Gandalf’s – Breaking a Decade

Gandalf’s has now celebrated 11 years of bone-snapping success and neck-breaking parties and has proved that it will keep growing from strength to strength. It truly caters for all entertainment and never excludes anyone who wants to have a night out to remember (or forget.) Boldly put, it’s most definitely the only place of its kind in South Africa. Gandalf’s and its affiliate clubs have been, in a way, a sort of sanctuary to all the, dare I say, “misfits” cast aside by our somewhat sheepish society.

Through the years, Gandalf’s can boast with pride to being a sort of breeding ground and spawning pool to a lot of us who might never have had that chance to explore our talents or experience that of another, am I right? I mean if it weren’t for clubs like Gandalf’s a night out in Cape Town would be the same as having to listen to 5fm radio without the night zoo; Just utter bollocks. Proud club owner Antonio has a lot to be thanked for in keeping its hallowed halls alive and well. In celebration of this, ROAR, above Gandalf’s, hosted a kickass showcase of bands to make you remember why we all keep coming back for more.

Mind Assault at ROAR
Opening the night with their home brewed familiarity was Mind Assault who shook the very foundations of tonight’s killer party. The Mind Assault crew brutally cut open the show with a tight and metal solid set to make even your grand-mamma proud. Bassist Donavan was all too at home chirping the crowd and keeping the blood pulsing with his usual dapper flair. The exclusion of lead guitarist Flapper, due to a sudden outburst of passion at the Halloween Slaughter 2 party, made way for replacement shredder Niell of Moment of Clarity to showcase his skills. As sure as hell be hot, he impressed fans and sceptics alike and with only a week before the show to practice!

Fear Versus Twelve at ROAR
Fear Versus Twelve were probably the oddball of the event with their style of emotionally driven groove metal and spoilt teenage angst that I would compare to a pretentious zit popping trust fund baby having a bitch fit mid set. They still showed a lot of promise even though they had somewhat divided the mostly pro-metal and less core audience. Their few adoring fans however jumped around in fits of epileptic ecstasy showing everyone what a good time was and isn’t that what this party was all about?

Wargrave at ROAR
Wargrave are a relatively new band to the scene fronted by none other than Chris Hall of Infanteria has come some way since their inception. Their style of 80’s thrash metal infused with a modern twist got the comatose crowed to at least bang their heads and stomp their feet. This band is looking good and finally starting to feel more at home on the stage.

Terminatryx at ROAR
The electro goth industrial machine that is Terminatryx injected a quick break to the mostly metal line-up. Brainchild of Paul A. Blom, vocalist Sonja and featuring rhythm guitarist Patrick of Mind Assault, the band quickly decapitated the head off the proverbial sloth that was the audience who seemed to be losing steam in the face of metal adversity. They opened with their award winning track “Virus”, which is definitely becoming a cult classic among their fans and onlookers alike. Irrespective, they had a great show featuring synthesized vocals and looped drum tracks for that added edge which kind of reminded me of a fusion between Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie with a hint of Lacuna Coil.

Agro at ROAR
Closing off the night’s festivities were touring band, Agro. These ballies of metal have been around, and when I say have been around I mean “have been around”. A 17 year stint so far in the local metal scene doesn’t seem to be slowing these Jozi metallers down. Gandalf’s 11th Birthday bash formed part of their national tour, 17 dates to mark, you guessed it; 17 years of roughing it out in the most overlooked scene known to mankind. These boys and one girl (a violin player who added an awesome dimension to their music,) most definitely made themselves heard by clenching my “top act of the night award” to have watched and experienced. Their influences stabbed through brilliantly with a tight set summed up so eloquently by front man Clive stating: “We aren’t metalcore but we are the core of metal.” Nice!

A great show and an awesome end to yet another successful year for the all axe bearers of metal and supporters of legendary venue, Gandalf’s. Here is to another 11 years… We salute you and thank you for keeping it metal!

Photography by: Diane Styger