Soundwave is less than six weeks away now. I am inordinately excited about this. I mean, I’m just saying, I may mention it once or twice between now and then. And while in the general living of my life I would probably be considered the most disorganised person on earth, my annual sojourn to Soundwave transforms me, savant-like, into a hyper-organised obsessive compulsive. I spend an outrageous amount of time beforehand planning out a rigid minute-by-minute schedule to adhere to, like some anal retentive drill sergeant putting myself through maneuvers. Soundwave is not a festival for me. It is a mission.
I’m sure this all sounds like a death knell for fun, but for me it has the opposite effect. For me the appeal of Soundwave is the simple fact that there are so many bands in the one place at the one time. Quantity, as well as quality. In the face of this, I feel like I owe it to myself to maximise the opportunity and see as many good bands as I possibly can while they’re playing right in front of me. That’s what I paid my money for after all. And that’s what I’m there for. The feeling I had after last year when I realised I saw like 20 different bands play over a weekend…that’s a satisfying feeling.
And of course…scheduling the bejeezus out of this thing means I have to do my homework and figure out which bands are worth seeing. And listening to bands is fun! The best by-product of all this is that here’s a ready made list of 70+ bands to check out – most of whom I’ve never listened to before. As someone who hasn’t been in the loop of the metal or rock scenes for about a decade, it’s a perfect way to discover a whole bunch of new bands. And seen that I’m already writing this blog, I may as well put some thoughts about them down here as I go along (as an aside, “hey let’s check out another random band” is such a perfect way to cheat on this project when I have nothing else “new” to do of a day).
So anyway, with 70 odd bands to cover this will probably be the first of many posts about my first impressions of some of these bands.
In a sentence: Swedish punk band, been around for years.
I’ve always been aware that these guys exist, but never gave them my concerted attention before. Not bad at all. They have that old school, 90s, more rock-based punk sound, which sets them apart from most current-day punk bands I see, that lean more towards the pop-punk, nerdy, emo aesthetic. This is just a bunch of good, rocking punk songs. Plus they have the Swedish thing going for them, which adds those neat little English-as-a-second-language turns of phrase and enunciation.
Chances of seeing them: Have taken a hit with the latest draft of the timetable, because they clash perfectly with Papa Roach, and Papa Roach are a band of my teenagehood that I feel compelled to see. They’re both playing for an hour, so I guess if Papa Roach are shithouse then I can move over.
In a sentence: Nerdy, emo pop-punk.
Speaking of nerdy, emo pop-punk, here is one such band. They have a fantastic dork anthem in “Hey Mario”, which everyone should go to Youtube and watch right now. These guys are unapologetically nerdy and make catchy, poppy songs with numerous video game references, talking about breaking up with girls and being nerds and other such things.
Chances of seeing them: I’m not sure if having one super catchy song that I love warrants seeing a whole set of pop-punk, when my inclination at a festival is to mosh, which means the heavier the better. On the other hand, they’re on early in the day and don’t have much competition in their timeslot so far. Definitely possible.
Falling in Reverse
In a sentence: Emocore band with crazy lead singer.
Apparently this guy was the singer for Escape the Fate, then got arrested, sent to prison and kicked out of Escape the Fate. So he formed his own band from prison and proceeded to snark at them in public forever…until they made up and toured together. Band drama is fascinating sometimes.
I actually really like this. I’m not totes into scene bands, but they’re pretty catchy. It’s part emo, part heaviness, part pop hooks, and part the arrogant swagger of a charismatic lead singer. Even part rap, and if there is one thing that gets me going, it is inappropriate, white person rap. And this is very inappropriate, very white person rap. I’m interested to see how they compare musically to Escape the Fate when I get around to them.
Chances of seeing them: I’m pretty keen on them at this stage. I’ll have to haul ass to get to them after Incubus, but that seems to be the only obstacle. All signs are good.
In a sentence: Hardcore from the mean streets of Flint, MI.
Apparently Flint is a pretty bad part of town. Now I know to never go there. Anyway, this is another lead singer-dominated band, with this dude growling and screaming about life on the mean streets on Flint, and basically about murdering everyone in sight: “Kill ’em all / Gun ’em down / Hang the fucking bodies in the halls” Just beautiful. Poetry. But for reals this is pretty good deathcore with an interesting backdrop in the violence of Flint that I was heretofore unaware of. See, metal can be educational too!
Chances of seeing them: They’re on first thing on Day Two and have virtually no competition for me at that time, so at this stage it seems I’ll be opening my account on the second day with a mass murdering rampage. Seems about right.