The full line-up for Soundwave is set to be announced Friday night, Australia time, and given that's not far away it must be time for some indulgent, vaguely-informed speculation about what the final line-up might look like.
A small cross-section of the bands playing have already been announced/leaked through either promoter AJ Maddah (notoriously good at drip-feeding the punters) or the artists themselves. Full list is here, but suffice to say that even with only around 15 of 60 bands and no headliners announced as yet, it's already looking pretty damned good.
I'm particularly excited for Mastodon - both for their older stuff and The (mighty) Hunter - but I'll be keen to check out Hellyeah and Machine Head too. And whilst I'm not that familiar with their material, I think I'd also have to investigate Devin Townsend, Trivium, and Coal Chamber (who are reforming exclusively for the festival). That's always been one of Soundwave's great strengths... rather than end up having to kill time between bands, there are plenty of great bands to check out and often some tough decisions to make.
Anyway, even without any headliners and only a small proportion of its final lineup, it's still better than a certain other increasingly shit festival that
has Soundgarden as its sole redeeming feature. I'd actually picked
Soundgarden to show up at Soundwave - given recent bills have included
the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains and Jane's Addiction - but
I guess I got that one wrong.
And this is where I get into said speculation. I reckon Pearl Jam could be the main headliner. They have no scheduled dates for 2012 yet and, importantly, Soundgarden have no dates scheduled after Big Day Out, because until someone invents a cloning machine I'm pretty sure Matt Cameron can't play in both bands simultaneously (he's a superhuman drummer, just not THAT superhuman). The main headliner is, according to AJ, neither metal nor punk, and he has been mysteriously silent when asked if Pearl Jam are coming (which isn't a yes, but he has had no problem telling people which artists AREN'T coming). And Pearl Jam are currently doing some twenty-year anniversary shows, which sort of ties in with Soundwave's recent successes in booking headliners on "landmark" tours - Nine Inch Nails' farewell tour, Faith No More's reunion tour. Anyway, here's hoping, and in the meantime, here's a great obscure Pearl Jam song about a cannibal that I'd love to hear them play:
They might seem a little mainstream for what is fundamentally a metal / punk festival, but Soundwave have a very good track record for getting headliners that appeal to their core punters whilst also attracting a wider audience.
Anyway, it's also been claimed that the line-up will be the biggest metal line-up that isn't The Big Four. There was a bit of speculation about Metallica, but that's been squashed, Slayer came this year (albeit with some illness problems), and I'd love to see Megadeth but I suspect they'll be busy with Gigantour. Anthrax are possible, but well, they aren't in the league of the other three.
Following the 'big metal' theme, Lamb of God and Slipknot also seem possible, as were Opeth until they announced early December dates in Australia.
Judas Priest also seemed likely - particularly given that they were lined-up for the aborted Soundwave Revolution - but they were nixed via AJ's twitter account. Which is a shame, and here's why:
Slipknot have been touted, and there were some rumblings today about Marilyn Manson, Offspring and Evanescence. This was a little interesting because given Hole have already (unfortunately) been confirmed and there's plenty of speculation about Limp Bizkit - all up that's a lot of 90's throwback action, although not (totally) without merit.
Another name mentioned is Duff McKagan's Loaded - I've enjoyed both their albums and would certainly make a point of checking them out.
Truth is though, Soundwave have always done a great job in the past of keeping their aces up their sleeve, sneaking a few good names out there in advance and then exceeding (high) expectations in the full line-up announcement. There's every chance that there are some great bands coming that haven't yet found their way into the rumour mill (e.g. Deftones).
Pearl Jam would be a highlight though. They were stunning in 2009 and I'd love to see them again.