I rarely accept invites to whatever event taking place. I have turned down offers to attend DJ concerts, computer game tournaments and even live performances. Wambui, one of my oldest friends, can attest to that.
Last Sunday the 26th there was a listening party she’d invited me too. I have previously disappointed her on a number of occasions and she’d be half inclined to give up on me all together. Breaking with my habit of breaking confidences, hearts and promises, I accepted the invitation and brought friends with me too.
The rhythm and style of play echoes Five for Fighting, and their contemporary/Christian theme is resonant with bands like Flyleaf and Skillet. But despite all these similarities, there are a band of their own.
They have cut a niche for themselves. They have identified a set of ideals that they identify with and that set them apart from other enterprises in the market. I must admit that theirs is not my most preferred sub-genre of rock music. Some may call it ‘soft rock’, a term I have shot down at every opportunity I have had, mainly because it is popular among circles with an unclear and misplaced fear of the often construed ‘harder’ sub-genres of rock music.
If I were to give them a place among the sub-genres, I would go for at least four: ‘Indie’, because they are from an independent recording label. ‘Alternative’, because of the similarity to Flyleaf and Skillet, and perhaps ‘Experimental’, due to the absence of the traditional drummer among the crew members. Finally ‘Contemporary’ because of the ideals they represent.
But on this occasion I didn’t mind the genre itself. Perhaps because the venue was well thought out and the ambience was serene. But I’m more convinced that the quality of the music prevailed over my genre biases. And the reason for that would probably be character. Great artists, especially rock artists, draw their inspiration from ideas in books, social-political dimensions or even day to day social concerns.
My favourite band Marilyn Manson draws its themes from the American poet Edgar Allan Poe, the depravity that has been characteristic of Hollywood, from world religions and also from the author Oscar Wilde. The Californian punk rock band Green Day has modelled whole albums on themes such as politics, religious fundamentalism and teenage drug use. Others like the hard rock band Disturbed have modelled their albums on despotic rule of Nazi Germany and the unwarranted breach of national sovereignty that characterized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bedslum has rid itself of the problem that vexes the Kenyan rock scene: a lack of character. Rather than just mouth-off illogical phrases as the fancy catches them, they have adopted themes largely ignored by the music industry like the plight of orphaned children and the under trodden in society.
Their well-rehearsed tunes made for a good afternoon chill out. They are currently ranked third on the Kenyan rock scene behind Parking Lot Grass and Murfy’s Flaw, both of them being independent outfits. Their single ‘Tears and Frowns’ has been number one on the X FM countdown for several weeks.
At the end of the day, I felt vindicated for having gone all the way to Zimmerman for the live performance. I enjoyed the music, and sang along without feeling ridiculous. I even embarrassed myself a couple of times with uncoordinated dance skills. To be part of their first batch of home-based fans was a riveting experience especially with the ever present feeling that this outfit will go places. In two years’ time, they will probably topple Murfy’s Flaw since their music is identifiable with a larger category of listeners.
I paid my debt of dishonoured promises to a great friend to attend functions and enjoyed my time with the ones I went with. At the end of the day, I was disposed to maintain that those were four hours truly well lived.
I’m told that Bedslum are looking to procure the services of a drummer so for those interested, this is an opportunity to fly at.
by Daniel Kobimbo
Photos courtesy of: The Spot-on Photography: https://twitter.com/spotonphotoshop https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spot-on-Photoshop/154329014726452?fref=ts