Yesterday I attended my third Soundwave Festival in four years – and it was without doubt the best one yet. AJ Maddah’s all-killer, no-filler line-up proved to be heaven for heavy music fans – and it’s left me and countless other punters nursing a sore neck today from all the headbanging.
This year’s event saw more festivalgoers and more acts than ever before – and with that comes even more mosh pits, fight circles and walls of death. Out of the 10 or so acts I saw yesterday – here are the five that I believe were causing the craziest antics with the crowd.
1. Limp Bizkit
You know you’re doing a good job when you have a giant circle pit opening up… and it’s happening on the stage next door. Following some chaos and hold-ups from the crowd-controllers at the entrance to the tacky D-barrier system, those able to get in were ushered off into the vacant stage area next door being prepped for Marilyn Manson. The result: hundreds of Limp Bizkit fans loosing their marbles in the front pocket of the pit – and going just-as, if not harder than those in the main mosh in front of the stage.
Not sure if any other bands had previously done this on the tour – but the Connecticut hardcore heroes pulled off a bit of Soundwave history by getting their circle pit so big – it stretched around the sound desk. It was the highlight of a brutal set, which saw fight circles, crazy dancing and headbanging spread out all over the place.
3. Heaven Shall Burn
Is 1.30pm too early to pull off a wall of death? Clearly, German heavy-metallers Heaven Shall Burn didn’t think so. They set the bar high by instigating not one, but two of the apocalyptic pit sequences during their half-hour set. And bookending both of those was a flurry of circle pits and pushing and shoving to match their slammin’ tunes.
4. Lamb Of God
Due to scheduling clashes, I regrettably only got to see the first half of the Virginia thrashers set before crowd-surfing my way out. But in the time I was there, Lamb Of God were at their ferocious best – with tunes from their new album Resolution receiving an almost-as-chaotic reaction as some of their old hits. Rumour has it they closed as always with a wall of death during Black Label – which would have been bone-shatteringly epic.
Even though I wasn’t up the front – I can just imagine how bonkers Slipknot would have been for those who were, especially when the Iowa metal monsters got the whole park to sit down and spring back up to life during Spit It Out. And any stunt involving band members climbing scaffolding and jumping into the crowd from several metres up in the air is just calling for chaos.
Honourable Mentions: Meshuggah, Unearth, Machine Head.