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Live Reviews : Soundwave Festival Day Two @ Bonython Park, Adelaide 22/02/2015

By on February 23, 2015

Images: Kerrie Geier
Words: Cameron Dodds

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After rocking out all day Saturday in searing 40 degree heat, day 2 of Soundwave was always going to be a struggle for me and everyone else over the age of 25 to get out of bed for, but what better reason is there to drag your weary and hung-over ass up if not to attend the last Adelaide Soundwave ever and see some of the best bands in the world play?

The temperature was already approaching the 40 degree mark by the time local act, A Ghost Orchestra, opened the main stage, but that did little to slow them down. Performing in front of a small, but appreciative crowd, the band powered through their set like seasoned veterans, inciting several mini-circle pits and a whole bunch of kung-fu moshing along the way. Though not quite yet suited to the main stage, there are seemingly big things to come for A Ghost Orchestra.

AGhostOrchestra_SoundwaveADL_KGeier_22022015-5332From there it was a short walk over to stage 4 to see Chicago based metal outfit, Nonpoint. Unfortunately, after a solid start the band was forced to halter the performance for seven minutes or so due to a malfunctioning guitar amp head. However, vocalist Elias Soriano stepped up to the plate and entertained the crowd by starting chants of “bullshit” and ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’. Bassist Adam Woloszyn soon joined in the fun with a nifty little hoedown style bass riff. Before long the head was replaced and the band kicked back into full swing, much to the elation of the crowd, who head banged, moshed and sang their way through the rest of the set.

Animals As Leaders was up next on stage 5. Myself and a couple of hundred other music nerds waited during a lengthy soundcheck in anticipation of witnessing one of the most technically proficient bands in the business and we weren’t disappointed. The band, led by Tosin Abasi was unfathomably tight, knocking out track after track of pure djent-infused musical bliss. Although relatively still, the constantly growing crowd was clearly in awe of what these guys can do and refreshingly, many in attendance were quite young. If there was one thing I could flaw about Animals As Leaders it would be their lack of stage presence. Yes they are playing extremely complicated stuff, but surely they could move just a little bit?

Things took a turn from technically proficient and still, to relatively simple and highly-energetic when veterans Godsmack hit stage 4. These guys headline shows like this overseas all the time and it isn’t hard to see why. From the moment the band started to play it felt like one big party and everyone was going crazy. Frontman Sully Erna held the crowd in the palm of his hand as he coached them through the choruses of most of the band’s biggest hits, including ‘Crying Like A…’ and ‘I Stand Alone’. Without doubt the highlight of the show was when Erna got behind a second drum kit and played an African-style dual drum solo with Shannon Larkin before the whole band broke into a medley of classic songs, including AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’, Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’ and Metallica’s ‘Creeping Death’. Amazingly this was Godsmack’s first visit to Australia in their 17-year career, but if today was anything to judge by, they will be back a lot sooner than that.

Godsmack_SoundwaveADL_KGeier_22022015-6169Next up was Marilyn Manson. It’s no secret that last time he was in Australia he was a mere shadow of his former self. The onetime master of live performances had lost his voice and was apparently drinking way too much. However, I had heard rumours that since then he had gotten his act together and was now performing well, but unfortunately, the rumours turned out to be greatly exaggerated. There is no doubt what-so-ever that Manson has totally lost it. He can’t sing, he can’t scream and he absolutely does not care. Nothing about the performance was enjoyable, Manson basically just walked around singing inaudibly before walking off the stage for a couple of minutes between every track while Twiggy mindlessly riffed on his bass. It was hugely disappointing and I really don’t think I’ll give Manson another chance ever again.

Luckily for me, I had to leave Marilyn Manson early to go see legendary Norwegian black metal band, Mayhem. Despite playing in front of a disappointingly small crowd, the band showed quite clearly why they are arguably the biggest and best black metal band of all time. Vocalist Attila Csihar came out in typically menacing fashion, holding a skull and donned in corpse paint, fake blood, and more than a couple inverted crosses. The band was tight as hell and though small, the crowd couldn’t get enough. In fact, that was the biggest let down of the whole set, it was too short. The band only used 30 of their 40 allocated minutes, despite calls for an encore by the crowd. Maybe it was just too hot?

Closing out the night was Slipknot, who as usual put on a near flawless performance. The stage set up was ginormous, the lighting was incredible and the flames threw high. After opening with ‘XIX’ from their latest album ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ the band broke into a devastating one and half hour set that featured fan favourites from each of their albums, including ‘Custer’, ‘Psychosocial’, ‘Duality’, ‘People = Shit’ and ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Sic’ and ‘Surfacing’ – stopping only for vocalist Corey Taylor to address the crowd.

SmashingPumpkins_SoundwaveADL_KGeier_22022015-7692When it comes to live performances, there are few, if any bands that can match Slipknot. The energy is intense, the band is tight, the vocals are spot on and the whole crowd gets infected by it. Look around at any Slipknot show and you’re guaranteed to see most people singing, moshing or both, even at a festival like Soundwave that features so many diverse bands. That’s one of the things about Slipknot, they have reached the point now where almost everyone enjoys their show, including non-metalheads.

Who knows if 2015 is really the final year of Soundwave for Adelaide? While promoter A.J. Maddah stated on Twitter a couple of weeks back that it was, he has since told the Sunday Mail that he is not so sure: “We will do the best we can because I genuinely love Adelaide and I’m heartbroken that this is it — but we will monitor the market over the coming year and see what happens”. Here’s hoping.