Adelaide Soundwave, 21st – 22nd February ’15 – Across The Ocean

Adelaide Soundwave, 21st – 22nd February ’15

The lead up to Soundwave 2015 was tainted by the news that this was going to be the last one in Adelaide due to “pathetic” ticket sales.

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Adelaidians will rue the decision not to get behind and support this festival because at some stage this year we’ll miss out on a big show or another festival because promoters aren’t prepared to take the risk and hope punters will walk up and buy a ticket on the day – well that didn’t happen either.

On paper the lineup looked solid and that there would be enough there to satisfy the majority of punters. Even breaking it down and looking at what you would pay to see the headliners alone, seems value for money. On the flip side though I can see why punters stayed away with factors such as the expense of going to a two day festival, Fringe Festival, Clipsal 500 and a plethora of other shows and events going on in Adelaide.

Nevertheless, Soundwave 2015 had arrived in earnest with all the sights, sounds and distinct lack of punters to enjoy the festival. The weather forecast was extreme proving to be tough conditions with 40 degrees forecast for both days. Water, sunscreen and a hat were the flavour of the day.

Day One

Like any festival it is a tough decision of what to see and what you can miss hoping that they tour Adelaide again sometime in the future. Opting to hang around in the shade near stage three was the perfect chance to take in something new such as The Bennies and Emily’s Army.

Gerard Way, front man for defunct band My Chemical Romance was the first real taste of the main stage for me. I was keen to see how he would fare particularly now with a solo album under his belt Hesitant Alien. Honestly he was a bit on the average side with the benefit of the doubt given to heat pounding the main stage. Action Cat and Zero Zero were obvious highlights as was the interesting choice of cover Snakedriver by Jesus and Mary Chain.

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Steel Panther livened things up bringing the whole party vibe to the festival. Guys love ‘em, gals love ‘em so much so that they flashed their boobies on request much to the delight of the band.

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Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World set theme and the likes of Asian Hooker, Gloryhole and Community Property went down a treat. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll is the name of the game with lots of “insightful” chat from guitarist Satchel about women and pushing the boundaries of where a conversation should go. Death To All But Metal topped off a great set.

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Interesting how Satchell also started a rivalry with Soundgarden suggesting they killed metal a long time ago and that Chris Cornell had “fucked” around with his guitars.

The real exciting prospect for the afternoon was Antemasque on the main stage. Sadly, the area in front cleared right out but these guys came out all guns blazing.

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Formed by members of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala.

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The set only featured seven songs but after getting a taste of In The Lurch, Memento Mori and 4AM it was time to push on.

The Interrrupters were the find of the day for me. Holy Molly! They played with such ferocity and gusto. White shirts, skinny ties and braces proving more than suitably dressed for the occasion. Aimee Allen with brothers brother’s Kevin, Justin, and Jesse Bivo make for one formidable combination bringing their brand of ska/punk to the festival and one album to seek out next pay.

Icon For Hire had a strong following revving up their loyal fans but it for me it was definitely an acquired taste.

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I had been waiting a long time to see Incubus who were solid in really hot conditions with the sun towering right over the stage.

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Opening with Nice To Know You followed shortly by Wish You Were Here were big moments in the set. Surprisingly, their biggest hit Drive was a noticeable omission. Why? There were some great moments with Pardon Me and Megalomaniac.

Regrets so far – missing Ministry and Fear Factory… devastated!

There was much conjecture about Soundgarden and their worthiness to be a headliner. Well, they didn’t disappoint.

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I thought they were great rising to the occasion and bolting from the blocks early with Spoonman. Their set was shaping up to be a belter with My Wave, The Day I Tried to Live, Ty Cobb, Rusty Cage, and Outshined proving to be awesome.

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Even better was Birth Ritual which was the first time played live since 1992. Blow Up The Outside World and Black Hole Sun were disappointingly left out but this is the best I’ve seen them.

To top off day one on the main stage it was Faith No More who were good but didn’t really blow me away to be honest – maybe it was their sound problems or standing too far back.

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Opening with new single Motherfucker it was a real treasure trove of hits for the hardcore fans. It was back to back hits being fired off in quick succession with Caffeine, Ricochet, Epic, Evidence, Last Cup Of Sorrow, Midlife Crisis, Everything’s Ruined, The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies following each other.

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The set wouldn’t be complete without The Commodores cover Easy and with the weary crowd finding plenty of voice. There’s no denying the talent of Mike Patton who is sounding better than ever on this tour.

Time for bed! A brief look at New Found Glory and to hear that they covered Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me was more than enough reason to keep these weary legs walking.

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Lamb Of God would have been good but that was more than enough for me.

Day Two

Fark! To say I wasn’t feeling tired was an understatement and to contemplate backing up for more was a tough proposition with another 40 degree plus day expected. All the things one would do to get up for another day (Panadol, Berocca and a big breakfast) did not have the desired effect. Would it look bad bringing a deck chair?

The shade was at stage three early and it was perfect to sit down and take in a bit of Lagwagon before heading back to see a bit of Tonight Alive. Australia’s answer to Paramore it was great to see these guys get an opportunity on the main stage. There was plenty of energy and excitement in their set saving their big single The Edge til last.

The Vandals – awesome! They’re almost like my new favourite band. Despite the heat they brought a whole bunch of fun into their show and they didn’t take themselves too seriously. The Mark “Jacko” Jackson cover I’m An Individual was given a right royal punk touch – brilliant.

Millencolin were worth hanging around stage three for as well opening with Penguins and Polar Bears. 2015 is going to be a big year for these lads with a new album due in April with punters treated to some new material by way of Sense & Sensibility. Set staples Fox and No Cigar were great.

Regrets – not catching enough of Godsmack, seeing too much of Papa Roach and not drinking enough water by this stage.

Marilyn Manson – what can we say? Shock rocker? Entertainer? Good? After a terrible showing a couple of years back Manson had plenty to make up for. Someone forgot to tell him how hot it was coming out decked out in black with face paint as did his band. Manson is an imposing figure and with a microphone made from a massive knife there’s no messing around with this guy. Opening with new single Deep Six it wasn’t long before he returned to more familiar territory with Dope Show. The Depeche Mode cover Personal Jesus was great as was the Eurythmics cover Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Manson was running out of steam forgetting lyrics and not matching the intensity of performance at the beginning. Dope Show and Beautiful People featured before closing with Irresponsible Hate Anthem.

Decision – it boiled down to a coin flip between Slash and Judas Priest.

I didn’t regret seeing Slash who was the big highlight of the day for me. There wasn’t a huge crowd on hand for these guys who tore through ninety minutes of rock awesomeness. Vocalist Myles Kennedy would have to be one of the best front men in rock at the moment proved again why he is deserving of that mantle. Opening with You’re A Lie the set was loaded with hits.

Delving in to the Guns ‘n Roses back catalogue there was Nightrain, You Could Be Mine, Welcome To The Jungle, Mr Brownstone, Sweet Child O’Mine and Paradise City. Who needs Axl? Couple in a Velvet Revolver cover Slither – how could anyone complain? There were plenty of great moments include Myles vocals on Back From Cali, Todd Kearns on Doctor Alibi and the set closer Paradise City complete with streamers being fired out showering punters down front was a great end to a great performance.

Slipknot would get the chocolates for best staging and light show on the tour – no one comes close. Not really my bag I did take in the first two songs XIX and Sarcastrophe before venturing off to see The Smashing Pumpkins.

The Smashing Pumpkins are not the same band they once were and seems to be a vehicle for Billy’s massive ego. Unveiling a new line up with The Killers bassist Mark Stoermer and Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk gives the Pumpkins some edge. For the most part they were dull as. The set saviours Cherub Rock, Tonight Tonight, Disarm, Zero and Bullet With Butterfly Wings were and that’s what people want to hear. Interestingly he kept his opinions to himself not saying a great deal. I’m not sure what he was thinking butchering the David Bowie tune Fame.

By this stage I was done, tired, worn out, hot and bothered. Sadly we reached the very bitter end, it is the end of an era – it has been good while it lasted.

Clearly a two day format probably wasn’t a smart move despite the best of intentions but where this leaves Adelaide in 2016, who knows. Beg, grovel, beg, grovel… don’t forget about a little ‘ole town called Adelaide.

RIP Soundwave Adelaide.

Photos: Andrew Stace

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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