My dear friend Brendan Giles is no longer with us in this realm… I’ve not had the time to process hearing this news this morning via his mother Marilyn who had been trying to contact me since his passing in March. MARCH. I am beating myself up here for not knowing earlier.. I have no excuse.. life has been so stressful, so crazy lately that despite us last corresponding on the 8th of March, 2023 I hadn’t reached out since… To think he was gone 9 days later is just too hard a thought to maintain for the fear of breaking down or ending up in a cyclical thought process that won’t help. I want to celebrate his life as well as his presence in my life and what it did.
My little brother in a lot of ways… I first met Brendan on the Machine Head forum wayyyy back in the early 2000s. He was 14.. I had seen someone on there attacking him and I liked this kid’s energy, his way of conversing and his obsession with Machine Head at the time. I leapt to his defence without question.. we began chatting not long after for it to only develop further into a friend whom I hold and always will hold dear. I can’t believe you’re gone from this world. A beautiful soul who deserved so very much more. So much more.
If I’m not mistaken we first met up properly in June of 2007 when I was going over to Machine Head in Glasgow at The Academy. This was the night that would change my life forever and Brendan was there, with me, in one of my most precious moments, meeting the band for the first time. I took that photo of him with Robb Flynn. He took one of me with Robb but that is lost to the ether. Thankfully I still have this image for it is my favourite photo of Brendan… his happiness jumping from the image… Robb was so good to him that night and I’m choking up here thinking about it.
He was with me later that year in Dublin, Ireland when I met the band again and was able to give them some personalised t-shirts I’d made. He was there in Paris the night things started to align… He was always there, if even at a distance.
He was one of the first I told when I got the gig to go travel with Machine Head.. his encouragement and good will only served to elevate me… Over the years we remained in touch whereby I would see him wherever possible on the road… I have him forever immortalised in the live footage clip I cut to Machine Head’s Volatile which can be found here;
https://youtu.be/ofrYISoFVlQ - He is at the 2:41 mark in his much loved PHRYME hoody. Ah man, I miss you so much. Grateful for those days we spent together then.. and that I was able to get you to meet up with Robb again in Manchester before the world went sideways a year and a half later.
I am not sure what I am telling you this for but it feels good to write down. My friend’s memory will be here forever and that is a good thing. I want anyone who reads this to know that our world lost another decent, GOOD soul. I love and miss you my brother.
I’ve included some of my favourite photos of us because they’re such beautiful memories…
Have a good flight out of here,
Rest in peace brother,
There are few things in this life as rewarding and cathartic as a live performance from the gargantuan musical entity known as Gojira. At least for me and without a doubt the hordes of enthusiastic fans waiting outside the venue. I hadn’t seen them now since the summer of 2019 which, when you sit and try and think on it I can’t quite figure out… has this much time passed already? So much has happened yet it feels like nothing has and I saw them yesterday. Certainly something to think on.. or not to be honest because from the second Born For One Thing kicked off we are there, in the moment. I won’t detail the setlist because anyone can search it out if they feel compelled.. but what I will say is there were two songs played from my personal favourite album “The Way Of All Flesh” on this night and boy, did they raise the roof (more so) with these two surprises.. These two being “The Art Of Dying” and “The Way Of All Flesh”. The trance like state I end up in during the outro of the latter is something only Gojira can achieve. It is as close as one can get to achieving true oneness with the very air around you.
The energy in the room… can we talk about that? It’s another thing I’ve only ever experienced at Gojira shows. There is this almost a symbiotic nature between band and audience. It transcends what a gig is, really.. weaving and waving before morphing into an auditory and visual beating. In the best possible way. Jean-Michel always says thanks to me for my energy but in truth, I had none arriving.. or at least felt none there. I was barely standing (maybe a slight exaggeration) initially but once the first notes kicked in something welled up deep inside stirs and I allow it out. I have no real control over whatever it is but I’ve noticed you just have to let it flow through you and give over to it for the rewards are more than one can put into mere words. I go through all emotions, I head bang, I dance, I work, I smile, I grimace, I jump up and down, flail about and in truth it’s some of my freest moments, pure abandon enveloped by these sonic explosions going off all around me bring into my existence. God, it feels GOOD! The show flew by in what felt like a matter of minutes … I find myself leaning against the wall post show covered in sweat, panting, ears ringing knowing everything will hurt tomorrow but at the same time, overcome with gratitude. It’s not something I can express.. it’s not just about the music..
It’s the culmination of so much work, so much personal sacrifice, so many obstacles, so much joy, so much sadness, anger, you name it - that brings ME in this body to this point, this moment in time. From Bulawayo, Zimbabwe playing in the mud watching ants do their thing to this. What a trip. Money could never buy this. The purity of it and the connection I share with this band, the humans they are, the people they have around them and the music they create. It truly is “A Sight To Behold”.
Taylor, Gojira’s tour manager, a stand up human being, a friend and a relentless force of focus and organisation, thank you as always for always being so hospitable and for the conversations brother. Good to know you.
To Joe, Mario, Jean-Michel and Christian, I wish you godspeed always. You guys deserve everything that comes your way in this business and life for what you give is also worth so much more than money. Thank you for all the times now and in the future. I, Fiaz Farrelly have enjoyed every second and (I really should mention my work haha) I’m beyond ecstatic that not only my work and yours have crossed paths but also resonated with each other. This too, is worth more than any money in this world to me. I can’t wait for one more show… this time, in London at the Alexandra Palace. I would love to come to more but life is telling me I can’t right now so I accept as it’s more than I can ask for and will soak up every goddamn second.
If you read this far, thank you too. I am adding a small gallery of my favourite photographs I was able to capture on this special night in our country’s capital, Dublin here in Ireland. I hope you like them as much as I do!
Until next time, and as Jerry Springer always put it; “Take care of yourself, and each other”.
Much love and respect,
Fiaz, February 2023
I’ve sent my finished edit to Robb, I’m sitting here sipping tea with my little dog friend Buddy chilling with Of Kingdom And Crown playing yet again… this record is nothing short of fantastic. Talk about solid. Impenetrable and sounds like the entire Machine Head discography has been thrown into a blender with a few extra new elements and come out fresh as all hell, immediate, relevant, powerful, emotionally affecting, heavy as hell, crushing and above all, rewarding in it’s listen.
Seeing the band in Dublin this past Tuesday was like receiving a jolt of adrenaline mixed with a zest for life I haven’t had in well over two years. Not that I can’t find it elsewhere, I’m just trying to illustrate what it is I get from this band’s musical output as well as them as human beings and friends in my life on this planet. I’ve been a die hard fan of their music now since the latter part of my 16th year in this life growing up in Southern Africa FAR away from anything like a live heavy metal show and still am now in my 42nd year. Growing up in Africa like that with so little access to the music I adored so made what I did have all the more important and created a hunger in me that hasn’t ever really dissipated.
The show itself was yet another life affirming experience for me. A cacophony of Machine Head hits, so to speak with one new song thrown in. That fuckin’ brutal rager “Become The Firestorm”. I cannot wait to hear the other new material live.
I will never be able to explain the feeling I get when I hear an electric guitar blasting out of a PA at full volume or the thunderous drums, rumble of the bass guitar. It’s a majestic sound to me.. combine all the elements together and the all enveloping nature of the sound coupled with the feeling of the music THROUGH your body… it is one of those things in this life that’s unmatched. I’m still in bits today nearly 5 days later from head banging, jumping, stomping, running, photographing and filming. I won’t talk anymore, I’ll let my work do the talking… I hope you like the photographs, I really dig them. I found myself a little off my game after 2.5 years away from this but I am very happy. I’ll hopefully follow up with a nice, kick ass video in the next wee while… Thank you to Robb, Jared, Vogg, Matt, Jon, Larry and Rodrigo for your hospitality and such a great day.
Vogg, Matt and Larry, good to meet you guys.
Robb, Jared, Jon and Rodrigo, great to see you guys again.. safe travels and see you again soon without a doubt.
Love and respect,
Fiaz, September 2022