This is a Soundwave:
This year, the Soundwave festival got distorted and turned into this:
Geeze… what a mess. People everywhere you turn… too many to count… bad planning… great music though… want to know what happened?
Last year's Soundwave was actually pretty cool. Deftones and Thrice and +44 and As Tall As Lions… shit, I even got pictures.
This year I was back with an extra battery for the old Coolpix 5700 and the hope to see more of the bands I'd paid to see. Unfortunately, Coheed & Cambria had dropped out so that just left As Tall As Lions and Sugarcult being the bands I really only cared about. Michael told me to care about The Dear Hunter despite me not hearing their music beforehand and while we both were cool with seeing Incubus later on, the schedule made seeing any other bands too conflicting.
Oh and if you're here looking for a specific band, press CTRL + F to "Find" text in my page and look for the band that way. It's a pretty long blog and unless you wanna skim through or just look at the perdy pictures, you'll have to search your way through. Or I could even provide a handy anchorlink section for the bands (which I'm not going to do but the idea was nice). Also, these images are as always copyrighted by meso if you wanna use them, just leave me a comment. It'd be nice if to comment if you like them and my words. It's not like I get paid for this. Hell, this blog took a couple of days to write.
A note to the schedulers: you suck.
Geeze. How much did the scheduling suck this year? It was just pointless. Okay, so at least the metal and hard rock stage was ages away from the stages I actually care about… but as far as scheduling went, there were way too many conflicts and the distance between stages made it impossible to make it to a band you wanted to see if there were conflicts.
But that wasn't the biggest scheduling problem. The most irritating came on the day when…
No one told anyone that several acts had been moved around.
How hard would it have been to put up a sign around various stages or get a message out there that acts were being screwed around with?
I guess it would have been about as hard as placing numbers next to stages or handing out maps as neither were actually done. As a result, no one really knew what the stages were apart from 1 & 2 which were clearly noted by being right next to each other in a pit a mile wide. Seriously, we had pissed off Stage 4 goers at Stage 5 trying to figure out where Stage 4 was.
Maps. Shit, you hand them out at the door. It's really easy.
Signs. You stick them next to the stage and put them at various marks around the land you're renting. They tell people where to go. I know I'd like to tell the people "organising" Soundwave 2008 where to go… but before I get pissy, let's start with something simple like…
Granted, Soundwave 2008 was automatically going to be bigger than 2007. The first one which appeared last year was more of a test bed for a formula that would serve Big Day Out styled fun with only rock. There was no dance, no random pop, no electronica or whatever-the-hell we heard ten minutes ago on Mix FM. At Soundwave there is only rock. Rock, hard rock, progressive, metal, commercial, punk, emo… what have you.
Rock plain and simple.
Now I'm not sure how big Soundwave was last year but I know damn well it was a lot easier to get into than what it had going for it this year. I was stuck in a line for an hour and a half. That was just to get in. The organisers were pouring us through at a slow trickle and it was severely irritating. It's not as if the security were doing anything special either. Bags were hardly checked when you did get in but you were lucky to reach that point. One kid had a satelite dish fall on him (though I think he might have climbed the booth it sat on… still…) and there was blood, a neck brace, and a stupid fence ahead that got removed permanently because it shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Others in the line suffered heat exhaustion as we were all standing out there with sun beating on us as if we were a bongo drum. I quite liked how when one of the girls behind me pleaded that she needed to go to the bathroom, one of the Soundwave security officials told her to "hold it".
Yeah. That's brilliant. You make us sweat out a line because an event is badly planned and we have to hold it. Christ.
The lines didn't stop there, though.
A little birdy phoned in from the grapevine to tell me that apparently Soundwave's organisers had gotten greedy and had oversold the event by 6,000 tickets. Apparently police were ready to shut it down while we were standing in line. While people might be quick to disspell the idea that riot police were ready to shut it down, I saw quite a few riot police fans on the outskirts of Sydney Park as I left so this wouldn't surprise me.
Anyway, with a ridiculous amount of people in Soundwave, we all had to compete for the same piss poor selection of food and beverage. And I mean piss poor… like hell, I expected to be ripped off. You don't go to a rock festival and not expect that, especially not one in Sydney. Three bucks fifty for the worst lemonade you'll ever have and ten bucks for a Bacardi Breezer can. Yeah. Fine. Stupid but fine.
But you really don't expect to be standing in line for an hour just so you can get that drink in the first place.
That was the line as we were watching As Tall As Lions. All of those people were trying to get slushies, crappy-ass lemonade, and all of them were waiting in a line that wasn't moving because there weren't enough stalls or another people working in the stalls that were there.
There just simply wasn't enough beverage on a hot day. Granted it was hotter than anyone could have realised, but there just wasn't enough people handing out water, selling water, or other drinks in plain site. Loads of food that you could line up for ages for and hate the moment you put it in your mouth, but just not enough to actually… you know… keep you alive.
So next time: more stalls, less stalling.
Seriously, the slushee store may have tasted like crap but one person in the entire thing serving a line that people stood for over an hour in? Geeze, that's just not fucking on.
Then we should talk about parts of the event itself because if I sat here and commented about how badly the event was planned and organised in the first place, we'd be here a bloody long time.
y mentioned that the drinks and food were in pretty much pathetic numbers. Luckily you got the toilets right!
Lots of toilets! In ridiculous rows!
Sadly I don't think I have the skill the scrub the image of the toilet I used from my head. A tank of urine and paper and things I'd prefer to forget make me wonder what sort of technological back-end I was asked to put my back-end into. Thankfully, I only needed to take a leak so I didn't have to find out.
Hey, you got the bands right! There were great bands there! I mean sure, you dicked a few of us around by canceling various acts and not actually telling us. And then you further dicked us around by rescheduling acts without telling anyone.
But the bands were good. I didn't get to see as many as I had hoped to… you know, the whole stupid schedules and messing around with the schedule thing… but here goes…
I do have some pictures of the band but I only got a few and they weren't very good as it was the beginning of the day and I was hardly in my… realm… zone… thingy… so to speak. But anyway…
Sugarcult were ok. You could tell the band had a great stage presence and that the leader was having fun, but my brother thinks that he must have busted his voice pretty early on stage because he's one of the singers who sounds like his voice is unnaturally high and has had his balls removed. Almost as if his agent has said "I will return your balls when you retire."
A broken voice meant that he wasn't singing high for the songs he sang high on recordings… and that made him sound like crap. Sure, he was having fun, but every time he went low, we said "ha… ha…" or laughed to some other variant. "He's goes lower for the live show," I said at one point and it was entirely true. Kind of a shame but what can you do.
As Tall As Lions
Originally scheduled to go on at a certain time but moved around to another time (City & Colour and As Tall As Lions looked as if they traded places which didn't impress some of the City & Colour fans who got there as As Tall As Lions started playing), Mike and I went and tried to buy lemonade for a few minutes before the band started. It was a futile effort as my tone a few paragraphs above would have noted.
An irritating futile effort.
By this point I was needing water and fearing heat exhaustion. I'd sent a message to Dad that said "This is a fucking joke. I can't even get a drink. Next stop heat exhaustion." Before the band started, I saw a security guy in a yellow vest with a couple of waters so I went over and asked him for one. He didn't give me one of the two but went into a tent and found one for me. Mike & I shared it and I was glad that one of the security guys was actually doing his job compared to the rest of the pricks who just stood there as they were a bloody brick wall.
A brick wall wearing a yellow jacket.
Nevertheless, As Tall As Lions…
…were good. Very good. Even though it was really only half of As Tall As Lions, they still performed well with the mustached one (I don't know their names and I'm too lazy to Google) even carrying a bottle of Maker's Mark (my favourite bourbon actually… well, one of them anyway) on stage and at one point letting a member of the audience finish it for him!
They sang beautifully and at one point even had one of the members of Cartel (another band I originally wanted to see but got ditched because of the scheduling stuff-ups) and The Dear Hunter up there singing with them. How nice. All big members of the same family… ish.
I even got a t-shirt signed. An As Tall As Lions shirt. Not the Capcom one I was wearing.
We did learn something else that the organisers might want to take on-board for next time and you can add this to the list of Soundwave 2008 gripes because this one really comes into play with As Tall As Lions:
Hire sound engineers who actually know what the fuck they're doing.
The sound guy stuck doing As Tall As Lions delayed the performance by around ten to fifteen minutes because from the looks of it, he hadn't turned the bloody DI on. What the fuck?! My brother should be doing this job. He's be doing it right. Not some bullshit sound engineer who can't even fix the most basic of problems because his head is kept inside his elevated tent so far that nothing else but his ego can reach out.
Shit. I don't even know if that made sense. That's how pissed it was making us.
I miss half a band while I'm standing there because of the sound guy? Yeah… that's my money's worth.
The Dear Hunter
These guys were a surprise for me. Mike had been telling me for months now how much they rocked but I as yet hadn't heard them play.
But he was right. They rocked.
He thinks they're better than As Tall As Lions. I look at them differently and while I accept that The Dear Hunter are bloody excellent, I think As Tall As Lions are up there too. Different sort of music, different sort of sound.
But they look like they're having fun. Sweat glistening on faces, head shaking, body moving… they're having a ball up ther, that much is evident.
Truly great. I suggest you all go out and listen to their latest CD (the one with "Red Hands" on it) or check them out at their site.
It should be said that Incubus were the second headlining act. They are apparently inferior to The Offspring.
Geeze, I don't know. I suppose this was decided by the same people who couldn't work out that "water is vital for human survival but we won't worry about it" at Soundwave 2008.
Incubus put on a really professional show. Perfect singing, perfect playing… just plain perfection.
But while it was perfect, I didn't think it was as good as some of what I'd seen earlier that day.
It felt too perfect if you know what I mean. It lacked the distinctive personality that the other bands we'd seen had. It lacked the imperfections and flaws that made those bands more human.
Don't get me wrong: I loved hearing them play the older tracks (mostly because the newer tracks aren't what I'd call good) and I loved being a part of the throng that was listening to them. But it's different.
Incubus were excellent. Easily the most professional band there.
It's just that professionalism made them… less real… less fun, if you will.
Yes, I saw four bands. Barely four. One hundred buck tickets for four bands. Look at all that value.
Seriously, if it's going to be organised as badly, as greedily, and as pointlessly next year as it was this year, I think a lot of people are going to be like my and say a nice big "fuck you" to the organisers of Soundwave. We'll go and do something where the organisers aren't trying to kill us.
Oh and here are some more images from the day for all who are curious to see what I go. If you want to use the images, it'd be really nice for ya'll to leave me a comment. I know people have stolen last year's Deftones images I did and while I can't do anything about it, it'd be really nice to get some recognition. It's not like I'm asking for payment here.
Might post some more later on. I still have some, believe it or not.
EDIT: Apologies to all who wanted to see Incubus shots without watermarks. I found some dickheads on another forum or two linking to my images directly without mentioning or commenting to me and I decided to take some sort of action on my images. I will be re-linking to ones with smaller watermarks in a few days just as I'll also be blogging the other As Tall As Lion & Dear Hunter gig, but give me a few days.