Soundwave 2014: Sydney Olympic Park 23/02/14

"We Are Your Fucking Alarm Clock Sydney!"

Soundwave; the annual summit of metal heads, sunburnt noses, sweat rashes and blisters; where a month’s worth of earnings are buried; the bad sideshow food, the inevitable hand spasms from flicking the devil horns as hard as you can and the overwhelming assortment of heavy metal…. Ah what a fine summers day indeed.

The day kicked off early… And I mean early as thousands of punters headed for the gates in The Pursuit of Vikings, we were greeted with a prolific sight – the long ship. It was not long before the beads of sweat were running down our faces and the Vikings sauntered to the stage “We are your fucking alarm clock Sydney!!” screams Johan Hegg a barrage of teaming enthusiasts raised their arms and bellowed 'Amon Amarth! Amon Amarth! Amon Amarth'! Wasting no time, the Swedes drilled into War of The Gods like utter maniacs the crowd was in a flurry of exhilaration! ….. Johan was having an absolute fucking ball! A happy little Viking indeed. With commandment like actions I am pretty sure he was using this power to his own enjoyment ‘Get those horns in the air’ he wails… Yes, yes we will do it all, command us!! A set that will remain with punters of Sydney for all time after we are hit with surge after surge of these titans catalogue; Death In Fire, Deceiver of The Gods and Twilight of The Thundergods, the steam was oozing out of the pit at a rapid rate.

The 2014 Soundwave timetable was difficult to master and it was impossible to catch them all, however 20 minutes here and a quick drive by there, we were able to navigate around and catch as many as we could. After a quick Bourbon stop (mmmm half strength) we headed over to the arena to grab a quick 20 minutes of Alter Bridge. Myles Kennedy was everything I expected; sharp, commanding and absolutely colossal; complimented solidly by Mark Tremonti on guitar. A somewhat vacant arena was still not enough to daunt these Orlando nobles.

Regrouping under the shade the shenanigans began as two bourbons turned into twenty and all punters are chatting about the day so far; sorting through timetables and head whipping in between. And although some were working with incorrect timetables a few mad dashes were the order of the day. Next up was a rather disappointing Testament set however through no fault of their own. Shady sound issues left the set sounding a little too obtuse for my liking, regardless Chuck Billy left no stone unturned in charming the pants off punters with his demoniac vocals and highly entertaining stage presence. Testament has been waiting, patiently for years to play at Soundwave and it was obvious these thrash metal veterans were enjoying their time as much as their sweaty pit companions.

It was time to add a little Fuel for Hatred… Diabolical Now? ….. Now? No, now, for the time was a quarter to Satyricon… Playing in what seemed a fitting out of the norm area for the black metal miscreations; Satyricon gave a surprising set full of vigour and pumping out favourites like candy at Halloween. Not 30 seconds would pass without these gorwegians attempting to shatter spinal cords and absorbing the audience with peculiar splendour that the band are renowned for. A quick power nap in the bushes and we were ready again to tackle the arena; that had now tripled it's number of patrons waiting to witness Alice In Chains.

Such a powerhouse of nostalgia, the filth and fury of the 90’s grunge era was beaming from every fibre of the crowd as fans both young and old swooned at hits such as Man In The Box, Dem Bones and a song that had the pit cranking; We Die Young. William DuVull enchanted the audience with his somber and amorous tone ‘This one is for Layne’ states DuVall and opens with Nutshell, a song which drew the audience in; forgetting where we were, we were just absolutely entranced; with love, loss and past days. A truly breathtaking set…

Next out of the gate was the bull himself, Phil Anselmo with Down. The most anticipated set of the day and a definite crowd favourite for Sydney…. This was the time of the day when all manners vanished, all civility departed, it was balls out, no frills, whiskey guzzling filth and fuck did we soak it up! Jumping from Down to Korn, Down to Korn it was difficult to soak in the atmosphere however I gave it a red hot go. Channeling my inner fourteen year old I jumped and recoiled and bellowed for Jonathan Davis with adored hits; Got The Life, Here to Stay & the one that began it all; Blind. Couldn’t see a fucking thing as the entirety of the festival had packed into a modest sized stage 3 moshpit, yet nothing deterred us from busting out our best and worst 90’s moves and bathing in admiration of these giants. Say what you will about Korn, I will not deny my affection for this band and believe it – they are here to stay.

It was time for the Wild Child…. As I wondered (well pelted like an Olympic sprinter) back to stage 4, good old Phil was still cranking the tunes; Temptations Wings, Losing All and ended to a rather angry Gojira crowd with Bury Me In Smoke. The Gojira fans were getting rather pissed at the time taken to finish the set, even more so that stage 4 had been running late for most of the day. Regardless, the ferocious Frenchmen modestly walked onto the stage and the crowd was in uproar yet five minutes into the set Joe and Christian are working over time to get the crowd in a torrent; perhaps it was again shitty sound quality, or the fact that we were all tired and broken and bested by Soundwave. Nevertheless, Gojira torn into their set; a set of which has remained the same for over two fucking years now, I love you Gojira but seriously change your fucking set list!! Playing the same set; the exact same set as Soundwave 2012 is not highly respected. Even travelling to Germany I caught the same set list. It boggles the mind. I will never hear In The Wilderness will I…

Now I am at the point of fashioning up a neck splint by this stage yet we keep going and saunter over to Rob Zombie; He always gives a classic set, always hot, heavy and layered in a morbid sense of fever. The crowds are exhausted yet continue to throw themselves on the line; coming at us like waves of possessed metal zealots we dance the night away with Living Dead Girl, Thunder Kiss 65 and of course Dragula

I am busted. Fuck off till next year….