There’s something universally appealing about an underdog story. Of seeing a group of unlikely characters achieve goals far beyond their humble beginnings, or limited opportunities. It doesn’t get much more underdoggy than Parkway Drive, a band formed in 2003 by a bunch of self described “surf rats” from Byron Bay. The band, comprising Ben Gordon, Luke Kilpatrick, Jeff Ling, Winston McCall and Jia O’Connor, play a sort of hybrid of metal and hardcore – unashamedly designed for maximum mosh pit mayhem – that has taken them from some of Australia’s less salubrious venues to headling the biggest metal concert in the world, Wacken Open Air.
Viva the Underdogs is a feature-length hybrid of documentary and concert movie, showing glimpses of the unlikely journey as well as some of the trials and tribulations faced by this self-managed band on their way to international success. It’s a pleasing mix of triumph, adversity and even comedy, with the continuing failure of a molotov cocktail onstage gag feeling almost Spinal Tap-esque in its absurdity. Another moment, where all the power in the venue goes out during a Hollywood gig is utterly devastating, although the band do their best to rally and make the most of interacting with their fans. Sure, sometimes the boys in the band are farting, swearing gronks, but they genuinely give a shit about their fans and audience enjoyment, and that’s hard not to like.
Viva the Underdogs is a love letter to fans of Parkway Drive, and those folks will make up the bulk of the audience for the one night only cinema release on January 22. However there’s an undeniable appeal to the whole venture, even in its unashamedly earnest moments, and there’s something quite delightful about hearing Aussie accents ring out during a massive international concert, saying “danke, danke, danke” before ripping into another shredding number. Probably not for the unconverted, but for fans of Parkway and Aussie metal in general, Viva the Underdogs will be a noisy treat.
Find out where the film is playing near you, here: https://www.eventcinemas.com.au/EventsFestivals/VivaTheUnderdogs