A con­sid­er­ate crowd

Sound­wave’s black shirts showed their warm and fuzzy side at the Bris­bane fes­ti­val, writes Jade Kennedy

Townsville Bulletin - - Savvy -

Warn­ing: if you con­sider your­self a hard­core punk/ metal/ death metal fan, look away now be­cause I’m about to shat­ter your tough-kid im­age. . .

The crowd at Sound­wave on Satur­day was, de­spite the black shirt brigade be­ing out in force, the nicest fes­ti­val crowd I have seen to date.

For some rea­son I wasn’t granted me­dia ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Sound­wave, but luck­ily, my sal­va­tion came in the 6’ 7’’ form of Pen­ny­wise gui­tarist Fletcher Dragge, who put me down as his guest for the show.

While col­lect­ing our tick­ets, my friend and I passed sev­eral Amer­i­canac­cented, black-at­tired guys walk­ing into the ho­tel.

‘‘ They look like they should be some­one,’’ my friend com­mented.

‘‘ Hmm, looks a bit like Josh Homme ( Queens of the Stone Age), but too many tat­toos to be him,’’ I thought to my­self about one of the guys, main­tain­ing his gaze un­til it would have ne­ces­si­tated a Linda Blair move to con­tinue.

Af­ter a quick stop to shower and change, we made it to the RNA Show­grounds just in time to see Bul­let for my Valen­tine hit the main stage.

Set­tling into the grand­stands, I watched part of Des Moines band Stone Sour’s set be­fore wan­der­ing around the site to get my bear­ings and find some food and drink.

Food took the best part of an hour to wait for, stand­ing in di­rect sun on the tar­mac near the main en­try. It was here I saw my first ca­su­alty of the day – a teenage girl around 20 peo­ple ahead of me col­lected her pur­chases, took five steps to­wards the shade and went down like a sack of pota­toes, skid­ding into the kerb with a sick­en­ing sound.

As friends and strangers rushed to her side, it took around five sec­onds be­fore she moved, lift­ing her head and drip­ping blood from a gash un­der­neath her chin.

This was the first sense that the Sound­wave crowd was a lot softer than their rep­u­ta­tion might in­di­cate.

One bot­tle of Coke, one bot­tle of wa­ter, one ham­burger and $ 19 later, I headed back to the grand­stands to eat and take in a lit­tle of rock­ers Primus’ set.

With two mas­sive in­flat­able MTV-style astro­nauts dec­o­rat­ing their stage, I ex­pected a lit­tle more from them ... the most vis­ually-spec­tac­u­lar thing they did was front­man Les Clay­pool don­ning a pig mask for part of their set.

As Slash hit the stage, I de­cided to brave the mosh and head into the crowd for 30 Sec­onds to Mars, who were due to hit the sec­ond main stage straight af­ter.

My sec­ond kind crowd en­counter came in the form of a guy who let me in front of him in the pit, to al­low me to hook my arms ( yes, I am that short) over the sec­ond bar­rier just in front of the stage.

The crowd went crazy for Slash’s new hits, Back to Cali and By the Sword, al­though it was dis­ap­point­ingly sung by Myles Kennedy and not the al­bum’s orig­i­nal singer, Wolf­mother’s Andrew Stock­dale. But of course the big­gest cheers came for Guns‘ n’Roses hits Sweet

Child o’ Mine and Par­adise City, which they closed the set with.

30 Sec­onds to Mars’ en­trance was the­atri­cal, with a mas­sive build-up to lead singer Jared Leto’s en­trance.

Leto was an ef­fer­ves­cent front­man, work­ing the crowd, crack­ing jokes and en­cour­ag­ing jump­ing, crowd surf­ing and sin­ga­longs.

‘‘ I need some peo­ple to come up here. . . the next five peo­ple to crowd surf can come up here,’’ he said, invit­ing ‘‘ five more’’ un­til about 30 fans formed a jumpy lit­tle crowd be­hind him for set closer, Kings and Queens.

I felt some­what like a cow leav­ing the mosh pit, swept along with the crowd leav­ing the arena in an or­dered en masse.

Again, this was an­other pleas­ant sur­prise from the usual push­ing, shov­ing and get­ting swept off my feet I’m used to at fes­ti­vals.

See­ing a guy in a wheel­chair be­ing lifted by his friends so he could see the bands from the mosh pit brought on more warm and fuzzies.

Down at Pen­ny­wise’s stage, I found a chunk of con­crete to stand on in or­der to see over the thou­sands of fans who’d packed the arena to see the guys from Her­mosa Beach.

I know Fletcher had been a lit­tle con­cerned about how Aussie fans would ac­cept new singer Zoli Te­glas, but it was un­war­ranted as fans sang along and thrashed around in a ‘ LAstyle’ cir­cle pit down the front.

My only scare came in the bot­tle­neck be­tween the au­di­to­rium and an­other build­ing on the way back to the main arena, when the crowd lit­er­ally swept me off my feet in the rush to get to Rob Zom­bie and Queens of the Stone Age.

QOTSA ripped through a blis­ter­ing set, cap­ping it off with No One Knows, mere min­utes be­fore Iron Maiden hit the stage, the main arena so packed at that point it was hard to be­lieve any­one was even at the other stages where Anberlin, The Bronx, F*** ed Up, Po­lar Bear Club and Third Eye Blind were per­form­ing.

Ex­hausted, I skipped out on the sec­ond half of Maiden’s set to avoid a huge wait for a taxi and went back to the ho­tel to wait on a re­ply text from Fletcher, who’d wanted to catch up for a beer af­ter the fes­ti­val.

I woke up in my ho­tel room three hours later, af­ter fall­ing asleep length­ways across the king-size bed.

But I wasn’t the only one to crash af­ter a long day – Fletcher sent a text from Syd­ney on Sun­day, apol­o­gis­ing for miss­ing our beer be­cause the jet lag had caught up with them.

To add to my woes, flick­ing through some fes­ti­val pho­tos, I came across the guy who’d stared me down in the bands’ ho­tel lobby. It had been none other than Stone Sour/ Slip­knot front­man Corey Tay­lor. Whoops.

Photo: Flickr user Johnny Wor­thing­ton

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