8 Foot Sativa, with Frankenbok, Just One Fix, and Silent Torture

It was a hot and sweaty Friday night, when just before leaving work to get in the mood for tonight’s 8 Foot Sativa show when a suspected fire caused a building evacuation - 15 flights of stairs and my mood soured, I was now ready to let the mood loose on a night of death and thrash metal — and so it begins.

Galatos is always one of those venues I’ve often felt never quite lives up to its potential, whilst there’s ample space for a mid-size 200-300 capacity show, an odd off-centre stage position and inconsistent sound/lighting means you’re never sure what kind of show you will get.

An element of miscommunication pushed the shows run-time back an hour, and several small technical issues plagued the bands during their sets, but nothing to the point of killing the vibe of the show - and that intense, brutal, metal.

Relative newcomers to the scene, Silent Torture unleash brutal death metal and destruction no matter where they go - while the members maybe young, they’re well versed in their chosen genre and execute it unrelenting fury that many older, more established bands continue to strive for - it’s safe to say the future of New Zealand extreme music is secure.

For almost 20 years, Just One Fix have been a prominent force in the New Zealand metal scene, mixing on-stage banter and humour with the seriousness and intensity that continues to earn them the musical respect they have. After a technical issue with the drums and getting a loaner from Silent Tortures “Chris Adler” ( aka Ross Curtain ) we’re off again and treated to classic songs along with new material from an upcoming EP. As always, Just One Fix failed to disappoint, even if they failed to contain their beer in the bottle, opting to create an onstage swimming pool fenced by cables ( ok, that wasn’t so much planned, but it was amusing, and a little disconcerting seeing the flow of alcohol heading towards electronics ).

Up third on tonight’s bill was Melbourne based Frankenbok, for some reason I had it in my mind they; being the international act were headlining, but no - they’re just special guests from across the ditch. Beyond knowing the band from countless people suggesting I check them out; I was unfamiliar with their material, so with the show ahead of me I jumped over to Bandcamp and purchased their latest release “Vicious, Lawless” to blast whilst working up to the show and get myself prepared.

My first listen gave me a taste for tonight’s show — progressive metal mixed with a dose of thrash that gets me salivating; initially the mix/bass levels on the album didn’t quite sit well with me, but by the third listen I was digging it, and psyched for the nights live interpretation.

Speaking with the band after the show I mentioned this, and learnt that for this album - they chose to self-record, mix, and produce - having seen bands whose live performance failed to live up to their recorded material - the band entered intending to offer a raw, as-played, no post edit presentation of what a Frankenbok show was like.

That intention paid off here — not only did they meet my expectation, but far exceeded it with their own set of on ( and off ) stage antics, with singer Daniel White leaping from the stage and running the length of the venue, ending up outside on the street singing his heart out, returning to stand next to the mixing desk, towering above a young women oblivious until he leans down, and she looks up to being serenading with brutal screams - the look on her face was priceless.

With the delays in show times, it was a small but vigorous Galatos crowd remaining at midnight, as 8 Foot Sativa hit the stage. Forming in 1999, the band has been a household names to many a Kiwi metalhead for going on 20 years, and like Just One Fix - though both bands have shared their change of line-ups over the years - they continue with unrelenting intensity from album to album, live show to live show.

Where the audience was somewhat passive for the earlier acts, the remaining horde was now a wild intense mosh pit of rolling bodies and limbs, and I found myself camped into the crevice of stage steps and speaker bins, camera in hand, in my own little safe zone.

It’s been about 10 years or more since I last saw 8 Foot Sativa play, and that’s 10 years far too long — tonight was a sore reminder that 8 Foot Sativa remain one of the best heavy metal bands New Zealand has produced over the years, if they’re playing in your town - one should do everything they can to catch them.

8 Foot Sativa


Just One Fix

Silent Torture

Photos and Review originally published for Ambient Light Blog.