Hail to all ye brethren of the Hammer,
Here is my tour report from our first two legs of this years 2014 touring. Our first leg was in South America and our second in Europe and Cyprus in the Middle East. Before I go any further with this though I would like to extend my appreciation to all the promoters and organizers that we worked with on all of these events that we played at. Open the Road Bookings and Management in South America did a fantastic job organizing and executing our whole tour through four countries in South America. Also a big hell yeah to all the organizers that we worked with in Europe at the Hells Pleasure festival, TrueMetal Festival, Metal Days Festival and Power of the Night festival in Cyprus. You all did such a great job putting on your events and you all treated us with more respect and honor than I thought possible. Thanks so much to all of you for helping make all these shows great ones for us and the fans. Also a huge thank you to our own tour and personal manager Richard Cathey who kept everything running smooth and made sure the entire schedule was handled properly. Thanks my brother in arms.
You know I have always had really high hopes and expectations for Manilla Road but I’m not sure that I ever thought that it would all be realized for sure. Well it seems that Manilla Road has come to a point in it’s career that I can say that we have at least been somewhat successful in our quest to conquer the world with Epic Metal ha ha. What I am really saying is that I am very pleased and almost astonished at how popular the band has become now days. We were received and treated with the utmost respect and hospitality everywhere we toured. It has been a remarkable experience for all of us in the Road and one I am sure that none of us will ever forget. Omen is sounding better than ever right now with the lineup being, what I believe, the best that they have ever had. It was a lot of fun touring with our Omen brothers again.
The first leg of the tour was South America. We first went to Lima, Peru to play the first of six shows with Omen sharing the bill with us. I think Omen was actually more popular in Lima than us but the audience was great for both bands and it was a great time. That show was a bit shaky for us since it was the first time that we had played live together with Neudi since last November. So I don’t think we delivered the best of shows in Peru but it was not totally bad either. The first show on a tour is always the roughest for us it seems. The fans were great there though just like they were everywhere we went. Then it was onto Sao Paulo, for the first Brazilian show. This night was glorious because we got our sea legs, you might say, by then. This was a well played show and the crowd was huge and excited. We had a great show there. Then it was onto another plane and off to Santiago, Chili where we delivered another good performance and the audience was big and crazy. Chili rocks for sure. We had time after the show to hang out with our fans a bit which was really cool. We did that everywhere we could but sometimes our travel schedule was so tight that we had to leave the venue right after the show to go catch another plane. Throughout most of this tour we were literally grabbing cat naps anytime we could because I don’t think we ever got more than four hours of sleep any day. It was brutal but really worth it. After Santiago we were off on another plane to Paraguay were we were once again received with respect and passion and it was another great show and the fans were once again really stoked and vibrant. Then it was back to Brazil, where we would finally do our traveling on the ground. The next shows were in Rio, Limeira and Londrina, Brazil and all of these shows were really cool with the fans being fantastic to play for and to hang out with. Our last show in Londrina was without Omen so we did a bit of an extra long show there. It was all just really fantastic and Silvio from Open The Road was just a complete cool guy that I am honored to call friend now. Thanks for all you did for us mate.
That concluded the first leg of our 2014 tour and we hopped on yet more airplanes to end up back at home in Wichita Kansas for a whopping total of eighteen hours before climbing right back onto another plane to head out to Europe. I think I got maybe four hours of sleep that night as well ha ha.
Ok so after just enough time to say hi and bye to my kids we were off again into the wild blue yonder of air travel. Ok this was one of the suck parts of the tour because we spent about thirty one hours on planes and in airports getting from Wichita to Milano, Italy. This was due to weather delays and planes running out of fuel and having to land at airports that we were not scheduled to go to and la di da di da. We spent way too much time on airplanes during that time. But we finally made it to Italy where we were making our base for the European tour. The next day we took off for Germany and the Hells Pleasure Festival. We had a day to hang out with fans and rest up at the festival before we played so that was really cool. Then came the day of the show, which we were headlining by the way, and it was beautiful weather and a packed festival with a lot of Manilla Road fans and a bunch of metal heads that had never seen us also. We were happily surprised when Oliver from KIT, Metal Assault and Hammer of Doom showed up to hang out with us. And also so happy to see our Label Boss from High Roller, Steffan, show up as well. And the crew and organizers of the festival were just totally the best to us. We played really well at this show and the crowd was fantastic. The only thing that was screwy at this show was a bit of a problem with my microphone during the show but it did not stop anything and the show went on as always. It was a really fun night and audience. Then we flew back to Italy to headline the True Metal Festival in Milan. I was sort of concerned about a good turnout for this show because The Scorpions had just played there two days before and Deep Purple was going to play sometime soon also. But to my surprise it was a great turnout and the show was a great time and success. We had the pleasure of sharing the stage with our friends Battle Ram again and I have to tell you all that this band is sounding the best that I have ever heard them. They blew me away totally. The lineup is fantastic now. Hi Arnoldo. These guys deserve the best of attention right now because there just are not many bands out there sounding this fucking good. Keep it up boys. It was a great day because we got to hang out all day with our fans and friends from Italy and the show was a blast. Then we picked up the tour van and headed to Tomlin Slovenia for the Metal Days Festival. Now to tell you the truth I had never really given Slovenia much thought in my life but I should have been all those years. Some of the most wonderful mountain sites that I have ever seen. Thickly wooded mountains with the clearest of rivers and water that makes you feel rejuvenated. Walking amongst clouds in the mountains is so cool. The Metal Days Festival is really big. I had no idea that something like this was happening here. The stages were big and great just like those at Sweden Rock or Hellfest. I was really surprised and impressed. Two big stages with great light shows and we were headlining the 2nd Stage the next night. The organizers and crew were totally incredible and great to work with. So professional they were that I did not have to worry about anything at all. We had total VIP access and got to see Opeth play the night before we did. They were amazing as always and I was really pumped because this was the first time I had seen Opeth with the entire lineup. The fist time I saw them they had a replacement drummer do to theirs being ill. So this was cool to see them and they were in fine form. Great show Mike. I just love his anti-rock star attitude. Then came the day of the show at Metal Days and it started raining. Oh shit I thought. Well the festival tickets were all sold out for this day. That was 12,000 tickets I was told. But just a couple of hours before our show we saw one of the bands playing on Stage 1 performing to only about 100 people. It was raining pretty hard and it did not look like it was going to let up. As we approached the time for the headliner on Stage 2, that would be Manilla Road, the rain was still coming down in waves. So I figured we would not be playing to that many people either. When we took the stage there was about 500 people out there standing in ankle deep puddles of water with the rain still beating down on them. Well that was even better than I hoped for due to the weather but then my mind was totally blown away when the people started coming to the stage in droves right after we started playing. By the time we were into our second or third song the place was packed and everyone was braving the weather to jam out with Manilla Road. It was so metal of the audience to brave the elements in support of the Road. I was totally astonished and I know that I will never forget the feeling that came over me as I saw so many people enjoying themselves in the downpour with our music. Great stuff that goes down in the memory banks for all time. After a successful show at Metal Days Festival we were back on the road again heading to Italy to dump off the tour van and get on a plane again to journey to the Middle East and the island of Cyprus. Finally we had time to really rest and sleep once we got to this island paradise. We had a really nice hotel thanks to the great organization of George and everyone else at Power of the Night Festival. They were so nice to us and we got the royal treatment from them and all the fans. Two days of nothing but resting, eating great food and hanging out with our fans at the first festival day. Crystal Viper was the headliner this night and as always they brought forth a great show with Marta just killing it, as usual, with her off of this earth vocal style. I love her voice. We played with many really great bands at this festival. I did discover one band that did not play at the festival but I became totally aware of them because of seeing their new album art on a shirt. I fell in love with the art and so had to hear the band. This is how I used to find a lot of bands in the old days of record store shopping. I would be intrigued by the cover art and would be enticed to buy the album thinking that the music would be as cool as the art. Well in this case it worked just like that again. I had already heard one song from this band but not the entire CD. Well the name of the band is Astronomikon. The artwork that intrigued me so much turned out to be created by Markus Vesper (whom we have worked with before Voyager and Playground of the Damned) which made total sense to me since I am a big fan of his work. But then I checked out the entire CD and oh wow! This is a really talented band. The vocals are fantastic and well sung and the whole of the arrangements are quite cool and orchestral almost. Good power with a bit of a progressive feel to the band. A really good well balanced production also. I myself prefer a more natural drum sound but all in all this is a really good band that deserves attention. Really great art too Markus. Then came our night to headline the Power of the Night Festival. By the gods of old it was a crazy night and a crazy audience. It reminded me of the type of energy I had when I was an young metal head. We were so honored with banners in the audience sporting Manilla Road imagery and then to our total surprise right as our show started a huge red Smiling Jack banner of epic proportions came cascading down the huge ancient wall to the side of the stage. It was totally epic. I did not and still do not have the correct words to express my appreciation of this. Fireworks, flares and sparklers all started going up with lots of stage diving and crowd surfing. The crew did a great job trying to maintain some semblance of order but the photo pit wall became useless very fast as the fans stormed over it to get right up to the stage. We brought Marta Gabriel up to sing Flaming Metal Systems with us and the audience went nuts. It was really cool hanging out with Bart and Marta and all the Crystal Viper guys as always. Hi guys. And Marta delivered another blistering version of FMS for us. Thanks. The last of the show ended with some equipment problems due to the audience just going fucking crazy but all was good in the end and we managed to pull off our encore finally. It was a really fantastic show and festival. And thus ended the 2nd tour leg of our 2014 musical journey.
I don’t have the proper words to thank everyone involved in helping make these shows so successful but I hope you all know fans and crews that we are indebted to you all for making these parts of our 2014 tour a great time and experience. Up The Hammers & Down The Nails. Manilla Road will be back out on tour again in October of 2014. You can find out more right here at manillaroad.net on our tour dates tab. May the lords of light be with you all.