Once upon a time when the world was young, and METAL4AFRICA was naught but a terrible glint in somebody’s eye, there was already begun the annual metal tradition of Whiplash! To the best of our knowledge, Whiplash is South Africa’s longest running annual metal event, making it something of a national treasure. The concept was begun by Dave Sass of Subterania Music back in 2002 and has evolved tremendously since. Also based in Cape Town, it was easy for us to make a turn at “Uncle Dave’s” for a braai, a few beers, and some ‘Singstar’ with the kids. Ok, so the ‘Singstar’ was our idea, but it was a lot of fun…
I remember the first Whiplash very well. Metal bands were scarce in Cape Town during those years, and most were nu-metal, so only 2 bands were booked for Mercury Live (Cape Town) – Corruption Of Virtue and Ill System. “We wanted the different sub-genres together,” said Dave, “and we also went to Zeplins (Pretoria) that year where we had more bands: Ill System, Crystal Dawn, Tyburn and Rhutz”.
“For 4 consecutive years,” Dave continued, “Whiplash remained at Mercury Live, hosting 3 or 4 band line-ups including the likes of My Shade, Toyland, Sacraphyx, Arcana XXII [from Namibia], Six of Nine, Related, To the Grave [later The Horror Cast] and a new upcoming band called Mind Assault”. Dave pointed out how over those four years at Mercury Live it became apparent that the venue was struggling to cope with attendance and the demand for more bands on a line-up. “We decided to move the show and based it on the legendary Lollapolooza Festival where the show roams to different locations” Dave told us, thus bringing us to the last few years where no two Whiplashes are the same. I enjoyed listening as Dave recounted each event and it’s respective line-ups of 8 years. Especially since in more recent years the number of participating bands has exploded up to as many as thirty. Since 2006, the event has occupied The Tafelberg Tavern, The Assembly, Klein Libertas Theatre, and then last year moving to be spread over two venues in Durbanville simultaneously – The Corner Bar (which was over 18 only) and Kunskaffee (all ages) over two days. Being the observant character that I am, I had to enquire about the constant changing of size and proportion of the event, and if it was deliberate owing to lessons learnt or fingers burnt. “Yes, the sizing is deliberate as well. Each Whiplash is designed according to the economy as well,” replied Dave, referring to some moves that left members of the public jumping to their own conclusions. “In a nutshell, it suited everyone to scale down as the South African economy [and worldwide actually] was under tremendous stress and it would be just plain stupid to host a WHIPLASH at a large venue when people couldn’t even pay their accounts. In 2009 we decided to use two Durbanville venues and hosted the show over a Friday and Saturday. This cut the entire performance roster of WHIPLASH into 4 parts and may have looked like attendances were down, but we actually had our biggest attendace ever. I don’t think this will be done again as it was too ‘over the place’ – people travelling from one venue to the other [as the venues were very close] under the influence and so on.”
Thirty bands were hosted at that Whiplash! This year, Whiplash will be hosted at Gandalfs, and including all three floors. “This will make the show more central again, and accessible to the Southern Suburbs”, said Dave. Irrespective of where the event gets held every year, we’ve also noticed a few reoccurring names that appear on the line-up. “There are many reasons why some bands play repeatedly,” said Dave, “the obvious example being Mind Assault who are now playing their sixth Whiplash. Every year they offer a different theme and have a great performance. Also, we like to pinpoint bands who have released material recently as it helps to accommodate them to promote sales. Whiplash always has a massive merchandise stall. We try to accommodate touring bands from up-country as well. This year you can see Skinflint from Botswana who will also have a new album available”. The full line-up for Whiplash 2010 is A-Z: Architecture of Aggression (Pretoria), Bulletscript, Ing, Mind Assault, Sabretooth, Skinflint (Gabarone), Stellitius, Strident, SuiderbeeS, Reverse The Sands, and Warthane (Johannesburg).
Final word from Uncle Dave
“I’d just like to thank the bands, the punters, and everybody involved in the metal scene for standing together and keeping it there. On www.subterania.co.za we are offering FREE banner space to any South African band, so please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for specs. Also, I’d just like to add, please invite your friends to the show on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=197068361896 and the details are also available on our site www.subterania.co.za. If bands want to sell Cds and merch on www.subterania.co.za, please contact me – our site is receiving a massive amount of traffic and we ship worldwide now. We are also listing our SA catalogue on various major international music archives and every little bit helps”
Other Whiplash info
Saturday 11 December @ 299 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town.
3 venues! ROAR – GANDALFS – PANDEMONIUM
Starting from 13:00 through to the early hours of Sunday morning – R40 gains access to all areas.
11 Killer bands, non-stop DJ’s with best of Rock, Alternative & Metal + a MASSIVE merch stall (CD’s, DVD’s, Clothes, Collectables, etc…)
Remember any of these? Why not post your favorite Whiplash memory below…
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