04 November 2008

Devildriver shows postponed due to Christian bigotry

Devildriver, those groove growlers from the embers of Coal Chamber, had a full tour booked to South Africa. In typical South African fashion, the entire framework was in place to ensure success. In typical South African fashion, some cretins just had to ruin it for everybody.

One of the gigs were scheduled to take place at Oppidam, a venue near Hartbeespoortdam. This scenic resort is ideally equipped for rock concerts and has hosted many of them in the past – including weekend long festivals.

Thornrose Productions is a rising productions company. In South Africa, production companies are few and far between. Like most industries in South Africa, there are a few monopolies who maintain a comfortable oligarchy. The event organising companies are usually in cahoots with abhorrent radio personalities from another epoch – or perhaps even another dimension. A new independent addition to the largely controlled events organisation market is thus certainly welcome.

Thornrose booked a Devildriver gig at Oppidam, only to have the local Christian community petition against the occurrence of such an event on the allegations that the band is Satanic. One would think that trivial bum fluff like this would go largely unnoticed, especially when there are less trivial matters like the reputation of Oppidam, the profits and the reputation of their client, Thornrose, at stake. Alas, Oppidam, in their oblivious wisdom, decided that they agreed with the local troglodytes and cancelled the Devildriver gig after Thornose already had a contract with dry ink. Apparently Christian money has a different value than secular money.

Now being a metalhead, I'm no Devildriver fan, but I'm no fan of censorship either. The fact that Devildriver isn't remotely a Satanic band is a huge factor in my low regard of them. Heavy metal is about the taboos in society. Traditionally, metal lyrical themes revolve around sex, violence and the occult. Tales of sobriety, abstinence and praise and worship are simply not good copy. Even the Bible is laced with tales of sodomy, incest, rape, genocide, debauchery and more vengeful gods than Lovecraft could concoct in three opium induced trances. This is no accident, as nobody would read a book that is ten commandments and a zombie Jew thick. No, it had to be even thicker than that.

Devildriver sings groovy songs about their maker's hand, that's how dark and Satanic they are. I feel that if you were really compelled to play in a death metal fanboy band, at least do it like Bloodbath or Death Metal All Stars do it. Nevertheless, for the slow readers out there, I concocted this highly scientific table of correspondence to move the subject closer to the light.

Deicide Megadeth Soft Cell Satan and Jesus on The Necro Files!

Don't you just love highly scientific presentations? They make it seem so official.

I do however realise that comprehension – even with the aid of illustration – might take a couple of repetitions. Usually, for the kind of troglodyte who spends most of his time finding Satan in the doings of others, only a couple of beatings can truly aid comprehension. To be frank, what kind of Christian can you possibly be if you can't find Jesus in the doings of others? How is it that you can find Satan under every rock, but you can't find Jesus there? Surely, being Christian means you should be obsessed with Jesus as opposed to being obsessed with the fun guy?

If, like me, you are utterly disgusted at the neglected tact on behalf of Oppidam, feel free to contact them and express your disgust:

You can contact Oppidam to complain about the gig getting cancelled by emailing them or by calling them.

This is their email address:

This is their phone number:
012 259 1585

Cthulhu Ftaghn!


RockStories said...

It sort of escapes me how it's "censorship" for a private company to decide not to do business with a particular entity. In the U.S., petitions and boycotts have been a powerful weapon of various minority groups and their supporters--is that censorship? Television stations and magazines screen content based on the likely response of their advertisers...because keeping advertisers happy is how they make their money. How is it that something that occurs every day and is often overlooked and sometimes lauded as social responsibility suddenly becomes censorship because someone said the dreaded word "christian"?

Garg the Unzola said...

I did not equate censorship with the act of petitioning. I completely support the right of Christians (or any other group) to petition their cause in a way that is not instigating.

I have no problem with the fact that Christians petitioned against Devildriver's gig, or any other gig they perceive as a threat from imaginary friends.

However, the Devildriver shows were cancelled because they were perceived to promote un-Christian values. It does amount to censorship, because something that occurs everyday and is completely normal suddenly became the subject of a moral panic.

If the venue refused to book the event in the first place for whatever reason, I would not have any gripes with the matter. They did however not do this: they first booked the event and cancelled it months later, leaving the production company between a rock and a hard place. This is extremely unprofessional and I feel that - as part of a minority - I am also allowed to picket.

As part of a market segment that consists of potential customers for this venue, I feel I am entitled to voice my opinion - just like the Christians voiced theirs.

My question is how is it that something that occurs every day - like a rock concert - is not overlooked? I do not condone Christian praise and worship, but I am not going to petition against a praise and worship event from happening at a venue close to my house merely because I find such events dull and annoying. This is because I do grant them their place in the sun, but in return I insist on the same courtesy. Namely that I'd like to go and enjoy a live metal event now and again. If a commercial band like Devildriver has trouble getting into my country due to the thick-skulled religious bigotry, how are we going to convince less popular acts whom I'd like to see, like Morbid Angel, to stick their heads into the proverbial beehive?

Cancelling the Devildriver gig was bad for South Africa's international image, it was bad for local music, it was bad for the venue and it was bad for the image of Christians.

weedloversemporiumandcoptyltd said...

I have to agree with Garg(sorry for the late comment). We as metal fans and maybe some non-religous folk dont go around bible bashing everytime there is a mighty man conference or when the ZCC have a get together. Dont think it is fair that it gets done to us when we want to have a good time. I guess love thy neighbour only implies if your neighbour is of the same religous sect as you.

Sean said...

Two things make me sick in this blog. The fact that christian bigotry is making it so we can't enjoy whatever music we choose to listen to.
The second thing is amount of elitism in this post. You act like you're above a band because of it's... genre? Last I checked music was for listening to, not strategically categorizing and avoiding all else but that which is "br00tal and kvlt" etc. Get off your high horse.

Oh and DevilDriver is groove metal.

Garg the Unzola said...

Thank you, Sean.
You act like you're above a blog because of its elitism. I'd tell you to get off your high horse, but frankly, you should aim a little higher.

I don't even listen to Devil Driving Miss Daisy or whatever they are called, so I'll take your strategically categorising word for it that it's Mango Groove Metal.

Sean said...

@Garg the Unzola
I'm not sure how anything I said was offensive to you, and I see no reason for you to attack me for my opinion (isn't that in and of itself the censorship you're talking about?)

I was merely pointing out the author's elitism, wherein he goes out of his way to point out how 'not metal' a band is. It's something I've been noticing a lot lately: people bashing bands (that they don't even listen to no less) based on their genre.

I pointed out that devildriver was groove metal because he had stated that they weren't metal.

I agree with everything you said before, that people were stopped from seeing a show (probably one that many had paid for) simply because a group of people didn't like the beliefs and statement of a band. It's especially ridiculous because they didn't even know what devildriver believed in or spoke about.

Censorship at it's worst

Garg the Unzola said...

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue.

Firstly, it is I who write this blog.

Secondly, censorship is about limiting freedom of expression. I have published all your posts so your expression has not been limited in anyway, hence no censorship.

Thirdly, my elitism forbids me to consider the possibility that someone with your music tastes would realise the irony in attempting to combat the strategic categorisation of genres by strategically categorising genres.

I'm sorry if your bands suck, but slapping a different label on them is not going to change that or make me feel like listening to them any more. Rant about it on your own blog while listening to Rage Against the Machine Head or something else that I despise but is übermetal in your world.

Lastly, the entire point of freedom of expression is that I may attack your views and you may attack mine. I apologise for insinuating that you should aim higher. It seems like it's beyond your grasp.

Sean said...

Haha, my bad, I honestly didn't even look to see who was the author of this. Either way, you ARE elitist no matter what way you spin it. If you're content with hating anything that isn't "übermetal" then that's alright, but there's no need to bash bands that other people like for little reason other than to satisfy your ego.

Second, I have nothing against genres or subgenres. I have everything against people who hate and bash bands based solely on their genre (see: elitism). I also didn't say anything about the genre making the band better, and music is so subjective that, your statement that my music "sucks" is pretty biased.

It also made me laugh that you thought I only listen to softer stuff like devildriver and rage against the machine. At the moment I'm listening to Necrophagist, and the next few bands in my playlist are Cannibal Corpse, Death and Obituary. Don't be so quick to judge, it makes you look foolish.

Garg the Unzola said...

Yes, I am an elitist. You hurl around that term as if it were a colourful epithet.

This entire blog is based on the premise that I am condescending. Most of my readers are in on the joke. Again, more irony that you are combating intolerance by being intolerant of intolerance.

This leads to a contradiction: either you have to accept intolerance as part of your life, or you have to do away with any kind of intolerance, including being intolerant of intolerance or your gender bias, which dictates your mating preference of one gender over another.

I have taken the former route. It allows me to live with my gender bias with regards to choosing mating partners, it avoids contradictions and in a bout of serendipity, I've found that I'm much more tolerant of others because I assume that they have intolerances too.

I accept that I am intolerant and prejudiced. This because you do have to apply some kind of heuristic to prevent the overkill of searching an entire domain before you make a value judgement concerning representatives of that domain. May the best intolerance win, I say.

You cannot claim to have listened to all the groove metal bands in existence before you decided that Devil Driving Miss Daisy is a mango groove metal band. In other words, in making that decision you applied a discrimination heuristic and hence intolerance too - something worth keeping in mind in your crusade against the intolerance of elitists like me.

Discrimination is a very effective survival tactic and coincidentally explains the irrational fear of spiders most people are born with. Not many people with arachnophobia can claim that they have intimate knowledge of all the spiders and their toxicology status. How can they be intolerant of spiders?

To some populists, looking up a band on Wikipedia is a sufficient heuristic, for example, to find which genre the band belongs to. This is not a sufficient heuristic for elitists like myself, who only acknowledge two genres: modernist and post-modernism.

Bashing lesser bands is a way to apply selection pressure - something which ultimately results in better bands and better fans.

Lastly, precisely because your music taste is so subjective, the fact that you do not think that a band sucks even though I do is by default a subjective (ie biased) judgement. You can claim that your bias is better than mine, but then you are in danger of placing yourself in the elitist boat.

If so, you're swabbing the deck and doing the cooking because I've been an elitist for longer.

Sean said...

Whether or not your blog is based on you being condescending is irrelevant, as this was the first and only article I've read from it. That's like saying I should know right away that the onion is a joke news site on my first visit.

Bashing does not apply selection pressure on bands, the Jonas Brothers are testimony to that.

And no, I do not apply heuristics to music. You may say otherwise, but it's true. I realize we discriminate based on heuristics, otherwise we'd end up as nail polish for some bear. But the great thing about mankind is we can choose to ignore those instincts. I don't look at a band and say "wow, their hair is spiked and they play punk, I don't like them". I base my judgments on a band based on what the band sounds like; not their genre or appearance.

Also, you seem to have put WAY too much thought into what I was saying. My statement is plain as day right there. I commented because you were bashing a band, something completely unnecessary that happens way too often.

If you don't understand me by now, I'll give you one last example. Michael Jackson recently died. I don't care whether or not you liked the guy or not, but I'd ask that you be respectful about it and not make paedophile jokes.

It's all about having respect for other people. Something you, hopefully, learned when you were about 5.

And I'm catching the condescending premise now, whether fictional or not xD

Yolande said...

If you don't understand me by now, I'll give you one last example. Michael Jackson recently died. I don't care whether or not you liked the guy or not, but I'd ask that you be respectful about it and not make paedophile jokes.

McDonalds is making a a commemorative burger for MJ - they are squeezing 50-year-old meat between 12-year-old buns.

And if you are not busy later Sean, I can 'bash' feminists, Jews, Americans, the ANC, the physically or mentally disabled, Turkish 'women' and pepper my disrespect with a healthy helping of Devil Driver hating too. Groovy huh?

Garg the Unzola said...

Yes, but don't bash the Jonas Brothers. When you can squeeze them on a play list between Death, Driving Miss Daisy and Obituary without hurling, then clearly you are elite enough to justify being intolerant, and deny it.

Sean said...

Lmao Yolande, if you wanted to hurt my feelings you could've bashed something I'm a part of. Hell, Americans get bashed so much that I'm pretty well used to it. Care to comment on how fat we are or how ridiculously fast our government is throwing away money?

And that MJ joke was pathetic. I heard that same joke the day after he was put on trial.

What's wrong Garg? Out of coherent argument? I mean, I guess I should've guessed the sarcasm when you put Megadeth on a list of
"metal" next to Deicide.

Garg the Unzola said...

American, hey? That explains a few things.

Porkchop Sandwiches!? said...

Really? that's the best you could come up with? This isn't even fun anymore, you're not putting any effort into it xD

Garg the Unzola said...

An army of DevilDriver/Jonas Brothers fans who happen to be American. Really, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Not much to work with.

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