Live Shows, Reviews — February 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

Soundwave Festival 2012 – Sydney – 26 February


After my mistake of not heading to last year’s Soundwave and the bruises from kicking myself, I was in no way missing Soundwave 2012. My biggest problem was how to split myself in to five people to be able to catch all the bands on this unbelievable bill. Seriously, what a line up.

The trains were packed early and the entry line was as far as the eye could see well before the gates opened at 11am as this sold out crowd were all eager to catch their favourite bands. It was a painless entry and it was time to decide where to begin.  I wanted to check out Cherri Bomb and was lucky to catch the end of Royal Republic are a better and more rockier Franz Ferdinand, the kind of band you wish you’d seen their whole set of, thankfully I got to see three songs and it got me pumped for what I already knew was going to be a bigger than big day out.

Cherri bomb hit the stage and these rockin’ girls brought it! There’s some major talent here and hopefully much more to hear from them over the years, they were playing like there was 20,000 people at their stage, just the way any band should. I did leave their set early as I had to procure my place in the pit for Steel Panther.

Saves The Day performing Pinkerton didn’t get much love from the crowd that was eagerly awaiting the buzz band of the day in Steel Panther as the crowd started to fill up, minutes before they hit the stage there was people as far as the eye can see and ready to get their Balls Out and Feel The Steel.  Steel Panther hit the stage with ‘Eyes Of A  Panther’ and pretty much set the bar for every other band on the day, you may have heard about Steel Panther about being a joke band or a parody, hopefully this was shot down today. Blasting through songs like ‘Just Like Tiger Woods’, ’17 Girls In A  Row’ and arguably the greatest power ballad to be released in the last twenty years ‘Community Property’, musically they are amazing and their comedic timing is down to perfection and by the end of their set not only did everyone walk away with a smile on their face but all I heard throughout the day was ‘How good were Steel Panther?’ Also, never have I been in a mosh pit with dual circle pits, thank you Panther for the bitchin’ set and to the crowd for trying to crush me. Death To All But Metal!!

Lostprophets had to follow that and I hadn’t seen them since 2004 and it was great to see them once again showcasing their energetic live show with a mix of old and new material (which sounded killer) which the crowd were screaming lyrics back to songs like ‘Last Train Home’ and ‘Burn Burn’ and culminating with an rockin’ version of ‘Rooftops…’ with the crowd singing this one like it was the last they’d ever sing.  That was pretty cool to see.

Next was Alter Bridge, and this is a band that knows heavy!  Myles Kennedy is without doubt one of the best rock vocalists out there at the moment and its evident with this band he fronts.  With a set predominantly from ABIII but with some well-chosen tracks from their first two records they showed many bands how it’s done.  With rumours of a special guest, we were treated to an appearance from the one and only Slash who graced us with his presence to perform the Alter Bridge track ‘Rise Today’ the crowd erupted when he walked on stage and if the stadium had a roof it would’ve been blown off.  I seriously can’t believe that it’s only 2:40pm and I still have a good seven hours to go.  How am I going to make it through the day?

The giant backdrop of ADTR had the crowd in a frenzy as the Florida hardcore rockers A Day To Remember hit the stage with fury, I managed to catch a couple of tracks as I was heading out to check out the surroundings for the first time today and after almost being squished in the mosh for Steel Panther and Alter Bridge I needed it.  What I did notice is that this was truly a MUSIC festival, sure there were a few rides around but there were no lines, it seems that people were here to actually see bands and that’s so very refreshing.  Bar lines were long, as usual, so I trekked to stage 5 for a much shorter line and the discovery of some very catchy rock in the form of The Dangerous Summer, a nice little surprise and one to note down to check out later.

It was time to head back to the main stage for a little bit of Bush.  I’d never seen these guys before and they sounded great and so appreciative to be here today.  I was stoked to hear ‘Everything Zen’ which had the crowd going and to follow with an interesting cover of The Beatles’ song ‘Come Together’ was great!  Of course ‘Glycerine’ was well received and awesome to hear it live!  I wanted to head out to catch Staind but I heard the times were running late, I found out later they weren’t so I missed them, great, but fingers crossed they’ll be back.

Heading back into the main stage as I needed to find a spot for Limp Bizkit, as I soon found out so did everyone else as the stadium was packed.  While waiting I got to check out some Bad Religion who’s awesome punk rock tied us over until Bizkit hit the stage.  Their songs are short, pack a punch and catchy as all get up, I was glad to see these pioneers of punk today, they promised to be back soon, in fact in a couple of days…

Now, I have to say, you can hate on Limp Bizkit all you want but they absolutely kicked ass today. It has been 11 years since they were last in Australia and I’m sure you’re all aware of the tragedy that happened, so to have them back and for them to not only recognise the event, but to dedicate it to Jessica who passed away at their set eleven years ago was something pretty cool.  Her father was in attendance and he seemed grateful as the giant backdrop revealed her name behind the band. The set itself, wow, in all seriousness, they were close to the best on ground today, and the crowd agreed.  Songs like ‘My Way’, ‘Take A Look Around’, ‘Nookie’ and the closer ‘Rollin’ which had everyone ‘doing the Rollin’ dance at one point and quite a spectacle. ‘Break Stuff’ wasn’t included in the set, sucks, but understandable.  I hope they can make it back soon and if you missed them, well, you missed out.

Kvelertak, I had to check these guys out, the Norwegian Viking folklore metal really intrigued me so I made my way up to stage 6 and found a small hall with a smattering of people and six of the most insane guys up on stage I’ve ever seen.  This was unbelievable and I’m telling you, should’ve been on the main stage. Broken mic stands, guitars being flung around like toys, jumping and screaming, this is one of the coolest bands of the day.  If you’ve never heard of Kvelertak, try and make some time to go and see them!

In my ‘trying to split myself into five people’ I had to leave the Vikings to catch some of the mighty Lamb Of God, I dared not to venture anywhere near the insanity that was the pit and when they were told to ‘Open up this pit like a can of Spaghetti O’s’ and they did, it was one big ass can!  And it was also fun to watch.  They instigated a cup fight between the two sides of the barriers which was quite amusing to watch and all the time just playing some of the most heavy music you’ve heard, they were a stand out and the new material from ‘Resolution’ fit perfectly in the set and the crowd lapped up every second of it.

As I headed back into the main stage thinking Marilyn Manson had finished early he walks back out and so begins ‘The Beautiful People’ to an erupting crowd and a happy me as this was the song I wanted to hear.  It went over well but the crowd chant for Slipknot was almost as loud at one point and it didn’t take long for Manson to leave the stage after that.  I wish I’d caught more of his set though.

So, the way to an old rockers heart is with pyro at a live show, and Slipknot have pyro. Now I love Slipknot, I consider myself more of a fly as I’m a grown up maggot but to see them in the red jumpsuits and the freaky ass masks, there’s just something about it.  Talking about rock voices before, add Corey Taylor to the list.  He is a front man that can win over a crowd and as I watched it from up in the stands I had a full view of the stadium and to watch the whole thing at one point jump in unison was for lack of a better word, phenomenal. I was clock watching though as I needed to head up to see Watain, so when in the hour I saw Slipknot they gave us ‘Wait & Bleed’, ‘Psychosocial’, ‘Before I Forget’ I was more than stoked.  They sound as heavy as ever and as the guy behind me kept yelling ‘Turn it up!’ seems he was enjoying it too.  When the backdrop changed to reveal a huge number 2 in memory of bass player Paul Gray and my favourite song of theirs, ‘Duality’ dedicated to him, with a crowd sing along so loud that it moved Corey and he thanked us for that.

As I seemed to be the odd man out heading up to stage 4 to see Watain as the majority of the crowd were headed to see System Of A Down but I couldn’t miss the Black Metal spectacle.  I did get to hear a little of The Used which was pretty cool, they had a major crowd proving that you can have headliners but to some people bands like The Used are their headliner.  What I hate is when you head to a stage for the next band and then catch the last few songs of a band that are amazing, Unearth, wow, I guess this sums up the day really in that you get to see so many bands if you run around and you get to hear things you wouldn’t normally.  So after this onslaught of metal, I decided I would cement myself at stage 4 for the rest of the night.

Watain… what can I say?  This was 30 minutes of pure and unadulterated BLACK METAL, there was blood, there was fire, there were skulls, I mean there’s your package right there for Black Metal 101.  The small crowd in front of the band had their horns in the air and were completely open and receptive to these Swedish Satanists.  I look to the right on what was to be the machine Head pit and the packed crowd were also watching Watain, it was great to see people there listening to a band that many were scared of.  I wouldn’t have missed them for the world and the stage set up alone.  Do yourself a favour and try something different, you might dig them.

Machine Head are so heavy that it hurts, and judging by the crowd that skipped seeing System Of A Down (me included) they were a major drawcard on today’s bill and a perfect way to end the evening.  The new material was amazing, the old material was also amazing and the whole band is just amazing.  See a theme?  Technically they are some of the best players I have seen today and how a sound that heavy comes from a four piece amazes me.  The guitar work was flawless, and I just don’t even know what more to say, the crowd were in a frenzy, I once again stayed well out of their pit and chose to just kick back and enjoy some nice relaxing metal to end my evening.

The calibre of talent today has been nothing short of ridiculous. Kudos to Soundwave for the diversity of the bands covering pretty much every genre besides polka, I’m kidding but you know what I mean.  The venue was great and the completely sold out crowd had not a single bad word to say about the day. How to top it?!  Well I have a year to work on the splitting myself into five people thing… better get on that.

Essential Information

Date: 26th February 2012

Venue: Sydney Olympic Park


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