Words and Pics: Ben Hosking – www.hoskingindustries.com.au
What a freakin’ line up! Tonight’s Soundwave sideshow has sold out Luna Park’s Big Top and had punters lining up around the venue since 9am. It’s hardly surprising when you have Nu Metal legends Korn and comic super villain Rob Zombie headlining the same bill.
Opening tonight’s festivities are the masked crazies Mushroomhead. While their sound may not completely live up to their evil image, they offer an interesting three vocal assault, combining rap, screams and melodic vocals over a thickened bed of crushing riffs and soaring choruses. Tonight’s performance quickly whips up the early crowd, with all three singers launching into the crowd at one point.
This reviewer was on hand at the Hordern Pavilion many, many moons ago when Korn first toured this country. They band was a total revelation at the time, leading the way for an army of rip-off nu metal bands. The last time we saw them was on the ‘Life is Peachy’ tour, possibly also before some readers were out of nappies. So, it was with some excitement that we watched them stride onto the spacious Big Top stage to deafening applause and kick right into a career-spanning set that opened with an electric rendition of ‘Falling Away From Me’.
The smell of weed wafted over the mosh pit barrier as Jonathan Davis and co. churned through classics like ‘Got the Life’, ‘Good God’ and ‘Shoots and Ladders’ (no doubt the only time you’ll ever see a bagpipe player get the devil horns from the crowd!). They definitely warmed up, becoming more energised as the hour-long set progressed and even included a track from the experimental dubstep album, almost bringing the roof down thanks to the extreme bottom end. Indeed, drummer Ray Luzier is a powerhouse behind the kit, smashing the skins for the duration while still staying true to David Silvera’s parts on the classic material. Brian ‘Head’ Welch also seems to have gelled right back into things.
Overall, it was a phenomenal performance, with the classic tracks garnering the greatest reaction from both the audience and the band.
If Mushroomhead consists of eight comic book villains, then Rob Zombie and his cohorts are the devil incarnate. They band walks out onto a stage lined with two-storey images of all the greatest super villains, setting the tone for tonight’s show. There may not be any pyro or go-go dancers, but the band is in full regalia and the stage production perfectly sets the mood and the crowd laps it up.
It’s a strong set list, full of tracks covering Zombie’s catalogue to date, including a stupendous performance of ‘More Human Than Human’ (has there ever been a better one-chord song?). Zombie himself never stops moving, as he leaps across his three risers at the front of the stage that help them all seem much larger than life, as well as allowing everyone in the audience to see perfectly no matter where they are. He might get a little out of breath at times, but that’s what true stage craft is all about.
Despite bearing his name, Rob Zombie is no one-man show. Each of the band members has pedigree and work the stage as if it were theirs. Guitarist John 5 has a commanding presence as he grinds out the tunes on his collection of telecasters, while bassist Piggy D screams and contorts his backing vocals out from stage left. Drummer Ginger Fish should be familiar, also sharing stage time with Marilyn Manson at one point (like John 5). Together, their performance is basically flawless and the full house spills out into the night air wasted and happy (some more than others!).