And we’re back with the second half of the Soundwave Festival weekend recap. On Saturday night, where I left Part One, I was very aware of how dead I was and I figured that opening up the show on Day 2 would be even harder than Day 1; not only are people not ready to really get crazy first thing in the morning, but I can’t be the only one who was feeling completely rooted from head to toe from the first day. Walking and lifting my arms above the horizontal were challenges, let alone diving back into the moshpit.
Well, KING 810 made a liar out of me in about ten seconds flat, because as the first band up on Sunday, they kicked straight into their set with “Killem All” and the pit went OFF. Dudes just going hard out from the word go, moshing and hardcore kid dancing their heads off. I don’t know from where they got the energy. Possibly from KING 810 themselves, because they were awesome. They are monstrous onstage. Their frontman IS the band and he just seems to bleed from the soul through the course of a set. He came out in the oppressive midday sun in black pants, black t-shirt and black tracksuit jacket, which may have been the most insane decision of the day. By the end of 40 minutes he’d shed all but the pants. Not only that but this bassist is one crazy mofo as well, flailing himself around the stage, and at one point knocking himself and a mic stand down in the space of two rotations. I also enjoyed these guys a lot for the music, there hasn’t been much hardcore presence at Soundwave this time around compared to years previous, so it was good to get down to some bone-rattling hardcore and see the karate and swinging elbows come out in the mosh. Great start to the day.
At this point I was tossing up between staying and watching Nonpoint (since I know a couple of their songs) or going in to see Apocalyptica (since Finnish cellists are rad). I chose the latter, partly for the prospect of some lunch and shade if I’m honest, but I fully made the right decision because Apocalyptica were great. They busted out this epic “Seek and Destroy” that forced me to abandon shelter and head out into the blazing sun to get a closer look. There’s nothing like cooking in the heat while watching pale blonde Finnish dudes play sick metal tunes on cellos like they’re guitars. And just like any band that comes from Scandinavia, these guys were funny as hell. I wasn’t sure how they’d translate live, but they are totally worth going to see.
Twin Atlantic were up next and a big part of my day, being, as I may have mentioned, cute Scottish dudes with cute Scottish accents singing cute Scottish songs. Their frontman must have angered the gods in some way because his gear broke like five different times during this set, poor fella. Mechanical mishaps aside, they played really well and they have some damn fine, catchy songs. My musical fulfillment boner popped when they played “Free” and “What Is Light, Where Is Laughter” back-to-back, the latter being my favourite song of theirs so far, and one I wasn’t expecting to hear so that was a pleasant surprise. The best thing of all about Twin Atlantic songs is being able to sing along to them in my Scottish accent (more on that later). These guys are great, go and see them. But once again, my moshing antennae were twitching…
Killer Be Killed! I don’t even know what else to say really except KILLER BE KILLED! Dudes were awesome, totally lived up to the hype. I ran down to the pit just as they were getting started, and our whole faces proceeded to be blown off for the next 45 minutes. These guys just shredded. Seeing Max Cavalera banging away right in front of me was a great list-checking moment, and my lady boner was raging for Greg Puciato. Marry me already. Everyone was going psycho, it’s little wonder this was the first (but not last) time of the day that my bad ankle got smashed to buggery in the middle of a chaotic moshpit. Soon after Greg, naturally, waded out into the middle of the pit, and hobbling or not, there was no way I was passing up the chance to circle pit around Greg Puciato. That was super rad. Their whole set was epic, and a definite highlight of the fest. Dudes are legit, I hope they stay together forever.
I needed to comedown from that so I went and sat down inside the Stage 5 room and listened to some Confession. Straya! For the little I saw of them they sounded like a solid band, but soon enough I wandered back out to the main stage for All Time Low. By this time the sun had been chased away by massive, ghastly-looking stormclouds, and the downpour had looked imminent for a while now. Well, in the words of All Time Low, they must have angered the gods as well, because they weren’t two songs into their set when the God damn heavens opened up and crashed down right on our heads. Within minutes they were ordered off as the stage was closed for safety. I mean, this was a deluge. Apparently the band’s gear was trashed by the storm, but they came back out when it subsided and did a sing-a-long acapella set for the people still waiting for them, which was super cool of them. I, however, now had other plans.
Earlier in the day I noticed that Twin Atlantic were going to be at the signing tent at 4pm. The idea of meeting people who are Scottish is far more attractive to me than meeting people who aren’t Scottish, but I’ve never really cared about autographs or ‘meeting the band’ so to speak, and during Soundwave I feel my time is much better spent watching a band actually play music. 4pm was going to be right in the middle of All Time Low anyway, so it was a non-starter. But then…the gods intervened. By the time we were smacked by the storm and trudged off the showground it was exactly 4pm, which I took as a sign from the universe that I was indeed meant to go and meet Twin Atlantic here, on this day. So I got my ticket signed by the band and casually dropped into my well-practiced Scottish accent while I was chatting to them, which caused them to light up in excitement when they thought they heard the voice of a fellow countryman. I quickly gave up the game and let the air out of them, but I TOTALLY sold my Scottish accent to actual people from Scotland in what may have been the proudest moment of my entire life. This weekend just kept getting better and better.
It was this period after All Time Low and before Manson that I didn’t know what to do with myself. During my Scouting Reports I pretty much talked myself out of seeing Papa Roach as originally planned when I discovered more interesting options, but this part of the timetable was tinkered with last-minute and it turned out that I did, in fact, decide to see Papa Roach. And I am SO GLAD I DID. This unexpectedly turned out to be one of the best sets of the fest. These dudes know what they’re doing, and Jacoby Shaddix is another one of those frontmen who just have It and know how to enthrall a crowd. They were also one of the few bands I saw where I was intimately familiar with a majority of the songs they played. So singing along and going nuts for tunes like “Getting Away With Murder”, “Between Angels and Insects”, “Blood Brothers”, “Scars”, “To Be Loved” and of course “Last Resort”…it was an absolute blast. Even the songs I didn’t know were pretty catchy. This set also included a MASSIVE Wall of Death, chronic crowd surfing, and the continued destruction of my poor ankle by everyone around me. I seriously had a blast, and I am now twice as big a fan of Papa Roach as I ever was. They did well.
On the other hand, Marilyn Manson was a band I was legitimately looking forward to, and ended up being the only one to come even remotely close to disappointing me during the weekend. They weren’t bad, per se, but Manson himself was…well, quite loaded. Like on another planet, not engaged with the songs and constantly mumbling about Twiggy being his AA counsellor or whatever the hell it was. So I mean, it was cool to hear a song like “Sweet Dreams” played live in front of me (and to be fair he nailed that one), but as a performance it was relatively uninspired and I took the chance to get off my feet instead, and I listened to the rest of his set in the ATM queue without regret. I actually had a plan to go catch some Judas Priest when Manson was over, so I took a looksie at them, but frankly all my clothes were still soaked and with the wind picking up I was frozen to the bone standing out there. So I took refuge indoors at Stage 5 for my penultimate port of call for the day.
Butcher Babies were rad! Due to being frozen, exhausted and in quite a bit of ankle pain I went into this set tentatively hoping to conserve energy to be able to get through Slipknot. Then they came on, launched straight into “I Smell A Massacre” and BAM, all my reservations evaporated and I started rocking out again. Now me, I’ve never been a crowd surfer. Never done it. Partly because I don’t want to be dropped on my head and killed, and partly because I always hate it when some dude’s full body weight comes crashing down on the back of my neck when I’m trying to watch the band, so I’ve never wanted to be That Guy. BUT, Heidi from Butcher Babies told us that people who had never crowd surfed before had to do it now, and when some hot chick in a band tells me to do something…I oblige. So I crowd surfed, and crowd surfed again. I was also offered by a nice bearded man to get up on his shoulders when the band was taking a photo of the crowd, but big Gumbi me was too slow, missed the photo, and ended up awkwardly sitting on this guy’s shoulders when absolutely nothing was happening.
ANYWAY, just like Greg Puciato earlier, Heidi Shepherd bravely ventured out into the middle of the circle pit to sing a song, and just like myself earlier, I realised I couldn’t pass up the chance to circle pit around the hot band chick who just mocked me for being the weirdo sitting on a nice guy’s shoulders for no apparent reason. So all in all, this set was crazy fun. Butcher Babies are tight as hell and can freaking melt some faces with the best of them. Plus what’s not to love about two hot chicks screaming their lungs out and rocking out on stage. Those girls own it. Butcher Babies are going on my “must get to know you better” playlist for sure.
And now what everyone had been waiting for…Slipknot. And when I say “everyone”…if I ever wondered if the clashes with Fall Out Boy and Smashing Pumpkins would dampen their crowd, I was sorely mistaken, because it felt like everyone within a 10km radius was just gagging for Slipknot. I was actually worried because I only had 20 minutes or so to rudely push past thousands of punters to get to the mosh. Not an easy task when practically everyone within a 10km radius has the exact same idea in mind. The solution: everyone waits impatiently and then when the band comes out SURGES forward as an unstoppable mass of humanity. Crowd 101. I started out a fair way back from the stage, and after The Push I ended up about 10 rows back from the front. So it was a win for me, tempered by the oppressive, crushing oblivion of being at the front of that Slipknot crowd. There was hardly enough time to enjoy the band in between trying not to die.
But of course, enjoy the band I did. It’s Slipknot for God sakes, who are a Top Five band for me and were a childhood staple. I’d seen them live once before from way up in the stands, and this time, I was up close and personal. And they were awesome. They killed it. Just murdered every single one of us. “The Heretic Anthem” early was killer, “Eyeless” was incredible to sing along to live, it’s one of my favourites, as is “Three Nil”…I could go on and on about every song. And then…the barricade broke. The show was stopped. W..TF. The barrier had to be fixed or else the show couldn’t continue, and the show had to continue or else World War III would have erupted right there in Spotless Stadium on a Sunday night. Luckily it was all taken care of as quickly as possible and this particular riot did not have to ensue.
Instead we jumped right back into our regular scheduled riot. Full credit to Slipknot for immediately getting everyone back up. Soon after was one of the major highlights of the whole fest, “Spit It Out”. I had heard and seen them do the “Jump the Fuck Up” bit at the end of this song on live recordings, and could only imagine what it must have felt like to experience. Well in this moment, I experienced it, and it was utterly spectacular. Just the best. I love everything. Then they kept partying like it was 1999 by opening up the encore with “(sic)”, which is when I tried to mosh with untied shoelaces and almost died for the nth time in two days. And ending the whole bloody shebang singing along to “People = Shit” and “Surfacing” was the perfect capper to a fantastic day and an unbelievably fantastic weekend.
So there you have it. I bounced and I moshed. I sang and I screamed. I sweltered and froze, burned and drowned. I was pushed, beaten, punched, elbowed, headbutted, kicked, stomped and trampled, and two days later my ankles still do not resemble human ankles. I sang along to every word of my favourite songs, and discovered some completely new bands. And I had the absolute time of my life. I love bands, I love heavy music. I love music. And I love Soundwave. As long as AJ keeps putting it on, I will keep going every year, and I recommend to anyone within the sound of my voice that they do the same. You will not regret it, ever. Soundwave rocks.