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 h…) 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!

Underground Down Under Pt. 1 by soufex

Going on a five-month sabbatical to the other side of the world doesn’t mean I can just abandon my post as a writer for the heavenly scripture that is Two Beats Off! – so I am taking it upon myself to write home about Things That Rock Here, in fairly regular installations.

(Now, by no means am I here because I am rich; I’m just lucky that an unnamed acquaintance gave me the airmiles for a return ticket. To be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that my girlfriend lives here, I probably would never have visited. As it stands, here I am!)

I’m living in Melbourne until mid-April, and I have to say, I’m very stoked about it. Melbourne is awesome.

The scene here is wicked. And so far, I can say only rivalled by Wollongong, some 500 miles up the coast in New South Wales and has a ridiculously cool handful of bands that remind me why I love punk rock. Saying that, Melbourne is home to some fantastic musicians and some lovely venues. (I’ll write about the venues soon, but there are still a good few I haven’t been to yet and just need an excuse to check out.) That’s not to say every band here is awesome because some of them are kind of awful, but I guess it’s the same everywhere you go. However, my girlfriend insists this lot are fine:


Local Resident Failure

Subject To Change

Commissioner Gordon

There’s so much more to this city – to this country – but there’s a lot of time ahead and a lot more fun to be had, so keep yourselves busy with this for now!


Achievement unlocked?

Just lately, I’ve found myself playing the games on PS3 which have trophies more than the ones which don’t. “Okay Ripper, what does that mean?” you might ask. Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the proud feeling when one pops up in the right hand corner of the screen. Perhaps it’s the fact that it means I get a lot of replay value out of those games and as such, the Scrooge in me feels compelled to play them more. It could be my competitive streak – I’m a member of several gaming communities where you can compare your current trophy level with other players. I just don’t know, but lately, I’ve become a damn trophy whore.

For the uninitiated, let me briefly explain the PS3 trophy system. For achieving certain feats or beating different points within the game, you can get trophies. A bronze is usually an easy trophy to get, silver is a bit more difficult and gold can be damn near impossible on some games (here’s looking at you, Bioshock). When you’ve got every trophy in the game, you get a platinum, which are pretty coveted on online communities. I only have one platinum, I’m not that hardcore. The Xbox 360 has a similar system with achievements – you get so many points for each one you unlock, eventually culminating in 1000 points per game. It’s an excellent tool for fuelling your online ego – boasting about how big your Gamerscore is, or how many platinums you’ve got. Trophy hunting takes discipline and hard work if you want to be the best. Some people dedicate every ounce of their free time to this endeavour. I like to think I’m a casual trophy whore, but then I downloaded Linger In Shadows because it had easy trophies to get and was cheap. So maybe this is growing into a kind of obsession.

The disturbing part of this is that it could overlap into real life. It already is in various respects – I scrobble everything I listen to on Last.FM in an effort to boost my play count to 15,000; I post on various forums and feel a little bit of joy when my post count hits another hundred or thousand; I collect tons of stuff and will spend relative amounts of money and time on rare action figures and so on. I could apply the trophy system directly to certain aspects of my life that I’m trying to do better in. Maybe that’s a good thing! It could be useful when it comes to my exams – get a bronze for finishing them all, get a gold for getting all A’s, get the platinum for getting into university. Who knows, if I think about it like that, I might spend less time writing articles like this and more time studying. I’m trying to get in shape this summer, so if I apply my new trophy system, that could help! Bronze for not touching chocolate until Fridays, silver for losing a few pounds, gold for going down a dress size. On the downside, there’s slightly creepier and lame ones which I won’t mention, but you get the picture.

Although, this could be applied on a wider scale, if you think about it. How about measuring your whole life in trophies? Bronze for every birthday you reach. Silver for doing every stupid thing you might want to try out. Gold for reaching something important – like getting the degree, getting married, having your first child. Those are achievements, even though the reward is the event itself. However, this is something worth thinking about. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve noticed a lack of ambition in my town as of late. It seems like a lot of people I know have just given up on trying to achieve anything, and when they do, it’s only because they’re pushed by somebody else, not because they really want it. Would a real life ‘trophy system’ help? The truth is, we all need goals before we get anywhere, otherwise we lack focus and give up. So, those dreams are my goals, and those are my trophies. I just hope I achieve enough of them to get the platinum before my time is up.

Clash Of The Titans

Last night, I decided to go along with my friends and check out Clash Of The Titans, in 3D no less. So, with 3D glasses in hand and ketchup all in my hair (it was an eventful dinner at Nando’s beforehand), we trouped off in search of adventure and to watch Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation) kill absolutely everything ever.

I must admit to have never seeing the original Clash Of The Titans in its entirety, as it’s always one of those ones that ends up on the TV in holiday periods when I’m drifting in and out of the living room, and therefore can’t judge if the movie can indeed live up to its predecessor. However, in regards to monsters, I share Chad Gilbert’s opinion, as viewed on his Twitter the other day – “I will see any movie with a Krakken in it, but I wont like every movie with a Krakken in it.” Truth is, I’ll watch any movie with mythical beasties in it, but I won’t necessarily like them. Case in point: the second Pirates of the Caribbean film. Therefore, I was holding out some hope for this movie and hoping that Mr Worthington would look fantastic in a leather skirt. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be worth it.

The story is your typical Greek myth affair – man decides to rise up against the gods because they’re fed up of their rule, gods decide to fight back, man sends in a hero – who’s a demigod! Surprise surprise! This is essentially thrown at you as soon as the movie starts with little explanation until Io (Gemma Arterton; Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia) decides to ever so helpfully and conveniently tell our hero Perseus that yes, he is indeed the son of Zeus – and oh, Hades wants to take over everything. If you’ve ever read anything to do with Greek mythology, you’ve heard it all before, and Clash Of The Titans is pretty much an excuse to shove anything to do with Greek mythology into one film and to have Perseus destroy it in style. And to have Liam Neeson play Zeus because he was made for that beard. Nobody else could pull off that beard.

The film is reasonably well casted and a good call for Worthington to keep his Australian accent, even if he did go a bit too into the Christian Bale end on the Scale of Gravelliness. I’m not entirely sure what makes people think that mythology calls for accents that aren’t American, but I’m glad that faculty exists, because it just makes it seem that little bit more authentic, somehow. That, and that British/Australian accents are far cooler. There’s plenty of action, as would be expected from Hollywood’s latest take on mythology, because if there’s anything we’ve learnt from recent years, it’s that swords + leather + monsters + pretty ladies = instant blockbuster. So, there’s plenty of hacking, men in leather skirts all over the place, every monster you could ever think of and a reasonable amount of eye candy (but no sex! This is a 12A after all!) to get excited over. And if you’re not looking for a particularly intellectual film, then this is the way to go.

The 3D is excessively lacking. To be honest, I wouldn’t bother paying the extra money to see it in 3D unless you like great 3D adverts, because all there happens to be is a spear that comes out and the text looks nice and shiny and standouty. That’s all. The monster effects are all 2D anyway and those in fact do look fantastic . They’re also possibly some of the more realistic I’ve seen in a while, despite being creatures of myth. In particular, Charon just looks incredibly twisted and the journey across the Styx is a sight to behold. The only one that looks at all computer generated is Medusa – even the Krakken itself looks reasonably realistic. And if I don’t get to ride a Pegasus soon… well, let’s just say I won’t be happy.

Overall, Clash Of The Titans is a fast paced, no holds barred action fest. There’s death and destruction pretty much everywhere. At the start of the film, this is well done, but towards the end, it starts to feel rather rushed – the ‘end game’ as it were lasts for about two minutes and you feel somewhat cheated. However, that doesn’t detract too much from it being a very entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. Oh, and the staring at the legs of attractive men is pretty sweet too. Sorted.

3 out of 5 high fives!

Live: The Academy Is… – Sluggo’s, 28/1/09 (a review by Nox)

Wednesday night a friend and I drove three hours to Pensacola, FL to a small vegetarian restaurant/bar called Sluggos to catch The Academy Is… on their ‘Hello My Name Is…’ acoustic tour.

The doors were meant to open at 8pm; however, they opened around 8:45pm. During the wait a homeless man that referred to himself as ‘Just James the superstar/number 1’ decided to talk to my friend and I as well as break into song at any given time. He said he played guitar. He also told my friend that she was Sarah Palin because of her glasses, and later he decided I was in the Mickey Mouse Club and knew Britney Spears. None the less, the somewhat small crowd filed into the building around 8:45pm and Just James stayed outside. A recently signed local band called Sky Tells All opened the show and were rather humorous with their small talk, but as far as music goes they were good., certainly opening act material.

After Sky Tells All played and broke down their set, Tony, TAI’s tour manager, began setting up the stage for William Beckett and Adam Siska. William came out alone first. He had words with the crowd before he played, and I must interject that in such a comfortable setting he acted more like he was playing to a group of friends than a crowd of teenagers. He played songs from all three albums, Almost here, Santi, and Fast Times At Barrington High, as well as some B-sides. Half way through the set Sisky joined in as well. However, I must say the best part of the night was how many songs they covered. The list ranged from Radiohead to Steriophonics to John Lennon, and even Alkaline Trio. It was definitely worth the drive just for that.

It is here that I must include how excellent the music sounded. Usually, when I think acoustic I think the songs lose some of the umph they have when played traditionally by the whole band; however, on this night I felt as if I was listening to a recording of each song and each song maintained its initial impact. Nothing was lost in the conversion to acoustic and for that I am very thankful as well as insanely impressed.

In the end, I would sum the performance up as this: If TAI were to put out an Acoustic album, I would have it pre-ordered.

Also, William was very proud to say that he had solved the Rubik’s Cube and asked everyone to join him in watching one of the merch guys solve it in just a few minutes.