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10.03.11 DaveyBoy's Counter Revolution 2011 03.11.11 DaveyBoy's Soundwave Festival 2011
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DaveyBoy's Counter Revolution 2011

An offshoot of the annual SoundWave Festival, it's fair to state that Australia's Counter Revolution mini-festival was lucky to go ahead. The original full festival was cancelled when an un-named headliner (rumored to be Van Halen) pulled out & a deal could not get done with an intended replacement (rumored to be Aerosmith). Narrowed down to a 20 band clash-less mini-festival, The Pretty Reckless then pulled out & Melbourne's show was shifted from an outdoors venue to Festival Hall. Things on the day of September-30 also did not get off to a great start with disorganization outside meaning that practically nobody was inside for the beginning of the event! Thankfully, after all that, the day was ultimately a success with a good time had by all & excellent value for money ($5.50 per band). These are the bands I saw in the order they played:
1We Are The Ocean

As explained above, I wasn't able to see the full set from the promising English band, but was lucky enough to catch 3 full songs. Even that almost did not occur since Dan Brown just happened to be in the mosh pit as I was heading towards the stage & I was almost clotheslined by his mic cable that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Even from the 3 tunes that I heard, I could tell that We Are The Ocean are a handy live outfit. Brown's attention-seeking energy is obviously a selling point, but Liam Cromby's superlative voice was clearly the highlight (especially on 'Confessions' & 'The Waiting Room'). Cue the countdown for his solo career...
2Terrible Things

Just like the trio's debut album, the best word to describe the live show of Terrible Things is "accomplished". In fact, the whole half hour mirrored their LP, since it was just good old-fashioned straight-ahead rock that was far from groundbreaking, but contained enough interesting variety to make it entertaining. If there was one positive that I did take from the set it was that Fred Mascherino has some serious talent... His voice was a nice combination of gravelly & smooth, while the guy can seriously shred. Definitely Taking Back Sunday's loss.
3The Swellers

One of the bands I was most looking forward to, The Swellers did not disappoint. Playing their usual brand of blue-collar punk-rock, the Michigan quartet unleashed a barrage of driving rhythms (the low end was mixed to the fore) & soaring guitar lines. It meant that lead vocalist Nick Diener had to strive further to get the band's detailed songwriting across to the audience, meaning he sounded even more passionate than usual. Old favorite 'Bottles' sounded great, as did 'Sleepers' and the fantastic sing-along of 'The Best I Ever Had'. A thoroughly recommended live act which was backed up later in the day when practically every other band mentioned them during their on-stage banter!
4We Are The In Crowd

This was the beginning of some technical problems playing havoc with one of the 2 stages. As We Are The In Crowd's bass player Mike Ferri suggested mid-set "Can I get even more of everything I don't need in my monitor", the issues were there for all to see. Tiny singer Taylor Jardine was inconsistent due to these problems, but soldiered on fairly well. Meanwhile, Jordan Eckes performed much better as the male half of the vocal duo. Overall, it was a fun, catchy & energetic set, even if the band's lack of variety did shine through at times.

The first of two pre-planned breaks for the day, this time was spent at the merchandise stand... And from what I briefly saw & heard; Thank God for that!
6Go Radio

If Go Radio were experiencing any technical problems, then they definitely did not let it show. Jason Lancaster & Co. delivered a top quality set, where the extra edge of the live environment gave their tunes some grit that was occasionally missing from their strong debut LP. 'Fight Fight' & 'Redemption In The Verse' especially sounded terrific, while 'Any Other Heart' closed things off superbly. Predictably, 'Forever My Father' was not a part of the setlist, but 'Goodbye Moon' satisfied those looking for something slower to show off Lancaster's distinctive voice. And then there was quite possibly the best surprise of the day, with Go Radio performing a great cover of Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep'. Never thought I'd see a mosh pit to that song!

If I had ever seen a photo of Hellogoodbye, then I had forgotten what they looked like (insert Millhouse, Simpsons scientist & Revenge of the Nerds joke here). In amongst the awkward humor of their on-stage banter, however, were some charming melodies... The kind which would get stuck in your head no matter how hard you resisted. Throw in some trademark ukulele work and - most importantly - no autotune, and the Californian quintet delivered a solid set. You can't help but get the feeling that these guys could almost win anybody over if they felt so inclined, although I think they'd work better at the beach on a hot summers day.
8Make Do and Mend

To say that Make Do and Mend have been growing on me would be an understatement, and they're beginning to remind me of the 1st time I heard the likes of Rise Against & Billy Talent... Get past the initial reaction to James carroll's voice & you have one hell of a band. Playing to one of the smaller audiences of the day meant I took up a close position before they started. Bad move, since the ferocity with which these guys played almost blew my ear-drum out. The rhythm section were superb, while Mike O'Toole won my vote for best guitarist of the day. Carroll is clearly an interesting character; There is a sincerity to his bitterness, if that makes sense. If anything, his gruff vocals were actually a little smoother live. A very much recommended live act that will only get better.
9The Damned Things

Rob Caggiano may have won my best guitarist of the day award had he not had to share the load with his 2 colleagues. But otherwise, this super-group not only click well on-stage, but seem like they have an awful lot of fun doing it. Andy Hurley surprised the hell out of me with his pounding drumming, while the game of guitar one-upmanship meant that singer Keith Buckley had no choice but to scream his lungs out to get heard. The melodic catchiness of their debut LP occasionally got lost in all of this, but as their song 'Friday Night' states; this is all about "another good time".
10Funeral for a Friend

I'm a fan of these guys, but something has been not quite right the 2 times I have previously seen them live. Unfortunately, the 3rd time was not a charm here, as those technical bugs returned to haunt Stage Left. At one point, I thought the entire band were gonna beat the living crap out of their roadie, but they plugged away doing the best they could. Their new songs actually sounded pretty good live, while old favorite 'Escape Artists Never Die' was probably the highlight of the set. 4th time lucky maybe?
11Set Your Goals

Having seen Set Your Goals once before, I knew what to expect... And they pretty much delivered on their brand of almost lackadaisical energy. These guys seriously seem like they just walked in off the street, but that gives them an empathy with the fans that is difficult to match. While 'Gaia Bleeds' predictably got the mosh going & 'The Fallen' had everyone singing along, the 2 new tracks they played seemed a little lackluster. "Fun" is the most apt word for these guys & one would be hard-pressed to suggest they did not deliver that on this particular day.
12This Providence

I've always thought of This Providence as rather catchy in the moment, but one of the most forgettable bands going around. Seeing them live did provide a little bit of a different perspective, and I'm not just talking about finding out that lead vocalist Dan Young was born in Australia & speaks with an Aussie accent. His smooth near falsetto does give some of their songs more life live, especially the silky 'My Beautiful Rescue'. Musically, they were competent, but dare I say it, just too forgettable.
13Story of the Year

I'm a fan of these guys & saw them live in 2008... Yet, even I was surprised with the set they performed here. I reckon they've found the fountain of youth, since everyone but drummer Josh Willis was bouncing off the walls. The energy was just contagious throughout the arena, while the band themselves didn't miss a beat in playing a great cross-section of tunes from throughout their 4 album career. I've heard it said from even the band's detractors that Story of the Year are a great live band, and this day proved why, since they were practically faultless. I just have to learn to look up quicker when bassist Adam Russell decides to hurl himself into the crowd. The best performance of the day.
14Face to Face

Dinner Time! I have no idea what the older guys were doing on this tour and I am unfamiliar with their discography, but from the 2 or 3 songs I heard them play, I am intrigued. Sounded like some really solid, rhythm-driven punk rock that I could see myself getting into.

The 2nd best act of the day... I have been waiting a while to see Yellowcard & they did not disappoint as they had me as soon as the familiar violin melody of 'For You & Your Denial' kicked things off. Their break may have given them a sense of perspective of sorts, since they delivered a set that effectively combined fun & maturity. There was a nice up-down-up feel about the setlist (EG: Way Away, Light Up The Sky, Five Becomes Four, Hang You Up...) & they were one of the few bands to play a genuine ballad. The band were spot on musically, Ryan hit all the right notes, while Sean provided the energy. And then there was 'Ocean Avenue'; the perfect set closer if ever I've heard one.
16Young Guns

In a tough spot, the young English band delivered a darn good set when considering they only have 1 album to draw material from. Then again, it helps that said album has had 5 quality singles released from it. Falling into the trap of trying to heavy up their sound a little too much, vocalist Gus Wood was still able to let his powerhouse voice be heard. 'Crystal Clear' & 'Weight of the World' were sing-along favorites & the band seemed appreciative to be touring down under for the 1st time. I really didn't need the old "get down on your knees & jump up when I tell you to" routine toward the end of such a long day though.
17All Time Low

And then from out of nowhere, someone let the kindergarten gates fly open & I was attacked by a never-ending stream of 7 year old girls. Arggghhhh, the little ankle-biters were everywhere, with their shrill screams &... bras. WTF, since when do 7 year olds wear bras? And where did all the guys in the audience go? It was like f'n Twilight Zone. So anyway, apparently All Time Low are popular with the teens. I don't mind their early stuff either, but they don't play that, so their set didn't do much for me (apart from closing duo 'Weightless' & 'Dear Maria'). The rhythm section is surprisingly competent & if you take away the nonsensical banter (these guys seriously could end up in jail if they are not careful of the legal ages in various countries), Alex Gaskarth can sing & knows what to do with a guitar. But seriously, if there has ever been a bigger muppet in a band than Jack (I'm trying hard to look like Alex) Barakat, then I don't know who it is.

The penultimate act of the day were D.R.U.G.S., who I really had no idea what to expect of. Ultimately, it was an inconsistent set... They began really well with 'The Only Thing You Talk About', but it was up & down from there with Craig Owens not exactly being the most likable character going around. Energy was the name of the game & for the most part they kept it high, while the musicians all did their job without setting the world on fire. It was a difficult position to play I guess & they probably would have been better suited not stuffed between the more mainstream leaning headliners.
19Panic! At the Disco

Despite hearing numerous reports to the contrary, I had always thought that Panic would not be suited to a live setting. That feeling carried over into the first 2 songs, as I tried to get my head around whether they favored the rock, pop or theatrical side of their sound. As it turned out, placing 'The Ballad of Mona Lisa' so early on the setlist (3rd) was a master-stroke as it proved they could meld all 3 rather comfortably. Brendon Urie played the front-man well, having fun with the audience yet always stopping short of crossing the (All Time Low) line. His voice was also top-notch, while hired hands Ian Crawford & Dallon Weekes played their roles as if they are already part of the band. 'Lets Kill Tonight' & 'Nine in the Afternoon' were mid-set highlights, but a cover of The Darkness' 'I Believe In a Thing Called Love' may just have stolen the show.
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