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Soundwave 15 @ Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia

Various Artists
in Saturday, 21 February 2015 at Melbourne Showgrounds
by Casper De Ro Ro

 
Hot. Damn Hot.

Melbourne provided a fantastic clear day for the first of Soundwave 2015. Sunscreen being plastered on bodies and sweat being mopped from many a brow and its only 11.00 in the AM. But excited anticipation flowed through the crowd like a wave as discussions of favourite acts were only interrupted by the sound checks from within the festival confines. Naturally the audible preparation only enticed further eagerness.

Waiting with members of press I couldn’t help but notice that movement of the vast line of patrons brought enthusiasm to a new height.  I overheard many fans commenting on how pleasing it was to see Soundwave back home in Melbourne at the Showgrounds. Time will tell. A quick sniff from the dope doggies and it’s in the gates we find immediate relief from the heat was available via ample taps flowing freely with cool refreshing water to refill the bottle and a splash on the bonce.

Up over the hill and wild jubilation was released from the reigns as Stage 1 and 2 came into view. The weekend of magnificent hard rock and heavy metal has begun. A J Maddah and his magnificent team of event management, along with all the contracting personnel should be extremely proud of themselves. This festival was quite simply the absolute best I personally have encountered from a management perspective.

Shade from the scorching sun available everywhere, water flowing at most convenient locations, and the stages so very opportune for flitting from one act to the next. An abundant variety of fresh food and of terrific quality was on hand and the wet areas were brilliantly managed.

I am very certain that all of the security in attendance were great, however I found myself truly astounded by the professional located at Stage 4. Friendly and respectful to the patrons with a thorough understanding of why the crowd were present and what to expect. As each crowd surfer was washed forth from the mass, the security were fast to cater for their welfare, inquire as to their welfare and send them side stage with a smile and a pat on the back. In the breaks from bodies thrust from aloft, the crowdies were busy encouraging the attendees to have a great time and getting into the grove with them and delivered relief from the heat with constant water supplies. I have truly never, after nearly thirty years in music, security management and close personal protection, seen such a group of customer service focussed professionals in absolute symbiosis with the crowd. They were thoroughly capable of dealing with any threat, however I was really pleased that over two days the crowd returned the respect delivered by these outstanding security professionals.

With so many appealing acts from all over the globe for us to try and cover, the access and timing was tremendous.  We must thank all festival attendees who made way for the flow of yellow vests headed from act to act with purpose and much haste. Your respect and accommodation was very much appreciated. Access to headliners, the magnificent show always put on by STEEL PANTHER and the brilliant debut appearance of super group KILLER BE KILLED would have proved much more difficulty without such appreciation for our duties and cooperation.

The entire event was thoroughly outstanding. Two magnificent days of musical celebration and excitement with all the comfort, customer care and emergency management one could possibly wish for at such an august and popular event.

With such a plethora of amazing popular performers there is a limited amount of show coverage, however, enjoy.

DAY 1

KILLER BE KILLED – The brainchild of Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY) Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN) and Troy Sanders (MASTODON) released their debut album as a super group in 2014, never for a moment presuming they would play live together with their busy band schedules.  But here they are, live and loud in Melbourne for the first time.  A moment in metal history to be savoured and from the very first guitar strum of “Wings of Feather and Wax”, it was evident why these superlative, accomplished artists joined forces.  Their performances were tight, tremendous and such a joy to witness. I was truly amazed by the sheer volume of voices behind me who knew all the lyrics.  Perhaps this familiarity with, and appreciation for their music is why Greg decided to join the crowd for a while and sing from aloft appreciative hands.
 




 
Ben Koller (Converge) sitting in for Dave on drums was truly tremendous. To watch the magnificent and much accomplished Max Cavalera is always a tremendous treat, but this performance was a greater highlight than ever before. Troy was quite obviously having a magnificent time and really put on a tremendous show. To be quite honest, I have never seen him perform at such a heightened level of showmanship and skill, particularly as he was always been such a brilliant musician. Greg was brilliant on guitar, vocals and keeping the crowd engaged with stage presence, and let’s face it, with such an animated and gifted performer we really never know what he is going to do.

And all of this after only four rehearsals together is testament to the skill of these magnificent purveyors of metal magnificence. Watching KILLER BE KILLED perform together for the first time live was a tremendous and awe inspiring experience I will always remember fondly.

BUTCHER BABIES – This outfit truly have to be seen live at least once in a lifetime, but every weekend would be ideal. Magnificent music accompanied by tremendous animation and metal appeal, they gave stage 5 a thorough workout along with the crowd. Brilliant, brilliant performance. Selecting their band name from the “Plasmatics” track “Butcher Baby” they have established themselves and taken the influence of Wendy O. Williams to the next level of excellence. We have long waited to see this band live and it was worth every second of keen anticipation.
 




 
JUDAS PRIESTIan Hill takes to the stage to cheers and hoots from the crowd. The single constant member of Judas Priest from the beginning and time has only enhanced the work of this tremendous performer. Joined by the rest of the group JUDAS PRIEST begin their eagerly anticipated performance and none present were disappointed. The vocal capacity of Rob Halford has not become aged nor lacking as he pushed forth notes of such strength and ferocity that belief was beggared. I found myself fondly reflecting on their glory as tracks past and from their current album were performed brilliantly. Rob Halford is a little less animated now days as compared with the 1980’s but this stage stalking hallmark of metal still displays his signature vicious vibrato. To see JUDAS PRIEST at Soundwave 2015 with a headliner set time was a true highlight of the festival.
 






 
SLIPKNOT – What a magnificent and energetic performance, surely conceived in writhing nightmarish horror. A tremendous example of the groups terrifying stage show accompanied by a plethora of SLIPKNOT tracks, all to the tremendous celebration of the assembled appreciative masses. The stage ablaze with flash fire and brilliant light show, coupled with the usual masked marvels pumping out a set list of sheer excellence.
 




 
MARILYN MANSON – Following the groups January release of arguably Manson’s finest work, it was indeed a pleasure to watch their awesome performance. A highlight was to hear “Deep Six live” and watching this legend of dark music and long established artist at work.
 




 
APOCALYPTICA - Eicca and the band were welcomed by a large adoring crowd keenly anticipating a tremendous performance, and none were dissatisfied. Whether all in the crowd were fans or simply intrigued onlookers, an utterly tremendous performance was provided for their enjoyment by the Cellists of Metal. Such well-practiced professional and classically trained musicians were able to play a fine repertoire to perfection and concentrate on their engagement with the crowd. Thrilling.
 




 
NONPOINT – Unfortunately for this tremendous group their early tracks were plagued by equipment gremlins intent on ruining their performance. The guys protected any suggestion of leaving the stage, much to the appreciation of the assembled mass. With the stage gremlins seen off the premises, NONPOINT were free to perform and delivered a tremendous show. What consummate professionals to endure the issues and continue for the fans. The crowd were most respectful of the bands plight whilst Elias made good on his promise to come out after the performance and say hello to each and every member of the crowd. What tremendous gesture.
 




 
EXODUS – To see Steve Souza back out front for EXODUS was thrilling and his personal performance matched the avid attention of fans. The band shredded apart the crowd with “Blood In Blood Out” and did not need to provide much encouragement for the assembled to display their joy with spontaneous displays of insane neck breaking mosh, howling and demented dancing. The entire set was absolutely tremendous.
 




 
PAPA ROACH – Magnificently outstanding is the term I use to describe the blistering performance delivered by Papa Roach. Speaking with Jerry Horton last month in the lead up to Soundwave 15, I was assured of a fantastic show and he, with the group delivered in the finest of form to an adoring audience packing the Stage 2 arena. Jacoby Shaddix was utterly relentless in his splendid delivery from beginning to end. This show was a truly magnificent treat for all to help celebrate the release of “F.E.A.R.” and see the lads live in Australia. Brilliant stuff.
 




 
GODSMACK – Robbie Merrill put on an insanely brilliant performance with sensational finger pick precision and stage animation. Sorry mate but I just can’t imagine you going from this to bailing the hay on the farm. After you insights into the band name origin during our time catching up, I was looking really closely for a ‘Godsmack’ adorning the lips of the group. Sully and the guys delivered a sensational performance. Really a very memorable and superlative treat to see them live.
 




 
THIS WILD LIFE - Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso produce such a monumental sound. But that would come down to the tremendous talent of both artists and their dedication to music.  I have wanted to bear witness to their skills since their formal formation of THIS WILD LIFE in 2013. I was far from disappointed. And many claim drummers can only belt skins. Huh.
 




 
THE VANDALS – After a hilarious time interviewing Warren Fitzgerald, I was anticipating something special from THE VANDALS and that’s exactly what I received.  The audience enjoyed their performance immensely, along with the stage antics of Warren. When you consider the experience, evolutionary environment of The Vandals and their list of peers from 1980 onward, you realise what a rare treat it is to watch such a hallmark of the Huntington Beach movement live, loud and better than ever, right there in front of you. Brilliant.
 




 
FALL OUT BOY – FALL OUT BOY have a vast Australian following and admirers were well represented at Soundwave 2015.  The boys from Illinois put on a tremendous display for an adoring mass, playing favourites and sporting a tight performance.

DAYSHELL – Fantastic ‘Fresh Metal’ performance from DAYSHELL. The days with OF MICE AND MEN long behind, Shayley “Dayshell” Bourget had developed such a fantastic sound with his jamming buds and ultimately, fans of DAYSHELL are the beneficiaries of their development. It was tremendous to see them in Australia and so early in the Day 1 proceedings.
 




 
DAY 2

STEEL PANTHER – The assembled crowd was large, to say the least as we approached for the masters of glam spangled rude rock. I raised the camera as Stix took to the kit and was stunned by the enormous roar from behind me. I think perhaps the crowd had grown significantly larger than on my approach. Stix followed closely by Lexxi and Satchel onstage was met with an even louder howls of appreciation.  Then as the master Michel Starr graces the stage the roar from behind becomes absolutely incredible.

Playing favourites from their past and most current albums coupled with their fantastic stage performances, the popularity of STEEL PANTHER is self-explanatory.  Brilliant glam outfits and magnificently appealing music make for a monumental show. I am no expert in the cerebral consistency of others, however I have some suspicions that the lads may be avid admirers of the female form. Those ladies aloft shoulders in the crowd need not be bashful. We know what to expect.  A mere cursory glimpse of the chest will not satisfy STEEL PANTHER and their insatiable appetite for mammary memories, nor will their insistence on selecting ladies from the crowd to bare all in the name of musical accompaniment and the entertainment of all. Magnificent performances from SP and a show to last long in the reflection of all assembled.
 






 
DEATHSTARS – It was indeed a privilege to witness the DEATHSTARS in full flight performing their unique brand on heavy rock.  WHIPLASHER put on a terrific stage performance and the band collectively played brilliantly despite the extremely hot conditions. The crowd assembled also braved the sauna and sweat to appreciate this tremendous group. A very animated show appealed to the audience well and the music itself is incredibly addictive. Misanthropic melodies were indeed a pleasure to hear and their trip from Sweden is most certainly appreciated.
 




 
THE TREATMENT – Jaws hit the floor among the crowd from the opening note punched forth by the lads from England.  Truly the future of hard rock unfolding before astonished eyes and ears. The Treatment were nothing short of incredible, braving the extreme heat at Stage 5 and delivering a blisteringly intense performance of fine music and stage presence. By the finale the guys were thoroughly spent but managed to recover quickly. A brief chat with the lads revealed they are quick to recover and ready to do it all again.  Genuine comments of astonished glee wee common among the exiting crowd, now converted fans. Thanks guys for coming all this was to give us the treatment.
 




 
FAITH NO MORE – One of the most keenly awaited acts of day 2 saw a massive crowd assemble in wait.  A veiled stage upon reveal was lined with a mass of fresh flowers front of band.  With the entry of Mike Patton and company the crowd were treated to a brilliant and memorable showcase of music all to the accompaniment of excellent performances and a great stage presence.
 




 
SOUNDGARDEN – With SPOONMAN offered early, SOUNDGARDEN were a tremendous hit met with an equally impressive display of audience appreciation. SOUNDGARDEN put on a magnificent performance and kept the memories flooding back and creating new experiences.

GERARD WAY – Screams emitted by adoring fans welcomed Gerard Way and his band.  Having co-founded MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE and produced a trail of impressive work along the way, there was no shortage of followers ready to receive Gerard. A terrific performance was provided for fans and newly recruited admirers alike.
 




 
DRAGONFORCE – What a brilliant performance by DRAGONFORCE with all the showmanship and energy awaited by the audience. Fast, furious and with all the dragon slaying majesty and might a band could possibly muster.  The crowd were chests out standing tall with their leaders in camaraderie, ready to take on all foes with hammers held high. Herman Li put on a thoroughly magnificent performance of skilled guitar acrobatics and didn’t skip a note, tongue strumming and all.
 




 
MINISTRY – The preacher is well and truly in the house with loyal worshipers ready on a Sunday to receive the word.  No shortage of fans for these performers with decades of achievements and accolades. I could even detect requests from the crowd for “Revolting Cocks” tracks, however no one present would be left disappointed.  A tremendous show giving ample opportunity for attendees to reflect on the veritable plethora of experiences this band has brought to countless people over the journey. A tremendous treat indeed and no end in sight for this outstanding cast.
 




 
FEAR FACTORY – Blisteringly brilliant as always. To see Dino Cazarez performing live was a tremendous treat and he performed brilliantly.  Great to meet you in person too Dino after the interviews. Burton C. Bell and the band were on fire delivering a scorching performance indeed and all to cheers of an enormous audience thoroughly engaged with enthusiastic celebration of this tremendous outfit.
 




 
THE AQUABATS – Had us all giggling like little people with their comedic antics and lyrical mirth. They were in wicked form though as we thoroughly expected for one of the group to shed the AQUASUITS and do something disgusting. Luckily for all assemble the filth never followed and were walked away thoroughly entertained by this brilliant performance. A fitting interlude to the metal songs of scorn and melodies of mayhem.
 




 
RAGLANS – The RAGLANS were very well received as first cab off the rank for Day 2 in Melbourne. It was a great time to enjoy the Irish born band as a terrific warm up to the day’s proceedings and no shortage of admirers for the lads.

HE IS LEGENDSchuyler Croom and HE IS LEGEND brought a tremendous show for all to enjoy. This band was really a highlight for me.  After following their work and having the opportunity to interview Schuyler more recently, this show was a must for me, and they delivered in extremely fine form.  These North Carolina based masters will have expanded their Australian following exponentially after their Soundwave 2015 exposure and if crowd reaction is any indication.  A thoroughly enjoyable performance and so gratifying to see the band so well received.
 




 

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