Last Night Addidas’ Away Days premiered at the Orpheum Theatre in LA
Words by Adam Abada
If you get your skate media intake via the internet, which you do because it’s 2016 and you’re here reading this, you’ve probably heard talk about the death of the full video in favour of shorter web offerings. With the video premiere being reduced to a “Going live at Midnight EST!” notice is it worth it for a company to still put so much time and effort into a full video? Adidas doesn’t care and I know that because last night I went to the real, bona fide, in-the-flesh, video premiere for Adidas’ first full-length Away Days.
Adidas is Adidas no matter how you slice it – an international sportswear company – and that influence was on display. They had Snoop Dogg host the screening. House of Pain played the afterparty. It was so blown-out an event that even though I got there 45 minutes early the theatre was at capacity so I had to wait for the encore screening with the rowdy, teenage contingent. And, in spite of all the big money glitz, the projector cut out halfway through causing one of the youths to throw a water bottle at the screen, tearing it right in the middle so we had to watch the rest of the video with a water bottle lodged into the screen. You won’t get that from the internet.
But, in spite of this, Adidas has been doing it with skateboarding for a while now and they put Mark Gonzales on a pedestal to prove it, crediting him as “The One and Only Mark Gonzales” and peppering his voiceover throughout the video. Despite this obvious grab for legitimacy, Adidas’ team also proves their dedication to skating. They’ve got a roster of 24 from all over the world and, well, that’s a lot of skateboarding represented. And they let them represent it how they want. Simply put, as Dennis Busenitz told me, “They don’t really tell me how high to kickflip or anything.” I back that.
At over an hour in length, Away Days, is a slickly edited piece of big-budget skate cinema. The theme here is international travel as the video was filmed in over 90 cities worldwide and is broken up with dramatic, stylized intros and outros to parts that at times felt a little more like a Scandinavian horror flick than a skate video. But, as always, the skating speaks for itself.
Lucas Puig has the first part. He absolutely rips, and does not look “old and fat” as he confessed to me he worries people think. The question Blondey McCoy posed to me before the screening “How many Brits does it take to film a full part?” is answered. Three. He, Chewy Cannon, and Benny Fairfax share a part and I think it was the best part. Chewy’s switch frontside wallie stands out in my mind. Tyshawn Jones was another favorite of mine. He goes so big with so much style. There were a LOT of reverts out of nosegrinds and 180s into grinds of all sorts. That’s definitely a big thing right now. Speaking of, Mark Suciu took his tech and quick feet to even bigger stuff and I loved it. Busenitz has last part which should come as no surprise to anyone. Gonz is in there too, popping up in random parts and montages the whole time. Oh, and – surprise! Daewon Song and Marc Johnson are on the team now! They have four tricks to prove it.
So is the full length dead? Did the internet kill it? Do real premieres matter? To quote Blondey McCoy, a real, bona-fide, in-the-flesh teenager, “Some people might say ‘what’s the point?’ But I think it almost justifies your place as a brand. Any brand should do one.” And I back that too. Watch the skating and decide for yourself.