Soundwave Festival (Adelaide, SA)

21 February 2015 at Bonython Park
Adelaide, February 21st and 22nd. A date many of the festival going public will remember as the date where head banging stopped and horns were lowered. The Soundwave Festival took its final bow from Bonython Park, Adelaide.

These are my thoughts on that weekend….\m/

The first thing that was glaringly obvious was how the crowd turn out… or lack of. Those who have attended the Adelaide event would know how hard it would be to get a tram on King William Street or anywhere really. Hundreds of people would take the 20 min walk to the parklands. This year not only did I get on the tram, I got a seat. Yes it was hot, but those hardcore fans didn’t really give a rats ass.

I am a metal head, so I knew without a doubt which stage I was heading for. Stage 4! At 12 pm my Soundwave event began……King Parrot, Australia’s premier grind core kings took to the stage in the only way they know, 100% full throttle. The crowd was typically on the verge of being out of control. Totally ruling the masses was lead singer Matt Young, asking for and receiving the festivals first wall of death for the day. Perfect beginning… cheers

Hot and sweaty, I need a drink, my poison of choice… Canadian Club and Cola, $12 each. One has to be careful not getting drunk too early but running out of cash! Saying that drinks are overpriced is an understatement.

Next on the bill for me was Deathstars, who according to the timetables I thought came on late. But since the timetables didn’t come out in final form until 2 days before the event started, I guess most were just winging it. The Swedish band played songs from their new album “The Perfect Cult”. I didn’t mind their brand of gothic/horror set, the parts I did see at least.

Off to the water taps for a quick drenching of my head, another drink and I made my way back to stage 4 where I was anxious to see Ne Obliviscaris. I have heard a lot about this band but until now I had never actually heard them, which I’m kicking myself about now because their set was one of the highlights of day one for me. Their prog rock, jazz infused metal was brilliant. The combination of dual vocalists perfectly mixed the clean and metal growls. Surprising me was the addition of violin. Those who knew the band would just be expecting it but for me it was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend everyone to check them out!

The horror set of Terror Universal came to haunt stage 4 next. Another band I had read about but first time to hear and see. I hate to use the term generic but I wasn’t really impressed by them. Not knowing their songs may have deterred from my enjoyment but not hearing NeOb either didn’t detract from enjoying them so that point isn’t really valid. Many in the pit did enjoy this set, so their job was done.

I was really keen on hearing the next band to adorn stage 4. The mightily minimalists of Godflesh. I am a fan of some of their songs from the “Streetcleaner” album, of which they played a few. Sonically heavy as hell and bloody loud, Justin Broderick growled through his set, but the industrialists songs did seem to go in the same beat for what seemed a lifetime. This is the reason I can’t stand techno music, so off I trotted for a quick dunny stop before another refreshment.

For me the band I was most keen on seeing on day one was up next. I had been waiting for Fear Factory for a long time, well, since interviewing guitarist and general of the troops, Mr Cazares. Fear Factory shredded through new songs off their latest album The Industrialist and Soul of a new machine and lots in between. The highlights being Shock, Self Bias Resistor and the jokes Burton told ( well tried to ) when the band’s laptop began to overheat in the Adelaide heat causing a delay. To say that I was satisfied with Fear Factory’s set would be an understatement. I thought they killed it.

Ministry were scheduled next, another day one highlight for me. I never thought I would get to see Ministry play live but dreams do come true and I loved every minute of their set. Their heavy use of samples and visuals added to the experience. The one thing that would have made it better would be if they performed indoors so they could fully utilise the stage lights. Highlights of their set were the two tracks from their Psalm 69 album NWO and Just one fix. Had they had the time to play Scarecrow, Psalm 69 and Jesus built my hot rod would have been brilliant but, I’m not complaining…

The heat was unrelenting, lots of water has been consumed. It was time to reapply some sunscreen and head over to the main stages where Soundgarden were just about to perform, I’m not a massive fan of them but like some of their songs. I was happy that they did start off with one that I knew and liked: Spoonman. It had been a long day on my feet, but if I sat down there was the real possibility of not getting up; since I was heading back in 12 hours would anyone mind? The next few songs I didn’t know so it was time to call an end to day one. I opted out of seeing Lamb of God, which I did kinda regret but since I have seen them 3 times already and they come fairly often, I thought it was time to hit the road…

Day 2…..\m/

This was the day I was waiting for. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see the Metal God sing his falsettos live but it was the dawning of a new day… it was Judas Priest day.

I had a later start to the day than yesterday and no disrespect to the opening acts but I honestly had no real want or need to see them. I’m sure their fans loved their sets but King 810 doesn’t do it for me.

I was back at stage 4 and super excited for the first band I was going to see. The only “super group” to actually be one… The mighty Killer Be Killed. Their debut album was one of my top picks of last year. To be brutally honest I’m not a huge fan of Mastadon or Dillinger Escape Plan but their not so secret weapon. I’m a massive fan of ….ex-Sepultura and current Soulfly living legend Max Cavelera. Let’s all give praise. These dudes know how to crush an audience. The 3 vocal attacks worked just a well live as they do on CD, Curb Crusher, IED and Face Down. There is nothing negative to say about them.

I wanted a drink right about then but I was not giving up my position at the front of the stage. The reason being that “Zetro” and the lads of Exodus were up next and with a massive stage back drop of their latest thrash masterpiece, Blood in, Blood out being set up, it was going to be brutal, as one of my mates said… a few times. It was just that but we all expected nothing less. It was another “pinch me moment” to see Exodus perform. Bonded by Blood is a classic song but again technology failed them as things began to over heat and not wanting to run over time they unfortunately ended their set without playing their dance track… Toxic Waltz. I was gutted but one day I will see it played live…

Now I really needed a drink. Godsmack were up next and although I do like some of their songs it was really hot. I pulled up a piece of grass under a tree to watch them play. They had 2 drum kits on stage and it had my curiosity aroused. Beginning with 1000hp, it was obvious these lads were not going to muck around. Soon the climax of the show had begun and a dual drum solo that went into a “you play something and I’ll kick your ass by playing something better” kinda thing which was a spectacle I had never seen performed live before.

The drum kit on the riser that had been set up all day had finally been de-robed. The kick drums had said so much while not saying anything because drums don’t actually talk and if they do…well I’d say that you had indulged in too many drugs…

These drums belonged to Scott Travis, drummer of the Metal Gods, Judas Priest… yes, I was excited… I’m not ashamed of it and was getting close to a girly scream type thing when the intro music kicked in and out walked Richie, Glenn and Ian. I calmed myself slightly and raised my hands up high to give praise. The first track of the new album, “Redeemer of Souls” is Dragonaut and as this kicked into top gear, out walked the man himself Rob Halford. My girly scream came out, I couldn’t help it. I quickly covered it up by head banging and I don’t think anyone noticed because the crowd were mesmerised. The appropriately titled song Metal Gods followed. Chills went down my spine when the dual guitars started to play the intro to Victim of Changes. This went on for an hour. Then they said good night… the Priest chant went out and then it began to rumble. A Harley to be exact, ridden out on stage… It was time to be Hell Bent For Leather and we were told you’ve got another thing coming, Rob didn’t lie. Another encore and sing along song of the night had the massive crowd chanting along to Living after Midnight and what was to be the last song of the night, Defenders of the Faith. I believe we are all Defenders and to say this was a life changing moment would be accurate… long live the Metal Gods… \m/

I wandered off to the main stages and was happy to see that Slash was still playing. There have always been clashes with other bands at previous Soundwave festivals and I have never caught the ex Guns’n’Roses guitarist before. He and his band of merry men were playing Sweet Child O Mine as I walked up. It was so freaking awesome. They announced that they only had one last song before Slipknot ripped Soundwave a new one. That last song – another GNR Classic – yes, take me down to… Paradise City… heaven.

Stage 2 went dark as Stage 1 had a massive demon looking thing front and centre. Drum risers on both sides as the maniacs from Iowa exploded onto the stage. Lots of people seem to hate Slipknot and give them shit on the internet but by the masses of people that still flocked to see them perform tonight, I’m pretty sure the maggot colony is thriving. Literally smashing out the tunes I have had a great time head banging once again to The Heretic Anthem, Psychosocial and new song the Negative one, Slipknot cranked out tunes from their catalog before the stage went dark and quiet, which in a Slipknot show is unnerving… Shit was gonna happen and when it did, things got sic. We are told that people = shit finally the thousands of maggots get told to sit the fuck down and on my command jump the fuck up, it’s time for surfacing… Slipknot bludgeon once again.

The realisation that Soundwave had now ended for Adelaide came flooding in but there was no better way to see it out. Besides I saw the Metal God perform \m/.

Line-up: Judas Priest, Ministry, King Parrot, Ne Obliviscaris and many more

Reviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham
Photocredits: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham