For those of you that did not know, Coheed & Cambria put on a concert series tour like none other last October that spanned four days in the select cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. The band performed one of their four albums from beginning to end each night in sequence. This DVD/CD box set is all four performances both on DVD and CD from the live show in NYC. As bummed out as I am for having missed this amazing set of shows I am so happy I have this box set in my possession.
The Neverender: Children Of The Fence Edition includes:
– 4 Live DVDS
– 4 Live CDs
– 1 Documentary DVD
– 10×10 hardcover photo book (and I have to mention that my actual name appears in the “Children Of The Fence” portion of the book as I was quick to order this back in December. I know, I am the ultimate geek)
– Custom metal dragonfly keepsake piece 7.5 x 5.5
The collection comes boxed and lucky me even got an added certificate of authenticity signed by all four band members. During the initial pre-sale it was said that the first 3000 copies sold would be autographed by the band. I feel gypped in a sense as I thought they would sign the actual box set and not a tiny piece of paper. Still this thing is awesome.
I have yet to watch the actual DVDs as I know I will want to try and watch it in one sitting. I listened to all of the CDs already and loved it. Coheed & Cambria really put on an amazing live show and I can say that having seen them three times now. Add a sold out crowd that is just as excited as the band is to be a part of music history and you have yourself a masterpiece of a live show.
Having ordered months ago, this was well worth the wait and undisclosed amount of money I shelled out for it. I am pretty sure this will tie me over too until I cross paths with them at Bonnaroo in a couple of months…
While away this past week I finally caught the rockumentary about one of the only metal bands in Baghdad and their struggle with following their dream. I kept seeing reviews and positive comments about Heavy Metal In Baghdad, a documentary about a band playing forbidden music in a war-zone also know as Iraq. Trust me, this was something I am glad I watched and any fan of music should check this out as it will make viewers realize how lucky you have it here in the USA.
The program surrounded the band Acrassicauda (Latin for “Black Scorpion”) and followed them through their struggle to do what they loved to do, play metal. Inspired by bands from the United States such as Metallica and Slipknot they attempted to start their own band in 2001. The band was only able to play three shows before the war in Iraq started and soon thereafter the band faced accusations of being devil worshipers and at times had to live their lives in secrecy to save their lives.
During the three years this documentary was filmed bans were created by the clerical council forcing the band and fans to cut their hair, not wear Western attire (American clothing), and end “music-filled parties and all kinds of singing”; basically the band was forced to quit or deal with consequences. Insurgents and religious fundamentalists would not hesitate to take their lives if the band or fans were seen in public and the documentary clearly shows the efforts made by the band to risk their lives and also live their dream. Through power cuts to stop the band from playing to avoiding death daily, this was a first hand look at the struggle they faced. Just hearing them talk about the war and the attempts of others stopping them showed how determined they were to continue.
Weeks would go by at times before vocalist/guitarist Faisal Talal, guitarist Tony Aziz, bassist Firas Al-Lateef and drummer Marwan Reyad would even get to see one another let alone practice. Constant threats and even a missile hitting their practice space did not hinder Acrassicauda who claimed to be the only Iraqi metal band in existence.
The documentary really sucked me in as directors/journalists Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi traveled to Iraq to find the band and interview them while in turn have their own close calls with local militants. Upon arriving to Iraq at one time the journals were told to expect to be shot at.
The journalists take their dangerous surroundings in stride with most of the time being held in a hotel just outside the war areas for safety. When they travel they are accompanied by armed guards and wear bulletproof vests. While filming gun shots and bombing can be seen and heard in the background during the active war. Their real-time reporting only made Heavy Metal In Baghdad that much more interesting.
Eventually the band flees to another country becoming refugees to save their own lives. The difficult choice was a smart choice for them. Eventually the band meets up with the journalists once things calmed down a bit and candidly talked about the chaos they lived in. With everything going on they did not give up their dream but rather put it on hold.
The band, once settled, was able to play a live show in one of the countries they fled to and I must say the people who showed up really showed their love to the band after a few songs into the show. All the hell this band went through was rewarded by cheers and applause by others who share the same common love for a said forbidden genre of music.
You would think that the band has a happy ending and plays sold out shows at metal clubs and recorded a platinum selling CD. The happy ending at the end of the documentary was the band saving their lives and continually fighting for what they wanted to do. At the end they were in small living quarters and had sold their equipment just to pay for rent. Since they were refugees it was difficult for some of the band to acquire jobs. Not what I expected to see but it made sense.
With war going on during the filming of this documentary I could only think of how easy I have it living in the United States. The interviews of the band showed how hard it is for them to be a metal band in Iraq and even harder to be a refugee. Their love for metal was more of a secret as they did not want to risk their families or their own lives. It was truly sad to see their expression cut by others.
In the United States I can wear what ever I want, play any music I choose, and roam my streets without worrying about being executed or caught in crossfire of a seemingly never ending war. I am lucky that I do not have to flee my country to save my own life for my beliefs and do not have to sell my own belongings just to pay a month of rent because I am a refugee. Sometimes I forget how good I really have it here. The members of Acrassicauda did not have this luxury by any means.
I did learn after viewing the program via the movie’s website that the band was eventually relocated to New Jersey of all places. Looks like the band finally got that happy ending they deserved.
Friends, fans and family… as many of you heard lately we made it to the States, all four of us.
After 8 years of waiting and struggling it feels good now that we all made it and we’ve got high hopes for the future that maybe after all what we’ve been through it’s time to become 4 musicians instead of 4 refugees and finally to stand on stage steps away from everybody that helped us and supported us and believed in the band and its quest.
We’re finished being in purgatory not knowing what’s next, tormented by the bad thoughts of not being able to finish what we started 8 years ago. We were so afraid to let our dream go, so afraid to let it slip away and get sucked in to the bureaucratic black hole by the people that tell you what to do and what not to do, but I guess we were blessed cuz we had you on our side. Each and every one of you brothers, sisters, wives and husbands, moms and dads, friends and our idols whoever that might be stay true to who you are, you are the reason that we wanted this dream to come true even when it felt impossible cuz we felt that every one of you guys wanted it just like us (or maybe more).
From the bottom of our hearts, that pump every bit of iron and Metal into our veins, we salute you no matter who you are… Arabic, American, German, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Norwegian, Danish and many more. I have seen many people from all over the globe getting under the flag of metal and music in general and becoming one. We just had an idea, no more, but you made it happen, you are the true inspiration. Many times we sat and read your emails and comments and many times I saw some of the guys in Acrassicauda getting tears and space out for many minutes looking at your emails.
Now that we all sit and think about our future as a band we know that every thing that we had been through in the past years of our lives was totally worth it. We set out goal and now we know what is worth living for and what is worth to dying for.
Here’s the trailer to the documentary now available on DVD:
I know you all missed me and were all wondering when I would finally post something on here for you all to read. I received endless emails from people asking me if I was ok and if they could donate money so that I could acquire internet while in upstate New York just so I could post something. I had record hits on my site while away mostly because Matt from Addicted To Vinyl put on that benefit show for me the other night. I am sorry I was unable to Skype during the show…
OK, none of that happened…
I did hear from some of you awesome people most of which wished me a nice vacation. Thanks! It was nice to hear from you all while I was almost by Canada for the last six days.
My wife and I headed to Adams, NY last Friday to visit her grandmother. I love going up there because it means I just relax and eat poorly. Sometimes I am able to steal some wireless internet from a nearby school but this time I just could not connect. I was actually nice to not have internet on my laptop but I will admit checking emails and Tweets on my iPhone…after all that is why I have that thing!
I’ll be back to my regular blogging self here by tonight. I have a lot to talk about.
For now I will just leave you with the following fun things that happened to me while on my little vacation:
-Scored some LPs at the Hot Topic at Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY. I got the new Minus The Bear, Hatebreed, SOD, Terror, International Heroes of Hardcore, and some 7?’s for super cheap thanks to a 50% off sale. I also scored a Social D, Rancid, and Misfits shirt for cheap as well. I love deals.
-Dropped an earring (tunnel) down the drain while trying to stretch my ears. I was so pissed but was able to save the newly purchased jewelry by taking the drain apart. All those years of handing tools to my Dad while he did the work paid off.
-My dog ran away, or at least tried to. My wife’s grandmother’s house butts up against a golf course and Sweet Lou made a run for it. I ran as fast as I could chasing him. Of course he thought it was a game. After having what felt like a heart attack I stopped and he turned around and went to say hi to some neighbors who tried to help me. Luckily Sweet Lou is a people person and as soon as he saw the neighbors he greeted them where I promptly grabbed him.
-While at that Salmon Run Mall some girls at a mobile phone booth asked us if we could talk about cellphone plans and I kindly said “no”. When they asked me why I said “because I am from Mexico” forgetting that Mexico, NY is only 40 minutes away from the mall. Yeah that made sense. My wife laughed and I did too. We also checked out this massive art piece that has been at the mall since the 80’s:
–Jrecks Subs. Greatest tuna subs ever. Their sizes are half and whole. We get tuna on white with swiss cheese and “shakers” a mix of herbs and spices that they sprinkle on the sandwich. We went there twice.
–Jean’s Bean’s. Fried haddock fillets of goodness (that’s fish in case you were wondering). The fillets are breaded and dropped into these huge vats of oil. The rumor is that they oil has never been changed hence the great taste. Worth clogging up my arteries. This place is a legend in Watertown, NY and it’s no wonder why. Homemade foods fill up the take out shop with the signature side being the beans made by the Jean family. I can not eat them beans as they cook them with meat. The coleslaw how ever is to die for.
So that was just a few of the fun events that went on while away. I plan on starting a diet starting tomorrow as I know weight was gained from all the good eats. Also since I was with out internet I have a lot of emails to catch up on…
For the first time ever punk veterans NOFX did something that might be actually considered “going commercial” by creating a show that was broadcast on TV in 2008. Last Spring NOFX teamed up with real music station FUSE TV and put out the hilarious yet eye opening series called NOFX Backstage Passport. The two disc DVD was finally released by the band’s very own Fat Wreck Chords so that now fans can watch this very original show over and over again.
The eight episode documentary that took place from September of 2006 to November 2007 featured NOFX on tour in unfamiliar countries showcasing not only their live performances to their fans but also aired their down time and behind the scene troubles trying to get from one country to another. The result is a show that is like a punk rock No Reservations complete with drunks, drugs, and disaster.
Any fan of punk rock knows who NOFX is; now admitting you are a fan of NOFX is another thing. Formed in 1983 the band achieved their own success doing things their way with no commercial help. Having never signed to a major label, they ignored requests for radio airplay as well as refused to have their music videos aired. They are godfathers of punk to many and have toured the world as well as have been a staple to the punk rock summer camp also known as the Van’s Warped Tour.
I have been a fan of NOFX since I got my first taste of their adaptation of punk rock music when I was in high school. 14 years ago I purchased a VHS movie put out by them called Ten Years Of F*cking Up. I swear I watched that video until the tape wore thin. Their live videos were entertaining in a sense that they just did not care. Not just seeing them on the television, I have caught them numerous times live as well, I guess you can say like these guys a little.
The moment I heard that they would be putting a show on FUSE TV I made sure I set my DVR to record because I knew I was going to enjoy it. From the first episode of NOFX Backstage Passport started I was hooked. With only eight episodes of course I wanted more but thankfully the two disc DVD is now a part of my collection so I can go back and enjoy their tour.
The intro song performed by NOFX pretty much summed up the entire series with:
“We’re NOFX, screwing up since 1983 / These days we’ve got mortgages and families / So we’re going on a sketchy tour / No country is too obscure / We’re going to drink and golf and fight and snort / We’re NOFX this is punk rock passport”
Just alone in the first episode, it is learned that the series would revolve around NOFX playing in countries that punk bands normally would never tour in. While a comedic gesture it also proves to be the band’s biggest challenge ever.
The band, as if no one knows, includes Fat Mike, Smelly, Eric Melvin, and El Hefe. Along side the band, their manager Kent was introduced (who becomes a major part of the show, mostly because of his drinking habits) as were multiple crew members (Rugly, Wilkie, Carlos, Jeff, Ryan, Limo & Jay) who are more like family over employees.
Seeing the band at the beginning of the episode leave their actual families for the tour proved that these careless musicians are people too and I almost felt bad for them. As exciting as a world tour would be, I can only imagine how tough it is to leave your loved ones.
The reality of their idea soon is shattered at some of the first episodes when the fans actually turn on the band during a couple of shows because of an instrument mishap as well as a failed joke turned insult. It’s wild to think that such a thing could happen to a band like NOFX but it did and fans were pretty pissed off at the band. If that was not bad enough a later venue the band showed up at had no idea that they were even supposed to play and the band was soon forced to leave the country because of death threats their mindless promoter was receiving.
The promoters NOFX worked with to get this tour working were novice if not scam artists. Some of them kept promising Kent money and never delivered while others just continued to dish out lies.
It was actually sad to see the band get screwed out of money from those brainless promoters, yet humorous to see Kent negotiate with them sternly, fueled by anger and sometimes alcohol. Kent alone stole the show at times especially during the one episode where he just kept drinking and eventually was carried away. At the end of the series Ken makes a wise and bold choice that will change his life for the good.
Though the band seemed to have nothing but disappointment during most of their tour in many of the episodes, there were a handful of stops that they made the best of. From hanging out with curious youth who become excited at one of the roadie’s tattoos to cuddling with wild animals and even swimming in the Dead Sea, NOFX and crew seem to ignore the bad and enjoy their surroundings with what they had. They even gave acoustic apologies to fans outside their hotel at one point due to a canceled show that quite possibly even lifted the band member’s hopes more so about the situation they were stuck in.
During one of the episodes NOFX randomly made friends with a local while hanging out at a bar. The local had never heard of NOFX let alone punk rock music and the band was quick to invite him to see their live show for a real taste of punk rock. The smile alone on the local’s face during the show was priceless. The band even went so far in one country to self promote themselves reflecting their younger days as an unheard of punk rock band in California. After all, many of the countries NOFX toured in had no real idea who they were let alone sold their material at local music shops.
From missing band members to strange green powders and some S&M whipping and pain, you clearly are involved in punk rock shenanigans like none other. Throughout the series I was actually wondering to myself if the band would ever make it home alive and had a very hard time waiting in between episodes to see what happened next. Thanks to DVD there was no waiting between episodes. I watched the entire series in one sitting and was ok with my decision to kill an afternoon doing so. I seriously could talk about this show all day but I really do not want to ruin it for you.
The first disc contains all eight episodes with the band touring in such countries as Brazil, Peru, and Russia. The second disc is loaded with over two hours of bonus footage from each episode that soon loses it’s appeal. I really wish the footage would have been included with each episode almost like an uncut version but other then that I have no complaints. There is also a enclosed NOFX passport full of photos, set lists, and other added memories from the tour.
The release on DVD was supposed to be uncensored but somehow the original footage was lost so the broadcasted episodes on disc one is exactly how it was seen on Fuse. The deleted scenes however are full of wholesome cussing and fowl mouthed hilarity. The series were limited on cable thanks to censorship, commercials, and week long waits but I assure you this DVD will make up for all of that. Loaded with hilarious adventures this DVD will not disappoint and if you think all musicians have it easy, think again. Granted NOFX traveled in no man’s land at times and narrowly escaped with their lives, this is visual proof of how badly a world tour can go and how awesome the experience can be by taking chances.
Want to buy a copy? For only $15 it can be yours. Head over to Fat Wreck Chords to buy a copy online.
1: Episode 1: Brazil, Chile Watch
2: Episode 2: Argentina, Ecuador, Peru
3: Episode 3: Japan, Singapore
4: Episode 4: Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China
5: Episode 5: Indonesia
6: Episode 6: Israel
7: Episode 7: Russia
8: Episode 8: South Africa