COLUMN: Australia’s Death’s Grip Records announce Singapore’s Straight Forward Australian tour

Straight Forward

Let’s just start with this fucking EPIC and POIGNANT quote direct from the events page:

“Singapore is one of Australia’s closest neighbors, despite this the flow of hardcore to and from is largely one way with Australian bands hitting SE Asia but SE Asian bands almost never hitting Australia.

We decided we’d buck this trend and reverse the roles.

As such we are proud to announce this October will see Singapore’s finest, Straight Forward, cross the gap and sample Australia’s shores.”

THIS is what I think many MANY Asian bands/promoters/labels have been dying to see for many MANY years. Like many bands around Asia, we are always the ones putting on shows for touring American or European bands. I’ve been doing it in Hong Kong for the past 16 years like many other brethren of mine in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Thailand. All of us put money, time, effort, and a LOT of heart into putting on shows for touring bands with zero concern that we’re going to lose money 99% of the time. In my 16 years of promoting shows here the amount of shows that I’ve made money from gets whittled down to an awesome TWO shows (Guess which band out of all the phenomenal and hugely influential bands I’ve put on have I actually made money from? I’ve done shows for my heroes Sick of it All and other bands like Terror, Comeback Kid, Misery Signals, Have Heart, Shai Hulud, First Blood, etc…none of whom were able to turn a profit. Not their fault AT ALL! But the one band that always brings in the crowd, and thus cash, in Hong Kong has been Parkway Drive – both times. Go figure. Great guys who both times have admitted to me that they have no idea why they’re able to do this everywhere they go.).

But at some point these promoters who play in bands themselves are certainly going to start asking – at which point do I need to start calling it quits and pass this risk-taking adventure onto someone else? The stages I’ve noticed are usually:

  • Someone young is super passionate about putting on shows and promises touring bands great guarantees and makes their stay in their country/city amazing. Building lifelong friendships along the way…this stage is always the most fun because you’re not concerned about money. You’re just psyched on meeting your favorite bands and learning/conversing about life in a full-time touring band and especially getting to hear some fun gossip about other bands and labels! Hahahahaha…If you did a great job as a promoter then IF that band returns they will find you again.
  • After a few years of losing money, the promoter becomes a little more picky about which bands he/she is willing to fork out money on. Like most promoters I know, we all have day jobs, and so when we put on shows for touring bands a lot of us have to take days off work to make that happen. You take days off enough and your company/employer starts questioning your commitment to your job – first by asking you to file for “unpaid leave” and then eventually – “Peace, don’t come back”. Add to that that most Asians I know come from a culture where hospitality is a hugely important part of our genetic make-up – myself being Pakistani ask ANY Pakistani how important it is that a guest is well fed. So even if the show is guaranteed to be a loss, we still are willing to throw money down on good local breakfast/lunch/dinner coming straight out of pocket. Which in the moment you couldn’t careless about, but the next day when you wake up (much like I assume the day after binge drinking) and check your bank balance, you go – damn, what was I thinking.
  • Eventually, the promoter gets to that last stage where they begin to start saying “no” to bands often enough that they realize that their time as a promoter is done.

I am caught in between that second and third bullet point right now. As a married husband, sole breadwinner, father of a 3 year old, it’s really her future that I’m throwing into putting on shows for touring bands.

The reason I state all of this is because when I saw that post above released by an Australian record label called Death’s Grip I literally yelled out loud “FUCKING FINALLY!” Finally there is someone out in Australia, Europe or the US who is interested in giving BACK to us Asian promoters/bands. Their point is clear as day and we couldn’t agree more, it should ALWAYS be a two way street but in my experience, it has NEVER been that way. I put on shows for bands here, they go back home and that relationship is done. Not a mention about us or anyone else from out here in Asia. No mention of whether they can set up a tour for us out there to return the favor.

I always wonder – is it because their experience out here sucked? Maybe the bands they’ve played with (including ourselves) were just plain terrible? But I’ve had the immense pleasure of touring through Asian MANY times and through this website continue to prove to the world that Asian bands are INSANELY incredible with the daily posts about new releases by brand new bands and our veterans. So – I know that neither of those points above are true. We certainly have our fair share of shady promoters, but we have STAND UP promoters as well who WILL pay guarantees, set up hospitality that makes a touring band’s life more comfortable, and then have a well-stacked bill of superb local acts.

So the question continues to be…when will bands return home and remember all the effort and heart that went into putting on THEIR band’s show here? All the time that gets taken away from family and jobs in order to promote a show, deliver tickets, pick up tickets, pay for meals, stress about number of attendees, lose sleep worrying about flights and details of the show, make sure the band is happy with their stay, etc – all of this would be easier to digest and accept if promoters/bands knew that by doing all this, they were setting up themselves or other local bands up with an amazing opportunity to go overseas.

So…my message to Australia’s Death’s Grip Records:

THANK YOU!

More info about the tour:

https://www.facebook.com/events/864488920301308/

UniteAsia.org is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!

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