Soundwave Festival – Melbourne (28 Feb ’14)

Fact: The line up was so jam-packed for one day’s worth of listening at Soundwave that you resign yourself to missing out on stuff from the outset, even before the full line up is released. There’s no two ways about it, whether it’s missing entire sets or decent chunks of sets while you wander to or from another stage. Here’s the recount of the 2014 attempt to fill a day of music…


Heaven’s Basement…

Heaven's Basement @ Soundwave Melbourne

Heaven’s Basement @ Soundwave Melbourne

Granted, it was early. And 11:30am doesn’t normally correlate with rock. However, if you throw a band on stage in a tent away from direct sunlight, anyone could be fooled. A small but enthusiastic crowd grew around the stage and the band seemed to have forgotten about the time. Just as well, given everyone was ready for some tunes. A little flattery about Melbourne didn’t go astray either.

Welcome Home was rife with guitar solos, while the rhythms prevailing in Can It Let Go even harnessing some crowd participation early on. The loud unabashed sounds continued with Fire Fire, but if there was any doubt, a solitary moment showcased impeccably controlled and reserved vocal skills.


Biffy Clyro…

Biffy Clyro @ Soundwave Melbourne

Biffy Clyro @ Soundwave Melbourne

Time to get back out into the outside and get drenched by the harsh sun rays beating down. Biffy Clyro has been on that never ending list of acts to see, so another one to tick off the list. Apart from these Scotsman struggling with the heat (nothing more than an average summer’s day), the tunes were great and they’re awesome live.

Beyond the heat and the humour, the sounds coming from the stage were really impressive, and more than I expected. Somehow creating a balance between the melodic with flashes of intensity and brilliance in Stinging Belle, while the excess cool and funk opening Sounds Like Balloons couldn’t be ignored, not to mention the astounding guitar work spawning committed claps and the impeccable timing in Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies.

Bubbles is a personal fave, but the crowd was won over with Mountains getting the loudest cheers. Enjoyed the set so much that I jumped at the chance to grab a ticket to see them again in September. Not sure how the seated theatre setting is going to work, but time will tell.



Alter Bridge…

Alter Bridge @ Soundwave Melbourne

Alter Bridge @ Soundwave Melbourne

The crowd arriving at the stage next door, suggested a bit of a following for Alter Bridge and it soon became clear why. Sounds that would have been perfectly fitting for a movie trailer or opening credits built the suspense before Addicted to Pain delivered some classic rock sounds with blasting vocals and epic guitar solos, continuing to dominate in Come to Life. City of Achilles proved a chance to show off some impressive rhythms but also cued time to move on…



TesseracT @ Soundwave Melbourne

TesseracT @ Soundwave Melbourne

Making it just in time to see the last parts, ironically for parts 1 (Acceptance) and 2 (Deception) of Concealing Fate but in reverse order. A superbly crafted intense experience, perhaps everything preceding was just a warm up for the epic finale of the set. Even in itself, Acceptance delivered an abundance of light and shade, bellowing vocals, mellowed sounds intertwined with explosive juggernauts of volume stirring every inch of life and existence. Curiosity was suitably raised, and more listening is required.

Well wishes to enjoy our Soundwave concluded the delivery. Time to move on again


Asking Alexandria…

Asking Alexandria @ Soundwave Melbourne

Asking Alexandria @ Soundwave Melbourne

Not a planned stop, but given all the t-shirts being adorned by fans and the mammoth crowd that was building perhaps it was worth stopping by. It was on the way, after all. Kicking off with Don’t Pray For Me, metal infiltrated through to the core, and in case things weren’t intense enough, a simple ‘I can’t hear you…’ raised the noise levels by a few decibels. Massive power and intensity to the delight of fans


Richie Sambora…

Richie Sambora  @ Soundwave Melbourne

Richie Sambora @ Soundwave Melbourne

Going for the guitar, and not for the voice…and between Richie Sambora and Orianthi back on home soil, guitar greatness was delivered fulfilling the promise to ‘jam our asses off’. That they did, absolutely no denying that. But once you throw in a few Bon Jovi classics, the comparisons are inevitable. The sounds are the same, and there were hopes and anticipations as that twangy guitar opened Wanted Dead or Alive but it’s just not the same once that vocal kicks in. Still, worth stopping by.


The Living End…

The Living End @ Soundwave Melbourne

The Living End @ Soundwave Melbourne

Easily the most passionate crowd of the day, and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the day was seeing local favourites The Living End. Never failing to deliver live, the sounds were as polished as ever while still retaining raw, rock virtue.

Sure, it was all about the guitar during Second Solution but watching Scott Owen attack that incredible bass during End of the World was when the fun really started, not to mention the first crowd surge towards the stage during Roll On and then again for Prisoner of Society. We must have been a privileged bunch, even getting to hear Uncle Harry, but even though the festival friendly playlist lent towards the popular, newer stuff and old stuff was all received with appreciation and passionate sing-alongs.

The Living End @ Soundwave Melbourne

The Living End @ Soundwave Melbourne

Guitar trickery, acrobatic tricks with some clever (and careful) standing on top of the upright bass, crowd participation…all the regular stuff you come to expect from seeing The Living End live. Absolutely on fire.



Placebo @ Soundwave Melbourne

Placebo @ Soundwave Melbourne

FINALLY had the opportunity to see Placebo live! And the sounds spanned everything as new as Loud Like Love and the modern-solemn Too Many Friends to the classic Every You Every Me blasting through early on and going right back to Bionic from the band’s first self titled release.

Those distinctive vocal stylings from Brian Molko are iconic to the band’s sound, amongst everything else going on stage and the set was simply about the music, with an absolutely best shot of capturing a little from everything in the band’s catalogue, with Meds featuring predominantly and being left with nothing but cheers and distortion as the band left the stage.


A Day to Remember…

A Day To Remember  @ Soundwave Melbourne

A Day To Remember @ Soundwave Melbourne

You can’t go past a decent stage prop to garner some attention, and the giant zorb featuring in some crowd surfing moments in pics from A Day to Remember’s appearances in other cities meant they were on the list to check out.

Hardcore sounds ripping through, unforgivingly strident to the delight of all the ears listening to the likes of All I Want and despite it being hot and early, the request for a circle pit as Homesick started was met with willing participants. All those not wanting to take part were simply asked to kindly step to the side

It was a quick stay, and not long enough to see the zorb in action, but gotta keep moving….



Pennywise @ Soundwave Melbourne

Pennywise @ Soundwave Melbourne

Time for something a little more vintage, checking out Pennywise in their 25th year and still able to dish out punk sounds as fervently as ever judging by the sheer delight of fans. Wouldn’t It Be Nice and My Own Country went down a treat, but there’s nothing like a cover of Land Down Under to appease the locals and reinterpret the sounds of Men at Work.


Alice in Chains…

Alice in Chains @ Soundwave Melbourne

Alice in Chains @ Soundwave Melbourne

To be honest, the last words I ever expected to hear to wrap up a series of band introductions were “….and I’m Jerry Cantrell.” I can’t claim to be a fan from way back, but certainly more than aware of Alice in Chains. Sure the line-up has changed (not exactly a unique phenomenon) but the sounds are still good and vocals from William DuVall were formidable, tearing into We Die Young.

As fans watched the band or admired their respective Alice in Chains shirts to get conversations started, sounds continued to travel way back to the nineties (Dam That River, Them Bones) and all the way back to present day (Hollow, Voices). Man in the Box was more than feisty while No Excuses offered some respite before closing with Rooster. Indeed, hopefully it won’t be another five years



Korn @ Soundwave Melbourne

Korn @ Soundwave Melbourne

Not squeezing in some time to see Korn would have been just wrong, not because I’m a fan, but it’s Korn…another band that’s proved some sense of longevity over the years. With a backdrop strewn with pop culture mockery, the intensity is only heightened live to a piercing delivery of sound. Still not a fan but saw Good God, Get Up and Shoots and Ladders before retreating in search for something more attuned to my tastes.


Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats…

Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats  @ Soundwave Melbourne

Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats @ Soundwave Melbourne

A recommendation from a friend, and although a little underwhelmed after hearing Mt Abraxas as an opening number, I stayed on and glad I persisted. Mind Crawler kicked in, the ante was up and I was hooked. I’ll Cut You Down solidified the sentiment. Self described as psycho trash, the psychedelic jams with an irrefutable British flare were grand, plush and too much to absorb in one delivery, More listening needed yet again.


Green Day…

Green Day  @ Soundwave Melbourne

Green Day @ Soundwave Melbourne

A massive set, running for well over 2 ½ hours. That’s a lot of Green Day, and a lot of monumental moments all kicking off with 99 Revolutions and concluding with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).

In between all of that, avid encouragement for claps, sing-alongs and jumps started early on in Know Your Enemy and continued through the night. But the participation is raised to epic proportions within a few minutes, as Billie Joe Armstrong called up a volunteer from the crowd on stage during East Jesus Nowhere.

Holiday pounded through before choir worthy contributions taking the lead in Boulevard of Broken Dreams and shaking things up in Let Yourself Go.

Then we travelled back in time, 1994 to be precise in honour of Dookie and its opening track Burnout. When the old sounds so good, there was no need to stop. The nostalgia continued with Chump, Longview (complete with another volunteer with a guy getting chosen from the crowd to sing…he was actually pretty good!) , When I Come Around, and Welcome to Paradise.

Not nostalgic enough? Throw in 2000 Light Years Away for good measure.

And then we all sung Happy Birthday for Billie Joe’s son. There was also a fire hose and some serious water sprays, and the t-shirt cannon firing a few gifts…good vibes and happy times all round.

Green Day  @ Soundwave Melbourne

Green Day @ Soundwave Melbourne

That wasn’t the end of the volunteers though with a girl invited on stage to play guitar with the band, leaving the stage with the guitar in hand (surely that beats anything at the merch desk?)

Basket Case called for the reappearance of the crowd choir and continued through to a random mash-up of covers, including Shout complete with some very fancy saxophone before wrapping up with a monster version of Minority.

Multiple encores followed, and just as well considering credit was due to the newer American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia and some mellower stylings with Brutal Love and a solo Everly Brothers cover (Put My Little Shoes Away), possibly one of the most random inclusions and barely harnessing the attention of some.

Promises of going way past curfew weren’t exactly fulfilled, but what else was left to do? Old, new, the popular, rarities for the diehard fans, covers, fans on stage. That pretty much covers more than the necessities to end a day of tunes.





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