Behind The Scenes with Photographer Monika Smith and NE OBLIVISCARIS on AUS & NZ “Urn” Tour

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[UK/EUROPE Tour Dates below]

Concert photographers have a desire to see what it is like to follow a band/bands on tour–not a lot get to live out this dream; unless you’re like me [Moika Smith] who gets the chance to force your camera and presence upon one of your favourite Australian metal bands who are increasingly growing their credibility all over the world.

Whilst I use the term “on tour” loosely as I combined the tour with holiday fun-time, “upper-class” hotels for my own comfort, and relaxation from the normal 9-5 grind. I have travelled the globe backpacking but on this occasion I took to seeking my own accommodation instead of burdening myself too much in the bands personal space.

The first show of the tour saw the band heading to Adelaide to play at Fowlers Live. With a quick introduction to the band members plus a shiny AAA pass in my hand, I felt a complete sense of comfort and acceptance from all of the members from the moment I entered their space.

The temperature in Adelaide soared andso did the heat in the venue. As the fans piled in the air stiffened but that did not distract any of them from enjoying any part of the night.

Earlier in the evening I settled downstairs with the boys and chilled out as they began their warm ups for the show. Benji, Matt and Martino spent the majority of the time warming up their ever so talented fingers and hands upon their guitars; whilst Dan set an incredible pace warming up for his time on the skins.

Nearing the start of the show both Tim and Xen began their vocal warm ups; which included Tim fiddling on his violin.

   
Beginning with the enthusiastic roar of the crowd, the guys slowly took to the stage and shortly thereafter the spectacular show began.

After shooting at the front of stage for a few of the songs I headed to the side of the stage to change perspectives but also tried to shelter from the heat. I had a large amount of respect for the guys standing under the lighting which would have been so much more intense than off the stage.

 

 

I could see that Xen was having great difficulty coping with the heat so I bolted downstairs to the green room and soaked a towel in ice cold water to try to help him bring his temperature down; which was met with a warm smile and much gratitude.

Sitting in the green room the band discussed how the show went inclusive of errors made; which I was entirely oblivious to either due to the heat or my concentration being solely on the shooting.
The boys loaded out for the evening and we all headed back to our rooms for the night.

The next morning we all gathered to head to the airport to fly from Adelaide to Melbourne and I managed to witness the spectacular way in which a large band, with a huge amount of equipment manages to  effortlessly check in to a flight.
Once they unloaded the van at lightning speed, they then dispersed to grab free airport trolleys floating around the arrivals hall and then oh so smoothly managed to check in quicker than most travellers with one or two pieces of luggage. You can tell these boys have done this often as it took me longer to check in with carry on than it did for them to finalise their part.
We boarded the short flight and arrived in Melbourne which saw a little bump in the road with too much gear being left behind and not enough car space to fit it all; plus four passengers. This was easily resolved by Xen and I jumping in an Uber to go straight to Max Watts just in time for load in.

 

 

One thing about this band is yes, they have a Patreon, and yes some people feel a bit sour about it, but I think the idea in itself is a fantastic way to feel included with any band that you are passionate about. It allows fans to be a part of who the band are today, and the direction that they can take due to this generosity. People give what they want, what they can afford, and they have the ability to opt out any time should they desire to do so. Each level is chosen by the particular person, and each level has its own reward.
It was really wonderful to see the Ne Obluminati gathered to watch the band do soundcheck and interact with them on a personal level otherwise unobtainable by most bands. The band know who these people are by name, they take the time to interact with them, they are not a dollar sign to them; they are the reason the band can extend their reach as far as they have and I know for a fact that each member is entirely grateful for the generosity and also they are well aware that these individuals are assisting them in living their dreams.
The Ne Obluminati were treated to the added bonus of seeing the soundcheck which had the lovely Natalija (Tim’s fiance) and Tim’s sister Emma. Which for them was an added treat as due to a technical issue Emma was unable to play during the show as they were missing a vital piece of equipment to make it possible for her to take the stage also.

Tim had made a hasty dash back home to attempt to retrieve the piece of equipment but was unable to find it and he just made it back moments before the band began their show.

The band took to the stage to the loudest roar from the crowd that I had possibly witnessed for the whole tour.

One of the best parts about having the ability to be backstage as a photographer is not only being able to capture the elusive drummer but it also allows you to witness the crowds reaction and the Melbourne crowd surged with such enthusiasm and happiness that I feel like it energised the band even more.

Tim introduced Natalija to the stage whixh was met with the welcoming cheers and applause of the crowd.
Her and Tim’s interactions on stage whilst playing were a wonderful addition to the tour and to the show.
Once the show ended we all headed off into our respective directions once the load out was complete.

 
The next evening I flew home; back to my normal day job to kill a few days before meeting up with the band in Newcastle at the Cambridge Hotel.
Benji, Martino and I headed to the beach so he could get see a little bit more of Australia. All of this was snuck in before returning to the venue so the boys could warm up and once again hit the stage.
When these guys tour (Like most bands) there isn’t always a lot of time for them to get out and explore cities. The timeline for any band is basically load in, sound check, try to eat, warm up, load out and then, usually, it is time to get some sleep as travel tends to be earlier in the morning to get to the next show.
The crowd in Newcastle was much smaller but by no means less enthusiastic than the crowds before them.
The band managed to send the crowd into a frenzy and the absence of a full room went unnoticed as the crowd’s energetic presence more than made up for the lack of numbers.

Sitting backstage after the show with the boys I could hear some of them discuss their stinky and sweat drenched clothing. I was driving back to the Central Coast that evening to my house so I offered to do some laundry for them which was met with the most grateful and happy faces I have seen. Cut to a zombified me hanging out laundry at 2am. I woke up the next morning to get their gear off the washing line but was surprised as it ended up being lovingly ironed by my Mum before I got out of bed, so I packed their gear up in a bag and got ready to drive to Sydney.

I may be biased but I feel as thought that this was one of Ne Obliviscaris’ strongest performances which was received by the surging and singing crowd with pure enjoyment. No one in the room stood still and they absolutely soaked in every single note played.

The boys prepared for their flight to Brisbane for their next showwhich according to my sources went off with spectacular style. I was unable to attend the Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington shows due to having to be at my main job. It left me itching to get back on the road which I would have to wait another week for.

The final destination of the tour was in Perth. Matt, Benji, Martino and I headed to the Ormbsy production factory for a tour behind the scenes where the guys talked guitars, wood, production and tested a few guitars.

 

 

Not only was the Perth show the final one of the tour but it was also Benji’s birthday. I had decided early on in the evening to sit back and enjoy the show rather than take any photographs. I also planned with the band to bring a cake on stage with sparklers whilst they attempted to play Happy Birthday along with the crowd joining in. The best part was when Benji attempted to blow out the sparklers as if they were candles.

The evening ended with a few of us going out to party to celebrate the end of the tour and Benji’s birthday, staying out until the wee hours of the morning before I decided that bed was much better than drinking yet another beer.

Whilst I am entirely certain that people would like me to report on drunken or drug fuelled antics with chaos to ensue; tour life is not entirely how the movies depict. Most of the time was spent warming up, joking around, going out to dinner or sitting on their phones killing time until the show started.
I was entirely impressed by Ne Obliviscaris’ performances but was more so moved by their professionalism, passion and their attitudes towards not only the fans but they treated each show as if it was the first/only show they were ever to play.

Set list for the shows –
Libera Pt 1
And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope
Intra Venus
Painters Of the Tempest Pt 2
Eyrie
Urn Pt 1
Urn Pt 2
Devour Me Colossus Pt 1

Full Gallery Access Facebook:
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Instagram:
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Ne Obliviscaris EUROPE / UK TOUR update:

25/03 – Voodoo Lounge, Dublin IRL
27/03 – Audio, Glasgow, UK
28/03 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
29/03 – Rebellion, Manchester, UK
30/03 – The Dome, London, UK
31/03 – Dynamo, Eindhoven, NL
01/04 – MTC, Cologne, DE
02/04 – Schlachthof, Wiesbaden, DE
04/04 – Backstage, Munich, DE
05/04 – Naumanns, Leipzig, DE
06/04 – Headcrash, Hamburg, DE
08/04 – Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg, SE
09/04 – Blå, Oslo, NO
10/04 – Fryhuset Klubben, Stockholm, SE
12/04 – Nosturi, Helsinki, FI
13/04 – Tapper, Tallinn, EE
14/04 – Rock River Club, Vilnius, LT
15/04 – Pod Minoga, Poznan, PL
17/04 – Rudeboy Club, Bielsko Biała, PL
18/04 – Collosseum, Kosice, SK
19/04 – Dürer Kert , Budapest, HU
20/04 – Melodka, Brno, CZ
21/04 – Escape Metalcorner, Vienna, AT
22/04 – Dagba Club, Retorbido, IT
23/04 – Kulturlokal Werkk, Baden, CH
25/04 – Altherax Music, Nice, FR
26/04 – Boveda, Barcelona, ES
27/04 – Nazca, Madrid, ES
28/04 – Rock School Barbey, Bordeaux, FR
29/04 – Ferrailleur, Nantes, FR
01/05 – Gibus, Paris, FR
02/05 – l’Autre Canal, Nancy, FR

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