Eagles of Death Metal (EODM), minus Josh Homme who is on Them Crooked Vultures duty, were introduced by Taking Back Sunday as being “so sexy even the guys will be pregnant by the end of their set”. While I don’t think I’m due for twins anytime soon (my beer belly may disagree with me here) they were pretty damn sexy. With a reputation as the sexiest band on the planet Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes and Co. had alot to live up to, and live up they did. The EODM, didn’t rock harder, were pretty loose, don’t really have many songs of note, but damn do they put on a good show. With the best crowd banter and best mo’ of the the day the EODM turned many non believers into followers. Myself included.
Being that I had roped a mate in to come with me I had to make a few concessions for the day to make sure he was happy too. As such Alexisonfire won out in favour of Glassjaw. The Canadian quintet had trouble starting when vocalist/guitarist Dallas Green’s amp didn’t fire up, but after about a minute it was turned on and all was working. Wade MacNeil, Alexisonfire’s other vocalist/guitarist invited the crowd to “kick up some dust”, and that they did with a strong mosh going along with the occasional stupidity of a circle pit. With vocalist George Pettit Alexisonfire have a triple vocal attack, with each member having a role to play – generally Pettit screams, MacNeil shouts and Green sings. And what a voice Green sings with! It quickly became apparent that the difference between Alexisonfire and other acts in a similar post-hardcore styiling was Green’s enormous voice. Pettit shared some views without being overly preachy, and plugged the local independent record store, while delivering a strong performance, albeit shirtless. By the end of their set I had warmed to them, eager to seek out some more of their music when I got home. Once I got home I discovered City and Colour, Green’s acoustic side-project, and decided I liked it better than regular Alexisonfire.
Paramore then entered one at a time, with the loudest scream reserved for pint size frontwoman Hayley Williams. My first impression of the band was that she was tiny. When standing on a roadcase at the front of stage she was still only as tall as guitarist Josh Farro. Paramore lived up to their so-hot-right-now status with hundreds of teenage girls going gaga for the big singles (Ignorance, Decode, Misery Business etc.) and mostly looking blank for album tracks. Minus some acrobatics by bassist Jeremy Davis the band remained relatively still allowing Williams to work the stage, running around like a woman possessed all without missing a beat. Despite the annoying teenage contingent, and lets face it if they’re listening to Paramore instead of Lady Gaga then it can only be a good thing, Paramore put on quite an enjoyable set.
Placebo were next up, Brian Molko leading the three piece with three additional musicians on hand to fill the sound out. They played a solid, if uninspiring set. But not being the biggest Placebo fan I decided it was a good time to go get a hot dog and go check out The Get Up Kids. Having been thoroughly impressed with fellow seminal Emo band Sunny Day Real Estate earlier in the day I was let down by TGUK, perhaps it was the bad mix but after a few songs I gave up on them and returned to the main stage for the end of Placebo.
It seems that my verbal diarrhea has continued, this was going to be a 3 part series. But I think now it will be concluded in the 4th part… coming shortly
Ok, on the more serious side of things i’ll run through some quick reviews of my Soundwave experience;
As usual I was running late, and was a little confused when I arrived at 12.50 to be watching The Creepshow instead of catching the last few songs of Closure In Moscow. It was only after returning home I discovered of the he said she said drama of Closure not playing Soundwave 2010, or probably ever based on the bitter retort… For those interested check out the Faster Louder article here. Having not heard The Creepshow before catching the last 10 minutes of their set was a welcome introduction to their dark take on rockabilly.
Following on from The Creepshow was the reformed original lineup of Sunny Day Real Estate. Age, nor the time of day mellowed them and they delivered a strong set relying heavily on their debut release Daisy. With frontman Jeremy Enigk in strong voice the band didn’t miss a note, Dan Hoerner trading licks with Enigk. One time Foo Fighters’ drummer William Goldsmith and current Foo’s bassist Nate Mendel proving a solid rhythm section with Mendel seemingly in his own world bopping his head vigorously while scarcely playing the same note twice in sequence. The early crowd were well receptive of the set, with an obviously passionate group crowded close that had clearly turned out early to check out the early 90s Emo heroes offering applause quickly and enthusiastically. With a set including classic cuts such as ‘Seven’, ‘In Circles’ and ’48’ they surely left few disappointed.
Next on the main stage was Taking Back Sunday “from what I do not know” offered frontman Adam Lazzara. With Sunny Day Real Estate seeming to age into middle age rockers gracefully TBS showed how to do it not so gracefully. Even with more hair on his head Lazzara, and some of the other TBS members seemed to appear older than their earlier Emo counterparts. Opening with their Emo/Pop-punk classic ‘Cute Without the E’ TBS appeared to suffer from a poor mix, with their trademark dual vocals almost indistinguishable from the glug of instruments on stage. The superfluous 3rd guitarist can not have helped in this matter, especially as he proved to be of little value. Few, if any, of the songs benefited from the additional instrumentation. Matt Rubano, purveyor of the high bass, anchored himself to the opposite side of the drum riser to the backing guitarist, only leaving his perch when Lazzara had hidden at the back of stage and Rubano had a ‘big’ note or riff to play. Likewise lead guitarist Eddie Reyes and replacement rhythm guitarist/vocalist Matthew Fazzi remained mostly in their little corner of the stage giving the impression they were acting as a backing band for Lazzara. Fazzi was given his moment in the sun to run to the front of stage for the intro riff to ‘What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost’, joined by Rubano to play a quick bit of lead bass before running back to his alloted slot, aside from which he played very much second fiddle to Lazzara, contrary to their early sound circa. John Nolan. By midway through the set Lazzara seemed puffed and retired to a vocal sampler or some such contraption on the drum riser for the bridge of Liar, when he returned for the final chorus it quickly became apparent that while the early set mixing issues may have been resolved Lazzara’s voice was now completely shot. To give credit where it is due he did finish the set with minimal fuss, and minimal tune. The benefit of the doubt i will give is I hope they put on one hell of a show at their sideshow the night before and perhaps the 1.40pm timeslot was too soon for them to recover, failing that TBS put in a poor performance that was made worse by being sandwiched in between one of the days strongest sets in Sunny Day Real Estate and one of the days best shows in Eagles of Death Metal.
Here ends Part 2, coming shortly Part 3.
Just found this and needed to share it:
To avoid tl;dr i’m splitting my Soundwave 2010 review into 3 parts. First will be my rant, and the final two parts will be reviews of each band I saw.
Now I’m going to preface this by saying I hadn’t seriously thought of going to Soundwave until Jimmy Eat World were announced as replacements for My Chemical Romance. Jimmy Eat World (JEW) have an amazing back catalogue running all the way back to 1996’s Static Prevails. When JEW were announced I was quite disappointed as the show had been long sold out. Somehow I stumbled upon some tickets two days before the festival and braved hell and high water to get them.
Now as it was a festival I can’t say I was expecting anything less than what happened, however it was still a let down to be proven right.
A 35 degree day meant that there was going to be thousands of sunburned people on Saturday. It also meant that the number of shirtless dickheads would increase dramatically from standard festival levels. But the shirtless people somehow seemed to have more sense than the fashionista metal heads who turned up in full funeral dress and makeup. The choice of wearing full metal regalia was made even more confounding by them having to spend the day at Melbourne’s hottest stage, the tin shed used for Stage 4 in Melbourne was sweltering!
I’m glad I wasn’t up front for bands such as So Hot Right Now Paramore as the crowd rushed forward without a care for anyone in front, all trying to get a golden drop of sweat from Hayley Williams trademark red hair or something. Paramore’s set was also frequented by teenage squealing, semi-fainted girls being dragged from the mosh pit, cameras recording crappy quality video & stills and lots of singing along to their big singles.
Festivals also have the annoying trait of people being stupid enough to pay $150 to see one band instead of waiting for the sideshow announcement. Now while this may seem hypocritical following my earlier statement about the JEW announcement making me want to attend, I still did not fall into this category as there were many other bands I was quite looking forward to see, not least the reunited original Sunny Day Real Estate lineup, AFI for their formidable live reputation and despite their lineup changesTaking Back Sunday. All the extra bodies that have arrived to watch only one or two bands spent most of the day sitting down in the major thoroughfares to block foot traffic, at least I think thats what they were trying to do. Having already paid for the ticket surely they would want to go check out some new music? Or is it only cool to see a band once you’ve heard them on the radio or your best mate tells you their lead singer screams like a madman? At only 23 I already feel completely disassociated with the ‘youth’ of today…
From here I can probably put all the anti-scene rants that crop up all over the place and I’ll invariably touch on them at some point, but for now I’ll leave it at that.
I’ll have Part 2 up in a couple of days, and it should include some proper live reviews.
So, you probably don’t want to read this. But I want to write it, so I’m going to.
This will be a place for me to ramble on about whatever I want (isn’t that what this blogging is all about?), but it will mostly be music or music related. I won’t be promoting this too hard, so it will be interesting to see where this goes. So anyway, enough of the time wasting, more of the content. So I’ll leave it at that for the moment.