Soundwave 2011 @ RNA Showgrounds, 26.02.2011: Part 2

Although the day had ended triumphantly with Iron Maiden’s headline set, the beginning of the day gets off to a much more inauspicious start. I get to the front of the queue at the Guest Tickets booth to pick up my photo pass only to find it’s just a green paper wristband with “Photo” written on it; no fancy laminate or sticky photo pass to stick on me, that’s it. I’m there before the start to make sure I’ve got in and am ready for the first main band of the day on the main stage, MXPX/The Ataris. Only the security guard at the entrance to the photo pit is having none of it. “You need a wristband and a laminate”. “But they weren’t giving out any laminates. None of the photographers have got them, just wristbands”. “Well they’re not going to be allowed in”. So I traipse all the way back through the site and out to the box office. By now the queue is a lot longer and, creeping towards midday, it’s a lot hotter standing in the sun. I find some of the other photographers in the queue with the same problem as me, only the box office are telling us what we already knew, that there are no laminates, only the wristbands and that this information is being conveyed to security and everything will be ok when we get back in. By now any chance of even seeing MXPX/The Ataris is long gone.

After getting back into the site, it’s straight off to Stage 5 for Bayside. The band on before them is running really late though, almost 10 minutes overtime. It’s not a great start, getting behind the timetable after one band. Then I find out I’m actually stood at the wrong stage and have managed a strike rate of 0/2 so far. I am at the right stage for the start of The Sword’s set though and don’t have any problems getting into the photo pit this time around. The Sword aren’t very exciting though but at least I’m off and running.

Next up are Feeder on Stage 2. It was funny to see the timetable for the day and see Feeder playing so early in the day, when they’re quite big back in the UK, or at least were. (checking out their Wikipedia page they’ve had seven Top Twenty albums, although their last album, Renegades, was their first album not to go Top 10, and 20 Top 40 singles, so the present tense is correct).  Having seen them live a couple of times, albeit a long time ago, they were never that good a live band.  For me it was another case of a three-piece desperately needing to be a four piece when they play live, with an extra guitarist to help fill out the sound.  Today is no different, plus they don’t really play the ‘Greatest Hits’ set that I would have expected them to play and include a Nirvana cover (Breed) in their set.  On top of that, there’s such a defeatist attitude from Grant Nicholas.  “Thanks for coming to see us, shame there’s not a few more of you but that’s how it goes”, he says at one point early on in their set and follows it up later by dedicating a song to Monster Magnet’s fans who are waiting over on the other side of the main stage in advance of Monster Magnet’s set starting straight after Feeder. “You can come over here and watch us if you like”, he implores the Monster Magnet fans, “It’s not very far”.  It’s a bit sad to see really but maybe they’ve just become used to playing to playing to bigger crowds in the UK over the years.

Last time I photographed Monster Magnet it was at The Hi-Fi and so was the usual frustrating experience of trying to get a few decent shots in poor lighting.  Playing in the brilliant sunshine of the early afternoon means there’s no lighting problems this time around.  The only problem is trying not to only focus on photographing bassist Jim Baglino as he pulls out all the rock moves, throwing his bass all over the place.  Singer Dave Wyndorf impressively wears his brown leather jacket throughout, despite the heat of the afternoon.

Bullet For My Valentine are one of those classic generation gap bands.  They’re terrible beyond words, awful, awful, awful and yet are playing to what eventually transpires to be one of the biggest crowds of the day.  Looking at the assembled masses I’m guessing that Brisbane’s CBD, and in particular the areas outside Hungry Jacks and Rocking Horse, will be fairly empty today.  Photographing the crowd is considerably more interesting that photographing what’s on the stage .






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