It’s been a few years since I last crossed paths with the might of Behemoth. A lot has happened between drinks! With Behemoth main-man Nergal (Adam Darski) battling a serious illness – no one quite knew what the future of Behemoth was to be.
Tonight’s gig was originally scheduled for the Espy. When I initially saw the venue, I wasn’t going to apply for a photo-pass as the Espy is incredibly difficult to shoot at. So the venue was changed to the equally difficult Prince Bandroom. Again, I don’t recall applying for a pass but my editor had me down to shoot the gig so I wasn’t going to let the Metal Obsession team down. Difficult or not, I would do the shoot.
Arriving at the Prince just as openers Cemetery Urn had taken the stage, already it looked like it was going to be a crazy night. The venue was already packed to the rafters at this early stage of proceedings.
No photo pit to be seen and with a raucous thrash/death/black Metal fans in attendance, I had my work cut out for me from the get go.
I tried to manoeuvre myself to the front of the stage to take some shots of the openers but was quickly smashed by the ensuing circle pit that had me falling backwards within 5 minutes of getting into the venue.
I cursed. Loudly. Fuck this shit.
What to do? I was here to get photos but there was absolutely no where to get them from!
I noticed a little spot to the side of the stage right next to the DO NOT PASS barrier. I thought if I could get up there, I could at least get some shots from stage left.
Before I did, I asked the bouncer if it would be ok to stand there, get my shots and exit. Thankfully, he was ok with that because if he weren’t – there would be no photos for you to look at.
Italian band Hour Of Penance were next and they delivered a fine set of Euro-flavoured Death Metal. The fans loved it and gave them a great reception.
And then, Behemoth. They looked like giants on that tiny stage and here was a band used to playing in front of thousands at various Euro festivals, treating Melbourne’s Prince Bandroom as if it was an amphitheatre!
They didn’t just play music… they took command! Hearing Nergal greet the fans with “it’s good to be alive!” just reinforced the personal hell this man has been through of late.
Standing literally behind the band’s stage amps, the guy’s would come up to my to get their drinks between songs. Literally, a foot away from me. I didn’t dare take a photo at this time as I felt this was their private time and I wasn’t going to encroach their space any further than I already had!
But one thing that struck me is listening to them speak in Polish to each other at this time. Just reinforced to me the global nature of Heavy Metal music!
Many in attendance were proclaiming the eve as ‘gig of the year’. And it’s really not hard to see why as Behemoth put forth an incredible performance that left the walls of the Prince dripping a sickly sweat!
It was quite possibly one of the hardest shoots I have ever had to do – and for all the bitching and moaning by yours truly throughout the course of the night quickly eroded as I realised I was having a damn fine time photographing these guys!