On Saturday my brother and I went along to the Adelaide leg of the Soundwave Festival. After hearing a few complaints about excessive lines in Sydney I was a little apprehensive, though in the end there was no need to be. Apart from the one time I went to get beer, there were virtually no lines at all.
We arrived at the venue at about 1:30pm, and basically walked straight in. We did a quick lap of the venue to check things out. They layout seemed a bit odd, in that with a pair of binoculars you could probably stand in one spot and view four of the six stages. Initially we thought that this may cause a bit of a sound problem, however at no point did the sound from one stage encroach on that of another – at least not for any of the bands I saw.
The first band we checked out were Unearth on the metal stage. I’d only heard a handful of their songs before the show, and we were pleasently surprised by how good they were. Pretty much by the numbers metal, but was well executed and they showed a good amount of energy.
Next, after spending 15 minutes in the beer queue we headed over to the main stage and caught a glimpse of Underoath. The sound was pretty crap, as the wind had picked up at that point, and we didn’t really want to get near to the stage. They we’re pretty boring, and we didn’t hang around for more than a couple of songs.
Poison The Well played next on the metal stage, and much like Underoath their sound was a bit average. I’ve listened to a couple of PTW albums and generally like them, but was a little disappointed with the set, I just couldn’t get into it.
We grabbed something to eat after then, and headed over to the small stage where Minus The Bear were playing and shade was plentiful. Minus The Bear sounded pretty good, better than I expected and I immediately regretted not seeing a bit more of their show. We also caught a glimpse of a band called Hello Goodbye, who sounded terrible. In fact throughout the day, we didn’t hear a single band on the stage under the big top who were any good…
Eventually we made our way back to the main stage for Dillinger Escape Plan. I’d heard a lot about the energy of this band, and enjoyed their set. As expected there was plenty of jumping, climbing, bottle throwing and screaming. A highlight of the set was the version of When Good Dogs Do Band Things sans Mike Patton. This would be a band I expect would be great to see in a smaller venue, rather than on a big outdoor stage.
Bloodhound Gang came on next, as expected they played a range of their greatest hits, which was ok and funny in parts, but I left at one point to go see what else was going on. The answer was 36 Crazyfists, who were ok, but not much more than that. Came back to Bloodhound Gang just in time to see the bass player do the beer chug-regurgitate-re-chug routine. Cheap laughs were the order of the day it seemed.
I decided to just chill out and get a decent spot for Alice In Chains, but to do that I had to hear Billy Talent. These talentless fucks played their Walmart brand of pop-punk for what seemed like an excruciating hour or so. Eventually they got the hell off stage.
Alice In Chains came on, then kicked ass from start to end. The new singer William Duvall seemed to fit in quite well, and they played a set which contained pretty much all of their hits from over the years. Overall I was blown away with how good they were, and they were definitely the highlight of the day for me. They didn’t play any new material, which was a little disappointing, but the set had a great energy to it, and the crowd seemed to enjoy every minute of it. The only minor disappointment was that the vocals were lost in the mix, but otherwise it was almost the perfect set. I have a feeling this could be one of those rare cases where a singer replacement actually works.
Nine Inch Nails were the last band of the day, and probably the band I was looking forward to the most. Even though I’m not a huge fan of their music, they are a live band as good as any I’ve seen, and tonight was a great example of that. The set, mainly made up of their hits from over the years, was extremely energetic. The lighting show was cool, though I was disappointed it was a much more sedate affair than the Lights In The Sky Tour.
Both Trent and Robin seemed to have instrument problems throughout the show, with their guitars, keyboards and the stage crew all receiving a fair amount of abuse. A definite highlight of the set was when the guys from Dillinger Escape Plan joined them on-stage for a version of Wish. Overall I was impressed by the NIN show, though there were a few points in the set when the played songs which aren’t really favorites of mine.
Overall, it was a great day, and a great festival. The smaller crowd meant it was much easier to get around, and get close to the stages, and I much preferred the day to the last few Big Day Outs I’ve been to. My only criticism would be that I would have liked to have seen Lamb Of God, but being at the same time as NIN made that a hard choice. Alice In Chains were probably the act of the day, but Nine Inch Nails were a very close second. Looking forward to next years event!