All good things must come to an end, and so it is for the Adelaide leg of the Soundwave Festival at Bonython Park and possibly all future events here (although organizer A.J Maddah has indicated all hope is not yet lost!)
Covering a Festival of this size is a marathon effort, with multiple writers sprinting between stages to catch even a snippet of as many acts as possible to provide the maximum coverage for our readers. Over 2 days we’ve caught almost all of the 75+ acts at Soundwave XV, and after 2 days we’re completely sun weary and all rocked out!
Here’s our Day One review in case you missed it.
On Day 2, Circle Pits and the heavy metal finger symbol dominated the afternoon.
Things kicked off hard with South Cali outfit Dayshell setting the pace, ripping right into things with a killer show that got their early audience’s blood pumping. King810 threw the ‘Dark Stage’ into early chaos with a vicious show that was so loud it blew the sound equipment temporarily. Much to the band’s credit, they kept playing through until it was restored. Kudos!
The boys from This Wild Life were great, offering a more subdued choice on Stage 5, and their hit song ‘Over it’ was fantastic to hear live. Glam Adelaide interviewed them late last year and they’re the nicest guys!
It was great to see Adelaide band and JJJ Unearthed winners A Ghost Orchestra owning the main stage, and the huge circle pit they had going proved they’ve got the goods to be as big as any other band. Well done lads!
Apocalyptica, with their trio of cello’s belting out a massive rock sound were one of the most innovative metal experiences I’d seen. There wasn’t a guitar to be seen, yet their sound was unique and quite gothic. The Wonder Years and Conditions were OK, but the overload of pop-punk over the 2 days was hardly anything unique.
NonPoint stayed true to the Dark Stage’s theme and were savage in the inferno like heat after lunch, with their massive guitar sound leaving my ears ringing.
Lagwagon had a large crowd already building long before they came on, and were one of the more energetic acts so far, but competed sound-wise with Twin Atlantic on Stage 1. Twin Atlantic had a Green Day feel to them, more punk than anything else but nonetheless they had a good circle happening.
KillerBeKilled were vicious on the Dark Stage and went berserk in a hard ass set, whilst Animals As Leaders had some pretty cool shredding going on Stage 5, something sorely missing from a festival as metal focused as Soundwave. These guys were cool.
On the 2nd main stage, Tonight Alive held their large crowd with a brilliant set, their female singer being a welcome sight in a predominantly male top heavy lineup. The sea of hands waving in unison showed that these Sydney siders were loved by their fans, old and new.
The Vandals provided the fun element to the day, proving that some things never change and nor should they. Their classic song ‘NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) is testament to the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Melbourne boys Confession had a great sound with a blend of punk and metal, with lead singer Michael Crafter’s vocals being more suited to metal though.
Godsmack were contenders for best on ground, sending the pit crazy with their Metallica-esque sound in only their 2nd ever Australian show. Throwing in a cool percussion solo with not one, but two drummers, Godsmack ripped into the opening from AC/DC’s Back In Black and Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, they won the crowd completely over. Let’s hope these guys come back, they’ll have no trouble getting an audience.
Swedish punks Millencolin kicked off their set with an old favourite, Penguins and Polar Bears, maintaining the energetic, fun pace they’re consistent with.
Exodus had some amazing thrash metal licks and went hardcore on the Dark Stage- proving why they’re still around after 30 years despite many obstacles. Coldrain did well to a hardcore loving crowd on smaller Stage 5, and Papa Roach made the most of the hordes clamoring to see Marilyn Manson on the neighbouring stage.
With the crowd already whipped into a frenzy, the current ‘Prince of darkness’ Marilyn Manson looked like he was struggling with the heat as soon as he took to the stage. Given the all black outfit in 40-odd degree heat, it wasn’t a surprise. Whilst the band stayed tight and belted out their buzzsaw set, Manson didn’t seem on full form until Sweet Dreams. Still though, he should hold the rights to being the new ‘Alice Cooper’, with all the theatrics and gimmicks in his show.
Rob Halford from Judas Priest, the original leather boy, showed just how good old school metal is and was a his best vocally in front of a maxed out crowd. The band would have been better in the evening however, enabling to better show off their projector backdrop which added the ‘Priest’ element to their show. Later in the show as the sun set though, this was the case and as their early song states, these guys are, and remain ,‘Metal Gods’!
Slash also had good numbers but it was a crazy decision to have him play simultaneously with Judas Priest– with many fans being overheard to be disappointed not to be able to see both in their entirety. Myles Kennedy sounded more like Guns ‘n Roses than Axl Rose in You Could Be Mine and Paradise City. Their show ended with a barrage of confetti/ticker tape covering fans
Metalcore group Of Mice And Men were immensely popular but would have better suited the Dark Stage where there huge sound would have better been served. Nonetheless, it was an awesome show.
What can we say about the Butcher Babies other than ‘hell yea’! With two of the hottest frontwomen in any metal band, these were a real find as they whipped their ‘beerdrinker/hellraiser’ crowd into insanity.
Headline act Slipknot were by far the most bizarre spectacle of the day, making Marilyn Manson look like a boys choir, and that’s really saying something. They were clearly the act most younger punters came to see and put on an excellent show.
Fall Out Boy cranked out their set to a mostly younger crowd divided between them and Slipknot, providing a dilemma of choice between 3 great acts performing at the same time.
For the more refined set though, The Smashing Pumpkins kicked off their set on Stage 5 with Cherub Rock. Despite Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder being the only original members in the lineup, they sounded fantastic and were one of the more melodic rock acts throughout the Festival. Hearing them live evoked memories from early 90’s Festivals of a similar style.
In between we caught a brief glimpse of The Swellers and F*cked Up, who were both tight and would be great to see alone.
Overall, Soundwave XV was a good experience but not as great as previous experiences. Organisers have stated lineup issues and declining ticket sales as to why it may not be coming back to Adelaide next year, which is unfortunate. Adelaide loves a good music Festival, and perhaps if between Soundwave and The Big Day Out they could both be held bi-annually, then we may just have a regular gig.
Some suggestions for festival organizers though:
Whilst the cost of tickets represents fair value with the amount of acts over 2 days, the overlap is always a point of concern as are the ridiculously inflated prices of your vendors. An example: After the ATM’s that charged $3 per transaction ran out of money, punters had to do over the counter withdrawals for $4. Really?
Food vendors must have also made a killing, charging double for most of their menu. $7 for a small cup of chips is hardly proportionate!
On the positive side, crowds were well behaved and Police were happy.
The Glam Adelaide team are Festival weary, having experienced some of the best rock acts on the planet, and for that we are privileged. Adelaide, you rock!
And that’s a wrap!
Reviewed by Dazz Hassan