UNDERGROUND DOWN UNDER pt. 2: SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL 2009 pt. 1 (except Perth) by soufex

The revolution won’t be televised, but they’ll be doing a signing at 3.10!

Brisbane Soundwave/Sydney Soundwave

Soundwave is an Australian music festival that has been around for a couple years now. It kind of existed for a few years before that under a different name, but that was in Perth and nobody really cares about Perth. This year, Naja (my girlfriend) and I went on an epic nomadic journey that encompassed pretty much the entire 2009 Soundwave experience. Apart from Perth, because nobody really cared about Perth. (That and it’s ridiculously expensive to fly out there.)

Some time early on a Saturday morning in February, we hauled our asses from North Geelong to Avalon Airport and a few hours later end up in Brisbane. Brisbane is sticky but has good public transport. There’s a train than runs from the airport pretty much right to the venue’s doorstep. (It would actually run to the venue if Soundwave wasn’t on, how neat is that?) The queue is kind of massive but we’re through with our bags cloaked and hanging out with our friends in front of Stage 2 within half an hour because of killer organisation. (This doesn’t sound important, but trust me on this one…)

Stage 2 is occupied by Forlorn Gaze who have to be seen… and heard, to be believed. During FG’s set, tragic news befalls us. (Turns out I think it was all Chris’ fault?) Big sorry feelings for Brisbane, who also missed out on a Goldfinger headliner show because John Feldmann won’t fly coach. We were kind of freaking out because dear sweet Roger Manganelli is supposed to be playing in another band over Soundwave, and if he’s not here… oh boy.

Having nothing better to do on account of there is absolutely no Jake (considerably Less Than Jake) to be found, we headed over to Stage 3 and found the ever-so-handsome Mike Herrera of MxPx doing an acoustic set of MxPx/Tumbledown songs. What a dude. MxPx are Soundwave veterans and were doing it back when it was Gravity Soundwave in Perth so it makes sense that Mike was there. (I think Yuri is looking after his baby and Tom… I don’t know what Tom was doing so that he wasn’t there.) After that we hung around and caught a few Saves The Day songs before going for a wander to check out the rest of the stages, eat Nutella sandwiches and watch Goldfinger from the bleachers. I keep seeing these things called Dagwood Dogs being sold about the place and it turns out they’re like corn dogs-on-a-stick but they look like roadkill. I never ended up eating one, and thinking about it, it was probably a good thing.

Oh, and there are signing tents! So we lined up to get tickets to fawn over The Bloodhound Gang, gave props to a dude from the Riverboat Gamblers who was wearing a Black Fag: Jealouth Again shirt and I decided that Anthony from Bayside kind of definitely looks better with bleached hair. The BHG are really nice guys. Jimmy Pop gives me a kiss on the cheek and I left the tent thinking everyone I’ve ever met from Pennsylvania is really nice. Speaking of, they put on a good show and there’s nothing quite like a few thousand slightly sunburnt people singing I need to find a new vagina. Jared performs his regurgitation party trick and we see his Aussie flag undies for the first but certainly not last time. Between them and your new favourite band were Rival Schools over on Stage 3 and it was really cool to just chill out in a big car park watching cool dudes play cool music.

INNERPARTYSYSTEM ARE YOUR NEW FAVOURITE BAND. They’ve kind of been my new favourite band since October but I finally got to see them play and they’re amazing. So there. Stage 5 is kind of in a little clearing all of its own with benches and a summer house, and there were these big trees facing the stage and all these kids watching the bands in the trees. Very cool. Say Anything were on after them, running late because of Bemis as usual. I really like SA but Max is such a diva. They were like 20 minutes late and we caught a couple songs but they weren’t so great that night and seeing as they didn’t pull Trever Keith over for an off-the-cuff rendition of People Like You Are Why People Like Me Exist I lost interest and we popped back over to Stage 3 where all the action and awesome is.

Well, almost all the action and awesome. We ended up accidentally catching the end of Chiodos’ set and I don’t like Chiodos (they don’t even get b-tags i don’t like them that much). New Found Glory weren’t bad (although I still maintain that Jordan Pundik is too old for this shit) and Alkaline Trio had the slowest roadie in the universe. One day I will see Alk-3 when they’re not before the band I really came to see and I will probably enjoy their show a lot more. I mean, hell yeah they’re good but there’s always the nagging omfg get off the stage already voice in the back of my head chanting over I won’t have to quit doing fucked up shit.

And then oh my stars, it’s Face To Face! I hadn’t seen f2f since before my birthday last year, in which I nearly broke my nose, Naja most certainly broke her hand and I had a couple of nasty panic attacks (and again the day after at The Bamboozle Left when no other than Alk-3 was playing before them, alas). Their usual bass player, Scott Shiflett (listen to viva dea┬áh…) is sick as a dog and couldn’t make the flight out to Australia so they pulled in Roger from Less Than Jake and he kicks ass. Seriously amazing. My love for him increases twofold. Things are rad. We catch the free train out to the suburbs and stay at a friend’s house, and his mother lets us shower and sleep in a real bed and gives us a taxi number so we can get back out to Brisbane Airport four hours later, good times.

The taxi cost us an arm and a leg and we bitch about it for a few minutes, then we almost lose one of our friends’ tickets- we’re not even in Sydney and the dark cloud of failure that hangs over the place is already cursing us! At least we’re then in the company of awesome friends and a rental car and we head over to the fucking Eastern Creek Raceway, get lost for a couple hours, finally make it out to the middle of bumfuck nowhere Blacktown and then, and then we get seriously wailed on by The Curse Of Sydney Soundwave.

So last year’s Sydney Soundwave was reportedly the worst festival in Australia in 2008 due to hideous organisation. (And we figured, since they had it all sorted in Brisbane the day before… we figured wrong.) This year, it ain’t much better. We stand in line for three hours and miss Mike Herrera, Less Than Jake (and man are we pissed for missing LTJ two days in a row), Bayside, Riverboat Gamblers and Goldfinger. We are not pleased. There’s a second entrance that nobody knows about. The venue layout is nothing short of dire, meaning there’s a tiny bottleneck right next to the metal stage, and all six stages are lined up so sometimes you can hear the other stages playing around you very loudly. Oh, and they have taps for free water but nothing to put it in. Enough crabbing on about how shit the Raceway is, we catch Straylight Run, 20 minutes of IPS and then trot on over for the BHG. (I like bands from Pennsylvania who can be abbreviated to three letters, it seems.)

We end up catching most of Dillinger Escape Plan and I still don’t like them. Well, that’s not true, I like one or two of their songs. It’s just that I also like full use of my ears and digestive system and apparently one cannot have both. Once I’d felt like barfing out my intestines from superhxc double-kick we raced plastic bottles along the barrier and saw BHG again and it was better than Brisbane which was nice. We caught some of Billy Talent and then waltzed over for Rival Schools (still awesome), New Found Glory (still pubescent), Alkaline Trio (who still need to fire their exceedingly slow roadie, he might realise he’s fired next week) and Face To Face (still better than you). Trever announces that because of the response at Soundwave after two shows, f2f are coming back to Australia next year. Naja and I break a few glasses from squealing. Life is awesome.

next up- Sydney Sidewaves/Melbourne Sidewave/Melbourne Soundwave/(R)Adelaide Soundwave!

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