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DaveyBoy's Soundwave Festival 2010

The 26th of February 2010 marked the day of yet another tremendous music festival for yours truly. It is Australia & it is summer which means it's damn hot. Melbourne was no different on this day with the temperature reaching a maximum of the mid-30s (that's mid 90's for you northern hemisphere-ites). I seriously could hardly make any complaints about the day... Anything would be nit-picking. It was that good! And in comparison to the recent Big Day Out, the major advantage of SoundWave is being comfortable, while still getting a great vantage point. The lack of a D-Barrier at the main stage significantly helps this.
1RX Bandits

It should be illegal for the opening act of a festival to be this good! Come on, it should be some little known local act, not 4 guys that have completed a thesis in how to play their instruments. As they came on, my better half shot me a who are the 3 hippies & why do they have an I.T person with them? look, but then they started playing... And it was near-perfect. Chris is a fantastic drummer, while Matt & Steve were like a well-oiled machine on their guitars. How Matt can do what he does on guitar & still sing to such a high quality is beyond me. 3rd best act of the day & may have been higher if they had a longer set.
2Set Your Goals

I thought this set was going to be a disaster after 2 songs. I've never been a huge fan of the singer with the whiny vocals and he simply could not get his voice above the music initially (which is no wonder since he looks like he weighs about 50 pounds). Thankfully, as the songs got a little catchier & the mixing was adjusted, the set improved. Not bad, but not great either.
3Taking Back Sunday

Cute Without The E kicked the set off on a huge high, but I'm unsure they reached those heights again. The main problem was that Adam's voice was pretty much gone and it's always difficult to get around that, no matter how hard he tried. This put additional vocal pressure on Matt Fazzi who performed admirably, while I also thought Matt Rubano's bass-work was top-notch. Why they had an extra (3rd) guitarist out there is beyond me. Their newer songs werent a patch on the Louder Now tracks either.

After grabbing a bite to eat (which was much easier than last year), we returned back to the main stage for the Dallas Green show... Ooops, I mean Alexisonfire. In all seriousness, George is actually a pretty good front-man live, but it was still difficult not to concentrate on Dallas' silky smooth voice. They performed a super solid set that was a good combination of everything which should have pleased their fans.

The 2nd largest crowd of the day greeted Hayley & Co and it seems most of them were unaware just how cramped it gets down front at a rock gig. LOL! I was quite impressed with their live show since the band are solid and Hayley's vocals are stronger than I could have imagined. I occasionally lost interest, but it was nothing major and there was always a hit just around the corner. The fact that quite a few of their songs have a sing-along factor also helped the entertainment factor.

Who are all these people? This is a trio, yet there are 6 people on stage! This included a lady who played keys, violin & a theremin. Thankfully, it was all worth it since the sound they made was nothing short of fantastic. While I'm certain there were a few attendees who felt they just stood there and played, who cares when they get their sound so right. From oldie Special K through to new single Bright Lights, Placebo hit all the right notes. My only minor gripe was that their best song Every You Every Me was performed as a fast rocking track. It was still great, but it took me so much by surprise that I only got into it towards the end. My highlight of the day!

Another great set from another great band. While I know longtime fans would prefer more old stuff, I think they have fashioned their setlist just right (well, with the exception that they do not play Torch Song, which will remain a mystery to me). Davey Havok is a fantastically entertaining front-man, while it is still difficult to get over the fact that a guy with a fringe and name like Jade can play a guitar as good as that! Right up there as one of the best acts of the day.
8Dance Gavin Dance

Over to the indoor stage (otherwise known as Daveys annual sauna) to sweat out some weight to DGD. Thankfully, they began with my favorite song of theirs (Carl Barker) and their energy and enthusiasm did not stop from there, despite an overall inconsistent set. Some of this had to be put down to the fact that they were down to one guitarist and this put a lot of pressure on Will, since the guitar-work and screaming is such a huge part of their act. He performed like a trooper though.
9Jane's Addiction

I am not the hugest fan, so I only caught 4 songs from these guys (the first one and the last 3). Dave (I don?t own a shirt) Navarro was impressive on the guitar, while the weird Perry Farrell was entertaining more than anything else (along with the 2 semi-naked woman brought on stage). Difficult for me to comment overall as the lack of hooks are not my thing, but I did like the acoustic closer (Jane Says).
10Jimmy Eat World

Here is another band that should release a Greatest Hits LP. What a deep set they had. From the woh wohs of opener Sweetness through to the fantastic sing-along closing quartet (Hear You Me, Bleed American, Pain and The Middle), this was just a fans dream setlist. A nice combination of rock and pop, I was surprised at how much lead guitar Jim plays. The weakest songs were their most recent, but Always Be was helped immensely by some redhead named Hayley coming out to sing with them. Too many bands shy away from ballads at rock festivals and J.E.W proved why that is a mistake. Hearing 23 and Hear You Me while the sun was setting was a fantastic experience. My 2nd best act of the day and I hope they do not take so long to get down under next time around.
11Faith No More

In a word, these guys were tight. It is difficult to believe that they have not been playing together for a decade or so. Pretty much everything was spot on from a musical standpoint, and with Mike and Roddy, you know the entertainment value will also be high. As with their albums, they perform such a wide variety of songs that there was some inconsistency to the set, but the slow spots were usually replaced with the band being live on something on the web called ChatRoulette (which we could also see on the large screen). It was annoying that they were paying attention to it at first, but it soon became an acceptable part of the show. A nice close to the day and a worthy headliner. Bring on SoundWave 2011.
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