Drowning in the drama and drudgery of domestic bliss, I was badly in need of doing something completely different. Since my heavy metal experience has been limited to head banging to ACDC’s Thunderstruck at my high school sokkie, I was pretty sure that attending the Metallica concert at the Bellville Velodrome (on a school night, nogal) would qualify.
And, boy, was I right. The crowd alone told me that this was no ordinary concert gathering. Where else would you see such a diverse audience, ranging from 20-somethings to 60-year-olds? The dress code was jeans with a black T-shirt – and if it happened to flash a slogan like “All Trash, No Trailer”, all the better.
Van Coke Kartel band members Francois Van Coke, Wynand Myburgh, Jason Oosthuizen and Jed Kossew got the well-organised proceedings off to a punctual start, Putting Afrikaans lyrics to electric guitars and drums, the band even gave Carika Keuzenkamp’s song, Dis ‘n Land, the heavy metal treatment. All in all, it was a decent performance - the drummer, Oosthuizen, especially deserves a shout-out - but Metallica is a hell of an act to precede. All else simply pales in comparison to the masters of metal.
From the moment Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo stepped on to the stage, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Hit the Lights got the show off to a head-banging start and old favourites like Master of Puppets, For Whom the Bell Tolls, ballads such as The Unforgiven, and hardcore thrash metal Blackened had fans screaming for more.
Explosions, fountains of flames, a big-screen backdrop and electrical guitar solos added to the wild abandonment. But all the trimmings aside, what stood out most was these musicians’ technical brilliance. They’ve been doing this, most of them anyway, since the early 80s and it shows. Every drum beat, every squeal of the guitar, every growl was dead-on. And they loved it! You would think after 30 years some of their passion for what they do would have faded, but not so – these guys still rock!
And tonight at the Bellville Velodrome, they will be doing it all again. If you are one of the lucky ones who have tickets for their concert this coming Saturday at the FNB Stadium, Joburg, hold on to your Mohawk - you are about to be blown away.