The Hell-born in Melbourne.
Another early flight, another hotel that we manage to quickly drop our stuff into before heading to the venue. Except that for once I decide to crash out for a few hours and hook up with the band later, as I'm feeling pretty bloody exhausted. Truth be told I'd make a shit vampire anyway, as I find it near impossible to sleep during the day!
A few hours in and out of a restless, haunted slumber later, its off to the venue which is down town in a rather cool club with labyrinthine backstage corridors, parked right next door to a strip joint advertising, in true metal fashion, 'Girls, Girls, Girls!'
Our dressing room is upstairs and affords a view over the venue which is novel but with a two-way issue. We can see out over the stage and floor space, and everyone and their dog can see back in. Still, it makes for a change and there is certainly plenty of room in any number of bathrooms, cloakrooms and corridors that wind about this place to retreat to like big fat spiders if the thought of being in a fish tank all night does not impress.
Sound check goes well, then I'm off to do a bunch of press whilst everybody else goes out to eat. I did feel sorry for myself for about two minutes, but that was until hooking up with the journalists and film people who were all a really good laugh, making for some quirky and hopefully entertaining interview footage. Plus I got to do a bit of socialising for once before a show.
Most of the promotion team were here tonight amid friends who've come out to see us, so the backstage is fairly busy up until we go on, as the photo I've posted earlier is online is testament to. Being able to watch the show from the large window of the dressing room also helped build up the atmosphere of the show, as there are just shy of eight hundred rabid fans gathered below.
The show is fuelled by their enthusiasm and both support acts, Neobliviscaris and The Amenta are superb, the former a strange hybrid of goth and black metal punctuated by melodic and shrieking vocals, violin and some classic heavy metal guitar riffs; the latter being a stranger hybrid of black, death and industrial metal, their new track 'Flesh Is Heir' being monumental.
I suppose it being a Friday night also helps, as well as the fact that
Australians are renowned for their ingesting of booze, as the crowd are pretty crazy this evening, with more than a few stage-divers making it up despite the heavy bouncer presence. The only thing I'm not liking about these shows is that they're all Over Eighteen, obviously rendering the crowd a tad youth-free. Wait, that's something Rolf Harris would express! What I meant to say is that there are younger fans who miss out just because of a few years age difference.
The pit tonight is rife for tracks such as 'For Your Vulgar Delectation' (the video of this should be out now), 'Summer Dying Fast' and 'Born In A Burial Gown' and thus far this is one of my favourite shows of the tour, as its just so damn invigorating. I am also loving the set we're playing which is a perfect length, with the perfect blend of songs from all walks of Cradle, from the old to the new. As a band we're also mastering the chills and climaxes of the show now, and it'll be a shame to have to wait another month after these dates have ended to play together again at the festivals. Ah well...
The gig finishes to fervent uproar and there is time tonight to just chillax after the show for about an hour with friends and fans alike that are still left in the club, before heading back to the hotel to hang my trousers out of the window to dry.
Another speedy recovery from a deep sleep and another alarm clock that didn't go off. How I managed to wake with four minutes to spare I'll never know, but those four minutes stretched to a life-saving five, bore hideous witness to a glut of expletives as I ran around throwing things into my case willy-nilly whilst brushing my teeth and hair at the same time.
Everyone is in the transport as I arrive in a whirlwind and then it's off to catch a flight to Sydney which puts us at the hotel with just enough time to check-in, throw our detritus in our rooms and then head off to the venue, which is situated in a suburb of the city with it's own shopping arcade, venues and nightclubs.
The venue is modern up to a point, that point being everything backstage, but at least it's huge and so we disappear to various corners to de-clutter, feed and attempt to shower, though this never actually happens as the water is freezing cold, too cold for us soft poms.
The rest of the afternoon is spent hanging about the venue listening to music, chilling out, catching up on my other bands and undertaking some cool TV interviews whilst everybody else bar Lindsay buggers off for a curry somewhere close to the hotel.
Fortunately she waits for me to finish these off before we both brave the milling fans about the venue to find an on-street restaurant where we're not going to be bothered too much to grab a Caesar salad each (anything else this late in the day will just add to the Manatee suits!)
The night is cool, and feels a little like the calm before the storm prior to our stage time, which follows an amazing stint from The Amenta, whose singer Cain gets so into their set (of what only can be described as a fusion of black, death and industrial soundscapes), that he is completely hoarse when we meet up backstage after their show. Still, they do such an amazing job of boiling the crowd up (like so many rock lobsters) that we are indebted to their venomous, spiteful performance.
The show for us is as manic as usual, and I have to agree with Cain that the sound is very sharp and constricted vocally, and it is with considerable tenacity that I manage to make it through to the encore as I'm finding it hard to punctuate the wall of guitars and drums. But heh? The angrier the better, right? Plus the fans here in Sydney are loving it and so the encore roars by with renewed vigour.
After a considerable period of coming down from the onslaught (and the return of my hearing), we undertake a signing outside the venue's back doors for around fifty ardent fans who are very pleasant and understanding of the hour-long wait for us to surface. Still, we endeavour to get everything signed and posed for, until at last the need to return to the hotel and sleep beckons, as again tomorrow is an impossibly early lobby call, with a five hour flight across this Antipodean landscape to Perth.
Some of the band and crew opt to stay out for the evening, hoping to catch up on their sleep on the plane and in the various vehicles afforded us. I know five hours doesn't seem like much, but for the last three days we've been running on practically less, so what the hell? Plus Young Daniel does what it says on his tin, he's young and therefore will bounce back quicker than the rest of us who are content with four hours in the comfort of our hotel rooms, and not sliding across the floor of a bar with girlies in tow.
Fortunately the alarm clock was spot on today and it afforded the chance for me to see Sydney wake up in a blanket of sun-riven mist and grab a hearty breakfast Australian-style.
Young Daniel is scraped up off the floor and finds a row on the plane to
himself, so that he can sleep off the effects of his 'dirty stop-out', for the flight time of just under five hours. Once again I get to watch the majority of a film before the plane's descent cuts it off five minutes before its culmination. There must be like four films this has happened to me through on this tour! Bastards!
Anyhoo, this is our last show for this leg of our World tour, so an hour in the hotel room is called for to repack the travelling bomb case, shower and head out into the streets of Perth for a coffee and a nose around a skate shop.
At four a van arrives to pick what stragglers remain with me at the hotel, then it's a pleasant drive out into the suburbs. The venue is situated in a cool little district with some great specialist shops situated about, including a record store which is plundered for the new The Bronx album and a few thrash classics.
Today being a Sunday everything feels very laid back in regards to the venue and the 'normal' people out and about in the sunny streets. The dressing room is great, with a huge TV to watch the stage by, but unfortunately it's at the top of a lengthy flight of stairs which leaves one breathless after the twentieth time of ascending them. Also,today, Mike (monitors) has to leave before the show in order to make his flight back to Melbourne, but a replacement is on hand in the shape of another previous Crewdle member who has also emigrated out here to Oz, one Keith Farmer, who is actually a resident engineer here at Metropolis in Freemantle.
With two people working the side of stage tonight I know the sound is going to be killer and indeed it is, but we will get to that in due course... First off there's time for some food at a nearby Watering hole, which is relaxing enough, but the first time I think I've been in an Irish pub where the bar staff are anything less than hospitable.
There is plenty of time on our return to check out tonight's openers Advent Sorrow and Claim The Throne from side of stage and chat to singer Cain from The Amenta who bizarrely enough lives here in Perth! Strange that this is the only show that they're not playing!
It is the last of the Australian shows here tonight, and it is with renewed enthusiasm and vigour that we blast through the set for the final time. The crowd might be a tad smaller here than elsewhere in Australia (it is a Sunday and Mother's Day to boot) but the audience are as loud as ever and properly kick off for the encore. By the time the final strains of 'From The Cradle To Enslave' resonate with a stupendously long drum solo and ring-out, we are well and truly emptied and have just enough left for an on-stage photo before heading for the crash.
A great show indeed and thanks have to be given to the fans for making it
befittingly special. Top job guys!
A few bevvies backstage with another impromptu signing session outside the gate before we climb aboard the van heading back towards the hotel, another beer or two and a warm bed that offers us about four hours sleep before everybody (bar Martin, Paul and Lindsay) heads to the airport for the gruelling forty two hours door-to-door trip ahead via Singapore (woohoo! Great airport!) and Mumbai (boohoo, shit sandwich airport!). The other three have flights a lot later in the day.
I won't bore you with the details of the journey home (he said, continuing to write) other than to say that it took a little while longer than at first anticipated, with the three flights getting progressively worse the further afield we got. The first flight was awesome especially as the air stewardess from First Class knew of the band and so plied us with decent beverages from the posh part. In return she got various bits signed for her boyfriend.
The lay-over in Singapore was painless enough as we found a butterfly garden to explore and a Hard Rock Cafe to eat at, so the time passed effortlessly, especially for Asti who slipped into a well deserved Singapore Sling.
The next flight was a little harder as it was a little more crowded, with a lot less leg room. The stop in Mumbai was annoying to say the least, as we had to go through customs twice as the staff forgot to stamp our boarding tickets the first time. This happened all at the very last possible minute (and once we've already queued up for boarding) resulting in a bit of a last minute panic.
In fact it was chaos as expected and it was with some relief that we finally boarded the last flight to good ol' Blighty, with another three hundred passengers all scrambling to stow their bloody hand luggage ahead of us.
That last journey could only be described as murderous, being eleven hours of sitting squashed in a seat with my baggage cutting off anywhere to stretch my thrombosis-ed legs, and every time I tentatively dropped off to sleep the elderly Indian woman next to me wanted to use the restroom, or some cunt would bang into me trying to navigate the tiny aisles.
Long story short, despite waiting at our carousel for almost an hour at
Heathrow and Big Martin's van not starting at the airport car park, we did indeed make it home around lunch time, having dropped what equipment we were carrying off at Springvale on the way.
So, home at last and time to collapse in style!
Thanks for putting up with our adventures over the last five weeks,
All the very best,
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