Soundwave Melbourne @ Flemington Racecourse, Feb 28 2010. Review by Jane Metlikovec.
In a world where trance jumps the clubs, dance tops the charts and indie pop picks up the dregs it's no surprise the Soundwave rock festival is going from strength to stregth.
It's a niche and winning formula, perfectly executed, incredibly well-staged and billed to meet every rock and metal lovers' dream.
What more could the 30,000-strong tatt-pack wish for than a day of thrashing their dreds about in plenty of space to headliner Faith No More and fellow showstoppers Jane's Addiction, Placebo, AFI, Eagles of Death Metal and Meshuggah?
Capped crowd numbers saw the wave of fans spill into Melbourne Showgrounds one minute and out into the venue the next. Easy entrance, easy bar lines, and a sunny day was the perfect cocktail- or rather bourbon and coke - for what must be, whatever your taste, in the running for the best festival around.
Coupled with the winning line-up (no half-attempts at booking top bands here), Soundwave smacks with respect for its followers. It treats them well, and they do likewise.
As the more hardcore headed for a side stage to take in Meshuggah's scary facial expressions and screams, Placebo thrashed with energy in the 34-degree blistering sun.
It was a set dripping with sweat and hits from the very first "Every You Every Me" to the early "Special K" the middle "Meds" and the now, "For What It's Worth."
A perfect finale of "Taste In Men" capped a remarkable performance and appreciation for the band who at that same venue some years ago were forced to retreat the main Big Day Out stage thanks to a constant belting of bottles.
With AFI warming up the crowd with worldwide smash "Miss Murder," another band to cop an historic BDO flogging - Jane's Addiction - also experienced the difference a few years can make in Melbourne.
Where before they had fallen prey to introducing the Foo Fighters before a young BDO crowd, yesterday they amassed a flock of loyal fans desperate to give Perry Farrell - the man responsible for taking alternative music festivals to the world with Lollapalooza - the respect both he and a rather well-known fellow who goes by the name Dave Navarro-deserve.
Skin tight black jeans and exposed chests were the perfect fit for both Farrell and Navarro who took the stage and launched into the band's late 80s breakthrough hit "Mountain Song."
Near-naked go-go dancers mirrored the scene from the cover of the band's first album Nothing's Shocking, while the crowd crazed for catchy hit "Been Caught Stealing."
But the perving wasn't limited to the lads, with a smoking hot and six-packed Navarro giving the ladies plenty to simmer at - not a bad feat for a man of 43. I'm happy to take on anyone who dares to think there is a hotter gent in rock.
"Summertime Rolls" slowed the tempo, while an accoustic version of "Jane Says" completed the fun-filled show. Sad ommissions were Grammy-nominated hits "Just Because" and 'that Entourage song' "Superhero."
The time finally came for Faith No More. The sun dropped, the red velvet curtains spilled to the ground, and the air of expectation sky-rocketed. And then Mike Patton appeared - red-suited with trademark slicked-back hair, thin moustach and looking charged for a big show.
Fevered screams were met by the intro chords to "From Out of Nowhere," the first of many hits. Patton swigged from his red wine bottle as he pointed the crowd to the side screen - which for the remainder of the set would project images from the stage on one side (nothing new there) while the other side would flash - that being the operative word - a live stream from an online adult chat site.
Adult acts not to be mentioned here provided plenty of laughs for both the crowd and Patton himself whose commentary on the antics segued into some of the biggest rock smashes in history.
An early burst for "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" streamlined into "Evidence into Last Cup of Sorrow." "Ashes to Ashes" swung into "Midlife Crisis," which brought the mosh to its highest jump of the day.
Uber-hit of the 90s "Easy" slowed the pace, while "Be Aggresive" pumped it back up, and "Falling to Pieces" along with a stellar "Digging the Grave" didn't leave much room for an encore. With such a packed set it was easy to believe Faith had nothing more to give. Wrong.
"We Care A Lot" had been saved for last, a fitting swansong for a festival all about giving fans what they want and doing a bloody good job of it.