Soundwave. One of the days I look forward to most every year. It’s a day of live music, crowds, moshing, dancing, craziness and fun. This year marked my fourth Soundwave festival and I arrived with high expectations – the past three years I had such an amazing time, so this year had to be the same, right? Wrong.

I’m not saying that I wish I didn’t go, or that I didn’t enjoy myself, because of course I am glad that I went and overall it was a good day. It just wasn’t the amazing day I have come to expect from Soundwave after my previous experiences.

I started the day at Dragonforce, who I had never heard of, but I was with a friend who wanted to see them. They were far from something I would usually listen to, but they were entertaining so it was a good start. Even that early I noticed that the crowd seemed thicker than usual but couldn’t figure out why when there are only a certain amount of tickets that can be sold. I realised on the walk across the grounds to see Periphery – who were absolutely fantastic, so I’m glad I made it to their set! – that it was because unlike previous years, the bars were not fenced off so that 18+ patrons who wanted to drink were secluded from the rest of the crowd. They could walk into a bar, buy drinks, then wander around from stage to stage drinking them. While I’m sure these people appreciated not being caged like animals, it took away from my experience because I was almost constantly surrounded by drunk people behaving like idiots.

From Periphery I ventured over to the main stages for Bullet For My Valentine – one of my must-see bands of the day. It was the third time I had seen them live and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They played more songs off their new album ‘Temper Temper’ than I expected, considering it only came out in Australia a week or two before the festival, but the crowd responded well. The big hits were there and the performance made me wish I had been able to afford to attend their sideshow the night before to see them play a headline set. I eagerly await their next tour down under.

I had a bit of time to kill before my next band so it was nice to wander around a little bit and see what was around. There were more little stores set up than I recall previously, so I looked around a bit, but it wasn’t really practical to buy anything – even if I had the money to – because you’d have to carry it around all day. I’m sure other people didn’t mind though. Eventually I made my way over to stage 2 for Billy Talent.

Billy Talent did a headline tour of Australia just last year, so I knew what to expect from their set. It was high-energy and a little wild, and they played all of the favourites. I hung back out of the mosh so I could just enjoy them and I think that was a good idea. They had played Soundwave back in 2009 and referenced this fact a couple of times. Hopefully they’ll be back sooner rather than later.

I left my festival buddy at stage 2 after Billy Talent and made a mad-dash across to the complete opposite side of the grounds for one of my other must-see bands: All Time Low. These guys get a lot of hate for being a ‘kiddy band’ but they’re fantastic pop-punkers and I adore them. At some point I had started feeling quite disheartened. Even though the bands I had seen were fantastic, I wasn’t enjoying the atmosphere and the whole day felt off from what I had expected. All Time Low basically saved my day. I decided that I had to cheer myself up, so I made my way right into the middle of the mosh, determined to have my mood improved and within a couple of songs I was feeling much better. I regretted the fact that I still haven’t bought their new album, but it didn’t matter too much. They played a few of my favourites and I had a great time.

From there I went back to stage 2 where I remained for the rest of the festival, apart from a brief visit to the main stage to see a bit of Metallica before heading home. I saw Paramore, who I have never been a huge fan of, but they played such a tight live set that I think I’ll have to give them another chance. Lead-singer Hayley hit every, single note and I was very impressed. After Paramore was Garbage, who I couldn’t recall actually having heard of before, but after a few songs I recognised I realised I did know them after all. They were surprisingly good – and when I mean incredibly good – so I’m glad I saw them, even if it wasn’t intentional. Next was my number one must-see band of the day: Blink 182.

The last time Blink 182 toured Australia I was 16-years-old and lucky enough to attend their Brisbane show. I have never forgotten that night and watching them perform again at Soundwave made me feel like I was 16 all over again. They played a few songs from their most recent album ‘Neighbourhoods’ which was awesome, and then they played all of their biggest hits. My favourites were there, my friends favourites were there; I’m pretty sure everyone in the crowd had an amazing time. There was a fair amount of online hate directed their way over the whole Travis not being able to come saga (you can read what I wrote about it here) but in the end I don’t think it really made any difference who their drummer was for the night. Obviously having Travis there would’ve been great, but they managed just fine without him.

The only band I regret missing was Linkin Park because I have heard nothing but good reviews. Overall it did end up being a good day, but it wasn’t a great day. I left on my Blink 182 high and I think I’m still coming down from that. Not sure when/if they’ll ever be back again, so I’ll be holding onto these feelings as long as possible!

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