On a different note to sport, I attended Soundwave 2012 in Melbourne on the weekend, so I thought I would give a bit of a review about the festival, my thoughts and highlights so here goes nothing!
I am originally from Batemans Bay/Canberra, so heading to Melbourne was a big move considering Sydney is about 5 hours closer, but a few mates and the thrill of an adventure drew me away from the norm.
I spent the week leading up to the wave of sound attending sideshows which included Enter Shikari/Letlive/Your Demise, Thursday/Saves the Day/ Circa Survive and Break Even, so when Soundwave come around I was already well and truly exhausted from the moshing and drinking the previous five days had entailed.
The predicted rain on the day of Soundwave didn’t eventuate, instead we were greeted with a warm day with only a slight threat of rain. We arrived fairly early thanks to our overly friendly taxi driver and it only took us about 20 mintues to get through the security and lines, which was a welcome change to the usual hour plus in Sydney.
After wondering the venue to get a feel for things, we caught some of CKY, who were enjoyable and I believe were introduced by the man Bam Magera himself. We then wondered to main stage, and commented on how small it was compared to Sydney, before realising after half a set from some metal band that we were infact on the metal stage. Rookie error.
After making it to the REAL main stage, we discovered it was huge, a good set up similar to Sydney with two stages and a fairly large grandstand set up in the back for those who wanted to chill out a bit more. Lost Prophets were up first, who were a band I was very excited for. They played an enjoyable set, highlighted by crowd favourite “Rooftops” but overall they were slightly disappointing, I couldn’t quite work out why, but it just felt like they were missing something, It was then time for the big clash of my day – Dream on Dreamer and You me at Six. I decided after quite a substantial amount of debate I would watch the majority of the Dream on set, before quickly heading to catch the end of the YMAS set which was conviniently located just across from the DOD set. DOD played to one of the biggest crowds of the day on Stage 6, a testamegnt to the rise of this Aussie band. They jumped around the stage with heaps of energy and although they only have one full length album to their name, they already are one of the premier hard rock Aussie outfits.
I’ve often heard good things about the YMAS live show, so was very keen to catch a few of their songs. Front man Josh Franceschi voice sounded amazing live, and had the crowd at his fingertips. Granted, he is considered a “heart throb”, so there were around 10 million screaming girls hanging off his every move, but it was still an impressive performance. The second last song was off their newest album, called “Bite my Tongue.” Josh descirbed it as the angriest song their band had made, and he wanted that replicated in the audience. He even managed to scream the guest vocal part usually done by Oli Sykes, frontman of UK metal band Bring me the Horizon, and did it well. They closed with another crowd favourite “Underdog” and didn’t let down my pre-Soundwave hype.
Next up, it was back to main stage for crowd favourites A Day To Remember. These guys are build for festivals – highly energetic, tons of fun with heaps of sing-a-longs. Having already seen these guys twice – once before at Soundwave and once in America for Warped Tour, I knew what to expect and they didn’t disappoint. Front man Jeremy Mckinnon knows what a crowd wants and isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions like can you guys crowd surf a crowd surfer. That was enjoyable to say the least! They ended with an explosion of confetti in the air as Jeremey left the stage briefly to come back with an Aussie flag embroided with the words ADTR. Tre cool.
We ended up getting some good seats in the grandstands so we decided to hang out and watch the mainstage for a few hours. First up was Bush, but I didn’t know any of their songs and they were old. Then it was Bad Religions time, but their set was cut short due to some bizarre circumstances. The top of the roof had come undone somehow, and apparently was a crowd hazard so some announcer dude had to come out and say “sorry guys but the set is over.” Obviously, there were some boos and jeers, but the crowd took is fairly well considering. All eyes were then on the two guys who had the task of trying to fix the problem before the next act on that particular stage (Manson) came on.
The other half of the main stage was fine, however, and out came Limp Bizkit, who were greeted by one of the biggest crowds of the day, and probably the band I was the most excited about seeing. As per usual, Limp divides the punters. They are brash, confident, arrogant and rude, and that’s just front man Fred Durst. I heard numerous people saying they didn’t like Limp, but I loved it. They played a new-faultless set list, with the majority of songs coming off “Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water,” which was fine by me as this was the first album I had ever purchased and became a staple of my early-teenage years. Highlights of their set included Rolling, Faith, and their last song Break Stuff, which Durst introduced by saying “shut the fuck up we will play Break Stuff!”
They touchingly depicted their set to Jessica, who was the young girl who tragically lost her life during one of their sets in Sydney a few years ago. They even unveiled a huge banned depicting the words “Jessica” behind their stage, which was a nice moment from the usually “tough” band. Overall, I esentially loved every minute of their set and it ticked a huge box of my “bands I need to see before I die” list.
Next up was Manson, who honestly put on the worst set I’ve ever seen. He was angry, on countless drugs/booze and barely hit a note in his set.The only thing I want to say about it is I feel sorry for his tech guy who spent the whole set running around after him picking up his mike stand and getting yelled at to “get me another beer faggots.” What a jerk.
Slipknot then hit the stage, and although I only caught a few of their songs they were pretty breathtaking. They jumped and bounced around the stage and there was litteraly no room on the ground for people to watch. It was epic. The guy who plays the weird metal drums also had a rotating drum set which was very rad.
But I skipped out to go check out Your Demise and Letlive again, who put on such an amazing show during the week I had to catch them again. Letlives frontman is a maniac on stage. That’s the only way to describe him, I have seen around 200 bands live but I have never seen a front man move around the stage like he does. He was literally throwing himself to the ground, smashing the stages lights, climbing as high as he could get on the speakers and generally just going crazy. The most amazing thing was he never once seemed to out of breath to sing, and delivered a near-flawless performance on vocals. If you haven’t checked them out before, have a look at some of their YouTube live clips. Well worth the watch.
Your Demise was another band I was super pumped about seeing before Soundwave, I’m not sure if a day would go by in the month leading up it that I didn’t listen to their songs. They are just a resfreshing hardcore band – they don’t rely on gimmicks or looking good on stage, they just know their breakdowns and sing-a-longs will force the crowd to love them. The two-stage wide circle pit is a testament to that.
It was then time for some food, and the walk back to main stage for headliners System of a Down. System was another band that became a staple of my teenage years, and didn’t disappoint. Although I feel like they could have shown a bit more energy on stage, they delivered a seamless set, with both front man Serj Tankian and guitarist Daron Malakian switching between leading the vocals with ease. Some people seemed to think they were fighting for the control of the main vocals, but I felt like they had a good balance and always knew who was going to be leading the way.
The highlight of the set included crowd favourite Chop Suey, who had the WHOLE crowd singing along to EVERY word, which is something that rarely happens at festivals, and closing song Sugar. Overall, they delivered an impressive set with some really good lights helping the cause.
So once again Soundwave has proved itself as the premier alternative music festival in Australia, and seems to get bigger every single year with their lineups and crowds. The question must be asked: Can the event organisers beat this years festival again next year? You would be a brave man to bet against them.
Thanks for reading.