Soundwave! Anyone who has been reading my blog may have noticed that I’ve been quivering with excitement about this weekend for quite a while now. And it finally arrived. It’s now Monday, I am exhausted and feel as though I’ve been hit by a car of some kind. So the only thing left is to tell you all about it…
Kicking off the day has to be the hardest job at the festival. Nobody knows who you are, and it’s so early that all anyone is ready to do is stand and politely nod their heads. So I stood and politely nodded my head to Raglans. Five minutes into the fest I was already ahead, because after one song they launched into “(Lady) Roll Back the Years” which is one of the best songs I’ve discovered this year. I also recognised some of their other songs like “White Lightning”, “The Man From Glasgow” and “Digging Holes”. I popped huge when they busted out a cover of LEN “Steal My Sunshine” at the end there, great choice, and their closer included the first band-wide drum solo of the day (but not the last). These guys are really good, they play really well live, and I’m definitely going to keep listening to them. I recommend them to anyone who likes indie rock. I don’t even particularly like indie rock and I’m nuts for them.
I don’t know what it is about punk rock that makes dudes such funny bastards (or alternately, what makes funny bastards want to play punk rock) but Patent Pending are some funny bastards. Joe Ragosta is the real deal as a frontman, he’s great. Patent Pending specialise in the cheeky, funny pop-punk song, and they have a slew of them. They’re great to bounce around to and have a good time. Things started to move when Joe and the bassist had a crowd swimming race from the back to the stage, and the poor bassist got dropped and sliced his arm open. Ouch. Continuing the covers theme, they did a cool medley of the Friends theme and “Everytime We Touch” (and Cascada takes over as the most unlikely artist covered by a band this weekend). At this point I had my first scheduling dilemma of the fest when pondering whether to leave for Nothing More as planned, or stick around for another 10 minutes to hear “Hey Mario”…luckily they solved all my problems by launching straight into it then and there. That is a great song, everyone go watch it on Youtube right now. So when that was done I beat it down to Stage 4 to start getting heavy.
My main takeaway from Nothing More was that Jonny Hawkins takes the prize for wackiest stage moves from a frontman at Soundwave. He’s very…intense. Halfway through they busted out this crazy ass contraption, a kind of drum that is played by playing a guitar attached to it (see below). The whole band jumped on this thing and started banging away for this epic interlude, making it the second full band drum solo I’d witnessed in the space of two hours. These guys have a pretty cool and energetic stage show, I recommend going to see them. I had my third major case of “the fulfillment felt from singing along to your favourite song while watching a band live” of the weekend so far when they went into “This Is The Time (Ballast)”, which is just a super dooper hard rock anthem. This is another band that I need to listen to so much more of.
Going from Nothing More to Ne Obliviscaris was something, because as crazed and energetic and intense as Nothing More was, Ne were equally as low key, laid back and calm. Which is weird for an extreme metal band, but then again, they kind of are weird for an extreme metal band, violin and all. The violinist/singer seriously looks and speaks like the nicest, most unassuming guy, as if he should be violining away in some classical quartet instead of a metal band. The dude on the heavy vocals at least looks like he’s in a death metal band, with long black hair and porcelain skin, but for a guy who’s growling his head off every song, it’s the most effortless, nonchalant screaming I’ve ever seen live. And all the other band members seemed shy and happy to just stand there and bang. I don’t mean all this as a criticism by any means; all bands have different vibes onstage, and like I said, they’re certainly not your typical metal band. Anyway this is all by the by because animated or not, these dudes can God damn play. They totally shredded the three and a half songs they played in their 40 minute set. When they got heavy we got stuck into some moshing and I was almost immediately punched in the mouth. Literally, not figuratively this time; someone punched me right in the mouth. Ahh moshing, how I’ve missed you.
On the advice of many people, including noisynoodle, I went to check out Le Butcherettes on Stage 5. It was good advice, because everyone needs to see them live in action. Teri Gender Bender officially took over the mantle of wackiest stage moves for a frontm-…frontperson. She’s pretty insane. I mean when you have this girl beating her brains in with a microphone and shrieking about rape…that goes way past intense and into some pretty harrowing territory. She is quite a sight to see.
Soon enough, however, I remembered that I’d rather be moshing. So I skipped back to the metal stage for some Terror Universal, which as I understand it is some Ill Nino guys in horror masks. Anyway, I waded right through the throng and jumped straight into the mosh, and got bumped on my ass in about 0.7 seconds. Ahh…moshing. Terror Universal are pretty rad, they can wreck it with the best of them. I don’t know a single song of theirs, but I had mad fun moshing my way through their set.
For a change of pace, and a breather, I went up to the punk stage and got off my feet and recharged while I listened to the second half of Fireworks. It’s hard to make much of a judgment from sitting so far away, but they seemed to play well, and I like their stuff in that non-threatening, emo pop kind of way. They closed with “Maps” which is a cool song. I’ve been listening to “Bed Sores” a lot the last couple weeks, but I didn’t hear them play it. Oh well.
Apparently 20 minutes of Fireworks didn’t do enough to recharge my batteries, because I went back down to sit on the metal stage lawn, and the soothing sounds of Godflesh‘s molasses-thick sludge promptly sent me to sleep. And I definitely don’t mean that as an insult either, I find their sound legitimately mind-clearing and calming. It’s great music to nod off to in the afternoon sun.
Unfortunately, napping in the afternoon sun means that I ended up with not only an obscenely sunburnt face (I look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer right now), but also a touch of heatstroke, because after about 15 minutes of the Fear Factory moshpit, I felt like throwing up and had to beat a path to safety. I was going to take my time and try to regroup so as to avoid vomiting all over strangers, but then I heard the opening strains of “Archetype” – the one song of theirs I know intimately and love – and hauled ass back into the abyss to see them play that song live. Vomit be damned! So I went and rocked out some more until I once again felt on the verge of chucking. Luckily that was right when they were finishing anyway. Fear Factory, by the way, were totally killer and the mosh was insane. So I got my Fear Factory sesh in and managed to avoid losing my lunch. Winning.
I wandered into the main stage and caught Antemasque doing “People Forget” at the end of their set. That’s a cool song. Then it was onto Incubus, where I tasted the sweetness of face-punching once again (back to metaphoric punching now) when they hit me with “Anna Molly”. Them feels. Incubus were good, they’re a polished band, but I was once again trying to recover and regroup, so I spent their set sitting in the stands and getting some food in me (because clearly the cure for nausea is junk food and Coke…hey, it worked!). Glad I got to see them though, and they did bust out “Vitamin” so I got my old school kick in as well. Incubus ticked off the list.
I’d been looking forward to Falling In Reverse ever since I started listening to them like two months ago. Their fans are hectic and treat Ronnie Radke like a bona fide rock star. Maybe because Ronnie Radke IS a bona fide rock star. He’s got It. This marked the first time so far that I saw hardcore kid dancing, which took me aback for a band that in my mind is so…poppy. Poppy in a screamo kind of way I guess. This dude was in jail, I suppose there’s an inherent level of hardcore-ness there. Anyway, rocking out to “Fashionably Late” and “Rolling Stone” was awesome fun and very satisfying. These guys are another band to look out for and keep listening to.
And now…onto the main event of the evening. For me anyway. I’ve loved Atreyu since like 2004 when they released The Curse, one of my favourite ever albums that I blast all the time. This moment was over a decade in the making for me, and I was looking forward to seeing them more than any other band over the weekend. And it was awwwwwwwesome. From the moment they launched right into “Doomsday” through to “Lip Gloss and Black”, and everything in between…just awesome. I mean “When Two Become One”…”Bleeding Mascara”…”Right Side of the Bed”…it was amazing. Singing along to my favourite songs like this, just ten feet away from the band…this is exactly why I love doing this. I felt like a kid again. Atreyu were amazing, and it was the perfect exclamation point to my day.
There was no topping that, but there was an hour left in the night so I went back inside the Showground to see the end of Faith No More. I like what I’ve heard of them so far, and I feel like they’re a band I’ll be glad to have ticked off the list. So I listened to them play “Easy” and the like as I performed an inadvertent slapstick routine with the dude in front of me in the queue for Subway – we were both bemoaning that we had to line up behind everyone who was ordering Subway sandwiches when all we wanted were drinks and cookies, only to spot the giant “Express Line: Drinks, Cookies” sign after we’d both waited impatiently in the long line to order. What can I say, we’d had a long day. Mike Patton took great delight in dropping the C Bomb over and over, and then getting the crowd to chant it. Apparently obscene language standards are tougher in America than they are here, because he’s not the only band member who made that exact point while they were here. So, any Americans who want to exercise their c-word muscles in public, come on down!
So I ended the day having been out on my feet for 11 hours, my face burnt to a crisp, covered in the sweat of a thousand random dudes, repeatedly kicked in my bad ankle, headbutted and punched in the mouth, exhausted beyond belief…and happy as a Stace, ready to do it all again in the morning.
That about wraps up Day 1, stay tuned for Part Deux…