The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world









MARCH 4 2013

James Hetfield Soundwave Perth 2013








Over the years the Australian Soundwave Festival has gone from strength to strength. This year as far as hard and heavy music is concerned it’s hard to argue that it isn’t among the best in the world taking its place alongside the biggest European festivals.  The sad thing is that this year the local council doesn’t want to come to the party and after cutting back the playing time this year they allegedly actually cut power to a couple of the stages shortening sets by bands like The Offspring  and The Amity Affliction amongst others. It’s a sad state of affairs when such huge events are put in jeopardy by the few with an axe to grind. Next year the 45,000 here today may well miss out entirely if Soundwave decide to give Perth a miss.


But that’s one for another day…


As far as the music went this year’s festival was a triumph with some outstanding sets across the board. Our day this year started on the main stage with one of the bands that have been causing a stir – SHARKS whose pop-punk mayhem was entertaining enough to see why they got the prestigious opening slot on the main. Out on stage five another tip to catch - RED FANG came up with a retro mess of Stoner rock that managed to please an early day gathering crowd who were already starting to talk KYUSS LIVES!




Back on the main we were treated to a dose of MEMPHIS MAY FIRE who drew a somewhat younger audience and whose semi-screamo antics were like a watered down less-metallic BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE but not half as much fun.  


This year it was great to see the stages mixing it up and rather than seeing the metal mainly back on stages 2A and 2B this year pretty much every stage had a good mix of bands, and while a lot of people still chose to camp out by the mains or take a spot at the second stages there was a lot more crowd movement than last year.





One of the best reasons to come back to the main stages early on for us was Welsh band THE BLACKOUT who were bursting with energy despite the heat and managed to won over the crowd with a seemingly endless supply of hook-laden guitar-fuelled pop-punk that was a cut above. Definitely a band to catch up with if you haven’t had the chance already.





Another band that also caused a big stir on the day was Chris’ Jericho’s FOZZY who for me were one of the highlights of the day and packed into their 30 minutes a non-stop ride of fist-pumping mayhem where the fun never seemed to stop and everyone knew the words. It was a close to perfect as you will see on a smaller stage and surely next time we’ll get to see them elevated to the mains.   
Like any major multi-stage festival the biggest logistical issue is the clashes and today for us there were a few minor ones like wanting to catch up-and-comers MISS MAY I, but to be honest we were enjoying ANTHRAX so much that we kind of forgot. It’s not every day you get to catch this much-travelled band in the form they were in today and despite a replacement drummer Joey and company were a ball of energy at the peak of their powers. Never having seen a lot of the band in the past and never seeing them with Mr Belladonna on vocals it was hard to take your eyes off them and when they played ‘Indians’ I knew I was staying put.





Staying out on the main stages a band I never really cared for in the past (I always end up with a sharp jab in the ribs when I tell people that) STONE SOUR put on another amazing performance that I thought took some beating. Now having seen them at Soundwave back in 2011 they looked like an entirely different band and with great praise for the gathered masses and a promise to be back ‘before the year is out’ they certainly won over the crowd with a set that put their back catalogue in a new light for some like me.
Elsewhere DRAGONFORCE must have been one of the most fun bands to watch with their extreme brand of Power Metal and almost constant soloing. They looked like they were also probably the happiest band of the day and bonded instantly with the crowd who had amongst them the most enthusiastic air-guitarists of the day. Sadly the new-age Motorhead sound of ORANGE GOBLIN drew me away and I was glad I got a chance to catch two of the UK’s hardest working bands even if it meant leaving one for the other.   





Back on the mains TOMAHAWK just plain confused me with their obvious love of fishing  and electronica the ‘supergroup’ fronted by Mike Patton left me a little cold and judging by Mike’s dialogue with the crowd he may well have been left a little underwhelmed by the crowd response to their set. Let’s be honest Mike by the time TOMAHAWK took the stage most of the SLAYER crew were up front!
KYUSS LIVES on the other hand were another story – completely mesmerising and hugely enjoyable, it was sad to see that this will be the bands last ever outing using the KYUSS moniker due to threatened legal action. I don’t know if it was a result of that or not, but te guys didn’t put a foot wrong and as the set progressed seemed to be sucking the crowds towards stage 1B with their heavy blues stoner rock.





Time for a jaunt to the back of the venue for BILLY TALENT – the Canadians making a big noise were worth the trip again pop-punk with some great fiery guitar and a singer who found it impossible to stay still. For a band that has been around now for 20 years it was hard to believe this was our first exposure – Canada keeps its secrets well but after today these guys name will be on everyone’s lips.
An impossible trek from stage to stage saw us miss DANKO JONES who by all accounts put on a great show for an appreciative if small crowd while the main stage basked in some heavy duty SLAYER. Now anyone that knows me will know my thoughts on SLAYER who I thought were a little underwhelming last time they played SOUNDWAVE – this year it was a different band. Full of menace and energy, despite the full heat of the sun SLAYER played one of the best sets of the day for me.





Coming onstage to play the smallest Grand Piano in the world – A PERFECT CIRCLE seemed to be the band that most polarised the crowd, too arty for some they might have been, but for us they were a real highlight, managing to recreate the recorded output on stage and somehow instil in it even more power and emotion.





Out back again on stage 2A PARAMORE was by contrast a ball of energy, with Hayley unable to keep still, they put on one of the most crowd-pleasing sets of the day, with the wall of sound coming both ways as the crowd responded to seemingly every word. From the pit Paramore are a great band to watch too, very dynamic and catching the late afternoon sun with their grease-painted faces. An unexpected highlight.


And then it was time for the big guns and the serious part of the equation. Whilst half of the team refused to move from the second stages to watch BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE who by all accounts put on one of the best performances of the day, which we guess was expected from the Soundwave veterans on a high with the recent release of what is probably their best album to date TEMPER TEMPER. The boys from Wales owned the stage and it was great to hear the crowd has the words to the news songs down too.





BLINK 182 came in just below METALLICA and LINKIN PARK as far as the billing for this year’s event was concerned and they certainly drew the masses to stage 1A in anticipation of something special.  And while there was plenty of running about and a constant barrage of innuendo something just didn’t seem to click. Sure the songs were there and what was largely a Greatest Hits set was lapped up by the audience in sing-along mode. There were also plenty of dick jokes as you might expect with slipped in nicely alongside the ‘your mom’ jokes. It was all a bit puerile really until we realised that was exactly what it was meant to be and joined in with everyone else. It may have taken us a while but eventually we got there and by the time closer ‘Family Reunion (Shit Piss Fuck)’, hit we were considering a t-shirt.


Only Mark took off during BLINK to go and catch DUFF McKAGAN’S LOADED on one of the side-stages.  In a controlled set of punk-fuelled hard rock it was a shame that Duff was up against the bigger names at the end of the day when really he would have been better either earlier on the mains or closing the night. As expected there were a good supply of Gunners shirts in the crowd (Guns ‘n’ Roses hitting Perth later this week) but it was great to see good numbers who knew the LOADED songs ad lapped up every word. These guys really area  band you need to listen to and we hope to see them soon. We actually caught sight of Duff earlier in the day watching Slayer along with Chris from Fozzy).


SWORD and GHOST – who were up against each other on the side stages had good reports, but it was clear that LINKIN PARK was the big draw, few of us were big fans before tonight but we can confirm that live they are an amazing proposition.






Given Up
With You
Somewhere I Belong
New Divide
Points of Authority
Lies Greed Misery
Waiting for the End
Breaking the Habit
Castle of Glass
Lost in the Echo
What I've Done
Burn It Down
In the End
Bleed It Out
One Step Closer


LINKIN PARK vocalists Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda work well together and give the production a great dynamic live they are amazing and the sound they produced was faithful to the recorded output but seemed to have so much more power. How good they were was probably summed up best by our editor who proclaimed that he’d never liked them before the set, and afterwards confessed that he’d willingly buy a ticket next time they get back over here! If you could bottle a crowd reaction then you’d want to capture the responses to ‘In the End’ or ‘Bleed It Out’.



After that we rushed over to catch GARBAGE who were late taking the stage and as  a result every photographer in the pit took off the see METALLICA open up. It was  a shame that these two clashed as GARBAGE when they finally got on showed us what we have been missing. Finely crafted pop-rock with a truly compelling front woman in Shirley Manson. It was probably one of our favourites of the day, and never having had the chance to see them in action before you can safeky put them on your ‘must see' lists.





METALLICA is another proposition entirely and they owned Perth from the moment they hit the stage. Looking lean and ready the band seemed to pull out all the stops to make this final SOUNDWAVE date one that you would remember for a long time. Hitting the stage after Morricone’s spaghetti Western into METALLICA was a wonder of controlled aggression in a blaze of lights.




Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
Ride the Lightning
Harvester of Sorrow
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Through the Never
Of Wolf and Man
Sad but True
Fade to Black
The Memory Remains
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Creeping Death
Metal Militia
Seek & Destroy


The faithful loved it and even those that weren’t here for the biggest name in rock seemed to be craning for a look with spectators backed up almost all the way back to stage 5! It was a sight to behold and a set-list that drew heavily from what most consider to be Metallica’s finest albums – the first three.


For those who hadn’t seen Metallica before this was a great introduction with Lars himself commenting on the official website later that they had “Saved the best Soundwave till last. Perth was awesome.” He was right and with only the second outing of first album track (that I guess you could say started it all) ‘Metal Militia’ in almost ten years it was the cherry on the top of a very rocking cake…
Out behind Metallica THE OFFSPRING put on a shortened set due to the local Council allegedly pulling the pin on sound. It pleased the faithful and it was a shame that they had to play off against the biggest name of the day putting on their best show of the tour.





Long live SOUNDWAVE and long live SOUNDWAVE Perth – let’s just hope the council either graciously accepts that festivals like this do so much for Perth and let’s us be or that we manage to find another venue that wants us.



words by Sandy Tower and Mark Diggins and photos by Mark Diggins