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DaveyBoy's Soundwave Festival 2012

Just like the 3 years before it, I thought something would screw up on March-2, 2012... and just like the 3 years before it, I was wrong. This Soundwave was again FAN-F'N-TASTIC with hardly any problems! The split D-Barrier may have been annoying had I not been done with the main stages by 2:30, while squeezing a stage or two where they had no right to be had both its positives and negatives. Getting to food and toilets was easier than ever, while the slightly shorter sets provided a chance to see more bands than usual. It really was tremendous value for money when all was said and done. If you have had a chance to read the previously posted lists concerning this festival, you would think that the only groups that played were System of a letlive, Dillinger Slipknot Plan and Lamb of Mastodon. Either I was at a different venue, or Soundwave really is that diverse! Here are the bands I saw in the order they played:
1Royal Republic

What a fantastic start to the day! It is genuinely disappointing that I had to add this Swedish band to the Sputnik database a few months back. Not only are they great on record, but they sounded near-perfect live. Think a mix of The Hives, Franz Ferdinand and Electric Six. And yes, citing that latter band does suggest that there are some humorous elements to this outfit, which went down an absolute treat live. Even before the clock had struck noon, 'All Because of You' had us moving, 'Underwear' had us laughing, and 'Full Steam Spacemachine' had us singing along. Seriously, listen to these guys as soon as you are done reading this list!
2Cherri Bomb

Basically what you would expect four 16 year old rocker girls to sound like. It definitely wasn't bad and they were able to put together a pretty impressive sound, but the whole act seemed a little awkward. In fact, the four of them almost seem to have differing personalities... There's the crazy-eyed drummer, the too cool for school guitarist, weirdo bassist & naughty but nice lead singer. Their debut EP is definitely worth a listen, but if this set was anything to go by, then lead vocal duties are shared on their upcoming LP... That's just a no-no girls.
3Kill Hannah

I still can't believe that these guys have been around for over 15 years. Lead vocalist Mat Devine still looks like he is in his 20s. It's safe to say that they're a weird lot too. From what I saw of their set, not much really clicked to be honest. And for a band that rely quite heavily on keys and synths, it was a little disappointing that there was no-one on stage playing them. As a disclaimer, I did leave their set early and missed what are probably their most catchy duo of songs. I definitely would have been interested to see them play 'Lips Like Morphine', but alas, a panther was about to be unleashed on the main stage.
4Steel Panther

A larger than expected crowd had greeted the modern day cock-rock legends and were in raptures as soon as magnificently named drummer Styx Zadinia snuck out onto stage. This set was all about fun and laughter, with some tits and cock thrown in for good measure. Some mid-set banter seriously had me in tears of laughter, while the facial expressions of all four band members were spot on. Lexxi Foxxx even managed to show us that a bass can be played while applying make-up! And yet, behind all the entertainment lay a band who can seriously play. 'Asian Hooker' and 'Death to All But Metal' were crowd favorites, but the sing-along that was 'Community Property' was indeed the set highlight.

Kicking off with the high-octane 'Burn Burn', one got the feeling that lead vocalist Ian Watkins was a little disappointed with the crowd interaction at the Welsh band's main stage set. They have never been the tightest outfit live, but usually have enough fantastic sing-alongs to get by. This day was no different as they came one after another on the condensed festival setting... 'Where We Belong', then 'Rooftops', then 'Last Train Home' and finally 'Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja'. Seriously, what more could one ask for to "scream their heart out" to?
6Alter Bridge

I was kind of intrigued as to how effective Myles + Creed would be in a live setting, and I must say that I came away impressed. The often derided rhythm section were mixed to the fore to excellent results, yet did not take anything away from the two distinctive stars of the show; singer Myles Kennedy and guitarist Mark Tremonti. The former wailed away with an increasingly confident stage presence, while the latter wailed away with all kinds of different guitar settings. One of the highlights of the day, the only thing that was missing was a huge sing-along spectacular... Which made it a little bewildering as to why 'Metalingus' was not part of their set-list "on this day".
7The Dangerous Summer

Everything about The Dangerous Summer on record is replicated live. Of course, it's tricky to convey their excellent lyrics in such a setting, but it wasn't through lack of trying. This was especially the case when it came to singer/bassist AJ Perdomo, who was extremely passionate with every word he shouted out. At times, it felt like he was an emotional wreck, while at others the mood was jovial. That slight weakness of theirs to struggle to differentiate songs still existed, but as the set continued, this seemed to be less and less of an issue.
8Four Year Strong

Due to a ten minute clash with the not so dissimilar sounding A Day To Remember, the crowd were a little sluggish in getting going for Four Year Strong. But once the indoor stage began to heat up, it really began to heat up. The bearded quartet played a workmanlike set which pleased their fans... And I thought the setlist nicely divided up tracks from each of their previous three albums. The new tracks didn't seem to be an issue for anyone in attendance, but it was no surprise to see their older cuts turn out to be fan favorites.
9Kids In Glass Houses

More Welshmen... And while these guys may not have as large an arsenal as touring mates Lostprophets, they made up for it with the energy of their delivery. While their three albums have all displayed a significantly different sound, it successfully meshed into a cohesive set when played live. The music was exceptionally strong (on a stage which did have some sound issues during the day), while singer Aled Phillips was the proverbial hyperactive kid in a candy store. All in all, it was very impressive and the type of act which one could go back and listen to their recorded output in a different light after seeing them live.
10A Rocket to the Moon

I can't say I was totally enthralled by Nick Santino & Co., so I used part of this set to go do some merchandise shopping. What I did notice was that his live output differs a little from his recordings in that his almost drawly vocals are much better suited to ballads when playing live. Clearly, there is some studio trickery at work on their albums, since I would usually prefer his more up-tempo tracks. The kiddies seemed to be having a good sing-along though. As I was leaving, I managed to catch 3 CIRCA SURVIVE songs. I had seen them previously and was totally disappointed with their live show. And while Anthony Green had clearly grown more charismatic & confident, the same problem existed once more: It was too difficult to differentiate one song from another.
11Dashboard Confessional

Sticking around for the beginning of Circa Survive meant that we arrived just as Chris Carrabba was walking onto what I would later call the mini-stage. Unfortunately, getting a good position was made impossible due to these 2 facts, as he strummed away at his acoustic guitar off in the distance. And it was only him, recalling his earlier work under the moniker. This had its pros & cons, but it was still fascinating to view. 'Screaming Infidelities' & 'Hands Down' were obviously crowd favourites and he even threw in a version of Silverchair's 'Straight Lines'! No 'Vindicated' though.

Before they even hit the stage, it was hilarious to see Geoff Rickly serenading his bandmates & roadies with 'Screaming Infidelities' as Chris Carrabba played on the adjoining stage. Being what will most likely be their last tour ever, I just had to catch the New Jersey post-hardcore outfit. They didn?t disappoint either, predominantly playing tracks off of their landmark release 'Full Collapse'. 'Understanding In a Car Crash' and 'Paris In Flames' sounded fantastic, although I must admit that I preferred their closing trio of 'Counting 5-4-3-2-1', 'Jet Black New Year' and 'Turnpike Divides', the latter of which sounded near perfect. It really is a shame that their most recent 2 LPs were not more successful than they were.
13Framing Hanley / The Pretty Reckless

The better half wanted to stick around for a couple of songs from Flaming Handjobs... Either that or she was keeping me away from Taylor Momsen. Ummm, Framing Hanley were ok I guess... They were a little bit heavier than I thought they would be live, but that was well and truly negated by the fact they played 'Lollipop'. Ugh. The Pretty Reckless on the other hand were really really good. If anyone ever doubted that this quartet were a serious band, then they should go and have a look at their live show. While not exactly ground-breaking, the musicians did what they had to, while Ms. Momsen's voice absolutely blew me away. There are definitely no studio tricks here, with a near perfect replication of her recorded voice. Unfortunately, I did not have the binoculars on hand to see exactly what her costume malfunction consisted of.
14Jack's Mannequin

I was really looking forward to this, and Andrew McMahon & Co. definitely exceeded my expectations. McMahon really is a strange contradiction in that he is a front-man who I would describe as a frustrated front-man. He is extremely fidgety, clearly wanting to stand front of stage and play up to the audience. The problem is that 90% of his tunes are piano driven, meaning he has to sit down. On more than one occasion, he would play a part, stand up and take a few steps & then - as if remembering he had to play another piano part - sit down again within ten seconds. Musically, everything was pretty much spot on since it is pretty straight-forward pop-rock, while after a couple of initial microphone problems, the vocals were also excellent. It is difficult to say which song was received best since the entire set really was one great big sing-along.
15The Used

We caught a couple of songs from catchy kiddie pop-rock outfit The Summer Set, who seemed to be pleasing a larger than expected audience. They sounded alright, but it was the next act who caught me by surprise. I didn't really know what to expect from The Used, but had a feeling they would be a little messy. Surprisingly, I was wrong and they were actually much tighter than I thought they would be. Playing only one track each from 'Artwork' and their upcoming new album, this was one instance where I will go with the majority and say a band made the right choice by playing a lot of tunes from their earlier recordings. Songs such as 'Take It Away', 'I Come Alive', 'The Taste of Ink' and 'A Box Full of Sharp Objects' simply went off; displaying a great combination of being raucous, catchy and fun. Bert still annoys me a little and I'd love for Quinn Allman to put a little more intricacy into his guitar-work, but when all was said and done, this was very close to being the set of the day!

And the pleasant surprises just kept on coming. Back over to the mini-stage, these under-rated Virginian rockers were right up there with the best of the day and no-one who was there to see them would have left disappointed. In fact, I'd say Conditions are better live than on record, since the extra punch actually adds diversity to their consistent batch of tunes. Anthemic choruses just kept coming our way, with the guitars soaring impressively. And the band knew their place too... They knew they had a smaller - if constantly growing - crowd than most acts and played up to that fittingly. In fact, the quintet seemed genuinely flattered at the crowd reaction and used the energy to fuel their performance as the set progressed. Definitely the sleeper hit of the day for mine.
17Angels and Airwaves

I seriously still don't know what to think of these guys. Just like the often compared 30 Seconds to Mars, there's something there, but it just turns out overly pretentious. They had a nice little light show going to close the evening and there were brief glimpses of their potential, but it was all wrapped up in a package that bordered on being classified as boring. As a stage headliner, they played for an hour, but this only proved to be a detriment as it was an excuse to dick around with their hit & miss atmospherics. Tom sang ok... Actually, all 4 did what they had to. I don't know, maybe it was the festival setting or maybe my back and knees were giving way... But I was ultimately left unimpressed, without it putting a sour note on the day overall.
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