Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fokus Met Frik: RAMfest 2012-Joburg

So... A good friend of Frikkie Awesome, Juan Venter, offered his creative writing skills to us and offered us his review of RAMfest which took place this past weekend in Joy-Burg.. We hope to get more sweet reviews like this in the future from Mr Juan... So keep a look out. BUT in the meantime, have a read what the vibe was like at RAMfest!!
"These reviews will not be your run of the mill, beating around the bush reviews. I am here to share MY OPINION with you and will definitely not cry myself to sleep in a cold shower if you do not share these views. I am a passionate music enthusiast and I'm really looking forward to sharing my experiences with you BEFRIKTE guys and gals.

So let’s get into this…..RAMfest – Johannesburg 10/03/2012.
The day starts 11:20 am at Aandklas (Hatfield), waiting for Henk van der Schyf and the hotbox express to take 60 fans to the Riversand Farm in Fourways to witness the culmination of 5 months worth of excitement and expectation. Little did we know that the traffic would not play its part as we ended up missing Newtown Knife Gang, Shadowclub and Chromium – thus these three bands are not up for review.
It was 14:45 and we had (finally) arrived – the cooler box packed for the bus was empty. Parched, we headed for the bar. It’s here where I had my first festival moment (situations that will only occur at a festival), when I sold my friends soul for 100 bucks, to an inebriated, fellow festival-goer.
Captain Morgan was the drink of choice for the day- as it is nutritious and provides energy. We were ready to set sail and explore our first band for the day – Fokofpolisiekar.
When I heard they were going to be on the line-up, the word predictable, came straight to mind, but boy was I wrong. One of the heaviest sets I have ever heard the Belville-rockers jam out. It felt like the addition of Jedd Kossew (Van Coke Kartel guitarist), gave them the raw energy that was lacking in the past four years. These guys have etched their names into South African rock & roll history and deservedly so – Frikkie rating 8/10.
Next up was Awolnation – and I am going to be honest, before Saturday I have never  heard of the gents from the US. WHAT A SURPRISE!!! I heard the song Sail on TUKS FM ( and would lie if I said I was impressed), but they had my fist in the air for 45min. They were definitely the surprise of the day for me and kicked some serious ass. Frikkie rating - 7/10.

A quick Captain run and it was time for the thirteen year veterans, Pestroy to destroy. In my opinion the most under-rated metal band in South Africa. Truly the “Kings of the underground”. Pestroy did not disappoint , as they proceeded to rip Johannesburg a new asshole. Heavy riffs and an amazingly skilled mix of growling, screaming and clean vocals. The only critique I have is the static stage presence at times, which can cause people to lose interest, but other than that top stuff, from a top outfit – Frikkie rating 8/10.

There is only a few events I have witnessed in my life that I can remember every single detail of…and The Narrow gigs makes up about 75% of those events. Once again no one was left wondering who the premier hard rock band in South Africa is. Hanu de Jong demands the crowd’s attention with powerful vocals and showmanship that naturally oozes out of him. Emile de Jong (Rhythm Guitar), Jow Feldtman (Bass Guitar), Deon Kruger (Lead Guitar) and Lias De Lange (Drums) gels so well, so much so that it’s impossible to imagine The Narrow without one of these guys. Their set started with Shoot the DJ, the crowd only stopped bouncing when The Narrow stepped off stage. I can, for the life of me, not understand why these guys are not world famous. Amazing show, amazing energy and uncompromising quality. Frikkie rating – 9/10.
I bought my ticket for RAMfest – Johannesburg, in October 2011. I was so amped that In Flames were coming, the last 5 months felt like a year. I was not disappointed. At times I was left speechless. Guitar riffs and sounds that will tear open your chest and start a mosh pit on your thorax. Something needs to be said for the sound engineers in this regard, they did an amazing job and it was truly impressive – well at least from where I was standing. In Flames truly surpassed every expectation that I had. They had the crowd at the tip of their fingers, obeying their every command. Demanding the audiences' attention every split second, but what do you expect from a top class metal act? When In Flames finished, the old cliché – “I can die now”- felt so applicable and almost immediately post-In Flames blues infiltrated my being. Why it took music promoters so long to get them to South Africa is a mystery…Hopefully Anders Fridéns, In Flames vocalist, promise will ring true….”This is our first time in your beautiful country, but it will definitely not be the last”. Frikkie rating -10/10.
I don’t like to call a spade a garden fork or any other form of gardening equipment, so I won’t. I have heard and listened to Infected Mushroom before, but to be honest it is not my style. I love that people’s taste in, well everything, differs. That’s what makes life interesting. I was not ready for the Infected Mushroom that enveloped me with something so different, I could not help but to sit up straight and take notice. It felt like playing Mortal Combat on Nintendo Wii or Xbox kinect, with an Infected, trippy-electronic-trans-rave Mushroom as a backtrack and the crowds arms, hands and bodies going berserk. The synergy created between the electric drums, the synthesizer and the electric guitar was mind blowing. To top it off, their visual display was by far the best of the evening, adding to the experience. All over a solid, professional and well rounded performance. Still not my cup of tea, but dang I was blown away!!! Frikkie rating – 8/10.

It was time to head back home, although it felt like we had just arrived. I would like to give a massive shout out to the RAMfest organizers: You did an exceptional job. The  sound, the concession stands, two stages, the ablution and of course the most balls to the wall, in your face, stick it to the man, more metal than your ma’s kettle, line-up of bands. I only hope other festivals can follow suit, then South Africa is in for a treat. What an amazing time. With amazing people.  Amazing memories. After all was said and done and the dust settled…it is safe to say that RAMfest – Johannesburg 2012 left me IN Flames…"
Words: Juan Venter
Photography: Xander vand der Merwe

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