This week's list of favorites is dedicated to Soundwave - my favorite Australian music festival. I've lived in Australia for six years, and this will be my fifth Soundwave to attend. It is a rock fan's festival. Sure, there are critics. A lot of the criticism I read seem to be from those that love to find something to whine and gripe about. My opinion is: if you don't like the line-up or the festival, then don't go. Bitching and complaining over and over and over again is tiresome. You can never, ever make everyone happy. With a mix of grunge to power pop, metal to punk, plus industrial, alternative, shock, and rap rock, I think this festival is as good of a annual rock festival as a rock fan could ask for. Bands come from the US to Japan, Sweden to Mexico, Scotland to Canada, and mix it up with some homegrown Aussie rock. Soundwave Sydney is this weekend, and I'm ready!
1. Favorite guitarist ever: Slash - After previously playing Soundwave a few years ago, he's back this year with the uber-talented Myles Kennedy again singing lead vocals. His solo stuff is solid and his live shows are sprinkled with Guns 'N' Roses and Velvet Revolver songs as well.
2. Favorite shirt purchased at a Soundwave: this Social Distortion shirt
3. Favorite headliner show that I wasn't expecting to be my favorite: Avenged Sevenfold - Last year, Green Day was closing the show on the main stage while A7X were co-headliners. I was happy with my decision to see the rock show that M.Shadows and the boys gave, complete with lots if pyro!
4. Favorite band on the 2015 line-up that I hadn't listened to before Soundwave introduced them to me: Nothing More. I bought their entire album and enjoy every single song. I'm getting there early to see these guys.
5. Favorite grunge era band that is still going strong: Alice In Chains - with two of the original members dead from drug overdoses, you might be skeptical that this band could still hold it's weight. I've seen them at two separate Soundwaves and was reminded that some of their songs will always remain the best of this era. Plus, their new stuff is good too.
6. Favorite single song performance to see at Soundwave: Nine Inch Nails closed out Soundwave a few years back, 2009 maybe. They ended with the hauntingly brilliant song "Hurt".
7. Favorite band that I've seen at Soundwave that I'm ready to come back to SW: Shinedown - The vocals, the musicianship, the songs are all stellar. Last time, they played to a small but mighty crowd on a small stage. They need bigger stage, bigger crowd.
8. Favorite way to mix it up with the kids these days: Fall Out Boy - Slipknot and Smashing Pumpkins will be playing on different stages at the same time as FOB. That's right. I'll be bouncing and jumping and singing-along with the kids and FOB.
9. Favorite accessible promoter: AJ Maddah - This guy gets A LOT of grief; people complain about all sorts of things and blame him for the world's problems sometimes. But, you know what? In this world of social media, he is SO accessible to the ticket buyers, fans, and bands. He answers questions on twitter from what bands are booked, to how tickets can be purchased, to what items are allowed to be brought into the premises (many of the questions asked can be found on Soundwave's website). He issues set times and allows feedback from the fans and makes adjustments when feasible. On the day of the event, he acts on issues from over-inflated prices of water to out of hand security guards to reacting to the current craze of selfie sticks and their interference with other fans (see below). Suggestions get made on social media (like a place for older patrons or injured or disabled patrons to have a break during the day) and creates a "Comfort Zone" tent based on the requests. Plus, he is a real rock fan. He gives props and kudos to the bands as they perform. I applaud this guy. As I said before, you're never going to make every single person happy all the time.
10. Favorite live band that I finally get to see at Soundwave: Papa Roach! - I started seeing these guys live when they released their very first big hit "Last Resort"...and I kept seeing them again, and again, and again. I was never disappointed. The energy is electric, and I've missed them. Sunday, we will be reunited!