Friday, 21 March 2014

MarCH frOm the UndErGrouNd

The year is finally beginning to pick up for Kenyan rock. Five bands will be showcasing their music at a single venue this coming week. Last Year’s Tragedy will be hosting “March from the Underground” on the 29th of March. Supporting acts expected at the gig include Dove Slimme, Mortal Soul, PLG and Void of belonging. DJ Knord will be in charge of the decks. Beer is at 200 bob and, wait for it….. Vodka shots at only 50 bob!!! March from the underground will go down at the Marabou lounge in the Highway Mall (next to Nakumatt Mega on Uhuru highway). Damage is only sh. 300. Come prepared for five hours of head-banging action from 6pm. Oh, and bring a friend-- or half a dozen.
Till later twerps \m/

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Last Year’s tragedy is at it yet again. This Kenyan rock band released its first EP at the beginning of this year. The EP, dubbed Challenge Accepted, has been long in the making. According to the LYT, it has been an evolving album ever since the Kenyan rock outfit’s birth in 2006. It has not been smooth sailing all through for the band either. They had to go through 3 studios, overcome gear problems not to mention paying handsomely for the recording. However this Kenyan rock band swears it was entirely worth it. Songs in the EP include the title track, Challenge accepted, elephant in the room, Generation Light, How to kill a Dare devil and March from the underground. In an interview with Kenyan Rock Band the outfit stated that creating a sound that they loved was their top priority.
We were always going to go for a sound that best pleases us first and then the fans.  We always strive to make music that we love and that we can identify with... ”
If you are wondering about the title, these musicans felt it best represented what their music stands for. The band said it was about facing problems regardless of how daunting they appear. Response from Kenyan metal fans has been positive: Overwhelming is how the band put it. The band is planning a show soon to promote the EP. It’s still hush hush but stay tuned to Kenyan rock band and LYT’s facebook pages for more info. You can get their music on Reverbnation or the Kenyan music site, as well.

Last Year's tragedy

Sunday, 12 January 2014

December Kenyan Rock sceNe

As the year drew to a close Kenyan rock rounded it off in style. First off, the Nairobi Rockfest went down on the 6th of December. The event held at club Ichonic at Ngong road showcased the best Kenyan Rock had to offer. Popular band Murfy’s Flaw, ParkingLotGrass,Last Year’s Tragedy, Koinange Street Avengers, Claymore Project and Moment of Silence performed at Nairobi Rock Fest. And to top it all off, South African swine core band, Boargasm headlined the concert. The band thrilled Kenyan crowds all the while donning pig masks (as is their MO). Prominent DJs such as Gordo the ‘rock guru,’ Knord and Hue also featured on the decks.
Rock takes the street followed on the 11th at changes Pub. Murfy’s Flaw, Claymore Project and ParkinglotGrass performed at this event. Last Year’s Tragedy also launched their EP, Challenge accepted. It features five tracks including Elephant in the room and Generation light. The EP’s main message is:
To inspire mankind to embrace and accept self-enlightenment…
It is a must have for all you Kenyan metal fans out there. Happy new year people. Have great one.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

PLG rEpresent Kenyan Rock in Germany

Once again PLG is testing the limits and taking Kenyan rock to new heights. This November ParkingLotGrass was invited to represent the country in the 49 degree metal zone in Bayreuth Germany. Read as the band tells Kenyan Rock Band of their European adventure.

PLG lead singer Raphael Sipalla and Guitarists Victor Chweya and Amos Kiptoon performing at Bayreuth

First off, briefly explain what 49 degrees metal zone is all about? When did it start? who are the organizers? how regularly does It happen?
The 49 Degrees Metal Zone was a metal festival organized by the institute/faculty of African Studies called the Iwalewa House at the University of Bayreuth and spearheaded by an amazing lady called Alexandre. This was in essence her project. The 2013 show was the first time and it was essentially a showcase of metal from Africa. It was a 3 day event with the first day being an exhibition on photos by an amazing South African photographer called Frank Marshall, second day included a movie screening on the Metal Scene in Angola and a panel discussion with the African bands and the third day was set aside for the concert. Being the first, we do hope that the organizers were happy enough to make this an annual event.

How did the festivals organizers get to hear about and eventually invite you to perform?
They were referred to us by a friend of one of the organizers who knew about the band and knew our drummer, Ronjey. So they reached out, asked to sample some of our recorded music then the invitation followed when they liked what they heard. We were humbled and honoured.

What about other African bands? What stood out for you about their music? 
There was one other African band. A metal band from Angola called Before Crush. What stood out most is how powerful their sound was with just one guitarist on stage. The band was pretty tight and delivered a strong performance. We'd definitely want to play alongside them again and hopefully can visit Angola or get them to come to Kenya soon.
Aside from the African bands, there were also two bands from Germany. There was Aardvaks and there was Shark Tank. Both amazing guys to watch on stage. Everyone gave the show their best and it was evident in the atmosphere.

So you are going to Germany, what did ParkinglotGrass expect when you got there? How did you guys prepare to represent Kenya in the international stage? Were you nervous?
Yeah, ofcourse we were nervous. It was by all means a great achievement both for us and for the Kenyan scene. We didnt have any pre-determined expectations on what we'd find when we got there. And that made it all the better for us because the experience was fantastic and our hosts were amazing people. They made us feel really at home there and that made all the difference. It would have been harder to do the show by landing one night, playing the next and jetting out. And the organizers probably figured as much. By the time we were playing the gig, we felt like we were around our friends and not strangers in a crowd and that made it a better experience.
Preparation was practice, practice and practice. We also asked other bands to give us any of their merch and music that they wanted us to share out there which we did.
Ronjey, PLG drummer
What was on ParkingLotGrass's playlist at the 49 degrees metal zone?
Our set list was all originals from our EP as well as some material that we're currently recording for our album. At the end of our set, the crowd wanted one more song so we threw in the quickest track that we could do without much practice but that could still get the crowd jumping... "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Every rocker and metal head just has to love that song. And they did.

Audiences at 49 degree metal zone
The audience: how did they receive you brand of music? What would PLG say is the perception of the Continent's rock scene out there?
The audience was VERY accommodating and open minded. At first, we naturally weren't sure what to expect. But once we got into it, the crowd was full of positive energy and that helped us a lot. We'd say it was all well received. We had a chance to speak to the other bands after as well as a lot of the people that attended the show and they were very excited overall. So were we.

We cant really say anything that would cover an overall "perception" about the continent's scene. What we did find out is that there's a lot of interest in the African rock and metal scenes so bands need to get their music out there and heard. We hope to be able to go back to Germany and elsewhere and keep spreading the word about the Kenyan scene for years to come and look forward to being able to do that with a lot more bands from here and across the continent. 

Any moments of comic relief while you guys were at Bayreuth? How did you deal with the language barrier? 
There were lots of laughs. That much you can be assured of. There wasnt much of a language barrier as everyone speaks English pretty well. Some students and faculty at the Iwalewa House even spoke some Swahili which was quite exciting. We took the opportunity to learn some German as well. Some of us more successfully than others. It was an awesome experience all around and we made a lot of friends. Bayreuth was an amazing place.

And lastly, what did the band learn from the whole experience?
Well we learnt a lot about being away from home as the band. Its very different from playing the regular shows at home. Being "on the road" is a different experience for everyone. But now, more than ever, we're sure we want to be doing this for a long time to come. We learnt a lot from the other bands as well that played in terms of stage presence, professionalism, sounds and styles. Another thing we saw is that there's great reward is simply doing what you love. Pursue your dreams and desires and be patient with everything. All things come in their time. The list of lessons overall is pretty long. 

What does ParkingLotGrass have planned for Kenyan Rock fans?
Well we truly believe 2014 will be an amazing year. We're glad to have been a part of the scene for the past 3 and a half years and to have seen the growth that the scene has experienced in that time and before. More bands are recording and releasing good material. We for one, can confirm here that we shall release our full length album in 2014 and it shall be bigger and heavier than the EP. Hopefully, fans will see some growth in the band since our 2012 release. We also hope to do a lot more shows outside Nairobi and spread the culture to places where rock and metal bands haven't played before. So in 2014, Kenyan rock fans can expect to see and hear a lot more from us. We have a few surprises that we hope they'll be happy with. 
But not just for the Kenyan fans, but for our fans from all over the world. 2014 is their year. We do this for each and every one of them that continues to support and believe in us.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

BetweEn a rOCk aNd a hard plAcE

Picking up from where we left off on music videos, Kenyan rock band decided to take a trip down memory lane. Its 2010 and social media is abuzz with rumors of a new terror in town. Tall tales caught everyone’s attention. His description: tougher than Chuck Norris, too big to fit in Wikipedia the subject of the boogieman’s nightmares. If he were caught between a rock and a Hard place the latter would get hurt. Ringing any bells? It wasn’t a bird or plane. It was MAKMENDE. This bell bottom donning, afro combing, smile deprived badass took the Kenyan music scene by storm. An invention of the Kenyan band “just a band’, this Kenyan superhero was meant to promote their music video Hahe. It was online marketing at its finest. It took them from an unknown Kenyan band to recognizable brand.
The video itself is a poster child for Kenyan humor.   With colorful characters like Makmende, Abscordita, Wrong Number and taste of Daynja, the video left many in stitches. Makmende was such a hit he even got the attention of the Wall Street Journal.
This single instance underscored the power of the internet in marketing music. The video got more than 20000 views and gave the infamous #KOT(Kenyans On Twitter) something to talk about for a while. More than anything, it had a great effect on Kenyan pop culture. The Afro was once again back in style. And still is (we think lol). Makmende was also Kenya’s first truly viral meme. The jokes were also colorful (Kenyan rock band remembers something about using Viagra for eye drops?) It also showed the extent which a little grit, humor and creativity could do for a Kenyan Band. Anything is possible.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

OctoBeR KenYaN ROck SceNe

Who would have thought? 2013 is drawing to a close.What’s new in the Kenyan rock scene you ask? First off, Murfy’s flaw released their new music video “steal a beat” in September.  It features the band in club setting with well-choreographed dancers in the background. The music of course stays true to Murfy’sflaw mellow style. The song would not be complete without Number Nine’s (lead guitarist) modal riffs.
 murfy's flaw: from the left Punky, Jozie, Vicky , Jojo and Reema, courtesy of get mziki
 Dove Slimme has also been making great inroads in local charts(X FM to be more specific). This Kenyan rock band launched their EP earlier this year. Their single, Leo ni leo made it to X FM’s top 500: Number 29. Leo ni leo also remained on the weekly top 30 for more than three weeks.

ParkingLotGrass is representing Kenya in a German rock festival. 49 metal Zone is going down in Bayrueth Germany from the 24th to 26th October. Kenyan rock band would like to wish them all the best. You can also start preparing for Nairobi Rockfest early this year. It will be on December 7th. South African rock band BOARGAZM will be headlining the event. Kenyan rock bands performing will include, Last Year’s Tragedy, Murfy’s flaw, ParkingLotGrass and Claymore Project. Start saving up, damage is 1000 shillings.