Soundwave Melbourne Review

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Day One

After last minute band cancellations and a public transport fiasco, the day of the Melbourne leg of Australia's loudest travelling festival had finally arrived. Amid concerns of how people would be able to arrive and get inside the gates in a timely manner, those that arrived early in the day had a seamless, yet very hot, entry into the two-day festival.

Melbourne's own noisemakers, I, Valiance was the first of the Aussie contingent on the lineup, opening up Stage 1. From the first brutal riff, they had complete control over those who opted to check them out. One to watch closely.

Finnish legends, Apocalyptica followed on Stage 2 and it's hard to believe that four cellos can be played in a way to sound so heavy! Even more impressive was their cover of Advance Australia Fair!!

As the mercury rose, so did the noise level. Over on Stage 4 was the live debut of supergroup, Killer Be Killed. Made up of members from Dillinger Escape Plan, Sepultura, Mastodon and the Mars Volta, they are a band that true believers did not want to miss. They did not disappoint and their one hour set was over far too soon.

As the sun began to slowly descend on the Melbourne Showgrounds, the frenetic skate-punk riffage of Millencolin filled the air around Stage Four. While most bands that have a few albums under the belt can find it difficult to keep the crowd energised while playing new and untried tracks, the Swedes had no such problems. With their new album,'True Brew' out in April, Millencolin's setlist was littered with fresh cuts that kept the crowd screaming for more.

Back on Stage One, every parent's nightmare materialised as Marilyn Manson swaggered with an aura only reserved for rock gods. Opening the set with 'Deep Six' from his new album, The Pale Emperor, Manson proceeded to blast through nearly two decades of hits. Hard to dismiss his cover of 'Personal Jesus' as a highlight.

A band that was all highlight (except for a few technical glitches) was back in Australia for only the fourth time since 1969. Judas Priest rocked Stage Four like a band possessed. Perhaps that's the reason frontman Rob Halford kept the leathers on for the entirety of their set.

Closing Stage Four was Billy Corgan and his hired Pumpkins. Unlike Millencolin earlier in the day, Corgan's introduction of new songs was met with collective groans. There's no doubt that they're great songs and the accompanying light show made for an incredible end to the night.

Day Two

What kind of self respecting metal-head is up before 9 AM on a Sunday? Especially after a long day of headbanging and moshing the previous day! The kind that have another long day of headbanging and moshing ahead of them. So begins round 2 of Soundwave, where the feeling of deja vu is so chunky you can carve it!!

The morning kicks off on Stage 1 to the sounds of horns and guitars from Melbourne ska-punk legends, Area 7. Showing no signs of age, despite 20 years together, they energetically blasted through classics 'No Logic', 'Bitter Words' and their biggest hit 'Second Class Citizen'. Over on Stage 4, the five degenerates collectively known as King Parrot blew out the cobwebs from many a hungover punter. Their particular brand of extreme metal drew a large crowd of the diehards and the curious so early in the day. The clear highlight of their set was the massive wall of death that involved frontman/lunatic, Youngy.

UK five piece, The Treatment braved the sweltering boiler room that was Stage 5, dressed in leather. Missing their connecting flight to Adelaide, the boys had a point to prove and there was no doubting their rock cred at the end of their 40 minute set.

The Bennies brought their self described "psychedelic reggae ska doom metal punk rock from hell to Stage 4. Their incredibly fun, high-energy set went all the way 10 from the very start and had the crowd singing along to every word.

No doubt that one of the biggest drawcards of the day was the hilariously offensive yet follically blessed, Steel Panther. Treading a very fine line between obscene and entertaining can be difficult but the leopard print spandex-clad quartet somehow manage to pull it off easily. Despite obviously being a comedy routine, their musicianship shines through which makes makes the jokes easier to swallow.

As the sun began to set on an incredible weekend, legendary industrial outfit Ministry drew dedicated rivet-heads to Stage 4. Still maintaining the political outrage after three decades, frontman Al Jourgensen stalks across the stage with the energy of a man of a much lesser age. Even throwing himself to the pit of sweaty bodies at the conclusion of their set.

Back at the main stages, the uncompromising Soundgarden lay waste to all in front of them. Completely mesmerising the crowd from the get go, Chris Cornell's impossibly superhuman vocals and the inhuman screeches and wails from Kim Thayil's guitar flawlessly mixed on old tunes (Hunted Down), deep cuts (Birth Ritual) and fresh tracks (Been Away Too Long).

As the Seattle legend's set comes to an epic close, it's hard to ignore the white drapes and bunches of flowers over on Stage 1. With the sun finally gone, alt-rock legends Faith No More take the stage, all decked out in white to match the drapes. The ongoing theme of the weekend seems to be old bands playing new material and Faith No More are no different. Quirky new track "Motherfucker" starts with a droning,ominous chant that bursts into a bombastic chorus that everyone sings along to because swearing at the top of your lungs is fun.

One thing that really sets Mike Patton and his band of merry mad men apart from most bands is their particular brand of oddball humour. At one point, Patton asks a Soundwave worker to spray him with the hose being used to keep the crowd cool. "Was it good for you?" Patton quips.

True to their eclectic nature, Faith No More play their biggest hits "Epic" and "Midlife Crisis" in the middle of their set. The crowd was just happy to sing along and soak in what was becoming a great night. The end of the set comes too soon, with one of the final songs being a sarcasm-soaked cover of the Bee Gees classic "I Started A Joke". It's great to have them back!!

Then the night is over and so is the Melbourne leg of Soundwave 2015. A full weekend of screeching guitars, thudding basslines and pounding kick-drums really does take it's toll on a person but as always, it's worth it. Whether the two day format remains for 2016 is unlikely but in any case, it can't return fast enough!!

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This page contains a single entry by Keegs Scilini published on March 5, 2015 1:15 PM.

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