Soundwave Festival 2014 in Melbourne review

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No-one expected this year’s Soundwave to surpass 2013’s monstrous line-up. There was something for almost any rock fan on that bill. This year’s was still pretty good, with great bands big and small.

You might have read about it, if last year’s festival was the Year of the Drummer Bail-Outs then 2014 was the Year of the Band Bail-Outs. Stone Temple Pilots, Megadeth, Whitechapel, Sevendust, Newsted, Desaparecidos, Volbeat and Hardcore Superstar are the eight other bands to cancel on the tour. Yikes.

First band I saw was Alter Bridge. I saw them at the 2012 Soundwave and to be honest they lost me then. I thought they were boring live. However, I guess two years is a long time and they performed much better this time, or perhaps last time they were just having a bad day. Either way, they won me back.

Next was Richie Sambora, who I had seen the day prior at the Espy, so you can read this post about both that show and the Soundwave performance here.

Now, The Living End…wow. They are The Living Legends. Seriously. Their one-hour set was the most powerful and concise of all the bands I saw. No messing around, just short and sweet rock anthems. ‘Prisoner of Society’ had the crowd shake the ground with the jumping. Obviously the crowd loved them, and with the band being from Melbourne, they loved us too. I certainly love the band much more after this.

After The Living End wrapped up I ran over to Stage 6 where Deez Nuts were finishing up with ‘Band of Brothers’, a single off their latest album. I wish I got to see the whole set because I saw the mosh go absolutely nuts (no pun intended).

At this point there was no band I was interested in until 5, but since my friends were watching Panic at the Disco and the food was nearby I casually watched them while eating a freaking $10.90 burger. Even though I didn’t really dig them they put on a good show.

While waiting for Alice in Chains to start I entered A Day to Remember’s crowd. Before I walked in, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon was singing inside a large clear ball that was being thrown through the crowd. Whoa, I’ve never seen anything like it. I didn’t know any Day to Remember songs, but McKinnon repeatedly thanked those who gave them a chance.

I was probably one of the few not watching Alice in Chains for ‘90s nostalgia. I knew a couple of their old songs, but I had come to see tunes performed from their excellent new album, such as the sludge metal ‘Hollow’, one of my favourite performances of the day.

I took another break after they concluded and then got to Stage 1 early to get a good spot for Green Day. For nearly three hours Green Day performed clearly at the top of their game. Billie Armstrong is an incredible frontman who knows how to entertain the masses. He was in fine form too, singing every word, except for when he wanted the crowd to sing. They love to get the fans on stage too, they got one dude singing and a girl to play a guitar part on stage (and she got to keep the guitar!).

Between anthems and sing alongs we had cover medleys and various shenanigans. I don’t even know what was going on when the drummer dressed like a granny and Billie dedicated love songs to a bunny costume but it amusing nonetheless!

While there were a handful of songs I didn’t know, I still had a great time. Only flaw was an anti-climatic ending with ‘Good Riddance (Time of your Life)’. Don’t get me wrong, a fantastic song and perhaps a perfect ending, but doesn’t feel right when it’s just Billie alone without the rest of the band.

Green Day deserves every last inch of their fame and it’s clear that they don’t take their fans for granted as the show delivered. I give the band’s set 4.5/5.

Fingers crossed that Disturbed headline Soundwave next year!

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