***Warning: There are spoilers ahead. If you intend on being surprised by everything in this video, please do not read. If you do, you give up any right to resent the RL Team Of Nerds. 😉 ***
Just as with the Adidas Skateboarding team, you’ll notice the Away Days soundtrack is incredibly diverse. From classics like David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” to grim rap’s own “It Ain’t Safe” from Skepta, Away Days does a great job of mixing up the soundtrack to not only personify each team rider’s taste, but also maintain the flow of the production in its entirety. The video itself reaches just over the hour mark, but because the soundtrack continued to stimulate our ears, the video passes by without feeling the strain of sitting down for too long. From our analysis, there was no boring part in Away Days, due at least in part to a stellar soundtrack that highlighted even more stellar skating.
A montage of the entire team’s skating acts as the intro to the sounds of “Jump Around” by House Of Pain. Yes, you read that correctly. Strangely enough, it compliments the skating very well and quickly escalates your expectations of what’s to come from Away Days, mainly because everyone has a hammer or two as a means of grabbing your attention.
Opening the video is the amazing Frenchman, Lucas Puig who, aside from a style that can make any skater reevaluate their wardrobe to match his, exceeds your expectations every damn time. His 2-part opener could’ve arguably taken last part. Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” is a drunken karaoke favorite of mine, followed up with a heavy yet soothing track from Nancy Sinatra with “Lightning’s Girl“. Expect glimpses of newly appointed pro Brian Peacock through his part.
As you would expect it, Rodrigo keeps his hip-hop flavor alive and well, but exchanges his reliable Mobb Deep for some new Troy Ave with “Me and You“. As always, you’ll be amazed at how high he’ll pop and catch his tricks, and while that’s no surprise, it’s one of those fun little cherries on top that continues to shock even the most jaded among us.
Mark Suciu continues to skate ledges with a prowess that cannot be matched. Throughout his Beach House-backed part, he shows no signs of slowing down to the sedative “Sparks” track. As he skates to this tranquil soundtrack, there’s nothing calming about his part – he persistently skates known spots in a manner that can’t be explained. To keep it short: expect the unexpected.
Following a mesmerizing part, a light-hearted intro to Na-Kel Smith’s opens up to James Brown’s “I Feel Good“, only to later show Jake Donnelly as his companion in the video’s first shared track. After a brief pause and explosive trick, the part opens up to Bankroll Fresh’s “Hot Boy“. The booming bass only adds to the high impact and straight stomping of every passing flip trick.
The Europeans finally reappear in Away Days with a short but sweet montage throughout a gloomy Paris backdrop. Cameos from Mark Gonzales are constant throughout the entire video, but this time he’s spotted with the likes of Soy Panday and other Magenta team riders. It’s paired with the classical sounds of Steve Reich and his “Music For 18 Musicians: IX“, much to our unexpected delight. This is the first of many music surprises throughout Away Days in our eyes. The Euros continue to reign supreme with Gunes Ozdogan, Pete Eldridge and Kevin Lowry (honorable Euros) skating to “Spooky” by Dusty Springfield. The sensual sound of this song paired with quick-footed lines and ledge skating may be under-appreciated, but is synchronized with like no other part in the video, making it standout amongst the other parts.
In classic fashion, Nestor Judkins keeps his reputation as song selector extraordinaire with New Order’s “Your Silent Face“. With this addition, we’re starting to feel inclined to write a SBS for NO, so expect one soon. Also worth highlighting is this may be Nestor’s most high impact and technical part to date.
Now, after a calming portion of the video, it’s only right that things get escalated again and to no surprise, Miles Silvas is the one to hold that responsibility as Away Days hits the 30 minute mark. Skepta’s “It Ain’t Safe” booms with each passing line throughout his heavy part. While this song was probably better paired with back to back single tricks, a mix of slow motion one-offs and long lines fill out the song well. Also worth mentioning: during the premiere, everyone in attendance yelled “ring ring pussy, it’s your mommy on the phone” when the part found its way on the screen.
Lem Vilenmin matches his calm skating with an even calmer track with White Denim’s “Street Joy“. While it’s been a while since he’s appeared on screen, his part is short but heavy.
England’s own Benny Fairfax, Chewy Cannon and Blondey McCoy open up their trio-part with a montage of skating from a good portion of the Adidas team at the famous South Bank spot. After a black and white intro, color hits the screen with an bassy soundtrack by Trigga & Chimpo’s “Who Run Tingz“. Chewy pushes the speed barrier, as most expect, Benny gets technical while remaining stylish and Blondey brings a fresh flavor of hard hitting maneuvers.
Painfully stringy guitar sounds hit the screen as the Gonz coaxes a young Jack Fardell to do the nearly impossible feat of bonking a tree with his tail. While the act of such a trick catches your eye, its the tangy guitar that sounds strangely familiar in the intro of his part. For those who know, as soon as you hear it, your face will light up with joy as Sonic Youth’s “Catholic Block” comes through the speakers in the way only a SY song can. There’s no questioning how difficult a feat of correctly pairing Sonic Youth’s sound to skateboarding is, but Jack Fardell manages all too well as his street and transition skills match that of the fast to slow strumming of Thurston Moore’s guitar. Rightfully so, Mark Gonzales’ tricks are sprinkled through, but don’t distract from Jack’s heavy skating.
The things that adidas did beautifully throughout this video is break up the conventional method of skate videos. While most share a part to part to part format, Away Days breaks that up with the famed team montages that you already know them for from their original video offerings. The opening of the next part begins with Na-kel driving Busenitz and Lucas Puig to an LA School yard and, much to our excitement, the majority of the Adidas American team can be found skating the table tops, benches and banks that we all love. It’s with this subtle hint that Adidas introduces Daewon Song to their team in his natural habitat. Then follows Marc Johnson, who can be found skating what appears to be the newly reissued and revamped Campus Vulcs. They’re collectively introduced to the sounds of “So Many Details” by Toro Y Moi.
Following that breathtaking scene, you’re hit with high-intensity scratching as Public Enemy’s “Rebel Without A Pause” hits the screen, dubbed to Dennis Durrant’s & Raul Navarro’s skating. Dennis, in classic fashion, skates with a calm ferocity like we’ve come to know but have yet to see from other skateboarders, while Raul continues his legacy as the mayor of Sants’ heavily worn benches.
Klaus Bohms & Gustav Tonnesen skate to a long-awaited favorite of ours with “Crosswords” by Panda Bear. As one of the offspring projects of Animal Collective, this track lends itself willingly to any type of skating, considering its unique vibe and sound, but the ledge skating done by both Klaus and Gustav quickly justifies the sound of this song in this part.
In one of the heaviest parts in Away Days, it’ll come to no surprise that Alec Majerus blew minds. With a calm symphony of sounds from Perfume Genius with “Queen“, Alec skates the gnarliest of obstacles with relative ease. While the act of handrail skating might be hard to relate to and therefore questioning its relevance, Alec truly does shine through in his part and leaves a lasting impression.
Some quick commentary from the Gonz about New York City serves as a segway into Tyshawn Jones’ part. “Behind the Fence” by Bankroll Fresh set to an almost exclusive NYC backdrop. Tyshawn’s part is also accompanied by an unexpected Jonah Hill cameo.
Okay, in all seriousness, Silas Baxter-Neal hasn’t been as present in skating as he once was, leaving many to doubt the strength of his part and possibly his ability on the stunt wood. Leave all those damn doubts at the door and recognize the fact that he was crowned SOTY for a reason – he rightfully maintains, if not surpasses, that SOTY allure that we know him for. Some jaw-dropping (not kidding) skating takes place to The Pixies’ “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and transitions to a second part with “The Mountain” by Heartless Bastards. This weary borderline-country-folk sound keeps up with the rugged landscape that SBN shreds through during the second part of his section.
A quick transition of Dennis Busenitz and SBN skating throughout the depths of Tokyo prepares you for the last part in Adidas’ first full-length video, that honor falling on none other than Dennis Busenitz. The playful flute from Snoop Dogg’s “The Shiznit” comes in knocking through the speakers with full bass as Dennis fires through numerous lines in the only way he knows how- with full speed. Snoop’s smooth flow compliments Dennis’ long lines and precision-like tricks. Along with lines, Busenitz visits some memorable obstacles and skates them like never before, making us reevaluate how we look at the same ol’ spots altogether. After a brief moment of silence, bird-eye view shots of New York City appear with slow piano keys coming through the background followed by “It’s a god-awful small affair.” The sounds of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” brings about a slow build to notify viewers that the end of their experience is near. The roaring sounds of wheels hitting the rough asphalt of NYC shriek along with the long builds that come from Bowie’s piano and memorable voice. Even more memorable is how Dennis justifies the use of such a legendary song as an homage to the late and great artist.
Away Days ends with a brief word from Mark Gonzales. He serves as a constant through the entire video and doesn’t have an entire part. That doesn’t interfere, but rather compliments the lengthy efforts of everyone involved in the video. Whether its his older wisdom coming through or likelihood of being at the forefront of all things unique, the Gonz closes the video by saying something to the effects of “this is what I like to do, that’s me” with a shots of the Adidas’ team passing through in the background. It’s a video that leaves a lasting effect and will certainly push the threshold of what we hold skate videos to today, and more than likely years from now.