Soundwave. Picture: Victoria Ciesiolka

4 stars
Arena Joondalup
Monday, March 3
REVIEW Sam JeremicM

WA punk, metal and hard- rock fans had to make hay while the sun shone on Monday with news Soundwave would be following the Big Day Out on a one-way ticket out of Perth.

The announcement certainly didn't stop punters having a grand old time at Arena Joondalup. Put simply - and in a sign of how upsetting it is that it won't be returning - Soundwave is heavy music heaven.

Indicating how crammed the bill was, stadium-filling Scots Biffy Clyro hit the main stage at 11.45am. But the Bif rewarded the early risers and by the time the soaring Mountains closed their set, the day was off to a bright start.

Californian icons Testament truly got the collected masses' head-banging juices flowing for the day and were the first of many acts to voice their anger at Soundwave leaving Perth. They dropped a great early-afternoon set full of classic thrash before intergalactic fiends GWAR drew a big crowd looking to be entertained and covered in litres upon litres of fake blood.

Yes, the band's controversy- attracting stunt of beheading a life-size Tony Abbott got a run, complete with witty send-off ("You're nothing without Costello") but if you're offended by that then you really don't want to know about the treatment dished out to Queen Elizabeth II.

The main arena had filled up considerably as the sun started to descend towards the horizon. A Day to Remember made their name mixing metalcore with pop punk and clearly it struck a chord - the five-piece from Florida garnered the biggest mosh pit of the day to that point thanks to pretty/ pit-worthy tunes like Violence.

That said, Korn went mighty close. Nu-metal has aged about as well as a chicken breast left in the sun for a few days but a whole lot of folks were keen to get up for old time's sake.

You could paint Alice in Chains with the same nostalgia brush - there were many Gen Xers high-fiving in elation to songs from their youth - though the Seattle veterans have continued to put out quality albums in recent years and the new stuff was right at home among classics like Man in the Box.

Festival headliners hitting the stage before the sun is down are rare but Green Day had a big night on stage in front of them: three hours, in fact.

Not many bands could manage that but fortunately the pop-punk stalwarts have so many hit songs to drop in that, when coupled with Billie Joe Armstrong's performance as ringleader, they can pull it off - just.

As enjoyable as their set was, too many tracks were extended so Armstrong could engage with the crowd via the age-old "Heeyyyy-hoooo" call and response trick - it was a touch overdone.

Still the longer set allowed long-time fans to enjoy treats like 2000 Light Years Away from 1992's Kerplunk and live rarities like Redundant.

A three-hour slot could be too long for a festival but it allowed punters to check out other acts and then return to Billie Joe and co.

As on the previous times they all appeared at Soundwave, French metallers Gojira crushed all before them, the Dillinger Escape Plan made their audience fear for their safety (in a good way) and Rob Zombie used campy theatrics to dress up what are mostly pretty average tunes.

Soundwave's time in Perth ended with Green Day finishing their marathon three-encore stint on the main stage with Good Riddance, Avenged Sevenfold's fireworks lighting up the night sky and the final notes ringing out from Mastodon's awesome Blood and Thunder.

But the usual exhausted post-festival happiness quickly gave way to more than a bit of sadness and questions over when and how WA heavy-music lovers would have another day like it in their own backyard.

The West Australian

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