Buckle up fellow travelers, for you are about to hear a story, a journey, nay, a saga so epic that generations to come will hark back to these days and wonder whether they will ever reach the lofty pinnacles of endurance and stoicism that I describe here. Listen well, and join us on our Baggins-esque adventure as we recount the hardships, triumphs and friendships that those glorious days entail.
It was a brisk spring morning, the sun was just peeping over the Dandenongs and at 6 am, Jonny and Batty set off a journey that would come to redefine them as people. The Hyrbid Nightmares mini tour with Claim The Throne was set to be a massive weekend, as they were joining the Perthian folk-metallers for a Friday show at the Bald Faced Stag in Sydney, Saturday at Hell on the Bay metal boat cruise in Melbourne town and the Sunday smashing it up in Geelong to round out the weekend. They knew they were gonna be tired, they knew they were gonna be sore, they knew that they were gonna eat a LOT of Micky D's (McDonalds for those not in the know).
Ben, Loki and Gummaz all had work commitments on the Friday so it was up to Addy and Jonny to haul the gear up in the people mover to get our guitars, heads, lights, banners, armour and other assorted bullshit to the gig on time. They set off from Croydon at the crack of dawn's golden arse. Arriving at Gummaz' within the hour, they loaded the car and made their preparations. By 8am they were on the move faced their first true hardship: there was no aux input for the ipod so they had to listen to pleb music, and not the sweet, sweet car mix that Jonny had worked tirelessly to create. Stopping at six different servos and a kmart, to no avail, they resigned themselves to endlessly switching between country radio stations. It was tedious and utterly demoralising. Shortly before entering the quaint hole in the ground that is Benalla, they stumbled upon pure gold. A station that was playing the A-Z of RnB. Soon Eminem, Destiny's Child and Gwen Stefanie were blaring from the seven-seater and a proper road trip was shaping up. As they crossed the river in Benalla, it was to the revolutionary sounds of Flo Rida's "Low" and know this readers, they cranked it right the hell up and screamed those words til their lungs were bloody.
Across the Murray and into Albury the boys did venture, still in search of a cassette to aux adapter with which they could finally partake in that sweet playlist. The only JB Hifi for 600 kilometers provided them with the necessary apparatus and from there the next 553 kilometers passed in abject joy as the playlist wended its way through timeless metal classics, brooding black metal and most enjoyably, a healthy dose of Queen, Motley Lou (deliberate), Akka Dakka and Sir Bon Jovi. Jonny and Batty arrived in Sydney twelve hours after departing their mountain stronghold in Croydon, and after 17 left turns, a temper tantrum and several small brain aneurysms, the boys made it to the venue.
As well as meeting the Claim The Throne lads and ladette for the first time, the Hybrid boys were very keen to catch up with their mates in Rise Of Avernus who will give Septicflesh a run for their money any day of the week. After a heartfelt reunion with ROA, and a brief but pleasant introduction to Claim, Hybrid Nightmares hit the stage, showing Sydney exactly what Hellbourne bands are made of - glowy stuff and tough as fuck looking armour. The set was well received and the boys began the arduous task of loading everything back into the car. It was to the epic sound of Rise Of Avernus slaying the stage that Jonny, Ben and Addy bundled themselves into the people mover in order to start the five hour drive to Holbrook where their accommodation was booked for the evening. Leaving at 11 pm, both Ben and Jonny soon began to feel the effects of sleep deprivation and without going into the details, the trip to Holbrook was a terrifying whirlwind of hallucinations, wrong turns, backwoods roads and mist so thick that we felt like we were driving through a Steven King novel. Arriving at their motel at 4:30 am, the boys collapsed into their beds with nary a fart joke.
Three and a half hours later the boys were up and on the road again as they hurtled back to Melbourne to make load in for Hell on the Bay. The trip home was uneventful which was a blessed relief after the previous night's journey. By one in the arvo, the three musketeers had arrived back at Gummaz' to swap cars and head to the dock. Ben took the people mover with the gear to the boat while Addy and Jonny hightailed it back to Croydon to grab the drumkit that was back-lining Hell on the Bay. A swift turn around saw the rhythm section at the docks by 4pm. Now in its third year, Hell on the Bay has become a Melbourne metal institution and the ground team (AKA Hybrid Nightmares, sound wizard Ben Johnson and lighting gurus James "Big Jim" Munro and his delightful better half Shannon Tipene) have had two years of practice, so the process of getting a ship ready for a night of metal madness has become somewhat old hat. A special mention must be made to Tim Joyce, sticksman for thrash titans Harlott, whose services as general carrier of heavy things and setter upper were indispensable.
The night itself was a raging success as always. Merry punters getting horrendously sloshed on a cruise ship while being serenaded by some of Australia's best bands is the unofficial slogan of the evening and this year was no different. Hybrid Nightmares opened the night and the Servants of the Obelisk were out in force, proving that the Hybrid boys can always expect a rabid response on their home turf. All Hail The Obelisk indeed. Up next were new friends Claim The Throne, Dysie and the gang bringing folk metal to the masses in a most appropriate venue. Having had to bail before the Claim set in Sydney, Hybrid Nightmares was out in full support of our western kin, loving every celtic minute of it. (A celtic minute is still 60 seconds, but you count it whilst wearing a kilt and dreaming of bagpipes). Taking the stage after Claim The Throne was Melbourne's own Desecrator, thrash legends and owners of the best damn skullets in town. Having recently completed a massive Euro tour, the Desecrator lads showed off their refined and practiced ease on stage, proving their place as one of Melbourne's finest. A hearty well done to Riley and the lads. To close the night, the warriors from across time and space; Barbarion, brought their own brand of battle metal to the Hell on the Bay crowd, not skimping on costumes, headbanging riffs or epic sing along choruses, Barbarion owned the tiny space allotted to them and had the horde of inebriated boat enthusiasts screaming for more. With the close of the set, it was time to disembark. The revelers made their way down the gang plank and out into the chill September night, most in search of the next party, some in search of bed, a few in search of love (though whether they found it, this story does not tell).
Once again, the HOTB ground crew began to pack up after the maelstrom, loading gear into vans and cars, trying to stay awake as they played tetris with expensive sound and lights gear. Addy, Ben and Jonny were running on the paltry three and a half hours sleep they'd had and except for a brief Hungry Jacks stop on the way home, it was straight to bed with our intrepid heroes. Heads hit pillows at Jonny's at around 2:30 am, setting alarms for 9 to make the 1pm load in the next day.
The sun rose, and it was largely ignored by Jonny and Addy who remained recumbent until 9. Having managed to get six and half fitful hours of sleep, they jumped back in the car and headed out west. Geelong is a lovely town, full of history and an important part of the development of Victoria. This was not how the slightly knackered Hybrid Nightmares boys felt when they arrived and once again emptied the cars and set the gear up on stage. Enthusiasm was waning until we ran into an old comrade in arms, Alex from now defunct symphonic black metallers, Lamort. Alex was the boost we needed, along with superfans Lord Regan and Beauty Tebaa who committed to the trip out even after getting rowdy as hell on the boat the night before. With spirits now running high, Hybrid Nightmares once again crushed the stage in a tsunami of neon veins and progressive extreme metal. Leaving the stage bloody, the lads sat back to enjoy the last performance of Claim The Throne on this tour and once again, they smashed it. After the bands wound down, it was time for a bit of shenanigans with the Claim guys and some cake was shared, it was fucking delightful. After some hearty farewells and promises to catch up soon, it was time for the adventurers to head home. It was an epic weekend, full of good times, great people and terrifying drives through Deliverance style one way roads at 3am. The boys cannot wait to do it again, and are currently sharpening their blackened teeth for the Age 4 launch in November, certain to be an extravaganza of space themed madness and headbanging that will be felt in the Andromeda Nebula. Here the story leaves you reader, but take this to heart reader: Hybrid Nightmares will cross any distance, lose as much sleep as is necessary, and backline all the gear in world in order to come to where you live and destroy your ears and your perception of reality. Lie awake in your beds at night, wherever you are, because as certain as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, it is a fact that Hybrid Nightmares is coming for you.
Peace out earth bitches.
Total km's travelled: 2044
Total time spent travelling: 23 hours 45 minutes
Total time on stage: 1 hour 55 mins
Total fucks given: 0 (except for driving in Sydney, but seriously fuck that noise, you can't turn right in that city!)