Monday, March 7, 2011

Soundwave Melbourne 2011 (Part 1)

Friday just gone was the day of Soundwave. It was my first Soundwave in fact. I was excited.

I'd bought my ticket when I returned from overseas, after the Melbourne show had sold out. It was a present to myself, a way in which to cheer myself up (something that I certainly won't go into for fear of casting a downer on proceedings). As such, I was not concerned about the price, and in hindsight, paid more for it than I should have. With such a superb lineup, in my estimation I'd be a chump not to go. On the train trip towards the city, I told Dave how much I'd paid and his eyes widened in horror.

"The fuck?"

I hurriedly defended myself, but honestly, I wasn't that fussed about it. This was because not only was the festival being headlined by Iron Maiden, but the Bronx, Millencolin, Dimmu Borgir, Queens of the Stone Age, One Day as a Lion and Primus were also playing. Fuckyeah. No kidding, fuck yeah. For those playing at home, the full line up was thus:

Comparisons to Big Day Out are constantly made, albeit (in the case of many of my friends) with "BUT METAL, AND BETTER" added at the end. These friends are mostly those who consider Big Day Out as having degenerated into a regular summer mostly-hipster occurrence attended in large parts by those who enjoy "stuff" more than seeing that band you're in love with. Which isn't to say I don't enjoy Big Days Out when I go. I mean, shit. I saw Nick Cave! I saw LCD Soundsystem! Big Days Out have brought to my eyes and ears Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Andrew WK and countless other eargasm-inducing experiences.

However, you may remember a previous blog post of mine (link in previous paragraph) in which I spent a large amount of space describing the large amount of time I spent raging at wannabe teen hipster sluts and dudds. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Flinders street to meet up with Tim and catch the connecting train to the showgrounds, was how different the image one was met with at the station was compared with BDO-day. 

We descended onto the platform and didn't immediately cringe at the sound of squealing teenage girls, nor were our eyes ravaged against their will by the fluro shorts and white singlet clad guys. Instead, it was a sea of black. Black band tees, black jeans, black boots. A lot of dyed black hair. In a green dress (with black tights and a black jumper), I felt almost too colourful. A sea of Maiden t-shirts. Tees emblazoned proudly with band names and slogans declaring allegiance to the world of metal. Ahh. I felt happy, and decidedly not out-of-place. At peace, if you will. 

At any rate, TG, Dave and I journeyed to the showgrounds, and soon met up with a bunch of the other guys and a few girlfriends. Upon greeting them, we were almost immediately informed that Sum 41 had pulled out of the festival. That prompted a chorus of "SERIOUS? OH, SHIT!!

If there's one thing worth noticing about the line up of this year's Soundwave, is the remarkable 90s vibe it gives off. A 90s vibe, stench, aura. Whatever. Looking at a list of the bands, I feel a distinct nostalgic stirring in my loins (?). I mean, Third Eye Blind? Pennywise? Millencolin? Ah, the memories of high school! Primus, The Melvins, Dimmu. I was looking forward no end to getting my nostalgia on listening to Sum 41 (I'M IN TOO DEEP!), so that was pretty irritating. 

First band on the cards to see were Sevendust, a band of whom I know next to nothing, but who seemed entertaining enough. I know at least one of my friends is fairly obsessed with them, and so I was at somewhat curious as to what all the fuss was about. Their set though, was spent mostly greeting friends and discussing a plan of attack for the rest of the day. The first band I was interested in seeing had pulled out, and so I was left waiting for Dimmu Borgir

However, before that Dave, TG and I traipsed over to check out Gang of Four. Again, not a band I knew much of, but one that I had a significant amount of friends insist I must get into. Insist vehemently, with promises of eargasms and mind-blowing. Well, why the hell not. We went, and I was impressed. Impressed with their stage presence, their energy. Particularly impressed with the guitarist, who seemed to exude an effortless cool. I can tell you for a fact that I'll be partaking in some Gang of Four listening as soon as I had a chance. 

We met up with our mate Mark after their set, whose mind had been appropriately blown. A dude with long flowing hair and a propensity for making hilarious puns, his face was an ear-to-ear beaming grin. His phone was in a zip-lock bag in preparation for the METUL, and the puns were flowing thick and strong. In recent times I've begun hanging out regularly with fellow ladies, and enjoying it thoroughly, but there's just something about metal-oriented males that is just irreplaceably hilarious and engaging. Regardless of the musical pedigree at our eye-tips that day, I was kind of just thoroughly pleased to be spending the day with The Guys. It's not often that one finds a group of people that can so frequently bring about chortling, gut-wrenching laughter. 

Dimmu. It was not to be... :C

A few minutes into Social Distortion (who seemed pretty cool, from the song-and-a-bit that I heard) I rushed over to where Dimmu Borgir were to begin playing. If I had been in a lake of men dressed solely in black, then surely now it was an ocean. Admittedly, my days of listening to a lot of Dimmu have been behind me for a while, but there's enough of a sentimental attachment still there in my loins (?) to have warranted bailing from the guys right when they were about to head to Primus. It was not to be, however. After twenty minutes of standing around in the drizzling rain and searching in vain for an old friend from my days toiling away at Sanity, Dimmu had not taken the stage. My clothes were damp, my face was D: and Primus had just started playing. Unfortunately all that was going through my brain was "I could be seeing Primus right now!" and I soon succumbed.

I arrived at the main stage maybe one song into Primus' set. I have to admit, even though my knowledge of Primus isn't as comprehensive as that of say, a diehard fapping fan like Tim, I was fairly amped to see them. It's really thanks to Tim that I know of them at all. It was back in the years of 2005/06 or so, when almost every night Tim would send me a video over Messenger. Yet another video showcasing how amazing and fap-worthy Primus was and is. I arrived at the stage and got directions from Dave as to how to find the guys. "Just right of the JJJ Video Hits tent." I searched for them for about five minutes then admitted defeat by the rain and crowd and found myself a good spot to merely enjoy the band. 

Not worried about flying solo and despite the rain, I was really quite impressed with my first experience of seeing Primus in the flesh, this band that so many of my friends loved so dearly. According to a quick Google, they played "Here Come the Bastards", "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers", "Pudding Time" amongst others (obviously), but at the time I had no idea what I was listening to, only that it was fairly great and there were two giant inflatable astronauts behind the band. 

"Where's TG?"
"Where do you think? He's probably cleaning himself up."
Mercifully, after a few songs the crowd rearranged itself, and I spied a glimpse of Dave's bright blue jumper. I made a beeline for it, thanking the festival gods that everyone was wearing black and that Dave had chosen to wear a jumper that he was okay with losing amongst the METUL excitement. I had found the guys, albeit a the guys minus TG, who I assumed was at the very front of the throng, probably in need of cleaning up his pants.
There's no denying Les Claypool is most probably more than worthy of all the fapping (for lack of a better term) and adulation. Immensely entertaining, an amazing musician, and in possession of the gift of great banter. He spied a guy in front of the stage with an intricate banner made in honour of Slash, which isn't a noteworthy occurrence of itself. However, Mr Claypool paused and pointed at the Slash fan.

"I hate to be the bearer of ... inconvenient news but ... Slash is playing over there." Les said, then pointing at the opposite stage. "He's playing over there, like, right after this."
The crowd erupted into confused laughter. According to the timetable, Slash was on this stage ... 
"So buddy, you're going to have to run over there pretty quickly."

The band then launched into another song, from memory it was "My Name is Mud", one of two songs I explicitly recognised. I wished at that point I could tell TG how excited I was to hear "Mud". I know this song! From all those times you told me to listen to it! It was not to be so, however. Cause we didn't see TG for the rest of the day. True story.

And they never saw him again.
Later on in the day, hours later:
"Where's TG?"
"Probably still watching Primus."

Anyway. Les directed his gaze back to the Slash fan. "I've just informed that I was wrong! Sorry." More laughter, more Claypool love. And then, "Tommy the Cat". Which was awesome. Truly. At the risk of sounding somewhat lame, it was really, really great to finally see that song live. Well done, Primus.

Is it just me or does the mind constantly boggle at the price of food at festivals? 
Or rather, one expects to pay over $9000 for a few chips, but it's always annoying to actually be faced with the price that one grudgingly expects. People need to eat. People will eat at festivals. They'll pay that much, and they will pay that much after standing in line for an hour. In fact, they'll probably buy more than enough for fear of standing in line for another hour.

Which is part of the reason I see next to no point in drinking at festivals. Spend $150 for a ticket then pass the time away not in front of a band but in line for beer tokens? Wait in a fuck-off huge line for a wristband? Spend $70 for a few beer tokens? Get three beers within the hours it spends waiting? No. It's broken. Broken

We ran into a friend of ours a number of times, one whose battle cry over those few instances seemed to be, "I'm SOBERING UP! This SUCKS!" .... why?? Really. He declared that his friend had some beer tokens and wandered off into the sea of black. I avoided glancing at Dave, for fear of erupting into sniggers (we'd discussed the broken-ness of festival bars only the night before). Those who know me well would know that I enjoy a good drink as much as the next person (or perhaps even a little bit more) but honestly, drinking at festivals doesn't appeal to me at all. 

Food though, is a little bit more necessary. I had gotten myself a lovely large bacon-covered breakfast while waiting for Dave to get to the station, and the then TG had suggested burgers before we headed to the showgrounds proper, but one does need sustenance during a day of metal. It was necessary then, that we brave one of the queues. Luckily for us, buying food ended up being one of the comedic highlights of the day. 

The scene was the Beatbox kitchen, next to the chip-on-a-stick stand or the potato tornado stand or whatever the hell you want to call it, and the line was long. Very long. After long, torturous hours (or what felt like hours), we edged towards the front. And suddenly we could hear him, and suddenly we could see him. A tall, blonde, quite tired and fed-up looking man working at the Beatbox Kitchen, handing punters their burgers.

"FUCKEN... 23!"
"Fucken....24! No, calm down, it's JUST YOUR FRIES."
"25! 25!! BUDDY, ON YOUR TOES. Now. What do you want on your fries. Great. I love you. Now fuck off." 
"Fucken23! Your burger!"
"Shroom burger without mayo but with relish and cheese? What the fuck is that?!??"

If only, if only I could yell like that whilst at work. "FUCKEN, TAKE YOUR LATTE." 
Amazing. My hero. The guys were stifling laughter, all except for Dave, who was openly guffawing. 

"31! 31! 31!"
That was me. I bounded over.
"CALM DOWN! It's just your chips."

I walked back to the guys.
"I think I'm in love."
"FUCKEN. 32. Just your chips. You're amazing. Now get the fuck out of here."

More tomorrow.

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