Mar 12, 2012
So, Ramfest! Was amazing to go to another festival, and with one of my favourite bands of all time. All in all, it was an awesome fest – well organised with some brilliant acts. For the entire festival – I’m giving it a gold star! Booyah.
Here are some of the highlights:
- In Flames. My god. I can honestly say that Take This Life was the most powerful song I have ever seen played live. I would have paid R350 just for that.
- The bars – well done – great selection and lots of bartenders. 8/10 – only because the beers ran out at the end – luckily there were still other drinks :)
- The parking – also good, lots of space. It is a pity that there is basically only one way out, so there will always be traffic. That being said, it only took us about half an hour to leave, so not that bad.
- The food stalls – a great selection, with reasonable prices – nicely done.
- The venue – well set up, with great space, a bit of shade, and some of the cleanest ablutions I have seen at a festival. Oh, and the slope of the ground really helps with vantage points and all that.
- Merchandise – was awesome that there was festival merch – I found that the prices were very steep though. The thing is – promoters can charge what they want for these, as people are always willing to buy, and I am sure that they make a great profit from them. Some decency would be a nice surprise on this front.
- Oh yeah – I saw someone had even grown a weed bush behind the toilets for the potheads. Good job…
- Newtown Knife Gang – good set, I thought it was a bit long for the opening act – but good job by them.
- Shadowclub – After seeing them at Kings of Leon and Sowing The Seeds with insane sets, I was really amped, and had been pumping them up to my friends. They were mediocre, and had no energy. Unfortunate – I hope they were just having a kak day, as they have been brilliant before.
- Chromium – Yeah, I am biased :) great set – and it wasn’t just me who thought so based on the crowd. The highlight for me was having Matt come back on for Ex Amino, and the power Hannes was putting into his drumming for his last show. Awesome, awesome stuff by Jared and the guys.
- Fokofpolisiekar – These guys are great live – and the crowd was loving them – great set.
- Awolnation – Yeah… www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O1hM-k3aUY for my feelings on them. Was really expecting more from an international act.
- Pestroy – They owned – keeping a crowd going in the rain is no easy task, they had everyone jumping around so much that the rain took a backseat. Fantastic set!
- The Narrow – Also did really well, the highlight being Lonely Lonely as always :)
- In Flames – I’ll go into more detail below – but they were everything I was hoping for – I wish they had played more older stuff, but reviewing the stuff they did play – I loved it. Take This Life destroyed me, and the rest of the set was awesome. So glad I finally saw them!
- Infected Mushroom – Didn’t see them, but I have heard that they were the band of the day, so good for them. I would love to know how they got such a massively long set though…
Having said that… I do have some thoughts…
I was having trouble deciding whether I should write this, as we are so starved for good international acts in SA that I don’t want to say anything that could hinder more bands coming – but I do think that improving on these points will help us get better acts in the future. Ramfest organisers – use it, don’t use it :)
- My main negative. How the HELL can you have an international act come to headline a festival and only play for 1 hour? Especially when the assumption was that they would be playing a 2 hour set? I take this assumption from the fact that we sat waiting an hour for Infected Mushroom to come out – there was no reason not to have a longer set? This is the question I would really like answered – was this a decision from the Ramfest organisers or from In Flames? To wait for hours in the pouring rain in anticipation, and then to have an hour long set (without even an encore!?) was really disheartening.
- The MC. John Savage. What a fucking idiot. He tried to get the crowd going by shouting the tune to Thunderstruck and ended up sounding like an escaped mental patient. Again – my opinion – but why even waste time with an MC? The crowd will always dislike them, rather use the money to add on another band and save everyone the aggravation of having to listen to an idiot with a microphone.
- The sound. Really sub-standard. The initial bands (a great example being Chromium) had really bad sound issues, with barely existent vocals and very soft guitars. It did improve as the day went on, until In Flames. I cannot believe it got to a point where the crowd was screaming for the vocals to be turned up – surely your sound engineers should fix the issue before it gets to that point? The drums were drowning out guitars as well – I was basically remembering the solos as I could hardly hear them. Not cool at all.
- For the love of god – why was the main screen not used for In Flames? We all know who they are, the area would have been much better put to use as a screen than as an advertising board. The organisers had some amazing video people doing great shots for the whole day – I was really looking forward to seeing it put to use for In Flames so the whole crowd could zoom in on the action. This was a great opportunity that was not used, poor form.
- Band setup times – these were a bit slack, I think it could have been managed better to make the changeovers quicker.
Aside from that – 2 other points that put a damper on the concert:
- Moshing. A delicate issue. I love to mosh, except for when you have a group of ladies with you – it’s not cool having to form a protective wall so they can enjoy the concert. Oh, and when it’s a band I have been wanting to see for most of my life, I want to concentrate on the music and not have to worry about being slammed into. Like I said – this is a delicate issue, as some times there is nothing better than jumping into a pit – so ya. Dunno the solution for this.
- The weather – freaking scorching hot followed by a mad rainstorm. Unlucky.
To conclude – awesome festival, but with some major major issues which I would love to hear more about. Ramfest organisers – keen to hear your rebuttal. I am stoked that we got In Flames to South Africa, and I want to keep more bands coming – tough love…