a blistering Faith No More leave the sun-scorched crowd grinning in Sydney

Soundwave Festival review

published: Wed 24th Feb 2010

Saturday 20th February to Monday 1st March 2010
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, Australia, Australia
$155 Australian (around £90)
last updated: Tue 15th Dec 2009

After a couple of weeks of torrential downpours in Sydney, Australia, the Soundwave Festival organisers were probably imagining their bedraggled punters would have to float around Eastern Creek Raceway. But Mother Nature is one sick puppy. And though she deigns not to open the heavens, she instead cooks up a nice inferno for us to burn in as thousands of rock fans, clad-in-black, eyeliner dripping, literally blister in the sun. Last year the festival came under fire for a rubbish entrance procedure which left fans lining up for three hours outside. And though this year there's no wait to get in, once inside it's queue central – queues for food, queues for drinks tokens, queues for the bar to use the damn tokens... add the fact that there's no ATM on site, no pass-outs and no shade and you've got a bunch of organisation fuck-ups ruining possibly the best line-up of the year on these shores.

I arrive as Alexisonfire are tearing up the main stage with 'Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints' as best they can given that breathing the air is like sticking your head in a furnace. The main stage is already running twenty minutes late before a delay for Paramore puts the show further behind schedule. But an adoring crowd don't care as flame-haired punk princess Hayley Williams, decked in skinny leopard print, ebulliently thrashes her way through a stratospherically giddy 'Ignorance', 'That's What You Get' and 'Misery Business' while her tiny frame betrays her powerhouse vocals on 'Decode' and 'Brick By Boring Brick'.

Across the site, ska jokesters Reel Big Fish end their set with a good proper knees-up for their horn laden version of A-Ha's 'Take On Me' while Meshuggah pull in the metalheads with a thundering, skull-peeling set. Placebo attract huge numbers to their bitter, glam spacerock, a full visual screen show, coupled with a set including 'Nancy Boy', 'The Bitter End' and 'Every You, Every Me' more than making up for Brian Molko's relative subduedness throughout. But unbelievably, over on stage four one of the Big Four thrash and megawatt metal titans, Anthrax, find themselves relegated to a small stage and playing late afternoon, while one of the bands they influenced some twenty years later, Trivium, play above them. Someone needs their ass kicking for such insulting organisation.

Back on the main stage its Jane's Addiction's first ever Australian show with the band's original line-up and it's a big deal. They still look the same of course - Penny Farrell as flamboyant as ever, bare-chested with a sparkly, fitted jacket, Dave Navarro wearing more eyeliner than your average emo.- And though Farrell's hair might have gotten a little greyer since their heyday, the hits remain same, with the likes of 'Stop', 'Three Days' and 'Been Caught Stealing' churned out with lascivious funk.

Jimmy Eat World have the unfortunate task of stepping in for My Chemical Romance, who had to pull out under doctors orders, plus the even more unfortunate task of opening for Faith No More at the end of a long day of relentless 40 degree heat. And as a result, their set is little more than politely received. Faith No More however, command ones full attention. Whether it's opening with a lounge version of Peaches & Herb's 'Reunited', singing two encores, crooning a version of 'Easy' in full dinner suit attire or singing through a megaphone to 'Epic', 'Midlife Crisis' and 'Land of Sunshine', the idiosyncratic eccentricity of front man Mike Patton literally forbids you to look away for even a second. And as thousands of sun-scorched, heat exhausted fans pile out of the front gates afterwards it's palpable to all that, despite complaints about the amount of free water, the lack of shade, the price of $9 for a slice of pizza.... Soundwave bags the gong for the most kick ass line-up of the festival season.
review by: Dannii Leivers

Saturday 20th February to Monday 1st March 2010
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, Australia, Australia
$155 Australian (around £90)
last updated: Tue 15th Dec 2009

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