I studiously ignore Shadows Fall, Meshuggah, Wednesday 13 and A Day to Remember to wait amongst the sweaty, hirsute, painted zealots crowding the barrier at Turisas. I’ve caught wind of a rumour that their eminently danceable cover of Boney M.’s incendiary 1978 pop tune ‘Rasputin’ will be making an appearance late in the set and boy am i looking forward to a blood plasma disco. Props to them also for having the only fiddle/guitar duel of Soundwave 2012. Classic hits (“Battle Metal”, “To Holmsegard and Beyond”) are echoed in a throaty, adrenaline high as the crowd surges forward, crushing the first 3 or so rows of people (of whom i am one) and esclatating the temperature/whipped-hair-sweat coeficient to dangerous highs. Their sound is just as molten as it feels in the trenches; the Fins taking us to war and back.
I really want to see Underoath but i must crush my 16 year old self’s soul into the dust, like so much protoplasm lost across the Great Line. I’ve promised a friend i’d see Motionless in White about the same time and, whilst i’m not chomping at the bit, I am excited to see how their gothic blend of metalcore goes down with the kids.
(Omg, walking from one end of the showgrounds to the other is like being caught in an asteroid belt of pulchritude. I feel drastically inferior and shamefully hideous amongst these muscle-bound, buxom, tanned advertisements for God’s existence. My Quasimoto Complex always flares at summer festivals where you can see more flesh than if John Candy were in G-string. I want to go sit in a dark room and wash myself compulsively. But i don’t because…)
Motionless in White are about take stage 7 and lay a hefty breakdown at its fringe-donning cerebrum. I get ready to defend myself as i look around and see all the immaculate mascara and surmise that most of the people surrounding me have come to see one band, and one band only today (and it’s not The Pretty Reckless). Chris comes onstage and the cheer his gaunt visage creates reinforces my conviction that teenage elbows will be thrown. Opener ‘Abigail’ goes down like a flaming Zeppelin right into the ground swell of turbulent celebration. Every lyric capable of being chanted, screamed, chorused or spoken is, in a wonderful stridor that will blow the MIW ship back to Australia soon, most likely. The band, in full force, manages to dynamically bolster the melody and dissonance of their show with a visceral live presence that somehow manages to excite and calm simultaneously. I feel like a houswife with a Mills and Boon erection.
For a while i bounce around like i’m on the kind of drugs my father explicitly told me not to bring. You don’t need perfect pitch to tell that In Flames are note perfect over on the bigger stage, but the hordes of people deter me from sitting through their set. Back over at stage 6 i catch Biohazard jamming to a good sized mosh pit, but leave expeditiously. They seem to be having major technical problems. A persistent screeching, which maintains about 3 times as long as you would think it possibly could, is followed by an accidental unplugging that has eardrums howling throughout the conclave. I promptly leave, talk shit with some friends, and eat a tasty hotdog before crowding close to see In This Moment- mostly because all of my female friends say the singer is hot. And when girls compliment other girls, you know a weird Chimaera awaits. Well, it turns out they’re all truthful because this lass, in her revealing burlesque-wear, is smoking. Add to this her dulcetly howling voice and my knees go so weak a gay friend has to rescue me from being trampled. I’m carried away before i gauge their sound. Apparently it’s like, phallus worshipping metalcore or something, according to my saviour who wants to go see Limp Bizkit and what i think is the biggest anticlimax of the day.
I’m really far away from Fred, both spatially and wavelength wise. At the back of 15 thousand people, Limp Bizkit sound like a geriatrically torpid cover of themselves. What i hear is: Baby scratch from the DJ, a south Jersy accent shouting “Fock” or some nonsense. a drop-tuned chug-a-chug, and someone remarking on what Wes Borland is wearing. Apparently it was good if you were close, but i’m skeptical. Highlight of the set is when some drunk soubrette clmbs a pole, rapidly pursued by a bouncer and the pole collapses, mirroring a dying erection as we all realise a drunken flashing has been stifled.
I’m racing through the rest of the day because that’s how the afternoon felt, and it’s what i’d do if i were writing this like an impressionist. Tons of people say Kittie sound sick, then do a double take when they realize it’s an all girl band. Enter Shikari pack stage 6 tighter than it has been all day. It seems like everyone at Soundwave is in the shed right now watching the London lads partying. A bunch of people moan about them not playing “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” and completely disregard the rest of their set, which is logically organized albeit heavy on new material. When they finish up (all over our faces), there is a raucous chant for an encore, which, i feel like a curmudgeon for saying, i do everything to stop, bar actively assasinating kids in neon merch.
See, I’m waiting for the little know Kvelertak to finally showcase some black-metal, stoner rock, punk hybrid to these chumps. Despite a meagre following, they play one of the set’s of the day. Their idiosyncratic sound translates perfectly to the live environment and has head bangin’ ubiquitously. They play like 10 thousand people are watching -stage diving, climbing on shit, headbutting microphones. It’s glorious and uplifting to watch.
I spend pretty much the remainder of the day in 6A/B, watching some quality hardcore get temple veins visibly pulsing. Hatebreed hands down have the toughest set of the day, with a moshpit that literally occurs with the first chunky note of the first chunky song. The pit looks like 40 MMA fighters throwing down. One behemoth causes about as much damage single handledly as the whole Lamb of God pit together, pin-wheeling through men, women and children with no remorse. Jasta wants to make ‘Soundwave history’ and have a huge circle pit around the mixing desk that is like 30 metres away. It happens before he even finishes his sentence. The centrifugal force sucks everyone in. My friend with a mending leg (he broke it moshing at a show late last year) starts to throwdown before i rescue him, his leg already ballooning. Later, he will tell me “the Rage” took over. Machine Head’s Phil Demmel makes a guest appearence as Hatebreed make good on their promise and “destroy everything”.
You’d think that after this anything would seem tame but no, California’s Letlive. take the stage and, after a few first song hiccups, find their stomping feet and shove them down your throat. Aalon Butler prowls the stage, a violent banshee destroying bottles and wrecking expectations. He puts his hand through the clock hanging off a side monitor and revels in a bath of tinkling glass. Bleeding throughout the rest of the set, he let’s his energy haemorrhage onto the stage. They lead us through a bunch of songs from “Fake History”, and people who weren’t previously aware, now are. Just go see them.
Your Demise are up next with a decent sized following. Their energetic set is well received but probably not as polished as usual. There’s a lot of audience particitpation, with McRae disappearing into the crowd for entire songs, being buried beneath flailling limbs and cuffed dickies. They play a little lacklustre tonight, but are certainly fun. Cameo from the stitched up and still living Jason Butler from Letlive.
When all is said and done i leave stage 6 to find that darkness has fallen. I collect my jacket from the cloak room and idly listen to two young adults talk about chemicals. Drugs or not, Soundwave this year was a bloody ripper; the elements all cohering to give a beautiful day to thousands of disparate groups, all heading home to sit and fondle the day’s memories, as their tinnnitus scores the reflection.
There you go, 15hundred unedited and under-appreciated words. Your welcome/I’m sorry.