Archive for the ‘Gig Review’ Category

So this is it, the final instalment of The Lookouting. It had been exhausting but awesome all the way and tonight was going to end on a high note. Arriving to the venue early enough for load-in, I got to meet the guys from The Jimmies who were opening the show. I have a split LP with them and The Weaklings so I was stoked to see them kick off tonight’s antics.

The Jimmies are from Oregon and they play straight up melodic punk rock. There’s three brothers in the band and I was told they hadn’t played together as The Jimmies in a long time as they all have different bands now but when they got asked to do this, they were down for it. They were a good opener and the crowd really dug them. They were giving away their 7″ and CD cos they didn’t wanna take them home and so I had to grab a copy of each so expect to hear them on the show in the near future.

Juke took to the stage next and I dunno why but I just couldn’t connect with them. They went over well with the crowd but for me personally, I just couldn’t grasp it. Maybe it was because I had never heard them before or the guitar tone which was layered with feedback, I dunno, it just wasn’t my thing at all. Oh well, I tried.

Black Fork were aggressive female fronted punk rock and packed with high energy and hard hitting songs, the punters were into them bigtime. I had never heard them before either but could see why they were so popular tonight. Not bad at all.

Kamala from The Karnivores who played the first night was back behind the kit again for her Lance Hahn tribute with the band Cringeworthy. Unfortunately, due to sickness the band was unable to perform. A real shame for all who wanted to see and hear the songs of Cringer and J Church but she really didn’t look well. Her health is far more important than a show. I can say that I did hear them rehearse and they gave everything 110% so they would have been incredible. Hopefully they will play again.

The Avengers were called to the stage and went on early which was a blessing for myself as I truly was exhausted and longed for an early night. Once again, the Avengers are a band I never thought I would see live. Vocalist Penelope Houston has so much energy on stage and fire in her voice that she still kicks out the jams and has done for four decades now with their most famous anecdote being that they opened for the Sex Pistols at their 1978 Winterland show. Yep, THAT show! The stories she must have would be so interesting. Seeing them play was an honour and they really rocked the place. Seeing them at Gilman St is something truly unbelievable yet it happened and if you weren’t there, you missed out.

Nuisance closed the night and their dedicated following were in awe. They may be older but they still gave the fans what they wanted and that was a show of classics. I liked these guys and while they’re not as straight up punk as the bands who played before them, their melodic style of indie rock was welcomed by all. Great songs and another band I didn’t think I would ever see live. Nuisance were a great ending to an awesome event.

The Lookouting was definitely something special. It was more than just nostalgia, this was also a celebration of a label that truly did things their way before corporate business got their hands on punk rock in 1994 to exploit its radness to a whole new generation of kids. I love the label’s vision and truly felt like I witnessed something really unique and exceptional. I wish you could have all been there to witness such an event. Thank you Alex, thank you bands, thank you to anyone and everyone who had a hand in putting this together. Well played to you all.

There was no way possible The Lookouting’s Saturday night show was not going to sell out. Gilman St was packed solid for the extravaganza of punk rock shenanigans that would come from the event’s strongest line-up of Lookout legends.

Kicking off the antics was none other Groovie Ghoulies frontman, Kepi Ghoulie playing his brand of pop punk rock inspired heavily by the Ramones. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I never was a fan of the Groovie Ghoulies, they just didn’t connect with me, but tonight was still an entertaining and fun show featuring a cover of Billy Bragg’s A New England which wasn’t bad at all. (Young Statues also cover this song acoustically with Brianna Collins of Tigers Jaw and it’s freakin’ awesome! It’s on Run For Cover Records, look it up!). If the kids weren’t fired up before, they certainly were now.

The head honcho behind Lookout Records is no stranger to those in the Berkeley punk scene or to anyone who is into punk rock music and Larry Livermore’s own band, The Potatomen were up next to dish out their stories of yesteryear and to play some tunes. Having bought both of Larry’s books, it’s interesting hearing him tell stories in between the songs and it should be noted that The Potatomen’s drummer was none other than Chris Appelgren who is the man behind the artwork found on Green Day’s Kerplunk LP. Seriously, there was a whole tribe of Berkeley royalty amongst the crowds at this event. It was pretty awesome.

From the laundromat to the stage of Gilman St, Brent’s TV were definitely a hell of a lot of fun. These guys were so hilarious and a good time was had by all. I didn’t even remember a single song until the moment they started playing them and then the memories came flooding back. These guys are well worth your time. Check them out, especially if you like laundromat garage rock n roll with a stand up drummer.

Squirtgun were the biggest surprise for me. I dig ’em but had no idea what it was going to be like as bassist Mass Giorgini was the only original member on stage. Still, backed by drummer Danny Panic (ex-Screeching Weasel), guitarist Zac Damon (Screeching Weasel), and vocalist Kevin Sierzega (ex-Teen Idols), Squirtgun put on one of the most fun sets of the whole weekend. Besides playing tracks from Squirtgun, they also played covers of Screeching Weasel, Common Rider, and Teen Idols, before finishing off with their hit, Social (you know, the song that plays over the opening credits to the movie Mallrats). Good times!

How good are The Smugglers? I think “heaps” is the word you’re looking for! They are one hell of a fun band. Making the trek down from Canada, more than a few were saying that they stole the show. That could very well be true considering they were flawless. Some bands just stay awesome no matter how many years they have been broken up for and it seemed like they had never gone away. They were just as fun now as they were when they toured Australia with Mach Pelican and the Hard-Ons a gazillion years ago. Heaps rad band! Now if only I could just find their vinyl in Australia life would be so much better.

I hadn’t seen Pansy Division since they toured Australia in ’95 and here I was 22 years later seeing them again. They are so much fun. Hilarious songs and now having two guitars is the best thing they could have done. Joel Reader (ex-Mr T Experience, The Plus Ones, The Avengers, etc) has the distorted guitar while vocalist Jon Ginoli has the jangly guitar and when you mix the two together, you get the sound that Pansy Division should have always had. Their set consisted of classics, both old and new, kicking off with Fem In A Black Leather Jacket and smashing through their golden greats like Denny (Naked), Bad Boyfriend, Blame It On The Bible, and Dick Of Death which featured an oversized blow up penis being thrown around the venue. And why not? They were tops and I am stoked they’re still together and doing what they do because they are an important band for breaking down walls and boundaries and fighting homophobia.

If you’ve been listening to the show then you would have heard the interview with Dr Frank of the Mr T Experience (hey, I’ll plug it as much as I want… it’s my show after all) and how much of a fan I am of MTX. Seeing him play with the full band is something I’ve only dreamed of cos I really do dig this band bigtime. I have every single record they have ever released (an impressive accomplishment cos it’s not easy) and I couldn’t wait for this day to finally come. It has to be said that they didn’t disappoint. They played everything I wanted and more. Opening with At Gilman Street and following through with classics like I Love You But You’re Standing On My Foot, Cinthya With A Y, I Fell For You, Swallow Everything, Dumb Little Band, And I Will Be With You, Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba, Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend, etc etc… it was all the hits! All of them. It was so much radness and fun combined and I really wish this band was way bigger than they are because these songs are just like wow and you should all be listening to them. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Not listening to them is just nonsensical.

Once the night was over, I was exhausted but extremely happy. Such a good night for great bands and I really wish I could see bands like this all the time. I shan’t complain though cos the Descendents are touring Australia soon with Nursery Crimes supporting so if that doesn’t scream “Hey America, now it’s your turn to be jealous!” then I dunno what will. Nursery Crimes are amazing. Go listen to All Torn Up Inside on YouTube and try and tell me otherwise. ANYWAY, there was one more night to go and I needed sleep. Bad. Let’s rock!

Tonight’s show wasn’t at Gilman St. but it was still a part of The Lookouting event. Held at this smaller venue in Albany called the Ivy Room, this was going to be the first time I meet Dr Frank of the world famous Mr T Experience in person. For those counting at home, you may remember we interviewed Dr Frank for the podcast in the lead up to the release of his Balbum (book/album) King Dork Approximately. If you haven’t yet heard this incredible interview, you can hear part one HERE and part two HERE.

Arriving to the venue the word had spread that this guy from Australia had come for the event and a few folks outside from the Surrogate Brains had a chat to me about Australian music. Again, it was nice to hear people here love the music of The Hard-Ons, and even more bizarre was meeting someone who really liked Regurgitator. It’s such a great feeling hearing from people who love Australian music. Especially a band as unique as Regurgitator. Well played, USA people!

Dr Frank kicked off the show tonight with a whole slew of fantastic acoustic jams. His witty approach to songwriting is something that I truly am inspired by. I love his records, I love his song structures, and those lyrics… I could only ever dream of writing lyrics that good. He played MTX tunes, solo tunes, and even worked in a reference to one of his next big hits titled Dusty Road 1967. I can’t wait for that song to be finished and recorded. Listeners of the podcast will know the reference. I also cannot wait to see him with the full band this weekend.

Following Dr Frank was Surrogate Brains. Another band whose 7″ I used to see around all the time and when their name fizzled out I never heard from them again and yet here I was, in Albany, California, about to watch them do a reunion show to the small but enthusiastic crowd. They were a lot of fun and I’m sure they had songs about El Salvador or Reagan or about Reagan in El Salvador, whatever, they were a fun band and I really need to dig out that 7″ again as I realised I hadn’t heard it in years.

Closing out the night was The Invalids who had a really good guitar tone. Lots of great high energy Ramones-esque punk rock tunes and I really enjoyed their sound. I didn’t know their stuff before but I need to find it all now. Their guitarist had this whole Johnny Thunders Meets Johnny Ramone kinda swagger / stance about him and he played like a motherfucker. Can’t believe I somehow missed this band before tonight… like they just never appeared on my radar. In saying that though, I’ll probably find I have like two 7″ers and an LP in my collection somewhere.

Tonight was another great night of good times and great tunes. Again I am really stoked to be a part of this whole thing. I now get to rest a little and do some sightseeing before Thursday shenanigans. More on that later.

Tonight was the first show of The Lookouting’s four day punk rock extravaganza held at the famous 924 Gilman St venue. A venue I have always wanted to step foot in and experience the punk rock collective of the Berkeley punk rock scene. You see, growing up in little old Adelaide, I read about these kinds of places in the pages of Maximum Rock N Roll and always wondered what it would be like to actually be there. In 2009 I came close and got a photo outside the venue but there were no shows on that Tuesday and so that was the extent of my time there. Now, five years later and I am here for what is one huge walk down memory lane, seeing a whole heap of bands I grew up listening to the records of.

Upon arrival I was greeted by Alex, the man who put this whole show together. He gave me my wristband and we had a chat and it was all awesome. I then saw my buddy, Bobby, bass player extraordinaire for The Sorority and El-Presidente for Turbojugend’s Oakland chapter. It was great to see him again as it had been a while. It seemed that word had spread pretty fast that a guy from Australia was coming to these shows and everyone who I either met or just randomly talked to me knew who I was. This was so surreal to me but these were my people and for the first time in a while, I felt no anxiety in this crowd. I feel anxiety around so many people but this was different. Everyone was so nice and the atmosphere inside 924 Gilman St was everything I always believed punk rock should be.

So here I am, standing at the merch booth checking out what’s on sale when I see all the books by the RESEARCH Publishing company. Way back in the day these guys released a book called Incredibly Strange Films. This book, along with the Psychotronic Encyclopaedia of Film, were bibles to me in my hunt for the weird, the strange and the truly bizarre b-movies of years passed. Now, here I was talking to the guy who put this book out. He couldn’t believe someone in Australia read his books. Like most things I have found in life, you never really know how far your art reaches unless someone tells you they read, saw, heard it.

I was purchasing a reissue of the Kamala And The Karnivores 7″ that originally came out on Lookout Records in 1989, and my original has gone walkies so another was needed when this woman comes up to me and asks if I was the guy from Australia. I replied to which she introduced herself “hi, I’m Kamala!” My Brain did a back flip as this woman has drummed on some of my favourite punk singles, namely the records of Cringer. (For those who don’t know Cringer’s music, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up their Greatest Hits Vol. 1 CD if you can find it. It’s well worth it.) Kamala was absolutely adorable and was just super nice. We chatted, I got her to sign some records and exchanged details as I really want her to come on the show and talk about her life in punk rock and playing in Cringer, Naked Aggression, and Kamala And The Karnivores who were playing this event tonight.

I also met Larry Livermore; the guy who started Lookout Records. I bought both of his books and we had a short chat about Australian punk heroes, The Hard-Ons. I am always super stoked to hear when people in the USA like The Hard-Ons or any of our other great punk bands but namely The Hard-Ons cos they’re the best band ever and they deserve all the recognition in the world for being the legends they are. If you’re reading this and have no clue about this band, I suggest you head to YouTube and check out the album Love Is A Battlefield. Trust me, you’ll love it.

First band of the night was Black Cat Music. I only have the October November CD but I was still excited to see these guys and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, these guys were the perfect openers because if this was any indication of what we were going to expect over these four days, we are in for one hell of a treat. They were well loved and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I can safely say that the first band I ever saw at Gilman St was Black Cat Music. That’s not a bad way to start off a conversation.

Kamala And The Karnivores came on next with their stripped back straight up punk rock with humour and a great attitude. Hearing them all sing together on the song Black Thumb was a sweet moment and it was great hearing the songs from the original single which you should all check out. Grab the reissue on 1986’D Records.

The Criminals came on next and we’re on fire. High energy punk rock with a bassist sporting an INXS shirt. Hell yeah, Australia represent!!! These guys were tops and Jesse (vocals) spent more time in the audience than on the stage and it ruled. I don’t own their record and I feel kinda ashamed of that cos I probably need it.

The Sewer Trout Experience was a tribute show to the band Sewer Trout. These guys were a whole lotta fun and even featured Operation Ivy’s drummer, Dave Mello, on guitar and vocals. In tribute to this, someone decided to bring the electronic board game “Operation” and start flailing it around the mosh pit. Why, who cares! It was random and it was hilarious. Original vocalist Jim Maclean sadly took his own life in 2005 so this was a special homage to the music Sewer Trout had made and a perfect night for such a tribute.

Closing out the night was TILT. I’ve had their first 7″ for like 22 years and to finally see this band live was a real treat! They sounded great and it was such a fun show. The crowd was pumped, the band sounded great and Cinder Block is such an awesome front-woman. During a tune-up between songs, Cinder lead the crowd on a sing-along through Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart”. She actually did it justice and if you’re keen, it’s already on YouTube so go check it out.

After they finished, I got my TILT records signed, said my goodbyes and walked away from The Lookouting one very happy Damo. And this was just the first night. Next up, Dr Frank with Surrogate Brains and The Invalids. Let’s do it!

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Picture the scene: We’re in a town called Bad Arolsen which is somewhere in Germany. It’s the summer of 2008 and a group of us trekked to Europe to catch the annual metal festivals and on Wednesday, July the 9th, we were on our way to the Magic Circle Festival to witness the almighty Manowar play their first six albums in their entirety. It was going to be epic and we knew it. Before the onstage shenanigans of the leather clad bad boys of heavy metal took to the stage to deafen us with those classic albums, San Francisco’s thrash legends, Death Angel were playing a surprise set… at three in the freakin’ morning! Ok, so for the hardcore gig goer, that’s no big deal but we were jetlagged, we were tired, we had trekked with backpacks full of a month’s worth of crap and we watched as Poodle struggled to put his tent up opting to just do what he could and that would suffice. The first night’s antics found us hanging with like-minded individuals who were gathered around a Hummer that was painted with Manowar imagery and signatures with a stereo blasting Crown & The Ring at full volume. And why not? The festival’s opening day saw Alice Cooper headline the stage with legendary support acts tearing the small town of Bad Arolsen a new one like Michael Schenker Group (who were terrible but they had the legendary Chris Slade on drums so that’s cool) and Ted Nugent (who shot a crossbow and arrow on fire into a guitar… as you do). By the time Cooper’s incredible two hour set was done, I was knackered and told the guys to wake me up at 2:55 so I could see the bay area thrashers do their thing. Well, right on 2:55, I get my wake up call “Damo! Let’s go see some fuckin’ thrash!” and up I got and we headed to not the main stage where Cooper and his band did their thing, but this tiny shed where a stage was set up and Death Angel took to that stage for a blistering performance to about 50 people. It was truly a sight to see and by the time they were done, I was beyond exhausted. I headed back to my tent and was quite pleased at what I had witnessed. I never thought that I’d ever see Death Angel again so I was in no position to complain about anything, ever.

Fast forward six years and I am at the old Billboards venue, which is now aptly titled 170 Russell St, and I am getting ready to watch one huge double header thrash fest as Death Angel were supporting Germany’s greatest thrashers, Kreator. Ok, so I will say now that the term ‘thrash’ is going to come up quite a lot in this review and that is simply because there is just no other way to describe it. Besides, I’m not some wacko journo who likes to use big words to describe something we all know as one simple word. It is what it is. The doors opened at 7:45pm which meant the 8 o’clock start time saw a line go around the corner and down the street. I took one look and thought to myself “I’m gonna miss me some Death Angel at this rate!” but once inside, I found myself witnessing a packed house as Death Angel were delivering one insanely powerful set that stretched across their entire discography. For a band who have been doing this genre of music since the early 80s (they had a lengthy break in the middle but we won’t count that), it’s amazing to see a band stay true to their roots and just deliver each song with power and aggression. Vocalist Mark Osegueda belted out each tune with so much energy whilst shredders Ted Aguilar and long-time guitarist Rob Cavestany just didn’t stop all their fiddly noodling which was just awesome to see. Newcomers, and I use that term loosely cos five years is still a long time, bassist Damien (heaps cool name!) Sisson and drummer Will Carroll deliver a pounding rhythm section that just didn’t let up. And why would you want it to? These guys haven’t aged a bit musically and for thrash purists, that’s welcomed with open arms. They smashed through all the “hits” including Evil Priest (I love that song title, I mean, how clichéd and metal is that!?!?! So good!), Sonic Beatdown, Claws In Too Deep, The Dream Calls For Blood and Succubus. Of course there was no way they would be omitting possibly their most well known tune, Seemingly Endless Time, which went down a complete treat. So were they good? Yeah, Death Angel, I like ‘em and you will too. Good stuff!

So let’s go back to 2008 but skip to the end of July. We make it to the infamous Wacken festival for what was to be the end of all parties with the likes of Iron Maiden, Airbourne, Nashville Pussy, Carcass, Nightwish, Avantasia, Exodus, Hatebreed, and the original German thrash attack of Kreator. They were incredible. This was a band I was introduced to through seeing the video for Betrayer on RAGE in the early hours of the morning; Coroner’s Masked Jackal usually followed, if you care, and I was immediately hooked. Who else besides everybody loves that breakdown in the middle with the bitchin’ mosh part? Exactly. Kreator were insanely awesome that night and the crowd worshipped the stage they played on. It was totally rad. Really, you haven’t seen Kreator until you’ve seen them whilst you were surrounded by 79,999 other metalheads all headbanging in synch. Such a surreal experience.

So here we were, 2014, Kreator’s intro music hits and out on stage they came. Immediately the crowd were whipped into a pool of flailing bodies as they danced up a moshable storm of the most epic proportions that the likes of 170 Russell had ever seen, maybe. Even though a few fan favourites were not part of the setlist (nothing off Extreme Aggression or Terrible Certainty – What the fuck, dudes?), they still managed to find 90 minutes worth of insanely awesome ass kickin’ thrash metal. Opening with the immediate classic Phantom Antichrist (the title track of their last album which is most bitchin’), the band blasted their way through the likes of People Of The Lie, Endless Pain, Pleasure To Kill, Violent Revolution, Enemy Of God, Riot of Violence, but not before finishing with an encore that included the classics Flag Of Hate (complete with flag waving) and Tormentor. It was heaps good and was definitely well worth your $59 (plus booking fee).

Both bands really gave 100% and then some. It was quite a step back in time yet in a way it showed that the original formulas still ring true in 2014. Of course it does. I’d like to say thankyou to all involved in bringing out these two great thrash (that word again) bands. Two thumbs up… even if Kreator didn’t play Betrayer. Well, at least they brought the flag so we’re good on that.

Bonus (at no extra cost!): Here’s a video of Betrayer since Kreator forgot to play it last night!

 

#MyPhotosAreShitAndIDontCare

Review by Sarah Dee

There are those gigs that you are so excited about, the gigs that make you confused as to how you feel about the imminent experience. It must be a defense mechanism, like if you give in to the excitement you might strangle your dog or something. I usually get myself off intermittently over several hours leading up to a gig that I am really pumped for. It sounds weird but it’s true. It’s not because I’m horny; it’s because I don’t know what else to do with the energy that is just screaming at me to be released, in a kind of unsettling anticipation.

And there’s the feeling you get when you see one of your favourite bands. You’re not exactly how to truly grasp the reality of standing in front of one of those bands that have shaped your life, and seeing them play those songs that have carried you through the fucking awful times, and the fucking amazing times, and all the times in between. It’s hard. It’s really hard. You try your best to comprehend. You blink. You blink a little harder. I envy those among us, if they even exist, who are able to absorb the intensity and gravity of the sheer privilege of being able to see this band squirt their almighty juices all over our face and hair. It’s a heavy responsibility. You know what I mean.

This time was different. The thought of furious masturbation didn’t even cross my mind. Did a part of me know that Black Flag was going to be a waste of an upper body workout? I didn’t want that part of me to be right, but it fucking was.

I would give anything to have been proven wrong. I turned around within the first song to the see if I was the only one not over the moon, and the guy standing behind me—a total stranger— whispered “I wanted so much to like this, but I don’t”.

The fact that the founding member, Greg Ginn, along with the vocalist from years 1978-1981, Ron Reyes, were going to be gracing the stage had me frothing at the mouth. You would think if they were both so up in arms about their successors playing under the name of Black Flag, they would fucking bring it. There’s a reason people were walking out of the Palace in droves. People texting, chatting, throwing bottles at them. That would not have happened if Hank or Keith were in the hot seat. It just wouldn’t have happened.

Depression was depressing. TV Party was ‘revamped’ to take the piss out of Facebook and Twitter (yawn, get with it grandpa). Six Pack was six kinds of lackluster. Rise Above went over all our heads. Gimme Gimme Gimme a break.

I think I would have preferred to see a band I fucking hated than have seen Black Flag in all their pathetic carelessness and complete lack of stage presence. I kept thinking ‘fuck, if there’s only 40 or 50 people left in the room, get the fucking drum kit and gear down on the floor and play these songs the way they’re supposed to be played’. It was like seeing fish flap around on the stage of Rod Laver Arena.

I wanted it to be over. I didn’t want to hate it. I tried my very best to contain my disgust out of respect for one of my idols Greg Ginn. In his defense, he carried the band. He is the band. Black Flag is nothing without him, regardless of the line-up. Greg Ginn is the wizard of my heart (haha what the fuck?). It is with a heavy heart that I admit I could not farting waaaaaaait for them to get the fuck off the stage so I could go and party at Cherry Bar.

The embarrassment was too hard to handle. We were embarrassed for them. We were embarrassed for ourselves for being part of the dwindling crowd—as if we were too stupid to know that we should have just gone home, ate a pack of Mi Goreng, and gone the fuck to sleep. We were embarrassed for the venue. Fuck, the list goes on.

But I (kind of) digress.

If any of you have read Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag, you will undoubtedly see that there is a massive discrepancy between the way Ron Reyes is depicted by the author (Stevie Chick) and by other members of Black Flag, and how he represents himself in interviews… and how he represented himself at this fucking show.

Mind blown. I might have to work out this anger, if you know what I mean.

My Facebook status kind of sums up my entire feeling of the show: “I think I’d rather watch two really gross people having sex than watch Black Flag (in that lineup) play live again. What the fuck WAS that. Still shaking my head in utter disbelief. Greg Ginn was the tits, but Ron Reyes is a fucking shit front man. He has the charisma of an overgrown front lawn. So disappointed.”

Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Henry Fucking Rollins brought Greg’s songs to life. Now that’s something worth masturbating over.

Sarah Dee OUT.

It’s cold, overcast and around me are thousands of kids, all dressed in black, waiting for the doors to open so we can get the much anticipated Melbourne Soundwave Festival underway. Once inside, it was full steam ahead to the main stage to catch UK power pop rockers, FEEDER, start the day with a 30 minute set including Come Back Around, Lost & Found and my personal favourite, Just A Day.

THE SWORD packed in as many Sabbath-esque grooves as they could into their half an hour and once they hit the opening riff to How Heavy This Axe, the crowd erupted into a small circle pit of crazed topless slam-dancing. Horns were raised, thanks for coming.

MONSTER MAGNET have always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to a live show and this time was no different. Armed with no fancy back drops and no onstage gimmicks, these 5 guys delivered the goods, as they rocked the hell out of the main stage kicking off with Tractor, new song Dig That Hole, and powering through their anthemic hits like Powertrip, Dopes To Infinity, and crowd favourite, Space Lord.

The biggest eye opener and surprise of the day would have to go to GANG OF FOUR. These veterans of the post-punk genre took to the stage proving that age is a just a number as they tore through 30 years of music. Guitarist Andy Gill beat his Fender like it had done something wrong, throwing it across the floor, kicking and attacking it in-between riffs and the occasional smirk whilst vocalist Jon King commanded the people like he was giving a sermon to an audience that seemed focused on every word. Truly mesmerising.

SOCIAL DISTORTION came on next to a thunderous applause. It has taken them 30 years to get to Australia and the crowd showed its appreciation by kicking into a moshpit frenzy as Mike Ness and his band kicked off with The Creeps. New song Machine Gun Blues went down just as well as old favourites Mommy’s Little Monster, Don’t Drag Me Down, Story of My Life and their staple roaring rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire. Let’s hope it’s not another 30 years before they come back.

I struggled to come to grips with HIGH ON FIRE getting a measly 30 minutes for their set but once they took to the stage after Dimmu Borgir ran overtime, I didn’t care. Matt Pike’s 9 string guitar belt out epic after epic of heavy riffage starting with Rumours of War and finishing with the title track off their latest offering, Snakes For The Devine, which would go down as one of the best live tracks I have ever heard played by anyone in years.

The MURDERDOLLS are still plodding along as the 2-man band complete with some hired guns as they entertained the crowd with their horror business goth punk rock. I didn’t hang around too long though as I needed to secure my spot for SLASH who didn’t fail to please me with a mixture of songs from his latest solo album and Guns N Roses classics, Nightrain and Mr. Brownstone before I had to suddenly leave for SLAYER. Down 1 guitarist with Jeff Hanneman replaced for this tour by Exodus’ Gary Holt, the thrash legends showed no signs of wear, even with Tom Araya just out of hospital and still on the mend. Blasting through newies World Painted Blood and Hate Worldwide, Slayer delivered on all accounts. Cult favourites War Ensemble, Mandatory Suicide and South of Heaven went down a storm while finale Angel Of Death was met with cheers as the crowd went fucking batshit in the moshpit.

KYLESA took to the stage immediately after and had a measly half an hour to prove to the crowd that they have every right of headlining this festival as anyone else did with an atmospheric sludge noise attack complete with not 1, but 2 drummers. Guitarist, Laura Pleasants, is captivating to watch as she attacks her guitar with such fierceness while vocalist Philip Cope roars over the mammoth sound emanating from the stage. An incredibly much-too-short set by a hugely underrated band.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, I thought, were going to be doing the first album from start to finish but that was restricted to the sideshows only. Here they played a mix of tunes from their albums finishing up with radio hit, No-One Knows, where we saw a wheelchair-bound fan lifted above the crowd and brought onto the stage to watch the band from the side. A memory he will no doubt live with for the rest of his life. Crowd chants of “Maiden” started once the last chord was played but not before Josh Homme and his team came back for one last song for the dead.

Seeing IRON MAIDEN live is always a treat. There’s just something incredible about a band whose show involves manic guitar riffs, epic length songs, an overly energetic front man with a vocal gift from the gods and a giant robot playing a guitar during the band’s finale. All of this wrapped up in a 757 jet named Ed Force One, emblazoned with the bands name and artwork, which flies the band across the world as they tear up a stage for 2 hours a night. From the moment the band’s video intro played on the screens, the hairs on my arms rose. The band dived headfirst into the title track of their latest opus, The Final Frontier, and the rush forward from the crowd had me getting the fuck out of there. I am too old to be trampled on by a bunch of stampeding fans. Watching the show from further back, the energy was no less felt. Newer songs were well received but the gold still lies within the band’s past as songs like The Trooper, The Number Of The Beast, Fear Of The Dark and Running Free are met with adulation. Upon the sets end, I was now happily exhausted.

While still in its infancy, one could say that Soundwave has quickly become the best outdoor festival this country has to offer. With such a strong line-up of some of the biggest names in punk, hardcore and heavy music, it’ll be hard to top this year’s line-up but I eagerly await to see just what they have in store for us next.