What Went Down: Soundwave Festival 2012 @ Melbourne Showgrounds

IMAGE AND TEXT Rathika Sheila

It was a day filled with overpriced drinks (for a M’sian), twelve hours of headbanging, moshing, 60,000 people in crazy attire to share the to-die-for line-up of punk, hardcore and metal insanity!

At 10AM you’d think people would be a little chilled since it was so early, but not this bunch! Maybe it was part of their morning workout; headbanging, circle pits, screaming their lungs out – maybe. Chimaira was the first band to go on and The Black Dahlia Murder was after. It was difficult to enjoy their sets, thanks to the sh*t sound system. Ticket holders weren’t too overjoyed to have paid AUD155 to receive that. Times of Grace was up next. Made up by 3 former members of Killswitch Engage, they definitely revived the unsatisfied crowd. Adam D (guitarist) was showing off his masculinity by performing his solos using one hand while flexing the other. That got the ladies excited without a doubt.

German heavy metal band, Heaven Shall Burn conquered the stage at 1PM and did not disappoint fans for a second. Seeing that they are a heavy metal band, the crowd was more brutal in comparison to the first three bands that performed. There was a wall of death, circle pit, and intense moshing during every song. For fans of such things, it was heaven. It was also their technician’s birthday and he was very shy to come on stage, Maik Weichert (guitarist) joked and said, “Germans, we’re quite shy but not during the World War II.”

I headed over to Stage 7 after – this bandstand takes the “emo” crown home. The crowd looked like they bathed in black make up, some wore goth gowns (think Dracula) and there were some cool looking punks that donned neon colored mohawks and excessive piercings. Everyone there was anticipating American metalcore, Motionless in White. Those in the first row were probably suffering some sort of suffocation from all the shoving but it wasn’t too vigorous. Everyone made it out alive. ‘Nuff said.

Ran over to Stage 4 to catch Trivium. Sweet, sweet Trivium. Opening with ‘Capsizing The Sea’ and then with ‘In Waves’, you could see how starry-eyed fans became when Matt Heafy made his way on the stage. They played some songs off In Waves but they received better responses from the crowd when they played their older songs from Ascendancy and Shogun.

At 6PM locked myself at Stage 1 & 2 – Main stages. That’s right. Whoever booked the headliners for Soundwave ’12 was probably going through some severe 90’s nostalgia. Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and System of A Down? Goddamn. Limp Bizkit rocked the stage with songs mostly from Chocolate Starfish And That Hot Dog Flavored Water. You bet they performed ‘Rollin’ and yes, the crowd went nuts. Fred Durst also took time to remember the last time Limp Bizkit played in the land down under when 16 year-old Jessica Michalik died of asphyxiation whilst in the crowd during their performance at the Sydney Big Day Out 2001. ‘Take A Look Around’ was a tribute to Jessica. Their last song was chosen by the crowd, “Do you guys want ‘Nookie’ or do you guys wanna ‘Break Stuff’?” asked Freddy D. The chants and screams for “Break Stuff” showed how many brutal mortals were present that day. It was a great set and Limp Bizkit proved that the nu-metal scene is far from dead.

Do you think he’ll come out high?” “Pfft. It’s Marilyn Manson, he’s not even sober when he’s asleep!” Some of the ongoing conversations that happened while waiting for the diva to make an appearance. For Marilyn Manson fans, they may have been slightly disappointed with his enthusiasm to be there. It was clear he didn’t want to perform as all he did was roll around on stage, slur his words, and call everyone a “faggot”. The action that gave MM the “Worst Performer” crown was the mere fact that he ‘shared’ some cocaine. “I respect the Australian law and don’t want to hold any of this with me, so I’ll share it with all of you!” he said as he sprinkled it to the crowd. It was probably talcum powder, because he wasn’t arrested or charged. Only Marilyn Manson. As a fan, even though it was slightly disappointing, being able to see him perform once was good enough.

At 7PM, security sealed off the entrance to the area in front of the stage which aggravated fellow maggots; Slipknot was going to dominate the stage. There were roughly 50, 000 people pushing and shoving their way to get as close to the stage as possible – even if it meant giving someone a slight burn on the elbow with a lighter – yes, that happened. What was their set like? Everything that revolves around incredible, extraordinary and unbelievable. Feisty satanic screams of “if you’re a 555 then I’m a 666!” during ‘The Heretic Anthem’ and possibly the crowds favorite, ‘People=Shit’. During ‘Spit it Out’ Corey Taylor ordered every human being to squat, “I will not continue singing if every one – that includes you guys sitting at the back – get down.” He managed to get 50, 000 people down. “On my signal – unleash hell” The cue was “jump the f*ck up” and the impact of 50, 000 people jumping all at once broke some barricades and indeed, unleashed hell. Needless to say, the moshpits were zealous. They had one of the most entertaining sets of the day.

After 10 hours of continuous headbanging, too much drinking, it was finally time to bounce with System of A Down. They didn’t fail to entertain for a second. Hitting every high and low note and not going off pitch once, made it feel like we were listening to their records. Unbelievable and mind blowing. They performed hits like, ‘Chop Suey’, ‘Radio/Video’, ‘Hypnotize’, ‘Kill Rock N’ Roll’ and crowd favorite, ‘Sugar’. The crowd roared and so heralded the end of a massive day. With many “that was f*cking awesome!” and “it’s gonna take forever to get outta here”s, confirms the event as Australia’s best one. J

Soundwave Festival went down on 2 March 2012 at Melbourne Showgrounds. Keep tabs on the next one at www.soundwavefestival.com.