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LIVE REVIEW – SOUNDWAVE 2015

| 6 March 2015 | Reply

LIVE REVIEW – SOUNDWAVE 2015
Sydney
21-22 February, 2015
Review & photography by Stuart McKay

Sadly, 2015 marked the first year in the history of Soundwave that the festival would not be stopping in Perth, meaning that for a lot of Westerners, they would have to spend even more money on flights and accommodation and make the journey to the hollowed cities of the east to get their punk, rock and metal fix.

Just as well we have all that mining money right? [Errr…. no!!! – Editor]

Broken up over two days, the festival’s usual over-saturation of bands didn’t look as daunting this year and timetables were not nearly as convoluted as previous years, making planning to see bands way easier.

Mike Patton of Faith No More

Mike Patton of Faith No More

Stage 4 was the first port of call to catch Texans Nothing More who managed to pull a sizeable crowd despite the early slot and stuffy heat. They put on an impressive display of melodic prog metal whilst retaining a frenetic energy, spearheaded by front man Jonny Hawkins. Name checking some of their favourite Aussie bands including Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus early on got the crowd on their side, but it was the performance that ultimately won them over in the end.

Swedish Goth-rockers Deathstars were up next on Stage 5. Just as well they were placed inside the pavilion because the heat may have eviscerated people that white. Singer Andreas Bergh looking uncannily like Marylin Manson, but held the stage with a presence more like Spinal Tap than the God of Fuck, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Back on Stage 4 Melbourne sextet Ne Obliviscaris brought variety, and lots of it. Combining a vast array of different styles including black metal, prog, thrash, classical and jazz it’s not difficult to see what a talented band they are. Clean vocalist and violinist Tim Charles did a great job of interacting with the crowd as well as providing at least a bit of energy to the stage.

That lack of energy was certainly filled by masked supergroup Terror Universal. Consisting of members from Ill Nino, Machine Head and Soulfly, their experience showed, with a confident set of hard-hitting songs that harked back to the glory days of nu-metal.

After seeing so many of the early bands playing on the smaller stages it was finally time to venture into the Olympic Stadium to catch Gerard Way. Since the demise of My Chemical Romance, I’m sure lots of pubescent girls’ screams have remained dormant. Luckily today they were able to let it all out like some screeching Vesuvius as the man himself graced the stage. Sounding a lot more rock and pop oriented he played songs from recent album Hesitant Alien. Compared to his usual on-stage presence, Way looked a little subdued. It became clear why when he remarked ‘I had motion sickness on the way to the show and vomited on the car ride here.’ The show must go on as they say and even with a slightly staggered front man, Way and the band still had the girls screaming throughout.

Staying in the stadium it was time for Steel Panther. Within the first song they had the crowd eating out of their hands. Songs like Gloryhole and Pussywhipped had them singing along and the onstage banter between songs was nothing less than side-splitting. Even though they are parody band, they play better than most serious bands and they have a ball of a time doing it, even having time to redo their makeup onstage.

Back to stage 4 to catch Industrial metal titans Fear Factory. Unsurprisingly pulling large numbers, the anticipation of the crowd was palpable. Performing a greatest hits set-list, they definitely played what the crowd wanted and the crowd responded avidly in the form of legions of crowd surfers making the security guards regret ever putting their name down to work that day.

Antemasque, as almost the antithesis to Steel Panther, got stuck in straight away with their most recognisable number In The Lurch. Having only been together for a short while they don’t have an outstanding crowd pleaser yet, but it was certainly nice to see Bixler and Rodriguez on stage again pulling off their trademark moves, although drummer Dave Elitch stole the show today. The guy is an absolute powerhouse who was both entertaining and mesmerizing to watch.

Incubus followed with a so-so set of classics including Pardon Me and Wish You Were Here. Their set was slightly self-indulgent, playing more new songs than old and given that in the festival environment it always seems prudent to play the songs that made you superstars in the first place so it would have been nice to have heard a few more from S.C.I.E.N.C.E and Make Yourself. The transition from Megalomaniac into The Beatles’ She’s So Heavy was a nice touch though.

Having already seen Soundgarden at their sidewave a couple of days prior, I knew what to expect from Cornell and Co. Again, they did not disappoint. Cornell has a presence that front men dream of and the same can also be said of bassist Ben Shepherd who paced the stage in a maniacal sort of fashion almost as much as Cornell himself. Playing a set list of new songs, greatest hits, along with some more obscure stuff from early releases they covered the needs of Soundgarden fans from the newbie to the die-hard. Standouts were Like Suicide and set closer Rusty Cage, which saw the band exit the stage, leaving behind a wall of feedback.

The huge presence of Mike Patton garnered huge cheers as Faith No More entered the stage to play their headlining set. Opening with new song Motherfucker seemed like a bit of a stumble at the gates but they quickly upped the ante launching into Out of Nowhere and Epic. They proved why they were a great choice for headliner with hits as big as theirs and with a voice as enormous as Patton’s it was a task that they seemed to pull of effortlessly. Highlight of the night was Patton segueing from Midlife Crisis into The Lion Sleeps Tonight. It was a brilliant representation of not only his infinitely adaptable voice but of a band that have always had a great sense of humour. Faith No More filled the headlining slot with distinction and set the bar high for their fellow headlining masked peers to top on day two.


As the sun beat down on the revellers on day two it was evident judging by the boiler suits and masks that Slipknot would be a priority for most people today. That much dedication to your favourite band in such oppressive heat really shows the love these kids have for the Iowans.

First visit to the main stage saw Scottish alt-rockers Twin Atlantic play to a modest but passionate crowd. The band’s fan base is reminiscent of fellow Scots Biffy Clyro in that they know every single word to every song and scream them at the top of their lungs. Despite singer Sam McTrusty having a nightmare gig – string snapping, amp problems, guitar lead coming out and guitar strap coming off – he hid his frustration well and still managed to deliver a strong performance.

The crowd awaiting the next band to hit stage 4 was unusually large for the time of day but when considering it was to see supergroup Killer Be Killed, the numbers made sense. As Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) hit the stage, the swelling in the crowd was a harbinger for what was to ensue. A monstrous set saw them play the majority of their debut album, including some b-sides. As front man for Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato is always the leader of chaos and the same can be said for this group. Whether it’s jumping down from the stage to sing/scream in the faces of fans, crowd surf or pace around the stage like a man possessed, he’s always exhilarating to watch. His presence in the band definitely transfers to the group as a whole, who were a unit of power on stage and put on the stand-out performance of the festival thus far and the record for the most crowd surfers, much to the distaste of security.

During the change over between Killer Be Killed and Godsmack, the weather was beginning to change rapidly from clear blue skies to ominous black clouds. As they took to the stage they managed to play three songs before the wind picked up drastically and a torrential downpour ensued. That didn’t seem to faze them and even spurred on an even more intense performance from the group, which included a 15 minute medley and a drum duel between drummer Shannon Larkin and singer Sully Erna.

The rain got to a point during All Time Low’s set on the main stage that the band were forced to cut their set short due to safety concerns. The rain ultimately cleared Olympic Stadium faster than a broken promise from Tony Abbott but it didn’t take long for the crowds to return to watch nu-metal throwbacks Papa Roach. Although relative unknowns in this country since their glory days, they still have a really eager fan base that engaged in the bands’ performance with intensity. Whether you love him or hate him there’s no denying Jacoby Shaddix is a great front man and he guided the band through a tight and entertaining set that climaxed with their best known track Last Resort to a cacophony of cheers and screams.

Marylin Manson followed with a performance that embodied lethargy. Since his days as the world’s most hated entertainer he’s become a shadow of his former self and hasn’t really fared well with age, especially in the vocal department. Mumbling his way through some of his biggest hits he looked like he wanted to be put down and without Johnny Depp to make his set memorable, resorted to smashing a beer bottle and cutting his hand, smearing blood on himself and the stage. The exercise seemed like more of a premature ejaculation than a shuddering climax, but at least his legions of fans were able to lap it up and they may have even believed it was shocking… when in reality, it was kind of sad.

Meanwhile over on Stage 5 Norwegian Christian-haters Mayhem were gearing up to bring all kinds of evil to the stage. Their history is as black as their music and they were an intimidating yet entertaining spectacle to behold. Bassist and only original band member Necrobutcher definitely embodied the anger so prevalent in their music.

Judas Priest brought the heavy metal to Stage 5. The pioneers have been playing for 41 years and Rob Halford assured there is ‘no stopping the Priest.’ Easy to believe when watching them play live. Such a dynamic singer and front man that can still belt them out with the best of them even at the tender age of 63.

Judas Priest

From one icon to another it was Slash’s turn to tear up the main stage. The band were on fire tonight and Slash had the energy of a man half his age, running up and down the stage without missing a note and playing like his life depended on it. With the incredible vocal talent of Myles Kennedy, it was impossible for them to be anything less than triumphant. Add to that some classic Guns ‘n’ Roses anthems, and what you got was something very special indeed.

Over on Stage 3 it was back to pubescent female screamer territory. Californian metalcore outfit Of Mice & Men delivered a stompingly heavy set led by the energetic Austin Carlile. The crowd surfers were out in force again and the girls were screaming: all the hallmarks of a successful Soundwave set.

Finally it was time to witness headliners Slipknot destroy the main stage. Opening with Sarcastrophe they built the tension nicely for what was about to unfold. Watching them play really is a spectacle and with a stage set-up as huge as theirs it reflected the enormity of their show perfectly. The set was stopped briefly for around 10-15 minutes, as there were fears that the front barrier was going to give way. Corey Taylor eventually showed face and appealed to fans to move away which they did, dutifully obeying their masked overlord. Set highlights included Eyeless and Custer, which saw some of the most intense mosh pits of the whole weekend. Ending the night with a three song encore they played (sic), People = Shit and Surfacing and proved yet again why they are one of, if not the biggest metal band in the world with a set that was a perfect climax to a perfect weekend of punk, rock and metal.

Shane

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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