Soundwave 2011 – Brisbane [Live Review]

Soundwave 2011; A culmination of metal bands from around the globe unite and embark on a tour to end all others as the sun sets on Australia’s summer festival season. One year on, Soundwave organisers have again outdone themselves arranging all aspects of such a high scaled event to ensure all are satisfied with the days experience.

Situated once more at Brisbane’s RNA showgrounds the venue area this year is enlarged as additional stages have been added. There are 8 in total this season allowing for a very broad ranging choice in bands available to be viewed at any given time of day.

As to be expected, all are not without complaint. Fault in any aspect of the day if picked up on, can be put down simply to the fact that festivals are progressively expanding. Gone are the days of personalised experiences with your favourite artists as we see the more established of our festival outfits increase in capacity each year. More stages are added and more venue space provided equaling more tickets sold and less of a personalised experience for those willing to pay the 160 odd dollars for a place on the lawn. Memory still recall’s a day when you could walk through the gates, party supplies and all with minimal to no hassle, for around 50 bucks.

Mishaps aside, this years line up could have arguable have been Soundwave’s best ever. Competing against last year’s headliners Faith no More, and Alice In Chains / Nine Inch nails the year prior, 2011’s headliners Iron Maiden makes this year, the crème’ de la crème’ of SW line ups to date. Soundwave posted a comment on their page in the lead up to the festival stating “No one band is bigger than the event”. Surprisingly, as Iron Maiden are readying to take the stage, a large number of patrons decide to forgo seeing the masters play and make an early exit to avoid queuing for public transport. SW were right, there is no one band bigger than the festival itself. Old timers Slayer, Primus and Monster Magnet also appear on this year’s line up, all providing full interesting and organised sets. Primus were noted to have not played a lot of their singles, disappointing and confusing to some. Majority of bands played well established and practiced sets generating a most entertaining day.

As with years previous and exacerbated by the larger crowd capacity, the valley and surrounding hot spots were packed by early a.m with mobile phone reception nonexistent by midday- in and out of the venue. Well organised entry access and flowing ques make it easy to get inside and out without a hitch. Updated time tables were handed out meticulously at the the gates by volunteers only to eager to contribute and food is easily found if you decide to have a bite to eat. Merchandising was not as organised as it could have been. Certain merch was only found in certain tents, so if (like me) you spent an hour getting to one, lining up and realising there’s nothing you wanted in this tent it’s a little bit frustrating.

The 8 stages provided saw the venue area span across two sections of the RNA. The additional stages a great idea as long as you’ve accounted for the distance between, and time taken to reach those stages farthest from each other during festival peak hour.

At every stage, for almost every set a more than reasonable turn out presented. Exceptions for Primus, High on Fire and The Bronx were noted. Clashing time tables perhaps, or just maybe a lack of interest.

Once again Soundwave have by far outdone themselves. Yet I do honestly think it’s time for a re-evaluation of large scaled events such as our ever growing list of Australian Music Festivals. There is no doubt that punters are and will continue to pay asking prices for tickets. But do they remain happy with the experiences these tickets provide to them? Since the inception of all ages events alone it’s become harder and harder for the over 18’s to enjoy the odd beer as they walk the venue in it’s entirety. The implementation of sectioned off drinking areas drastically detracts from the happy go lucky atmosphere you should be party too at an event of this nature.

So, perhaps it’s time for a petition Brisbane. What do we want to see changed? What do we expect from an event of this size? What needs to be done to ensure we, as punters, get the most from our festival? Let us know Brisbane we’d love to help!

* Crowd @ Soundwave Brisbane 2011 [Photos]
* Iron Maiden @ Soundwave Brisbane – 26 February 2011 [Photo Gallery]
* Slash, Queens Of The Stone Age, 30 Seconds To Mars @ Soundwave Brisbane 2011 – 26 February 2011 [Photo Gallery]
* Slayer, Rob Zombie, Primus, One Day As A Lion @ Soundwave Brisbane 2011 – 26 February 2011 [Photo Gallery]
* Murderdolls, DevilDriver, Stone Sour, Sevendust, 36 Crazyfists, Bullet For My Valentine, Feeder @ Soundwave Brisbane 2011 – 26 February 2011 [Photo Gallery]