Keep in mind the recounting of what happened here is 100% according to Lawless Jakarta (except Testament's statement), written by a fan who was there. I have no idea how much of this is true.
Sunday, Mar. 9, Testament were playing the Kukar Rockin' Fest in Tenggarong, East Borneo. Before the show they sound checked and it went an hour over the time it was supposed to so everything got pushed back. The band were initially supposed to go on at 10 p.m. but now they were scheduled for 11. Cool? Cool. Now here's where things get a little iffy.
At 10 p.m. there was a band called Power Metal on and apparently Testament and their crew weren't happy about that. So they just started pulling the plugs on Power Metal, who just stepped down and let Testament take the stage. The crowd was pissed and apparently sat down on the ground for Testament's entire set, among throwing bottles and junk onto the stage. After between eight and ten songs, Testament realized the crowd didn't care anymore and Power Metal came back on and played the rest of the show. Again, none of this has been confirmed nor denied by anyone in terms of this exact set of events transpiring.
Testament are blaming the whole thing on a miscommunication, an impending flight and a language barrier, which is understandable. It's hard to judge who might be right or wrong here given the fact that the only accounts of the night we have are one pissed fan and Testament. I can see how Testament were maybe a little wrong here, but Power Metal certainly could've been the culprits as well being openers. Obviously both sides are bias toward painting the situation one particular way, so here's what Testament said happened via Facebook.
“As Testament returns from our first trip to Indonesia, a country we’ve looked forward to visiting for many years, it is with deep disappointment that our performance didn’t turn out as planned. While our experience in this great land had been nothing but wonderful from the time our first plane first touched down – from the warm hospitality of our fans, local staff and others to whom we are grateful, to being honored by the mayor and the press shortly before appearing in front of 50,000 fans at Kukar Rockin’ Fest 2014, things went awry only at the moment we were scheduled to hit the stage.
That’s when the support act directly before us began their set. Normally this would not be a big issue – rock’n’roll shows don’t always run on time as everyone knows – but in this case, there was a serious problem: we had a flight to catch in just a few hours. The flight was from Balikpapan Airport, several hours from Tengarrong (the location of the concert) which required several hours driving over rugged terrain.
Making matters worse, several pieces of luggage had never arrived and these needed to picked up in Jakarta before we could board our connecting flights. Missing our connecting flights in Jarkata would have caused the entire band and crew to miss our further connecting flights home (after nearly a month on tour) followed by a trip to Mexico City’s Hell Heaven Fest within three days of arrival back to the US.
So in order to play our full set and be sure we made this flight, an attempt was made to play our set on time, with the support act following us. The local stage managers, while well intentioned, did not seem to grasp the urgency of the situation as the support act (Power Metal) continued to play and we watched our set time disappearing.
When our singer, Chuck Billy, came out and attempted to address the support band and audience, he was not understood. Regretfully, this led to a minor confrontation with the support act who only stopped playing once their gear was finally turned off by our crew (for which they responded by dousing water on one of our own amplifiers). While this situation was interpreted as the headliner being disrespectful to the local band, that was not the intention.
Not helping these miscommunications was the language barrier for which no one can be blamed – our concern wasn’t understood and nobody in our entourage speaks Indonesian. We were also short of our full crew, some of whom hadn’t been available when this show was added to our tour at the last minute. Regardless, the result was a crowd that was visibly unhappy during our set and for that we accept responsibility.
To our Kukar Rockin’ Fest audience: We deeply apologize for any hurt that was caused. While we would have appreciated the support act being more accommodating, we nonetheless apologize to them as well and meant no disrespect. In hindsight, it might have been a better decision to just let them continue and cut much of our own set.
But in the heat of the moment, a judgment call was made that backfired. We regret this turn of events, which does not represent what Testament is all about, nor what we’d travelled all that way for Testament deeply appreciates the fans of Indonesia and hopes they find it within their hearts to understand what has happened and forgive. We truly hope to return to this region one day amidst deeper understanding and better circumstances.