Canadian Band Goes to India; Takes Lots of Pictures

If Edmonton’s All Else Fails is known for anything around these parts it’s for titling their previous release Fucktropolis, a release that was given mention in the Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone column a couple years back. Their music - which draws comparisons to the likes of Killswitch Engage, newer In Flames, Unearth and similar sounding melodic mavens - may not be of the sort that gets the blood flowing of yours truly, but you gotta give it up to any indie band that can walk out of a pressing plant with boxes full of anything called Fucktropolis. You also have to give it to any band that has somehow managed to play its first shows outside of its home country on the other side of the planet, especially when there are umpteen places to play between here and there, including their neighbours to the direct south in the U.S. But that would be too easy. So, All Else Fails took off to India for a hopefully-not-once-in-a-lifetime adventure/vacation/mini-tour that included shows at Banglore’s Unmaad Fest and Alcheringa Fest in Guwahati – in fact, at this very point in time, they’re still terrorizing the streets, beaches and bars of the latter, so obviously this post is somewhat pre-emptive, but whaddya gonna do? They also have a new video for a song called “The Sons of Plenty” off of their forthcoming The Forever Lie EP which is set for release on February 17th. Seeing as how much I love travelling in general and my curiousity about metal and metal scenes in other parts of the world, I tracked the band down and asked for a tour diary of their time in India. Instead of submitting the same-old same-old, vocalist/guitarist Barrett Klesko whipped out his selfie stick and offered up the lion’s share of the journey’s first half via photos. Video and contact info at the bottom of the page.

ALL ELSE FAILS INDIA TOUR DIARY

Jan 18 - Rehearsals are finished, bags are packed, off to the airport.

Jan 19 - Airplane food, Japanese Godzilla movies, poor sleep, surprisingly decent food. 

Jan 20 - Landed in Mumbai, but our guitars landed in London. After assurances that they will arrive within a day, we take our first steps into India. A 3am cab ride allows us a rare view of the deserted tangle of ratty alleys, narrow streets and impressive colonial architecture. The beds are hard and the rooms are small, but I couldn't be happier.

Jan 21 - Originally, we were supposed to fly to Calcutta today to prep for our first festival, but a last minute cancellation leaves us with an extra week in western India. We decide on taking three days in Mumbai and then to take a train to Goa to hit the beach and drink ourselves into oblivion for a few days.

Jan 22 - Mumbai is a uniquely beautiful place. Its crumbling buildings have a sad faded beauty to them, the slums exude an atmosphere of hope, and the beer halls are full of Kingfisher-swilling locals and tourists alike. My chai addiction begins to get out of control.

Jan 23 - Smashing four 6-foot guys, four backpacks, three guitars, drum case and merch onto a sleeper train (even in the 2AC class) is an adventure, but we find a way, and piled amongst our things we get a few modest hours of sleep.

Jan 24-27 - Beers, beaches, motorcycles and Australians. We bump our bus to Bangalore by a day so that we can spend an extra day in the sun and take advantage of the gorgeous locations and friendly locals to grab some performance footage. It's easy to forget that we are supposed to be on tour and not just four more faceless travellers.

Jan 27 - The cramped overnight bus drops us in Bangalore in the wee hours of the morning. A couple of Ubers are waiting to take us to the IIM campus for our first Indian show. We spend the next two days shaking the party cobwebs away and prep our stage show.

Jan 28 - Our stage at the Unmaad Festival is an open air amphitheatre. The lineup on the main stage is an ultra-strange mix. Immediately before us are themed regional dance pieces, and we will be followed by a fashion show. The crowd seems initially unsure of us, but by the third song, the stage fog is blowing, the strobes are cranked up, heads are banging and the crowd is cheering and singing along. We end the night taking hundreds of selfies with fans side stage, and I'm surprised by how many people have a favourite song of ours.

Jan 29 - The show is done, but we are staying in the student housing for a few more days, so the festival organizers arrange platinum passes to the massive headliner show. I have no real context for it, and the music varies wildly from soft ballads to Punjabi dance to emulated metal to hip hop. We somehow end up at the front of the stage and get a weird shout out as the only foreigners around. I leave equal parts entertained and confused.

Jan 30 - After giving away the Unmaad Music Competition awards, we spent the day wandering the downtown area of the city admiring the architecture and sampling the local craft beers for which the city is becoming increasingly famous for. I've had worse days.

Jan 31 - Today we fly out for Guwahati in the northeast. It's remote and every time I ask people what it will be like, I get a strangely sly smirk.

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