Cypher 16: On Tour In India

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After what can only be described as an extremely heavy flight (we were told to stop drinking three hours into the journey when the spirits began to run out, and let's just say we decided against it), we arrived in Bangalore.

Four heavily inebriated British musicians wandering round the outside of Bangalore airport trying to find where the taxi (and a few items of luggage!) is quite a sight to see. A lot of exactly what happened is a bit blurry to some of us, but looking back at some of the videos we definitely made it to the hotel and straight into the pool – thanks go to the Indian military and airport staff who helped make sure that the tour actually started on time!/o:p

The annual ‘Great Indian Octoberfest Festival’ is a celebration of beer and music of all genres, organised and sponsored by India’s largest beer brand, Kingfisher. It’s traditional home has been at The Palace Grounds, Bangalore, although in recent years it has had to move to new locations due to strict new and oppressive laws by the government, which have cracked down on live music. We have special memories of the event. Back in 2010 we got a last-minute invitation to play the event, which was being headlined by Lacuna Coil. Our tent was packed out and after we received an amazing reception (helped along by the biggest Wall Of Death we’ve ever managed to organise - check out the YouTube clip!)

After a quick pool session and rest in our rooms, we checked out our surroundings (this year’s event was being held at The Jayamahal Palace) and sorted out some press for the day. As we weren’t playing until the Saturday we thought a few beers were in order, which at this festival is always a dangerous idea. Arguably the most popular type of Kingfisher, Kingfisher Strong weighs in at 8% proof.

A lot of our friends were also playing the festival, so it was a great to hang out and catch up with members of Demonic resurrection (some of you might have caught them at Bloodstock in the UK this year), Bhaynak Maut, Chronic Xorn and Escher’s Knot.

We had an early sound-check on show day and ironically for India, it was actually quite mild heat-wise. This saved us having to do the sound check under umbrellas like in Chennai (PICTURE 2), which was a relief! As usual various bits of equipment were missing from the stage set-up, which led to a few amusing incidents during the show (Carl becoming Jack’s foot-switch tech Metallica-style) and running back and forth from the front of the stage to the back when he realised he had forgotten!/o:p

The show was a brilliant welcome back to India for us. Bangalore is like a second home and definitely where we have one of our biggest fan-bases.

After the show we spent a few hours meeting with fans, taking photos and doing some TV interviews, before going to watch Bhayanak Maut tear it up. Jack was even pushed out by the stage manager to join them for a song.

On Sunday, although the weather resembled that of a British March, we travelled around Bangalore (as always via tuk-tuk) and did a bit of shopping, checked out the hard rock cafe, and then headed back to catch Children of Bodom’s set. It had been raining on and off all day, and as we arrived back at the festival, it became clear that there were some problems. For British festivals, a bit of rain is often expected and usually fairly easy to deal with - in most circumstances the bands can still go on and play. Unfortunately, there were no covers over the roof of any of the stages, resulting in almost all of the acts being cancelled. The Bodom and festival crew worked as hard as they could to make sure the stage was safe enough for them to go on and to be totally honest, it was very touch-and-go for a while. In classic Indian style, staff from the festival improvised by taking tents that were being used out in the arena stalls and took them to the stage. COB then proceeded to play, and even though they were under small marquees, one per member, they still managed to put on a great show.

Much of the rest of that night was spent drinking, while discussing the early start facing us the next day. As you can imagine the early morning drive to Bangalore airport was not particularly enjoyable and there were several sore heads in the party. /o:p