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SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL 2013 – Perth, 4 March 2013

| 11 April 2013 | Reply

Claremont Showgrounds, Perth – Monday 4 March 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by J F Foto
Additional pictures by Shane Pinnegar

Soundwave Festival has long since overtaken The Big Day Out as not only the premier hard n’ heavy rock fest in Australia, but also the largest travelling musical circus fest in the country.

Metallica LIVE Soundwave Perth 04 Mar 2013 by J F Foto 100 PERCENT ROCK MAG (6)

2013’s lineup is no less exciting and diverse than in previous years – headliners Metallica promised to deliver a 2 ¼ hour show; multi million-selling bands such as Linkin Park, Bullet For My Valentine, Offspring, Garbage, Blink 182, Paramore, Cypress Hill, Slayer and Anthrax all represent; and newer artists Danko Jones, Deaf Havana, Red Fang, Dragonforce, Crossfaith, Ghost, The Sword and many more arrived keen to thrill old fans and convert new ones.

With some Seventy bands across 8 stages it is physically impossible to check out everything on offer, but equally impossible not to find hidden gems and amazing highlights both expected and otherwise.  100% ROCK MAGAZINE did our best to sample as many delights across a wildly diverse platform of artists as we could…

As always with an event of this size, there are down sides, so let’s get them out of the way first, so we can concentrate on the good stuff that matters:  the music.  Here’s the gripes we overheard during and after the show.

So many stages = slim crowds for a lot of bands, due to no fault of their own.  More likely…

Too many clashes of too many good bands!  Do we NEED 70 bands on eight stages?  Would the event have sold out with one or two less stages?  Less is sometimes more!

The layout of Stages 2A and 2B weren’t great at all, with the stage on the down side of a hill, meaning anyone behind the tip of the hill had little chance of seeing much.

By blocking off the main access roads to the main entry they may have saved congestion, but made life a lot harder for those being dropped off or looking for a cab to get home

40 thousand people in attendance means a lot of bottlenecks, a lot of idiots, and a lot of pushing n’ shoving…

Drummer dramas plagued the lineup – Blink 182, Slayer, Anthrax and others all used substitute sticksmen, and Six Feet Under pulled out of the tour altogether.

Possibly the lowlight of the day was finding the schedule had been radically altered in the past couple of days, meaning all meticulous planning was shot down in flames and several bands we (and many others) had planned to see were missed.

The local Claremont City council had apparently changed the shutdown times for the side stages a couple of days before the event, but either Soundwave’s organisers didn’t know about it, or didn’t tell the bands headlining those stages, and despite flying a very long way to Australia, The Offspring, The Amity Affliction and others had their sets cut very short indeed, leaving Metallica the only band playing til stumps.  Allegations that this was Metallica’s management’s doing were apparently completely incorrect.

Now that we’ve got those (mostly minor) quibbles out of the way… here comes the fun part:

Portland’s RED FANG woke up the early starters with a stoner-rocking set of affably fierce tunes, and once Bryan Giles’ mike problems were rectified in the second number, the wall of sound was complete, and a great day was started in fine form.

Even without Charlie Benante pounding the skins, ANTHRAX went off in no uncertain terms, Jon Dette playing up a storm on the kit for his first appearance of the day.  Joey Belladona’s vocals strident and clear, they ran through a early thrash classics Caught In A Mosh, Antisocial and Indians, alongside newer material Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t and In The End (both from the recent Worship Music album) climaxing with a metallic rip and tear through AC/DC’s T.N.T, setting the tone for the next ten hours of music that goes up to Eleven.

STONE SOUR have rapidly developed into minor masters of modern melodic metal and their main stage appearance today was an early highlight for many.  With a diverse collection of songs that range from pop rock ballads through to alt metal, Corey Taylor pulls off the different vocal requirements seemingly with ease (and always with great counterpoint to his day job band Slipknot), while the band remains resolutely heavy and rock solid in all it’s guises.  Mission Statement and Made Of Scars sounded as epic as ever, before 30/30-150 just about blew the audience’s gasket.

Mike Patton and TOMAHAWK just love to screw with people’s heads, and they do so with a wildly talented set of art-metal-rock-prog-god-knows-what that provided aural food for the trippers.  Undeniably brilliant and left of centre, Tomahawk remain challenging to the casual listener, but reward anyone who takes more than a passing interest.  Closing with a one-two of a thrashy mini-epic followed by a country ballad would be career suicide for most bands, but to Patton’s quirky crew it’s almost expected in true Zappa-esque genre defying head-fuckery.

KYUSS LIVES! deliver a desert rock masterclass that takes no pause for between song chatting or “Hey Perth…” small talk:  just a monstrous drum sound courtesy of Brant Bjork, Corrosion Of Conformity’s Mike Dean making mincemeat out of his fingers on his fat string bass, blissfully downtuned rifferama from Bruno Fevery and John Garcia’s oblivious-to-the-outside-world vocals.  Fittingly for the tour slated as Kyuss Lives!’s last under that name, the set-list delves deep into Kyuss’s legacy to feature some of the biggest and baddest: One Inch Man, Thumb and Green Machine and more recreating the dusty and bottom-heavy sound of the desert jams that the band formed around in the late 80’s and which replicate the dry Westerleys blowing in across our own deserts.

DANKO JONES is an intense fella, especially when he singles 100% ROCK MAGAZINE out of the crowd for taking review notes.  “If you rate out of five, I expect this to be a seven!  If you rate out of TEN, I expect you to give us THIRTEEN!” he spits dramatically.  It’s all in good fun and – as he exhorts more than once, handing cups of water to the crowd – “I’m a good guy!”  His namesake band are also Soundwave 2013’s best kept secret and arguably the standout set of the afternoon by far: a three piece that sounds like there’s five of them and is as tight as a duck’s backside.  It’s one sex-related song after another:  Terrified, Forget My Name, First Date, Full Of Regrets, Bad Thoughts, Lovercall and more bang the gong, and the man’s self aggrandisement is not only the stuff of inspirational speakers, but also totally endearing.  When Jones talks of metaphorically climbing atop the mountain and looking down on all who’ve done him wrong, you know he’s deadly serious, and his mantra “This heart gets stronger / This skin gets thicker / This mouth gets louder” is rousing. If a straight shooter with self belief and confidence is what we all want to be inside, Danko Jones is just the one of us who made good with a motivational attitude and an epic performance.

SLAYER – or half of them, since Exodus’s Gary Holt continues to deputise for Jeff Hanneman and Jon Dette is standing in for drummer Dave Lombardo after the band told him his services would not be required for the tour, following some contractual issues – laid waste to the main stage as the mosh pit erupted into a hellish melee.  Delivering a set of old school thrash mayhem that started with Disciple, War Ensemble and Die By The Sword.  The legendary intensity of Chemical Warfare and Mandatory Suicide followed, before Tom Araya screamed like a tortured soul as they wrapped up a blistering set with classics Dead Skin Mask, Angel Of Death, South Of Heaven and Raining Blood.

SHAI HALUD only had a few dozen metalheads front and centre for their small stage set but that didn’t stop them playing some pummelling punky thrash metal that referenced NoFX and Voivod as much as Metallica and Testament and had heads banging enough to need some neck braces the next day.

Three times Grammy nominees PARAMORE deliver a great set of poppy hard rock with a touch of metal and a little indie chick chic, courtesy of vocalist Hayley Williams, a true star if ever there was one.  A bright orange-haired ball of energy, Williams doesn’t stop bouncing around the stage, her voice never missing a beat despite the constant movement.  The Only Exception stood out as an acoustic ballad, while rockers Let The Flames Begin and Ignorance (“the theme song to this band’s soap opera”) stood shoulder to shoulder with tracks from their forthcoming self titled album including Now, and the crowd roared with delight when audience member Renee was pulled up to help sing Misery Business to close out their set.

Using Orff’s majestic Carmina Burana as their intro tape is another sign of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE’s subtle transition from metalcore flag bearers towards more traditional metal legends, and they hit the stage like an Act Of God to a packed crowd with Breaking Point.  Singer Matt Tuck doesn’t waste a lot of time on chit chat, telling the crowd they want to play as many songs as possible, and they tear aggresively through Waking The Demon, The Last Fight, P.O.W. and more with shards-of-broken-glass riffs and vocals drenched in melody.

MADBALL created old school hardcore punk mayhem with a tumultuous circle mosh despite signs declaring such things were verboten.  Their New York ‘take no shit’ approach drew them a solid turnout and singer Freddie Cricien led the madness like the legend he is.

Over on Stage 3 another well kept secret was about to unfold in the form of Swedish band GHOST, and a hush was drawn over the tightly huddled crowd as a spooky metal cathedral intro tape played and five black-cowled band members took their places, faces totally hidden behind masks.  High priest and singer Papa Emeritus marched purposefully onstage in full black cardinal’s ensemble and corpsepaint, the self styled next Pope of the black church, perhaps.  Musically Ghost aren’t the death metal church burners their getup might have you believe, boasting a sound that is equal parts Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate and amongst the first bands of the day to make great use of atmospheric lighting as the sun (fittingly) descended during their set.  Emeritus is mesmerising as he prowls the stage slowly, ominously, sombrely, singing their satanic metal hymns (Con Clavi Con Dio, Elizabeth, Death Knell, Ritual) with an impressive vocal range not dissimilar to Mercyful Fate’s King Diamond.

Say what you like about BLINK 182 and LINKIN PARK, their nu-punk and rappy nu-pop metal fires up huge crowds on the main stages.  The former goof their way enthusiastically through The Rock Show, What’s My Age Again, All The Small Things and many more to get the young (and not so young any more) bouncing, whilst the latter deliver energetic hit singles Paper Cut, Given Up, Somewhere I Belong, New Divide and Waiting For The End, all seeing as many people dancing as headbanging and singing along, set closer Breaking The Habit bringing the house down with the crowd almost as loud as the band.

CYPRESS HILL throw down a fun filled set of hip hop not just for the stoners, but anyone wanting respite from the relentless guitar assaults on all sides.  Encouraging their big crowd to jump and yell throughout Insane In The Brain, Hits From The Bong, I Ain’t Going Out Like That and (Rock) Superstar, they proved just the excuse some of the forty thousand strong crowd needed to partake of some herbal relaxant that had been carefully smuggled past the local constabulary and their canine companions.

A reformed GARBAGE seem to have put their personal issues behind them and play a great set of 90’s and early 00’s indie pop rock.  Singer Shirley Manson – a fiery Scots redhead if ever their was one – and guitarist/uber producer Butch Vig riffed off each other playfully throughout the show, and in an extended rant Manson explained that it was music industry bullshit that broke them up rather than anything personal.  Dark and passionately angsty hits I Think I’m Paranoid, Stupid Girl, Special and the poppy Cherry Lips all got dancers dancing and lovers embracing, whilst set closers When I Grow Up and Push It rivalled the roars from Metallica’s main stage crowd.

METALLICA are well into their mammoth 2 ¼ hour set by the time the crowd swells from Garbage’s set, and it’s great to find a band who lost their way for so long, have rediscovered the essence of who they are.  Tasteful pyro and firework action lights the WWI scene of One, before old school gem For Whom The Bell Tolls is delivered with new reverence and wisdom in it’s middle age.  Tonight’s set was all about old school classics, with only The Memory Remains appearing from any album after their 1991 smash Black Album.  Robert Trujillo attacks his bass guitar like it’s a mugging on an extended and super-metal Blackened as jets of fire torch the rear of the stage, whilst Nothing Else Matters reminds us all again how delicate real metal can be.  It’s a wonderful song delivered with grace, dignity and abundant power, not to mention a feisty solo from James Hetfield.

Trujillo lurches and almost crawls around the stage, Kirk Hammet bounds about like a puppy dog, Lars Ulrich pounds away, but most eyes are on Hetfield, a commanding and charismatic presence at the best of times.  There was a time when these guys were the biggest band in the metal world and no-one would have left even a few songs early, but it’s been a very long, hot day, and people start peeling away despite a killer performance.  A blistering encore of Creeping Death, Metal Militia and Seek & Destroy reminded all present of their days as leaders of the thrash Big Four, and provided a thrilling close to a mammoth day of heavy rock.

We can’t wait for 2014!!


Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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