Stick To Your Guns became the first American hardcore band to play in Kenya on Saturday.
The band visited Nairobi, Kenya to raise awareness for the charity Actions Not Words.
“Being able to go to Kenya was one of the most profound experiences I have had in my 29 years of life.”
“We travel. A lot. It's what we do. The more places we go and the more we get to see, the greater our understanding and perspective of this world becomes. It's one of the many benefits of being in STYG,” vocalist Jesse Barnett says. “Being able to go to Kenya was one of the most profound experiences I have had in my 29 years of life. For most of us who are bred out of the western machine, we've only ever heard of Africa when our mothers were trying to get us to finish our dinners. 'There are starving children in Africa.' This is true.”
“But there is such a strength and beauty to the attitudes that these people have in the face of such relenting struggle.”
Barnett continues, “However, after witnessing Kenya first hand, this is not what stuck out to me. Of course, it's impossible to ignore, but what stuck out to me even more than the obvious hardship most of these people face was how happy most of them are with so little. The smallest things can make their day. My initial reaction was pity, as would most people's when seeing what we saw. But there is such a strength and beauty to the attitudes that these people have in the face of such relenting struggle. It moved me.”
Actions Not Words focuses on providing under privileged children with quality education.
“The things I witnessed, learned, and felt are difficult to understand and express.”
“I still don’t know how describe what I experienced. A couple of us traveled to Nakuru, Kenya days before our show and did volunteer work with The Hardcore Help Foundation,” guitarist Josh James says. “The things I witnessed, learned, and felt are difficult to understand and express. The conditions were beyond harsh, yet there was an undertone of hope and joy. The reality and perspective that seems to exist there is something I will never be able to fully decipher or relate to, but this trip has inspired me to do my best.”
“Being the first American hardcore band to play Kenya was surreal.”
“Sincerely. I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that what you are going through doesn't matter or is somehow insignificant because other people have it harder. What I will say though is that it's very eye opening and self reflective seeing how these people can manage and still appreciate the smallest joys that life has to offer and we should remember that. Learn from that,” Barnett says. “Being able to travel there and play our songs and be one of the first bands of our kind to perform there is exactly what this band has always set out to do. To break boundaries. To learn from others. To be allow ourselves to be completely changed and to always remember the reason we scream.”
“Being the first American hardcore band to play Kenya was surreal, we really had no clue what to expect,” James says. “The show we played in Nairobi was by far one of the most insane, bizarre, fulfilling shows I’ve played. From the local bands, to the extreme energy of the crowd, to the unexpected karaoke set that featured one of the wildest mosh pits ever to Nirvana’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'…the night was full of excitement, oddities, laughter, respect and true feeling.
“Kenya is a beautiful place that throws you for a loop constantly. I’ll never forget it and I can’t wait to go back.”
Here's some footage:
Watch more: Getting inked with Stick To Your Guns