I watched the documentary/movie on Netflix last night.
How did a self-managed band from Australia come to headline the largest metal event ever, in Wacken?
To play to 90,000 screaming metal heads.
The realities of touring are laid bare.
Even all the months of planning in Berlin couldn’t prepare the band for the gastro bug that got em on “opening night”.
There is a part in the movie towards the end of the first leg of their tour.
The band is coming back out for their encore. The way its meant to go, is that vocalist Winston McCall would step out, light up a Molotov cocktail and throw it at the band logo behind the drums. And that is meant to trigger flames to rise up from the bottom and burn the logo. It looks cool if it works. But on this occasion someone in the road crew dropped the ball and it didn’t work out. No flames came from the bottom. It was almost Spinal Tap’ish.
Afterwards McCall is not happy. It’s towards the end of the first leg and they haven’t had a show go smooth. He’s questioning why the crew can’t get it right this far in. There’s always a problem. If it wasn’t with the pyro or the flames or lights, it was the sound board blowing up at a gig in L.A. Also an outdoor gig in Spain was almost canned due to lightning and strong winds.
When they returned back to Australia, bass player Jie O’Connor would destroy his knee playing football, so he played “Wacken” in a wheelchair.
And for a band that is self-managed, the buck stops with them. They fund the tour, they pay the road crew and they are putting every cent they make into the tour, so they can establish themselves as an “arena” act.
Most of the management is handled by Rhythm Guitarist Luke Kilpatrick and there are days when he’s tired or fried but he’s still going.
Regardless if you like the music or not there are a lot of lessons learned here.
That if you don’t risk, you don’t gain. But you could also lose as well. The band could have been comfortable playing smaller venues but they wanted to take the next step.
They had the perfect album for it, as “Reverence” was really accessible compared to earlier albums. Tracks like “Prey” are at 45.5 million streams on Spotify and “The Void” is at 35.8 million streams are selling it but “Chronos” is my favourite.
And as the band grew so did their road crew.
Of course the best thing is seeing the guys back in Byron Bay. Guitarist Jeff Ling is walking his dog on the beach and the dog is shitting everywhere so he needs to pick it up in a doggie bag. That’s big world problems right there. Drummer Ben Gordon is catching waves and is so underrated.
And they jammed but we didn’t hear any sound that the cameras could pick up. It was all in their headphones as they all plugged in to some device.
The biggest thing the documentary shows is that the band is huge both here and overseas.