Local band doc premieres (with audio clip)

Local band doc premieres (with audio clip)
Local band doc premieres (with audio clip)
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The documentary “As the Palaces Burn” started out exploring the world-wide reach of RVA metal band Lamb of God. When the band’s 2012 tour landed in the Czech Republic, the focus changed to the arrest and subsequent trial of front man Randy Blythe. While traumatic for Blythe and the band, the arrest was a gift for the movie. The new story line was a perfect way to show the real dynamics of a band, more like a family, in crisis.

 

The film documents efforts by the band and their fans to raise funds for Blythe’s defense. One of the biggest hurdles was understanding the legal system in Prague, a system that Bassist John Campbell characterized as confusing, “Their legal system has changed from the old Soviet system within the last 15 years. The whole process was not only confusing to us, I’m not sure it was terribly clear to all involved.”

 

If convicted and sentenced to time in jail, Blythe’s loss could have been the end of the band. Campbell felt the experience on a personal level, “As an individual, I had to deal with the psychological shock of considering this thing we’d put 28 years into was potentially gone and done for.”

 

The movie makes a point of remembering the young fan who was allegedly killed as a result of falling off the stage at a 2010 Lamb of God concert in Prague. Blythe was charged with manslaughter because of the accusation he pushed the fan off the stage. The fan died two days later of a head injury suffered at the concert. During his defense, Blythe apologized, without admitting any guilt, to the family for the loss of their son and its impact on them. The whole band acknowledged the tragic loss as well. You see that, as family men themselves, the boy’s death was hitting close to home.

 

The Richmond premiere was at Movieland on 2/27. Campbell and guitarist Willie Adler made brief remarks before a crowd of about 100 fans. And dedicated fans they are. There was a technical problem with the digital movie that caused it to stop several times. After three attempts we were moved to a different theater; however the gremlins followed as well. The faithful were rewarded with finally seeing the movie to its conclusion and 2 free passes from Movieland. Even with the technical glitches, the movie was a compelling look behind the headlines.

 

At the premiere, I asked Campbell, “There have been published reports that Lamb of God will be doing a new album in 2014, while others claim Blythe is taking a break from the band. What’s the deal?

 

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