Category Archives: Reviews

Gabriel & Dresden – Mixed for Feet Vol.1 Review

Mixed for Feet Vol.1 –it’s a dance compilation, but not as we know it.

After their much appreciated reformation in early 2011 and a shed load of touring, progressive trance duo Gabriel & Dresden have given birth to their first album release Toolroom Knights, Vol.2 in 2007. Like they have done through out their much celebrated and industry awarded career, Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden have taken their twist and turned it into one of the hottest dance compilations of 2011 with Mixed for Feet Vol.1.

Now normally when it comes to an artist release, you would expect to find nothing but self named tracks (I know I did), so I was pleasantly surprised to find a gathering of some of the biggest and best names in dance to date, scattered across the track lists. Tiesto, Fredde Le Grand, tyDi, Umek… and that’s just disk one. And, of course, there are plenty of G&D hero anthems for the devoted.

Aside from the sheer professionalism of production, what comes through loud and clear is the love. Personal favourites are Eponym by D-Wayne Vs Jacob Van Hage (disc 1) and White Noise-Red Meat by Dada Life (disc 2) and classic Motorcycle (original clip above) remix of As The Rush Comes (It’s The DJ Kue Remix!) – all guaranteed to get you into the happy holiday headspace. Making over classic Gabriel & Dresden anthems, like Tracking Treasure Down feat. Molly (original clip below), is definitely a masterstroke, though there are also some new tracks which are destined to become favourites with fans and dance enthusiasts alike, like Josh Gabriel Presents Winter Kills’ Oklahoma Town.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to see them play live in ’11, as I did at Creamfields in May, would have witnessed the powerful playfulness of the two accomplished DJs first hand. Mixed for Feet Vol.1 further stamps the statement “we’re back” – and this fan couldn’t be happier.

Mixed for Feet, Vol.1 is available via Armada.

Michelle Sawyer, October 2011

Check out my chat with Dave Dresden on their reunion, Deadmou5 and Creamsfields.

What To Make Of Markus Schulz’ Dakota: Thoughts Become Things II

With the announcement of Summadayze 2012 – featuring non other than US based German trance-man, Markus Schulz – I thought it was a good time to scope out his latest offering, Dakota.

Who: Markus Schulz

Album: Dakota – Thoughts Become Things II

Background: Born in Germany, but now based in Florida – inevitable that he was going to become a Trance DJ and producer, Markus is the founder of the EDM label’s Coldharbour Recordings and has remixed everyone from Depeche Mode to Gabriel & Dresden and Madonna, finding not one, but two Billboard Club Chart #1’s with remixes of Jewel’s Intuition and Stand.

Here’s where Schulz last left us…

Now you are up to speed, I will begin…

Firstly, you switch the sound on and immediately Gypsy Room take you away from your shitty cubical desk job, and out floating through the skies across Fantasia on the back of Falcor, fist pumping the air (the last little thought might be different for others). Seamlessly transitioned into Red Star (I had to check which track I was on it was so dam smooth), the mood cranks up a notch and continues to do so but always maintaining its positive vibes.

The title, Dakota, is quite fitting, as this album has a lot of tribal elements – something I would imagine a bunch of progressive American Indian natives would dance and chant to around a bon fire – but it also keeps it’s modern trance sensibilities; unique, individual tracks that converge without ending up as just noise. This is not offensive trance; you don’t need to understand the genre (or culture) to enjoy this music, but if you do, you’ll love it even more.

Someone else who will love Dakota are DJs (like myself, sort of) who are looking for a solid dance track with high production value and sound builds, which could easily fit on a cross genre set list. There are going to be some clear clubber faves like Sleepwalkers, In A Green Valley and Sinners, but you’ll also find weekend house party anthems like Terrace 5 am and Miami. It could even be the soundtrack to a pretty out there road trip!

It’s rare that us Australians, due to our logistically challenging location, that we get to see such accomplished artists like Markus in the flesh. So if you are heading to Summadayze 2012, maybe head to Dakota first. I can’t guarantee your thoughts will also be that of Falcor: The Luck Dragon from The Never Ending Story, but this album will definitely evoke some trance-itional thinking.

Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

A Splendid Idea – Part 2

Sitting in a cubical trying to write about Splendour listening to Yeezy’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on repeat – 4 days on reality is still irrelevant…

The short version to describe Splendour In The Grass is easy: one word – Epic. The longer version is much more complex. For starters, my present is a pathetic debacle of prospects:

1. Facing having my entire hard drive at work completely wiped out, a year and half’s worth of work gone. Kaput.
2. Sitting in a cubicle 9 to 5 (craptastic fun).
3. Back to sourdough rye salad sangas for lunch. ☹

These 3 factors would be depressing in their own right, but after coming off the back of one of the highest weekends of my year, it’s even more excruciating than climbing that hill from hell repeatedly for 4 days to get to the Splendour spread. But enough woes, these words belong to the wonder that was Splendour In The Grass 2011 and to Woodford.

The “epic” hit as soon as we landed in Brisvegas airport Thursday afternoon – otherwise known as peak our traffic. Then after a supply stock up at Woodford Safeway, we all witnessed a monstrous car crash unfold before our eyes (me in the drivers seat of the rental car shitting myself, thinking ‘lucky I waited that extra second’). Adrenaline in full swing, we put it to good use, pitching our tents in record time, shovelling down a couple Safeway Roast Chickens before swaggering up the steep hill that lead to the guest entrance of Splendour.

Hard to see what lay out before us as I allowed myself to be led in the dark by my friends who seemed to know where they were going (I had no idea). Eventually we’d hit the Jager Hunting Lodge. But alas our time there was too short as the boys began their epic fail of a mission to score some last minute Golden Drinks tickets (after trying to purchase drinks with money – denied). So it wasn’t long before the only swag we were getting on was our sleeping bags.

Friday – the first day of epicness.
Like many others, we were up, up and away early, hitting Mix Up to see starters World’s End Press impress the larger than expected morning crowd. We hung around to catch fellow Melbourne local, Tranter, do his DJ thing. “Lucky bastard gets the best slot to be able to catch all the great bands for the rest of the weekend without having to work! Let’s come back as DJs next year” one of us mused.
Hunger monkeys starting to make noise, we sought out our first taste of the fine food on offer from the plentiful stalls that scattered throughout the massive layout. I mean this place had everything –including a Mexican cantina, its own Grilled Burger bar, Pizza, Dumplings, Turkish Gozleme (my fave) and saaaa much more – the mouth waters just reminiscing. But forget the food (and there was a lot of it over the festival), Splendour was and is ALL about the music.

The first big band booming out the blocks was Jebediah. The Amphitheatre in itself was of massive proportions; a giant field of sloped hillside enclosed by giant trees and port-a-loos. Kevin Mitchell was clearly in his element as he cruised through Control, before moving straight into their classic, Leaving Home. With a couple of the boys getting chomped on by ticks (serves them right for going sans showers the dirty slobs), they decided to make a hasty retreat to camp. I stayed to watched the uber cool, The Kills. So much swagger. How does one band manage to be so cool, I ponder?

With a slight clash, I made it just in time to catch the much hyped set of James Blake; right before he banged out Limit To Your Love no less. Hard to believe the Brit lad is only 21! Some more food and boring camp crap later (mostly clambering on the warm gears as the sun set), we were all back at the Amphitheatre to watch Modest Mouse along with 20,000 others. It kind of felt like most of the hill side punters were there to retain their spot for Yeezy.

As more bodies flood the Amphitheatre, The Hives gave out a cracker of a show. It wierds me out a little how Pelle can still manage to sound Dutch despite his emphasis on the heavy Elvis 1950’s rock talk. But accents aside these boys bring the noise, playfully ‘pulling the crowds strings’ with a mash of hard and fast rock anthems before blowing us away with Tick Tick Tick BOOM and Pelle jumping into the mosh.

Following on from what could have been a closing night set, soon came the real deal, Kanye West. And surprisingly he wasn’t the diva many had doubted he’d be. Vocally on his game, Autotune aside, Yeezy appeared humbled at the sheer size of the audience that lay before him (Splendour can do that). It’s hard for anyone to meet the mass hype that surrounds someone like Kanye West but his highly entertaining and choreographed show, featuring 20 ballet dancers and an energetic Kanye running around on the all white stage, got even those sceptics commending his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m still listening to that album as I write this – incredible.

The spectacular set list (of which even I was surprised at how many songs I knew),
which included his rap from E.T. had the whole hillside on their feet. “Hey Splendour In The Grass, how the f*ck y’all feelin’ make some noise” shouted Kanye. So we did; see he abducted us so he can tell us what to do, what to do, what to do.

With the rumour running rampant through the Twitter channels that Jay-Z was in town, there was definitely a few sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for him to walk out on stage, but as Monster came and went we realised it wasn’t going to happen. Though I was still hopeful he’d rear his head even after the poignant finale Lost In The World and Who Will Survive In America.

One thing you quickly come to realise about Splendour, is that it is exactly what it’s name depicts: an over-the-top, all out onslaught of music made to move the mind to madness as there is no way you can keep your feet on mother earth so best not even try.

Saturday – so much win.
It kicked off with an hour and a half wait for the shower (hygiene is important), followed by the best Gozleme of my life(!). There was a lot more wondering round the spoils of Splendour’s food selection before finding Foster The People, who gave one of the best shows of the festival. Kele kept the party going, playing a lot of Bloc Party tunes amongst his own, which then blurred into The Grates Patience Hodgson stage diving and wrapping up their Amped set with the sexy single Turn Me On.

Sitting patiently on the hill as we waited for The Mars Volta, I’ll admit I did not fully comprehend the intensity that was coming. Seeing them live for the first time, I now fully understand why fans love them so much – so much sex, swagger and screaming, I have never craved a greasy Mexican more in my life (inside festival joke). As one friend pointed out, “when the brother’s were on heroin the shows were even more intense” – how is that even possible? Stocking up on some bevies at the Gold Bar, we proceeded on to the Mix Up stage to close the day off with PNAU. Why has the river flood, still gotta die for someone so why not in a packed tent with PNAU banging out Embrace? Fuckin’ amazing.

Sunday – all good things must come to an end.
After smashing ‘em back in the Smirnoff bar till closing time on Saturday, the ultra early start to Sunday morning came with the sounds of Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall streaming over the hillside from a Coldplay sound check (purposefully played louder than normal volume). A 2 hour line up for the shower later, I was up and over at the Amphitheatre to catch a stage side viewing of Alpine. The Holidays set was next followed by a DJ set from HOOPS (aka Nina Las Vegas and co). Thus followed by yet more food before planting our feet back at Mix Up for the tres French popstress Yelle.

As I said in my tweets, I couldn’t understand much of the lyrics but it didn’t really matter cause the set was nothin’ but tunes. Yelle (Julie Budet) was quite a sight herself, tressed up in a skin tight orangey-red lycra hooded body suit – what a bod (jealous much, um, yeah)!

Sorely walking up the steep climb to the tippy top of the Amphitheatre, we sat ourselves down on our equally as sore arses and settled in for Cloud Control. Just in time, we were treated to a surprise (and hilarious) Circle Of Life video clip from their recently kidded-up bass player, Jeremy Kelshaw with a human avalanche of crazies running up and down the side of hill beside us (to the bands delight). The lightness of mind apparent, we took a little Sunday arvo snooze.

Rebooted I wandered over to join a couple thousand at the GW Mclennan tent in a sing-a-long to Bohemian Rhapsody before Noah & The Whale took the stage (all very impressed by our efforts might I add). L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N sounded out their debut Australian set (which spells out ‘Life Goes On’ I explained to a couple of trippers walking out of the tent beside before their heads exploded). Rejoining the bulk of my posse, I made it back in time to witness a chaotic final 15 minutes of Friendly Fires and their Kiss Of Life closer.

From there it was a mad dash back over to the Amphitheatre for the final EVER (sob) Australian live performance of Pulp. A very chatty Jarvis Cocker charismatically crooned and cracked jokes, comically noting the smell of wafting shit from the ill conceived line of portaloos that ran along the top of the hill. (As it turns out, Pulp and Coldplay produced more shite than Kanye West so a timely ‘dumping’ was required by poo crews during the final 60 minutes of Pulps set.)

A very sad and emotionally ending by the Common People, and Cocker had left the stage “cause we’ve got to get off for Coldplay”, he joked (sort of). Just as emotional was the incredible 90 minute set that followed.

Now I’ve been a fan since they first released Yellow, so you’ll have to forgive me for shedding a tear at finally getting to see a band I’ve loved for so long in such an amazing surrounds, in such a relax state and as the closing act of what had indeed been a splendid weekend (no less). Yes, I welled up when beams of yellow lights flooded the front stage and Yellow streamed out the speakers. Yes, a tear fell during Chris Martin’s corny encore tribute to Amy Winehouse before breaking into Fix You, (hey it was bloody sad she died ok). And yes, I was still quite teary after Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall – their closing song.

Heck, I’m a little teary now that this blog is all finished and my Splendid journey has finally come to a close, well and truly. Well, at least for 2011 anyway.

Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

A Splendid Idea – Part 1

Sitting on the precipice of popping my Splendour In The Grass cherry, I stop to ponder the possibilities of what my weekend music odyssey will look like off paper…

Having been to as many festivals as I have been to in the last 18 months, it’s hard to believe that this is the first time I’ll be venturing up North to experience, what will no doubt be, three full on day of musical enlightenment. Yanking out the tent from the garage shelves, then taking the lazy route and asking my dad to fetch the thingy that inflates the mattresses (and the inflatable mattress), I start to feel that pre packing my camping stuffs is not really the preparation I needed most.

Firstly, the enormity of the musical ear fodder on offer is exhausting. And let’s not even begin to talk about all the other temptations that lay in wait. I’ll admit that I printed off and highlighted my must sees on the line-up pdf months ago, but that list has since become a blur of orange and blue Sharpie which is indecipherable to even the cleverest of code crackers. Clashes and conundrums crowd the cluttered page, what to do, what to do…

Day 1:
The Kills Vs Wild Beasts: So the winner here will be The Kills. I’m basing this on my morbid fascination to see Mr Kate Moss (Jamie Hince) in the flesh, as musically I heart them both equally.

Glasvegas Vs Warpaint: The winners? Warpaint – won’t be many who don’t go to watch these ladies play.

Gotye Vs The Hives: It’s been a few years since I last saw The Hives play live at Lovebox in London of 2008 (spesh), but only a couple months for Goyte who I saw at GTM in April… so you see where I’m going with this.

Kanye West Vs DJ Shadow: It’s Yeezy. Nuff said – sorry Shadow.

Day 2:
Foster The People Vs Sparkadia: I’m praying I have an out-of-body experience at this point so I can be at two places at once.

Regina Spektor Vs Pnau Vs Jane’s Addiction: I’m fucked.

Day 3:
Cut Copy Vs Pulp: Well I suppose I can be greatful this is the only MAJOR clash for the Friday that breaks my hea-aaa-aaa-aaar-rrt (lil Regina Spektor joke). Clearly with the massiveness of their reformation, has to be Pulp. Hands down.

Whilst clearly some decisions have now been made, I have a feeling which ever stage is located next to the Gold Bar is going to get the bulk of my attentions. Let’s pray it’s only a short walk/stumble to each stage…

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Michelle sawyer, July 2011

Superdisco At Prince Bandroom

It’s like Studio 54, plus cats.

Location: Prince Of Wales Hotel, 93 Kerr Street, Fitzroy 3065

Something is happening at The Prince Bandroom. While you won’t find any 70-year-old Disco Sally’s snorting crack off a urinal, you will find big mirrors, lasers, a little latex and some cats (but there’s no need to call the RSPCA just yet). We’re talking about Superdisco; the new super club of Melbourne (and possibly Australia).

When you’re doing interviews with acts like Bag Raiders and they begin to lose their minds at the mere mention of their impending gig at the haunt, you know that something special is happening. Superdisco is single-handedly bringing back the cool to Saturday nights. More like a party than a club, Superdisco does not discriminate when it comes to showing the kids a good time (almost anything goes if you get our drift).

Known for having a fondness for cats, as seen in many of their purr-fectly styled promotional posters, it has the pulling power of a Saturday Night St Kilda Street Worker; soliciting artists such as Calvin Harris, Bag Raiders, Andy Murphy (a Superdisco disciple), Acid Jacks, Drop The Lime and Kid Massive on a regular basis – not to mention the venue’s superstar fans Ke$ha and Steve Aoki who go just for fun. Needless to say, this place goes off like a cat in a bag (figuratively speaking)!

Another kudos for Super-D, is that it has given the beautiful smelly kiss of life back to Prince’s Bandroom; refilling its ample dance floor and dark cosy corners with the sweet scent of sweaty satisfaction it so rightly deserves. St Kilda, in turn, is also witnessing a resurgence of popularity as a Saturday night destination, with Super-D’s classy patrons giving the beachside suburb’s sometimes grubby demeanour a little more glamour.

So if you are in town and happen to get a case of Saturday Night Fever, remember the only cure is Superdisco – but do book your tickets in advance as this place does sell out quicker than trays of hot chicken nuggets at a kids’ food fair.

Michelle Sawyer, February 2011

Toff In Town Band Room

Toff by name, Toff by nature; this venue is as decedent as its title suggests.

Location: Second Floor, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000

Toff’s band room offers all the splendour of the main bar, scaled down to complement the intimately sized stage and dance floor. The bar is situated on the split level deck at the Swanston Street end of the room. As functional and fantastic as the numerous international and local beers it has on tap, you also have the indulgence of being able to order a Toff-tail (or Cocktail as they are more commonly know) which are as tasty as the Toff’s who make them.

But not to be distracted by the drinks, bar tenders and city sights (that’s what the main bar is for), the bar deck provides it’s patrons with some pretty posh views of the stage. The choice view though, is being able to stand at the very front of the stage where you’re so close to the band that you can almost touch them (though touching of the band is not acceptable Toff etiquette).

Toff tends to feature predominately indie and electro billings suitable for it’s smaller, intimate size. Notably it is perfect for an EP launch, as said so on their website. Not hard to see why with the schmoozey surrounds of the main bar just a short stumble across the main entrance.

Michelle Sawyer, April 2010

Sanderson Jones – Taking Liberties

If a show comes with a warning on the flyer, it’s for a good reason – so read it.

It’s refreshing to see that not all Comedians follow the unspoken censored “PC” humour rule of today. No truer is that than with Sanderson Jones. Clearly the English lad has done his research, pigeonholing us to a tee (Earl Grey, most likely). The borderline Gen Y, who still lives with his dad, is quite the connoisseur when it comes to the emoticon and is pushing social media to its limits (not to mention Venn diagrams).

So why the warning? Two reasons: Chat Roulette and Brooke Shields. If you can get past that, he’s well worth the late-night watch; and best of all, it’s free. He does stand by the door on the way out though, which makes it a bit awkward if you’re going to stiff him on a tip but with a quality performance worthy of a billing at the Town Hall you really wouldn’t want to.

Michelle Sawyer, April 2011

Stereosonic 2010 Shows How It’s Done

Sun, sailboats, sore ankles and some WOOP WOOP!

Stereosonic is rather difficult to put into words (partly because I’m personally finding it tricky to concentrate past the stinging sensation of pain I’m still feeling in my feet courtesy of bloody mosquitoes), but let’s have a crack…

It starts with Swedish House Mafia’s One during Congorock’s set. The dancing shoes now set to go, we head over to watch Afrojack at the Carl Cox & Friends stage. Standing up front, we take a collective jump as the ticking clock of Warp kicks over. People are fist-pumping like we’re punching swarms of mosquitoes (which are suckling at my ankles, the dirty buggers). With what could be one of the best sets of the day, we are treated to the worldwide debut of Afrojack and Tiesto’s new collaboration sensation which they’d produced in Melbourne during the tour, (Afrojack literally finishing the opus the morning before his set).

The Strongbow Sailboat to the rear produces an epidemic of inflatable green and white beach balls which bounce over our heads. As the sun continued to burn above capacity crowds, the semi-clothed kids keep their shirts on as the strict ‘No Shirt’ policy is strongly enforced by security. The nearly two hour long set draws to an end, but not before Afrojack throws in Swedish House Mafia’s One. We then shuffle on over to the Outrage stage to be demolished by Casper’s demonic dubstep.

As we threw our heads and bodies forward to the bass, Casper plays a dubstep version of Swedish House Mafia’s One (didn’t see that coming). Sweating like monkeys on acid, we step out of Outrage and into the Showbag stage for a chilled set from 1928 & Sleeves. My friend Rach forks out $20 for a Smirnoff (what a sucker). We snort some Nando’s chips, suck up the pain of our sore ankles and shoot over to see Ricardo Villalobos at the Sneakerpimps stage which thankfully had a squashy carpet floor and some seats.

The day is nearly done, but not before it’s time for our major attraction, Major Lazer. Diplo does not disappoint. The man is so damn sexy that even my straight pals Pete and JD openly admit they would have a crack, after he whips off his gentlemen’s shirt and jacket before slipping into a snug singlet. Onstage their MC Skerrit Boy and police-uniformed dancer grind, spin and bounce off everything from the speakers to the set scaffolding to each other.

Major Lazer then precedes to drop their reggae remix of Swedish House Mafia’s One (I have a feeling it must have been written into everyone’s contracts). Diplo pauses the track as a now shirtless Skerrit screams out “Wait a minute… I think someone’s about to get pregnant. Does anyone want to have my baby? We need girls on the stage now!” Security is flooded with a barrage of boobs eager to shake their semi-naked bods for the Major Lazer boys. Poor security, they never stood a chance, not to mention the amusement I’m having watching them struggle to keep a multitude of pesky pink balloons away from the speakers.

A final sexually explicit shout-out from Skerrit Boy “Anyone who wants to have sex with me tonight, I’ll be at Meerkat” and Major Lazer set (and Stereosonic 2010) is sadly over; but not before stage front stragglers are treated to a surprise meet-and-greet from Diplo himself (pays to stay a big longer after the set people).

I give it a week before me and my feet are friends again.

Michelle Sawyer, December 2010

Sizzling Hot Barbeque 2011 Review

Bros, loos and sneaky backstage views.

A two-hour drive, slight parking detour and game of entry gate ping-pong (“better put that in the review” I say to photographer Lauren), we arrive and dive into the sea of flesh that is Hot Barbeque 2011.

First up, is Bluejuice. The boys merrily join in the celebration of the sun, stripping down to their bare chests and fluffy-tight-white lycra leggings; energetically swinging their mics and sweating profusely. But hell, who isn’t? The rest of us at the aptly named Mixed Grill stage roast as we watch and jump blissfully along with the boys. Stepping out to the side, the ample fields of Point Nepean provide plenty of room for the more tender pieces of meat to relax and soak up the musical juices of the day.

A refreshing, free Lipton Ice Tea down the hatch, (“better put that in the review” I say to Lauren), we meander across to the Lamb Chop stage for a hearty performance by Boy & Bear. Bromance is in the air; Dave and Killian exchanging knowing glances to one another on stage whilst shirtless dudes wrap their beefy arms around their mate’s sweaty shoulders in unison

We make the right move of taking a toilet break in prep for a steamy Roger Sanchez set. We make the wrong move of accidently opening an unlocked, but occupied toilet! (“Should I put that in the review?” I ask Lauren). Roger does not disappoint, showing no signs of fatigue from his previous five- hour set from the night before. Justice’s We Are Your Friends and Eurhythmics Sweet Dreams are particular highlights.

We break out over to Lamb Chop to catch Gypsy & The Cat, just in time to see them launch into Jona Vark. Roger’s crowd hangs around Mixed Grill for Molly Meldrum’s DJ set of pure 90’s pop rock. Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer goes down like tomato sauce on a hot sausage. Lauren scabs a chip from some bro’s we keep bumping into (“better put that in the review” I say to Lauren), as we wander over to the Fried Onion stage to catch the tail end of a sexy set by Aaron Trotman Vs Nick Young.

As the sun starts to slip away as the night merges into massive sets by the Hoodoo Gurus, Jamie Robbie Reyne, DJ Peril & NFA MC, and Nick Foley & Feenix Prawl. Somewhere between is a giant prime rib of anticipation and anxiousness for the MIA man of the moment Mos Def. Like the true hip-hop star that he is, Mos Def shows, making the possibly nervous promoters very happy with his high energy and incredibly entertaining set. We slip out the side and behind the main stage with the rest of the paps, having a wander around to watch John Course from behind the Fried Onion stage before sneaking over to see the last of Grafton Primary at Lamb Chop.

Not sure if we were supposed to do that (“better not put that in the review” I say to Lauren).

Michelle Sawyer, January 2011

Roaring Soundwave 2011 Review

Ten good reasons why Soundwave is a winner…

In a year that has seen the dominance of the dance festival, it’s interesting to see that one that sells out (literally not figuratively) did not have one single DJ on the line-up. Hard to say what the clincher is that made Melbourne’s Soundwave so great, so rather than bang my head about it, I will digress back to the day that was to try and discover the unknown element of Soundwave’s success…

1. Youth vote:

You’ve got to add in that this was an event open to those as young as 15, who would normally be left to watch all the action via Video Hits on a Saturday morning.

2. Aged vote:

The bonus effect of the underage limit was a few of the young’uns parents tagged along, ah we mean “chaperoned”; which was really just a good excuse to relive their own youth. And why not when old faithfuls like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Gang Of Four are in the line-up.

3. Iron Maiden: Nuff said.

4. Metal fans are really just ordinary, everyday people:

There is a gross misconception that the metal community are simply a bunch of meatheads. Not so. They are actually some of the most friendly and approachable people you could ever meet. There are also numerous studies which have shown that people who listen to metal are in fact smarter than the average person, hence why the blue collar world of the CBD was dead come Friday afternoon…

5. Brilliant disabled facilities:
In front of the grandstand was a cleverly erected platform (with ramp) for wheelchair punters. One of whom managed to get himself hoisted by security onto the stage with Queens Of The Stone Age thanks to some impressive crowd-surfing, accompanied by a well-earned swig of Josh Homme’s Belvedere Vodka.

6. Well sectioned bar areas:

Was nice to have play areas just for the big kids. The numerous lines for drinker’s wrist bands, drink tokens and then actual drinks, made sure only the truly dedicated-to-their-drop types actually got drunk. Most of the crowd just stuck to regular soft drinks.

7. Down to earth bands without any delusions of grandeur:

You could have forgiven Jared Leto for wanting to walk off stage after some lone knob hurled a red Converse shoe at him – instead he coolly chose to call it like it was (“You crazy little mother f***ers”) and demand for everyone with a mohawk to get up on stage for their final song Kings And Queens. Say what you will about pretty boy Leto, but that act was rather endearing to even the most vocal of Thirty Seconds To Mars haters.

8. Melbourne just rocks!

Just about every band honestly and openly toted that the city of Melbourne and the crowd “Kicked Sydney in the balls” as Less Than Jake put it. The energy and dedication of the alternative community ensured punks, goths and metal enthusiasts alike partied hard but humbly together, as one.

9. The dancing:
Unlike with dance festivals, you don’t actually need to know how to dance to ‘dance’ to this music. The most challenging style being the skank (sort of like a hi-octane skip), a mosh which is really just throwing oneself around from side- to-side as you rebound off, up and then over your fellow mosher, and a circle. Well, this one’s fairly self-explanatory… you run around in a massive circle.

10. Simple outfits:
While the memo was certainly to ‘wear black’, where the only fashion concern was who’s mohawk was higher, or who’s hair colour was brighter. The crowd opted to go casual; most in blue jeans and a black t-shirt featuring a favourite band (for the most part of which were Iron Maiden), and who cared less as to the weather conditions or if in fact that shirt got ripped. No traditional festival fashionistas here (ok there were like five, it was more like a game of Where’s Wally to spot them in the sea of black; coincidentally Where’s Wally actually did attend Soundwave Melbourne, check the gallery at

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011