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8 Foot Sativa - 8 Foot Sativa @ The Royal, Palmerston North 11/10/13

30 Oct 2013 // A review by Peter-James Dries

“I’m going to see 8 Foot Sativa, but my girlfriend won’t let me smoke drugs anymore so the name of the band is unfortunate…”

The night was dark and stormy, but that wasn’t going to stop me getting to the most anticipated event this October.  8 Foot Sativa was back in Palmy. It’s not that the event itself is that rare; Palmy doesn’t have much going for it, but at least we see 8 ft Sativa about twice a year. It was the nostalgic buzz I get going to an 8 foot gig. 

I remember back to when I was 17 trying to sneak into my first 8 foot Sativa gig at the Fat Ladies Arms (now the Brewer’s Apprentice) in a leather jacket and some of that $20 Lotz of Potz pewter finger armour. I thought I was the hardest bastard on Linton Street. Really I just looked like a weedy 17 year old kid in an oversized jacket. I was denied entry. The fifteen year old female flasher ahead of me in line was not. I sat outside long enough to catch the wall-muffled Believer.

I remember being covered in the blood of a hundred chickens, parked up with my mate on our lunch break and releasing my pent-up bestial rage at the utter stupidity of every customer I had ever served at KFC by screaming my way through Sativa’s Hate Made Me.

I remember every party that the whole room lost their shit to “Step up, Step up, Step up for Sativa…”

"The guy with the beard and Sacrament shirt keeps looking sleazy at me..."

As a reviewer, bringing a notebook to record the evening’s events seems like a good idea, but any notes taken during a wild drunken night, like the one 8 ft Sativa brought to Palmy, are illegible and useless. Especially when the notebook is handed around a group of people that are more hammered, drunk, cranked and spliffed than you are.

But then, that’s why we go to live gigs. It’s all about the experience. Catching up with friends you rarely see and beating the shit out of them in the mosh pit. If I’d wanted to critique the music, I’d review the CD (refined and musically diverse, The Shadow Masters is the creative peak of 8 ft Sativa). 

It’s about being in a room so packed the giant in front of your mate is ass to crotch. So close that you can hear the giant tell your mate that he’s not gay, and your mate telling giant that perhaps he should get off his dick then.

It’s about getting accused of not listening to the new album by a hardcore Sativa fan-girl, who was only 8 when Hate Made Me was released, when you say you hope they play Believer.

“They played that du du du song from Guitar Hero 3…”

Defetus were on the first watch. Luckily for those manly men in the crowd that don’t know where to look when the eternally topless Dan Ashcroft takes the drums, Mike Jacques has an amazing stage presence. The band beat the crowd into submission with their cover of Slayer’s Reign in Blood (I think that’s what the above quote from the notebook alluded to), but unfortunately near the end cleared the mosh pit of some of the thrash heads with one of their intricate, more experimental songs. I’d love to find a recording of that song, actually. It’d be a good one to play loud to piss off the flatmates.

Everyone is f***ing talented and amazing. I love people…”

Gift of Ruin brought the smack down, and most of the people in from the smoking area out the back. Their sound is another level of heavy. They made the wall of black became an undulating beer frothed sea of band tee shirts and bogan hair cuts.  Their well timed and executed breakdowns snapped many vertebrae that night and skull fucked a whole room.

Last before 8 foot – Snake eyed mother f***er is a good c***…”

Grief Giver were the last locals to rip the heads off the moshers before the eagerly awaited headliners. Their set was tight, and for those spectators wondering why they haven’t shat right since, the band’s guitars are allegedly strung in a ball-curdling Drop-F. That’s six steps down from your standard E tuning. If their music didn’t awaken the dark lord Cthulhu, the guttural growls and death inducing glare of Zen Master of Screaming, Rob Brutal, surely would.

Crowd Surfing at the Royal – what the f***!”

There is a reason the Royal was packed that night. 8 ft Sativa have a tightness and sense of completeness to their live sound that sets them apart from the younger bands tracing their footsteps. One thing that always got me was comparing the scary fuckers I pictured the band as when listening to their earlier records, and then seeing them in person and realising that thought they’re international metal elite, they’re just bogans like anyone else in the audience. Music by people like us about all the shit we’re pissed off at. I think that’s what makes these guys so relatable and amazing.

With a taste of old, new and middle school Sativa, their set chronicled their journey from who they were in the Hate Made Me days, to who they are and where they’re going with The Shadow Masters. Despite some obvious lip syncing to the new songs by the punters who have been slow to grab a copy of the new album, there were still a large contingent of die hard fans ready to scream Sativa’s song right back at them.

Two Woodstocks and a Jug.  Tui.  I don’t care…”

If your neck wasn’t fucked and your voice hoarse by the end of Sativa’s Chelsea Smile encore, you were obviously at another pub. A brutal set by the headliners, and the three support acts earned their place next to System of a Down, Korn, Fear Factory and Disturbed, as amazing bands that have played alongside NZ’s dark heroes, the mighty 8 ft Sativa.

You can find a review of the Shadow Masters from Muzic.net.nz’s Terry here.


About 8 Foot Sativa

Exploding out of West Auckland in 1998, 8 Foot Sativa have gone from being a local band playing every week, to becoming the premier Metal band in New Zealand.

They are the first metal band in NZ to crack out of the small scene and bring New Zealand Heavy Metal to mainstream Kiwi's doorsteps, with the song 8 Foot Sativa staying at number 1 for three months and eight months in the charts. They have also had success overseas, in Australia, USA and Europe. With their first album Hate Made Me achieving Gold Record status, the follow up with Season for Assault, which established 8 Foot Sativa as a household name. Since then they have released 4 more albums Breed The Pain, Poison Of Ages, The Shadow Masters and 10 Years Of Sativa.

8 Foot Sativa have played with the big names of metal including Pantera, Motorhead, Korn, Children of Bodom, Disturbed, Soul Fly, Shihad and Corrosion of Conformity. They have had 2 Big Day Out appearances on the main stage, sharing the stage with Slipknot, Metallica and System of a Down.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for 8 Foot Sativa


10 Years of Sativa
Year: 2013
Type: Album
The Shadow Masters
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Poison Of Ages
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Breed The Pain
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Season For Assault
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Hate Made Me
Year: 2002
Type: Album

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