Show Review: Perth Soundwave 2013

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 07.03.13 | Issue # 328




4 March, 2013

With a surprisingly efficient, fast moving entry line and the clouds wrestling the sun, the last leg of Soundwave 2013 was off to a good start. The ball kept rolling as Sharks opened proceedings on the main stage, partying like they hadn’t slept since Adelaide. But shortly after, at stage 6, Northlane suffered from some noise bleeding over from the main stage, as Memphis May Fireshowcased the best metalcore Texas has to offer just around the corner.

Getting things in motion at stage 5 was Red Fang, who played with an energy belying their early time slot. The bearded Portlandians throttled their well-worn instruments through instant classics such as Prehistoric Dog. No doubt one of the wittier bands on stage 2, and the whole tour, The Lawrence Arms bassist Brendan Kelly claimed to have received a handjob on the Australian coastline at sunset from Metallica’s Lars Ulrich.

French pop punk hardcore outfit Chunk! No Captain Chunk! showed little remorse to the early punters at stage 4, but unfortunately that wasn’t many. Even by the time Deaf Havana took over, things were still slow. Despite that, there was no denying the dapper English lads loved every minute of their first trip to Australia. While She Sleeps demanded circle pits and mic shouts, which eventually saw stage 4 fill up with bodies that flew in every direction – the exact same attitude stage 6’s Miss May I pertained.

Admittedly, Lucero were the outcasts of Soundwave, given that they were not a punk or metal band. However, they showcased their style of country rock well. Although they fitted the bill perfectly, This Is Hell seemed annoyed by the lack of numbers at stage 6, which affected their willingness to get involved. Back at stage 2, The Vandals didn’t have the biggest audience of the day, but Metallica’s James Hetfield stood side of stage, beer in hand as he sang along to almost every song.

When the ever-interesting Tomahawk graced the main stage, vocalist Mike Patton manipulated various dials and boxes, creating a dissonant cacophony, keeping the crowd fixated on every more. Unfortunately, when Periphery took to stage 3, both crowd and band seemed uninterested in forming a connection. Vocalist Spencer Sotelo varied his vocal styles too often, failing at more than he succeeded.

When Anthrax let all hell loose on the main stage, the rapt crowd was instantly Caught In A Mosh. Vocalist Joey Belladonna’s mullet incited the crowd into war dance. Their iconic set culminated with a raucous cover of AC/DC’s TNT.

A double dosage of infectious pop punk followed in quick succession at stage 4 with The Wonder Years and Living With Lions, pulling in the younger crowd for some feel good, contagious sing-alongs. And it wasn’t until Billy Talent hit stage 2 midafternoon did bands begin utilising lighting to enhance their show. While frontman Benjamin Kowalewicz joked that Sum 41 had to pull out due to a “massage mishap”, fans waiting for their set didn’t seem too impressed – probably because they actually did cancel in 2011 due frontman Deryck Whibley catching pneumonia.

A huge crowd gathered back at the main stage for the veteran Slayer, as they ripped through classics young and old. Replacements Jon Dette (drums) and Gary Holt (guitar) injected new enthusiasm to mainstays like Die By The Sword and Altar Of Sacrifice.

Canadian hardcore punkers Cancer Bats took over stage 4 with a set that was fast, loud and straight to the point. But when The Early November took over the reins, it was clear their delayed return to Australia had shrunk their fan-base

The six-piece Deer Hunter, surprisingly pleased with their small stage 5 crowd, dispensed dynamic alternative/stoner/progressive rock. With original singer Jesse Leach back in the fold,Killswitch Engage played their dated nu-metal to a huge crowd, despite gracing the relatively small stage 3.

A brisk walk back to the main stage, and, with an overload of nostalgia, two thirds of Blink-182serenaded an at capacity mosh area at sunset. They may be getting older and their songs more serious, but they still ensure plenty of dick jokes onstage. Travis Barker’s fill in, Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman, gave him a run for his money, before Linkin Park welcomed in the night with a set a lot heavier than expected. If you’re not quite convinced by recordings, their live show will do the trick.

Stage 3 fell behind schedule, but when Sleeping With Sirens surfaced, they made up for it with one of the best performances of the day. Welcomed by an ominous chanting intro, Ghost were the first band late enough to fully utilise stage 3’s lighting, and frontman Papa Emeritus II’s garish costume led him in the running for the new Pope appointment.

Bring Me The Horizon put on the most brutal performance stage 3 saw all day. The always outspoken frontman Oli Sykes began urging punters to “get the fuck on stage”, some trying their luck, much to the alarm of security.

The juxtaposition between Cypress Hill and Garbage on stage 2 was intense, but it seemed a large number of people gathering at in the area were there to watch both. Although Garbage did their best to keep things heated, it was cool and everyone seemed tired by the time The Offspring followed. Luckily their arsenal of greatest hits managed to raise the roof – or at least incite punters to climb on them, as a roadie stopped their set until 50 or so punters on top of the toileting building got down.

Tucked away on the small stage 6, lit by pyrotechnics, The Chariot attacked the crowd like rabid wolverines. Such an outburst of sonic violence was visceral to the point of dangerous, as they destroyed the stage, their instruments and themselves.

Wrapping things up on stage 3 was Australia’s favourite post-hardcore kids, The Amity Affliction, whose performance was lackluster. They weren’t as tight as you’d expect – and their set was cut short.

Before an impenetrable crowd, Metallica capitulated the evening in timeless style. A giant ramp made main man James Hetfield visible even from the back row. Tried and true quotes amping the throng; the band explored their extensive back catalogue, dispensing such hits asSanitarium and Harvester Of Sorrow. There wasn’t a still head in the place as Seek & Destroyended the band’s encore and also the tour. Their hunger for metal sated, the sunburned crowd’s exodus began.

After four drummers pulling out before the tour began, a flare going off in Sydney and injuring someone, bands missing sets over east, and a slew of hashtags, sunburn, booze and partying, Perth managed to round out Soundwave 2013 in style, and minimal hiccups along the way.

Written by Daniel Cribb, Dan Grainger & Eli Gould