Daemon Pyre “Daemons Across South East Asia” Tour 2015 by Andy and Sam
PART 1 of 3
Thursday June 4th, 2015
We departed Sydney International Airport for Jakarta, via a very brief stop in Singapore. The initial blast of oppressive humidity upon arriving in Jakarta was a shock to the system after the icy chill of winter in Sydney but we were excited to start our very first international tour, a tour that was to see us performing 7 shows across Indonesia traveling in excess of 2000 Km’s across West and Central Java.
The day after our arrival we were picked up by our Tour Manager Tutur and driver Tashirun in a bright “Kermit The Frog” green van with godly air-conditioning. Tutur is a cheeky, outgoing dude who is eager to make sure we are looked after and having fun. Our first show day was scheduled for the following day in Bekasi, 1 hour east of Jakarta and with a full day to kill we hassled Tutur to take us out for the day.
Traffic is nuts here and our guide was delayed 4 hours the next day so we had limited time for sightseeing but we managed to fit in romantic walks on the beach, the Monas National Monument and the Beergarden for dinner and giant beers. The spicy Mexican pizza devastated several members of our team and we called it a night before things got too out of hand, no one likes starting a tour hungover. The Indonesian people are super friendly and seemed to be extremely curious of our group of hairy, tattooed dudes as we were the centre of attention wherever we went, people would come out of shops to stare, schoolgirls in hijab head-dress giggling and we were constantly being stopped for photos.
Sunday 7th of June and Monday 8th of June, 2015 – SHOW DAY 1 (Bekasi) + Travel Day
On the way to the gig we dropped in to hang out with the Whynot / Sudden Death Clothing crew who were sponsoring the show, a start up company run by a bunch of passionate young dudes. We copped some free shirts, took a bunch of photo’s and Crofty, our resident ranga and drummer, was the centre of attention (we reckon they just wanted him to keep changing shirts to see if the drapes matched the curtains). We arrived at the venue in the early evening, an outdoor community stage set up in the middle of a decent sized block; local band Loxshitt started off proceedings and the small crowd was enthusiastic. Within and hour, the steady stream of people through the gates turned into a flood. Screaming scooters arrived carrying up to 3 people each, filling the car park with rows of shiny bikes.
Two pits were now in action: The first, right in front of the stage was a group of 8-14 year old kids pulling off flashy dance moves and Capoeira-Style fight dancing while the second, further back from the stage was an older group who were decidedly more serious. A wide circle formed where 2-4 guys would face off with flying kicks and other assorted fight dancing moves. There seemed to be a code where if things got too out of hand, people would jump in to break it up and then continue with no hard feelings. By the time we were due to go on the numbers had increased to nearly 600 punters with multiple pits and people all over the stage. There was no security, no barriers and only a few cops in attendance.
Band changeovers were rather quick to say the least; we jumped on and did our best to set up fast with the gear on hand. Tutur was fervently urging us to start and we launched into our set with “Veil Of The Martyr”. There were people standing next to us, behind us, in front of our amps and moving all around us as we played. The lighting was limited yet when we looked out into the darkness we could see a mass of people and up to 4 pits going strong. After our third song Tutur was become more erratic, urging us to finish our set as quickly as possible so we played a couple more, cut one song and finished with “The Usurper Of Hope”.
What we didn’t realise is that there was a cop standing at the front of the stage for most of our show who was attempting to impose a 10pm curfew, there were another 4 bands due to play. We did our best to pack up quickly while stopping to take pics with enthusiastic attendee’s and the majority of the crowd were fleeing in all directions, Tutur was no where to be found and it was only after we packed the van that he reappeared and that apparently the cops were looking for him. We learned later that some of the local police use neighbourhood noise complaints to shut down shows and fine the promoters, and as were leaving Tutur received a call and had to go back to talk to the police. He was fined nearly 5,000,000 Rupiah (around $500.00 AUD) and though he explained this is a fairly regular occurrence, we still felt bad for the guy.
What followed can only be described as the most intense tour van experience of our collective lives. After the show we stopped at a public rest stop to clean up before we embarked on a 10-hour overnight trip, normally these trips are spent asleep and you wake up at your destination. This was not to be the case. We were all attempting to sleep when an hour into our journey the ride got decidedly rougher as the smooth highways gave way to two-way roads.
We were being flung from one side of the bus to the other, lurching and careening backwards and forwards, all the while trying to get some rest. Our driver was possessed by the demonic souls of a hellish rally car driver fighting for the chance to drive us from the road and into oblivion. When daylight broke none of us had slept and as the morning traffic started so did the real fun. We were playing chicken with other vehicles as our driver overtook on blind corners and the number of times we faced a truck or bus only to pull aside at the very last moment were too numerous to keep track of. It was a sphincter clenching, sweaty palmed trip that had us truly believing that it may be our last. When we finally arrived in Banjarnegara we were greeted with a magical hotel sporting a water park with great big water slides, we had never been so relieved.
Tuesday 9th of June – SHOW DAY (Purwokerto) CANCELLED
This was supposed to be the second show of the tour in the town of Purwokerto in Central Java. Unfortunately the show was cancelled that morning due to police concerns. What that means exactly, we can’t really say. From our experiences here, it appears that the local police have the ability to close shows down and the local promoters are sometimes left in a position where it’s just not worth doing. So, with no show to do, we decided to get crazy on the waterslides at our hotel in Banjarnegara and then spend the night working on demos in our rooms and getting and early night in preparation for a 3am rise to go and see the Dieng Plateau and visit the Arjuna Temple.
Wednesday 10th of June – SHOW DAY (Purballingga)
With some hesitation and a drummer out for the count with a monster case of tap arse, the rest of us dragged ourselves out of bed and unholy hour of 3am to go and visit a lookout up in the mountains of Central Java. The Dieng Plataeu is an amazing sweeping landscape. For the first time since we arrived in Indonesia, the temperature was actually something akin to home, with the mountains getting to around 10 degrees.
After sunrise, we made our way further up the mountains to visit the oldest temple in Indonesia, the Arjuna Temple. These Hindi ruins were nestled amongst farmlands in a valley and were an interesting contrast to the Islamic calls to prayer that were echoing around us.
We made our way back to the hotel for breakfast and some much needed sleep before the show. Some of the band have struggled to get decent sleep whilst here, so we’ve been taking it where we can. In the afternoon, we departed for Purballingga, which was a journey of several hours. When we first left, none of us had any idea what to expect, but a van ride up some of the most treacherous, fog covered, jungle terrain was not what we had imagined! Upon arrival, we found a makeshift stage, setup outside of some kind of school hall, and an already gathering crowd of locals, many of whom were young guys, sporting an array of Metal and Hardcore tee’s, as well as a few young ladies as well, wearing the more traditional assortment of head scarves.
After being literally mobbed for photographs (whether it be simply because we’re Caucasian, or because we’re the band the kids have come to see doesn’t seem to matter to this crowd much) we obliged and posed for what seemed like an endless stream of pictures. Most bizarrely, some of us were even asked by a pack of revellers for selfies whilst we were trying to go to the bathroom. It seems like that elements of 21st century social media have found their way to even the most remote areas of the world!
After the opening acts front man managed to put a hole through the stage (which we later found out was a bunch of shifting wood planks), and a quick repair job by the locals, the show continued. A mix of hardcore and symphonic black metal was the order of the evening, and when we took to the stage at around 9:30, there was more than 300 people in attendance, and a sea of scooters everywhere. An energetic audience, made us feel more than welcome with, pits, head bangers, mic grabs, stage dwellers and just general mayhem ensuing. Posing for photos mid song was definitely something many of us had never experienced, and the enthusiastic smiles on the faces of the kids after they got their picture, is something we’ll always remember.
A 2-hour journey back home to the hotel saw us arrive a little midnight for showers and sleep.