REVIEW: Placebo, GWAR, Trash Talk, Jimmy Eat World and Green Day at Soundwave 2014
It’s 2014 and Soundwave is still as strong as ever. We remember exiting St. Peters station and making our way across Sydney Park and being completely blown away seven years ago when this amazing festival was first born.
Since then, there has been quite a few changes, not just the location but mainly the monster it’s grown into. There were 12 stages this year (that’s half the amount of bands that played in 2007!) each containing some of the most enthusiastic rock, metal and punk bands in the world performing back to back over the day. Here are some of our favourites...
The first band off the rank that we caught was Sacramento hardcore punk band Trash Talk. We didn’t make it two meters into the hanger where the stage was located before we heard the first of many ‘circle pit’ requests of the day. This one coming from lead singer Lee Spielman. As the audience obliged, both the guitarist and bassist jumped on top of every speaker they could climb. The band’s set consisted of their short but powerful tracks that hit everyone like a cannonball. At one point, Spielman jumped off the stage and ran through the crowd and collected a Hi-Vis jacket, hat and a Slurpee – which made for some hilarious stage banter on his return.
The frontman also managed to get everyone to literally run out of the hanger as soon as they slammed out the next song which was very entertaining as the band were left playing to just a couple of people and had to tell everyone to come back in. Trash Talk put on a great show that set the standard for the long day ahead.
Classic Soundwave favorites AFI returned to wow their fans with their impressive goth punk catalogue at Stage 3. Davey Havok has one of those voices that makes their music stand out from the rest and was a delight to listen to on this sunny day in Olympic Park. ‘Girl’s Not Gray’ and ‘Miss Murder’ were clear crowd favourites.
GWAR provided us with one of the more hilarious highlights of the day that was in all honestly, pretty much expected. They have a reputation to be quite controversial on stage and their outrageous costumes were one of the many reasons why this act was a must-see. After a slight delay and a semi-naked man in a towel walking aimlessly on stage, we were greeted with the thrash metal band in all their monster costume glory.
If you were in anyway confused why you walked past a group that were covered in some sort of red substance later in the day, then you probably missed GWAR’s vocalist Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) continually ejaculate a red syrup that was intended to resemble blood from a large rubber penis into the crowd during their opening song. If you thought that was crazy – out walks a man in a costume resembling our very own Prime Minister Tony Abbott and next you know he has been beheaded and more “blood” is sprayed into the crowd. All this, however, didn’t distract us from their thrash metal genius. That was fun.
When you hear of a black metal band from Norway performing on the lineup it’s another act that cannot be missed. Satyricon are bloody scary. We definitely don’t want to cross paths with any of those guys in a dark alleyway! A drum solo was all it took for the crowd to join in the metal-hair dance, which felt very contagious if you were sporting the right amount of mop on your head. Their set was full of tight blasting beats, deathly vocals and plenty of strobe lights.
Walking into the main arena for the first time for Placebo, a stadium full of fans singing along to ‘Meds’ was a welcoming sight. We had enough time to make it to the front to join in with ‘Special K.’ This transition from black metal to glam rock went quite well. Placebo have cemented themselves in the music scene to now be comfortably called a classic band. At no point did they disappoint or let down their diehard fans or anyone else just enjoying their glam rock melodies.
Thy Art Is Murder were lucky enough to still be on the bill after an embarrassing display of stupidity at the Brisbane leg of the festival. The band reportedly encouraged the crowd to storm the stage and overpower security causing festival promoter AJ Maddah to boot them off tour... for a good hour or so.
They ended up performing a couple of hours earlier than their original set time and put on a very good, well-behaved show. There was only one small incident where the band stopped performing to break up a fight that was in early stages of breaking out. Once that was out of the way, TAIM showed their fans what seven years as a premium deathcore can do. Some highlights included 'Whore To A Chainsaw' a song singer Chris "CJ" McMahon proudly dedicated to all the girlfriends / ex-girlfriends out their (including his own), claiming it as “the best rock song of all time."
Nostalgia set in as Pennywise took the stage. There was no surprise that fans are still into this classic punk band from Hermosa Beach, California. They formed back in 1988, which today made them 25 years young. They proudly displayed this milestone on their backdrop flapping high and proud on Stage 3. While 'Perfect People' was a nice dedication to the not-so-perfect people in the crowd, it was a pleasure to the ears and when they hit us with the Men at Work cover of 'Down Under' it got everyone singing along and having a good time! Legends.
Georgian foursome Baroness hit the stage as the sun was gradually making its way down, and another band, thought to be 'Down', were inconsiderately soundchecking on the stage next door. Apart from the interruptions, they put on an amazing show. These guys also win best backdrop of the festival in our opinion. Can we have that on a t-shirt?! 'A Horse Called Golgotha' was a crowd favourite.
Jimmy Eat World's one-hour slot was full of tracks that hit you straight in the heart. Classics like 'Bleed American,' 'The Middle' and 'Pain' echoed throughout the stadium too much delight. The surprise song was ‘23’ – the last track off the band’s 2004 album ‘Futures.’ It was a sweet pleasure. Good to see these guys back in the country to take our pain away.
JEW were the perfect band to warm up the already-hot crowd because up next were long-time touring buddies and Soundwave headliners Greenday! When set times were released, the Greenday slot stood out like a sore thumb. We were all well-informed and prepared for this three hours of epic punk rock.
It was a good 15 minutes after JEW finished up before they took the stage. In the meantime, fans were jumping on wheelie bins and singing along to the preset music that included classics like Queen's ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Ramones' ‘Blitzkrieg Bop.’ The band finally emerged one at a time and the stadium erupted in a mix of screams and continuous ovations. This band knows exactly how to put on a great show!