Mat De Koning’s Meal Tickets is a rock documentary detailing the trials and tribulations of Perth rock band Screwtop Detonators and its various characters.
The band consists of guitarist and vocalist Ben Ward, bass guitarist Mitch Long, drummer Charlie Austen and guitarist and vocalist Lee French.
The film showcases a behind the scenes, no holds barred look at life in a rock and roll band. We see the fast life on the road, arguments with management and the sacrifices bands make toiling away on tour away from home.
The first chapter revolves around the Screwtops embarking on an international United States tour, organised by new manager Dave Kavanagh.
The viewer gets an unfiltered look at the intimate life of an up and coming rock band, packed together in a van driving from gig to gig.
This allowed for a lot of exciting concert footage to be displayed and, as a punk fan I found it one of the film’s aspects I most enjoyed.
Life on the road is depicted as everything you’d expect: cramped trashy hotel rooms, gigs to less than 20 people and lots and lots of drinking.
Eventually the band returns to hometown Perth and embarks on a goal to sign its first record deal and hopefully garner some public attention and radio play.
The musicians part ways with manager Kavanagh after some disagreements and decide to move to Melbourne.
Here we get a deeper look into some of the relationship struggles members of the band are having.
The band’s guitar tech on their tour in the States was Will Ferrier, who has gone on to have a successful solo career.
Ferrier, whose stage name is Will Stoker and the Embers, is an eccentric colourful character whose music seems heavily influenced by the likes of Nick Cave.
One of the other characters involved, who also attended high school with the band, is successful Perth artist Matt Doust who was a finalist in the 2011 Archibald Prize.
Doust develops a close relationship with Ferrier and the two embark on an adventurous, exciting journey to Los Angeles.
Here we see all the gratuitous partying and California madness you would expect of young artists full of adrenaline and creativity.
Ferrier is one of the most interesting people depicted in the rockumentary and his eccentricities are fun to follow.
This is what made the film a success for me.
The music is great to listen to but the array of interesting characters makes the film a compelling representation of the rock and roll lifestyle.
Meal Tickets will certainly be a hit with the young, male crowd. There are barely, if any, females shown in the film and it’s full of gusto and masculinity.
I think anyone who is a fan of music and rock and roll will appreciate this behind- the- curtain look at the band.
I enjoyed it a great deal.
It’s fascinating to see the downside of life touring on the road and the topsy-turvy drama that comes with being in a rock band.
I really enjoyed this insight into the band’s personal lives and thought it was well directed by De Koning.
Meal Tickets premieres July 8 at Revelation Perth International Film Festival at Luna Leederville.
Here’s the Trailer: