Summerfest ’12 in Review – Part 1

Metal, beer and good times. All this and more is what was expected as the 28th of January 2012 dawned. Metal4africa.com had promised to impale our lust for live metal on the bloodied pike of patience and so they did, Summerfest was back and I was heading there fast. Destination: Stellenbosch. (I make it around 3 pm into Stellenbosch and decided on a pint or 2 at the rustic De Akker pub legendary in its own right and another story all together, I have my drinks pay the sleepy barman and can’t help noticing how peaceful this town is on an early Saturday Afternoon, the calm before the proverbial storm.)

It’s now 4pm the festival gates will have opened so I get scrambling. It’s still quiet having not succumbed to the arrival of the legendary M4A Party bus which will make its infamous appearance around 5:30pm, unfortunately a half hour to late for the openers who have just sound checked and nurse their beers and nerves before their set.

The setting for M4A Summerfest has not changed much having been hosted at the very capable Klein Libertas Theatre for the last 5 years and going from strength to strength ever since. The usual stalls of band merch, local and international are set up in one corner while in the other corner a outdoor stage with DJ Andy at the decks kicks off and it’s for some metal, fucking partying.

This brings me to the start of the show. First up saw newbies Forgive Us Not hit the stage for the first time in their short careers. Not being ones to hold back on their unsuspecting audience they deliver a brutal monstrosity of sonic distortion, severing eardrums and getting bodies to sway. They first act is always one of the toughest slots of the fest but they fared well and made their mark, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed. I did notice however a lot of the old school present were hard-pressed to be drawn in, but showed support irrespective and that’s what counts. Forgive Us Not has the drive, look and stamina needed to be a great band; but for how long will this last without the much needed guidance from their peers? A decent opener to the fest and with time and experience could be groomed into a true force of metal.

After a quick intermission, Diverge stepped up to the plate. Now, don’t get me wrong; I am a little out of the loop with a lot of the burgeoning younger metal heads who bring about immense amounts of energy, brutality and love for a genre only the few can appreciate, but it lacks the ever-present groove and catchy licks that make most of our metal idols so legendary. But in saying so, Diverge saw a better complement of patrons as the crowd swelled with the arrival of the M4A party bus. Sixty or so people dove in trying to take in as much of the little they had missed but still had a long day ahead to look forward too thankfully.

A bit of a longer break ensued and the murmuring started as time started to lapse into the red, the next band up had made their followers wait long enough to see them live. This all star cast of members that make up the prehistoric fin shaped death machine was Megalodon. Featuring a repertoire of seasoned musicians from legendary bands such as Odian, The Broken Result and Marching Dead, they sure as hell had to live up to the ripping math metal inspired tunes to make, dare I say, their idols Meshuggah proud.

Megalodon drew by far the biggest crowd by this point and for good reason. They delivared a kick ass show while I struggled to squirm and fight my way through the mosh pit to view them from a decent spot, only to be confronted by the statue of a body thats was their frontman Thomas. His movements while delivering big growling vocals made heads roll, while the strings complimented each other as the drums, with technical flawlessness, kept it tight and refreshing to say the least.

To break the politics of death metal inspired bands, Wargrave fronted by Infanteria main man Chris Hall took to the stage. Wargrave brought their thrash metal goodness to a crowd who, by now, I think needed a bit more melody to headbang and throw each other against the rafters to. The news of Chris leaving this act was disappointing to hear as this band really has a presence and has worked hard to put their mark on the metal scene in the past year. They were a really enjoyable band to watch and it was a pleasure to see them do what they do best.

My last act viewed was the ever catchy and watchable industrial act that is Terminatryx. Their stage was littered with projections, smoke and lighting to enhance the visual and aural experience as the day faded into darkness. The crowd had swelled even more and the booze flowed more freely and everyone was ready to be blown away. Terminatryx‘s brand of synthesized metal fronted by the ever erotic Sonja Ruppersberg and the illustrious by Paul Blom worked seamlessly to bring their audience a quality product with as much emphasis on the performance as with their music. This show was in support of their newly launched remix album entitled Remyx 1.0 which, quite frankly, is better than the original in my opinion.

Tomorrow, the BrutalViking wraps up the review. Stay tuned!