnutt
In terms of future plans for the band, and what audiences might expect (regardless of above or below the age of eighteen) this may be a very rare viewing opportunity indeed. As already mentioned by Mark, the band was not intended as a long-term live act. Already, work is begun on another collaborative studio album, and will follow very much a different sort of musical direction. Mark is not saying good-bye to metal, however, but rather pursuing an exploration of his personal musical passions. We asked him about the future of Pyjama Planet.
“The million Rand question… for me at least! Pyjama Planet was always intended to be a multi-genre project, and it seems it’ll be staying that way. This answer is short, but two-fold. Firstly, the next installment in the Pyjama Planet is a Blues album. Yes… Blues. I’m an avid fan of the Blues, and remember spending hours as a child, in my pyjamas, listening to my Dads Blues albums. This album will follow the same mold, utilizing already existing Cape Town Blues musicians to make-up the Collaborative side of the tracks. Secondly, the third installment will be another metal album, except now on a 7-string guitar. Aptly titled ‘Madjenta’, this album will explore the heavier side of Metal, again with no vocals.” ~ Mark Allnutt
Catch them live while you can, this weekend at We Came To Build 2017 in the Claremont Civic Hall. Pyjama Planet will be the first band up on stage at 18h00, so don’t dally too long about the wardrobe. In fact, you wouldn’t need to feel out of place if you simply arrived in your own pyjamas. Full event details can be viewed at the official facebook event page by hosts, the Build Your Scene podcast.
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