Review – Arts Expo 8: Infiniti – Heidi De Villiers

“Gauteng’s Emalyth have hosted the eighth installment of their regular Arts Expo fixture at Wolmer Bush Lounge, featuring alternative and metal bands from around South Africa (and sometimes beyond) as well as exhibits from various visual artists whose material centers around the dark and alternative. Arts Expo 8: Infiniti took place over the weekend of 29-31 January 2016. Written independently by Heidi De Villiers at www.kontrast.co.za, here is a first-hand account of the experience.” ~ Darkfiend, M4A

Emalyth Arts Expo 8: Infiniti

Well well well… After some unnecessary drama and various disappointments within and outside of the scene blah blah blah… It was time to put all that shit behind us, stand together and kick start this year off at Wolmer Bush Lounge with the Legendary Emalyth Arts Expo 8: Infiniti, brought to us by Emalyth. We seriously needed to get our METAL on and enjoy ourselves, and oh my fuck, we got so much more than we bargained for!

I arrived early on Saturday to be greeted by numerous urban legends of the Friday night… it was a manslaughter, according to many whom barely survived the face melting start to this artistic event! The campsite was already packed and the fullest I had ever seen it. The weather gods also got in on the action and made sure Saturday was a scorcher of a day. Not even a fucking breeze to cool you down, unless you were surrounded by long-haired, head-banging fans… but that didn’t help much either, as you couldn’t help but start head-banging along and overheating in the process. No worries, there was a slip-n-slide to go cool off in, clothes and all. It seems like metalheads and slip-n-slides do go well together?! That much, unfortunately, couldn’t be said for the ancient power struggles between electricity and water, which eventually put a stop to our slippery fun. Pffft! Who cares when there is an infinite supply of ice cold drinks and ice, right?

Got an issue with somebody or just wanna release some unwanted energy? Why not solve it the ancient way by getting in a mosh… oh wait, I meant getting a crash course in Knighthood and battling it out with armour, swords and shields? This really looked like way too much fun. I’m certainly not passing up that opportunity again in future!

The expo grows every year. There was an array of stalls, with all sorts of trinkets, clothing, merchandise and rarities. The art was once again amazing and very inspiring to see such talent, creativity, beauty and darkness! I wanted it all! WOW!

Maximum Carnage live at Arts Expo 8
Maximum Carnage live at Arts Expo 8

The music… where to start man! Saturday saw twenty bands, back to back, across two stages.

Envious Despair hit us right at the perfect moment, to get our Metal on early after Pollinator opened the stage for the day. Envious Despair’s Mike has a fucking pair of lungs man; that scream is soul destroying stuff, in a good way of course. It resurrected quite a few souls from their tently graves.

Aimed at You, with their unique Urban South African Sexiness, grabbed our attention once again. I was also looking forward to hearing one of my new favourite groove metal songs, live. I am talking about the recently released ‘Silence will Fall’ from Surdus. They had a great set and the second they announced they were gonna play it, the crowed doubled in size. It was fucking orgasmic live! During their set, their vocalist even jumped off stage and moshed with the fans. So rad!

Speaking of orgasms… that was the mere start of the multiple sessions ahead. Displeased Disfigurement totally grinded the fuck out of us! It was great seeing them live again and a set just wont be the same without ‘Suck your Pussy!’ South African Death Grind at its Climax.

The heat, music, and non stop head-banging and moshing slowly started taking its toll on a few victors as they chilled to the vibes of Goat Throne, Juggernaught, Rukuz and a few more chilled out bands in between all the brutal carnage. I was so pleased to see Maximum Carnage groove us into metal ecstasy. I have a thing for red guitars …red instruments in general and having their guitarist doing the vocals for the first time was impressive as fuck!

Riddlebreak live at Arts Expo 8
Riddlebreak live at Arts Expo 8

Talking about red instruments, Riddlebreak had a little treat for us, violinist David, sadly featured on their stage for the last time. He is making his way to the far away shores of the English kind. Bon Voyage, dude! I just cant describe what the sound of that violin does in their song ‘Something Sick’ …fuck let me give it a shot… it totally creeps right into every dark, dust filled, cobweb strewn corner and forgotten place of your entire being and soul, then awakens whatever lay there comatosed, caressing it, fucking it, making it angry and then soothing it back to that hyper sleep… the intensity and combination of that violin is absolutely beautiful! I was riddled with goosebumps. Riddlebreak had yet again and, as always, an intense, energetic, hard hitting set. Somehow they always tend to break necks, backs and this time round, had a true scull crusher of a set! LordBoo, as he is known to many, and victor of this glorious massacre is now sporting four staples in his head. That’s metal as fuck! Speedy recovery, dude! So if you don’t know yet, Riddlebreak launched their EP Collapsar at the Arts Expo. If you don’t have a copy yet, make sure you get your hands on one ASAP!

It was time for some fun, jokes and delicious bacon at the slaughter house with our beloved boars, the pigs from outer space. Yes, Boargazm! They too had a little surprise in store for us… we had ourselves a sexy Miss Piggy, pig tails and all, grinding her crotch. Yes, literally grinding her metal crotch with a grinder. So ravishing! Cindy, this is a must for every show from now on. That wasn’t all. We had some difficulty headbanging with all that crotch grinding, brutal boargazmic music, and two stunning poledancers doing their erotic, sensual sport among all us metalheads. Oh my god, that was just too damn sexy! I was pleasantly surprised that between my metal family whom I love dearly; my beloved, crazy, beautiful school buddy was doing her thing on that pole. I did not expect to see her at an event of this nature. Seriously ladies, you have to go join her studio! Lila knows what the fuck she is doing. The sensual art and sport of poledancing is the way to go; not all that new age crossfit/warrior race bullshit 😉

NervoChaos live at Arts Expo 8
NervoChaos (Brazil) live at Arts Expo 8

Chaos ensued, as all the way from Brazil, a band giving rights to their name, NervoChaos, created disorder and mayhem at the Arts Expo. Brazilian flair of a different kind! My buddy, Liam, said that they are reminding us of what heavy metal really is and I totally agree. These guys are fucking extreme. Your nervous system is completely annihilated, after all that chaos. They were fucking brilliant!

No the night had not ended yet… our local Capetonian imports were hungry for some Gauteng flesh… Zombies Ate My Girlfriend were a breath of fresh sea air, as we only get to experience these dudes now and again. They were so lekker man, that energy hitting hard at the core, invigorating our souls and energizing us after all that chaos. These guys are fucking tight. We sure as hell want to see more of them at our altitude!

After waiting so long and them sadly not being able to make the previous Arts Expo, our KZN imports, Theatre Runs Red finally graced us with their death defying darkness, extreme corpse paint, underworldy costumes, and that stench of pure musical euphoria! Their theatrical sets are intoxicating. I have said it before and I will say it again: their music is infectious and you cant help but loose complete control. MOTHERFUCK YEAH!!! I absolutely fell in love with them the first time I saw them live a few years ago and that love just keeps growing stronger… hmmm, see the irony there? So, your usual metal bands dig spraying water on their fans… not Theatre, man. They marked myself, along with a few other fans, with their deathly diseased “black blood”. MUHUHAHAHAHAAAAA! This band is beyond greatness and we Emalythians should seriously consider kidnapping them for good!

Theatre Runs Red live at Arts Expo 8
Theatre Runs Red live at Arts Expo 8

The night came to a growling end with an exclusive once off performance, by the Sistas of Metal. This band is formed from our ladies in various metal bands: Tamla (Tamla Kahn) and Callysta (Posthumous) on guitars, Roushan (Riddlebreak) on bass, Courtney (Mizera and solo artist) on drums and Robyn (Adorned in Ash) on vocals. They played two extreme, oestrogen enraged songs and it was Brutally Sensual! The fans demanded more. Two songs were not enough, so lets hope they heed to the fans and do a few more hormone enraged stints like this to satisfy our, uhm, eardrums 😉

Sash (Sashquita Northey, event organiser), Happy Birthday once again and congratulations on throwing the coolest, most kickass birthday party and Arts Expo! Shout out to Heine (venue owner) and all that were involved for a successful and body-bruising event! It was filled with so many kontrasts, from chilling, sword fighting, getting drenched on a slide, head banging, moshing, to beautiful crafts, artistry and creativity all round …and the powerful music, lifestyle and family, that we call METAL: it was “INFINITLI” brutal and oh so orgasmic! I seriously can’t wait for the next Arts Expo.

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Photographs courtesy of Heidi De Villiers