Report: Soundwave, Sydney 2013

Report: Soundwave, Sydney 2013

Olympic Park, Sydney
Sunday 24th February 2013

The Spinal Tap Curse struck Soundwave this year and all was thought pretty much fine regardless. Except that no less than five world class drummers spontaneously combusted into green globules prior and that’s cosmic.

Blink's Travis Barker you’ve all heard about and seen the showdown/subsequent makeup sex with festival head AJ Maddah on twitter. The Vandals came next, with Josh Freese deciding on Xbox over Australia, maybe. Metal is where things got hit hardest: Six Feet Under’s Kevin Talley came off last-best in a dirt biking accident and the whole band pulled out. Not a crippling loss, but when Anthrax had to come over sans Charlie Benante because of “personal issues” and Dave Lombardo was weirdly ousted from Slayer at the six-six-sixth hour, hey. Five drummers in five days is not bad.

It also makes this the most unfortunate page of advertising in metal magazine history (thanks Lochlan Watt for the pic): 


Locals Northlane to start the day, please. That’s some good roar flakes and tight milk. If you ever accidentally have kids of your own, you want them to grow up to be like Northlane. Good at riffs and positive about life. Also into sci-fi. “Galacticore” is too correct. Best show of their lives, they tell me later, and the biggest. Josh Smith admits to crying onstage today: “I can hide it ‘cos I play guitar.” That massive drop in 'Worldeater' will do it. 'Quantum Flux' is emotional and sparkles. What is Singularity? Well I don’t know guys, probably Northlane’s new album. If you were there and saw singer Adrian’s romantic chin-scruff now you’re legitimately amped for it.They wind down in an offworld direction with 'Transcending Dimensions' and straight away I’m doing all I can to avoid experiencing anything Fozzy is doing. I have ear muffs just so I can get safely from here to DragonForce.

I demand of Dragonforce (main pic) but three things: tiny trampolines, Vadim Pruzhanov’s scissor-kick Nintendo keyboard solo spotlight, and Sam Totman’s double-barelled mic ale containers. The slot they’re on is criminal and kind of kryptonites the usual majestic lunacy that is the Force. Maybe they got the naughty corner ‘cos they cancelled last year. Guitarist Herman Li does remain a ridiculous badass of few words and it’s all ridiculous. They’ve made their life choices. They could pretty much be using those fretboard powers to solve perplexing human riddles but instead they wrote 'Through the Fire and Flames' and gave a generation of Guitar Heroes permafrost black metal claws. They play it last and it feels bad in a good way.


Not as bad as the time of 1.20pm which is the saddest of all keys time slots today. For metal bros this is very D minor: Kingdom of Sorrow, Sylosis, This Is Hell, and Periphery are all playing at the same time. That much dark matter cannot occupy the same space and an interdimensional vortex peels open next to the funny hat stall. Nobody notices. I like that about the people here. I like Periphery more and I want to hear frontguy Spencer Sotelo do that Kelly Clarkson song he did once when he was drunk and it wound up on YouTube. Never mention this to him, he will not care for your attitude particularly. He does furnish everyone with a sudden and hectic djentor appraisal of the Red Hot Chili Peppers'  By the Way however. Haven’t liked the Peppers that much since they were on heroin. I throw Spence the 'guns' and he has no idea what the hell is going on in my head and does not return bro-fire. Later in the day I wind up sitting at a picnic table with all of Periphery and repeat the guns but I don’t know, he really thinks I’m unusual. I thought Americans loved firearms. They love our cigarette packets. There’s one on the table. It’s Brian.

“He looks like Dhalsim from Street Fighter,” notes Jake.

“Yoga flame,” nods Misha. “Yoga fire.”

“Yoga cancer?” wonders Spencer.

They laugh and are visibly ashamed of themselves. “Everyone in this band is circumcised,” Misha says. I forget how we got to that point but he was very sage about it and insisted that if you want to join Periphery, all “sleeve-wieners” must go.

I didn’t see Tomahawk because I was at Periphery but drummer John Stanier walks by and takes a cigarette. He requires one. He just played and now he has to get on a plane to go to Adelaide and duel skins with The Mark Of Cain. Every festival I go to, this kind of minor exchange with a rock guy somehow happens. At Big Day Out Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die demanded to buy my Vans sunnies for $20. I should have taken that sweet deal: they’re the same ones I’m rocking today. The same ones that bust at the nose bit, like all those cool Vans sunnies do at some point in their sunny lives, during the end of Sylosis’ set. I ran here and dived in. Running is the worst thing a human being can do. Diving’s OK. I wanted to hear something from Edge Of The Earth. Cheers, Brits: 'Altered States of Consciousness', A-alright.

I like to get stoned but I don’t smoke the reefer. The solution to that problem is Orange Goblin. A perfect line of doobies spark to life and I start to want to combine jelly with fish. Stage 5 is pretty much a big cargo container and that is why Orange Goblin are playing this joint: epic compression sesh. If a sniffer dog came in here right now it would die of indecision. How can anything called “Orange Goblin” not be excellent? Dat bass tone. Ben Ward is one of Lemmy’s sons I’m fairly sure. He’s such a beast. He works it. He loves being in a desert winnebago band and enabling gateway drug use, probably. I wonder if they’re unlikely friends with Cypress Hill. It seems like the London Symphony Orchestra will arrive soon and Orange Goblin will not remember making that phone call.