Monday, January 9, 2012

A few things to look forward to...

It's early days yet, but 2012 is already shaping up pretty nicely on the concert front.  So far, I've got the following lined up.

Seether, Logan Campell Centre, Auckland, 10/2/12
I can't name any of their songs, though no doubt I'd probably recognize some of their singles if I heard them.  But, I'm looking forward to checking out this show with the Epitomy of Culture, because it should make for a good start to a Friday night, plus I think the experience of hearing an unfamiliar band play unfamiliar songs will be interesting.  Maybe I'll like them, maybe not.  But still, it should be fun either way.

Rogers Waters, The Wall Live, Vector Arena, Auckland, 22/2/12
The Wall is certainly not my favorite Floyd album, but this promises to be a pretty impressive live spectacle all the same.  30-odd years and modern technology have arguably given Waters the ability and experience to perform this show to the standard he originally envisaged.  It's sparked an unprecedented level of interest here too - selling out four nights at Vector Arena which is certainly a record locally and matched only on the current tour by Madison Square Garden.  Guess we New Zealanders like our Pink Floyd then?  If it's half as good as the Dark Side of the Moon tour in 2007 was, I'll be happy.

Soundwave Festival, Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney, 26/2/12
The annual Silly Club trip to Soundwave Festival this year threatens to be the most action-packed yet.  That this festival can consistently pull such massive line-ups is a huge credit to the promoters, and a reminder that good music festivals are about one basic thing: figure out what you're going to do, and do it really fucking well.  Take note, BDO, and your weak attempts to appeal to everyone.  Anyway, this year I hope to see (if the timetable permits, and this is a big IF): Hellyeah, Dragonforce, CKY, Meshuggah, Black Label Society, Devin Townsend Project, Staind, Trivium, Lamb of God, Bush and Slipknot, although the biggest highlights for me will probably be Alter Bridge, Mastodon, and Machine Head.  Here's why:
1. Alter Bridge are a hugely under-rated and talented hard-rock band that I made the enormous mistake of initially overlooking because three quarters of the band was (is) in Creed.  Understandable, maybe, but near-unforgivable considering it meant I almost missed out on a band that has written some astoundingly good hard rock tracks - check out Ties that Bind or Metalingus.  Plus Myles Kennedy is one of the best rock front-men to emerge in ages.
2. Mastodon are kick-ass.  Progressive metal, hard rock, call them what you will, but they can't seem to do a lot wrong.  I am immensely excited about hearing great new tracks like Black Tongue, Blasteroid and Spectrelight alongside classics like Blood and Thunder, Crystal Skull and I Am Ahab.  Undoubtedly one of the standard-bearers of modern metal.
3. Machine Head threaten to be a thrilling, punishing live act.  Their last few albums have all been brutal, uncompromising slabs of metal - take some of this and put it alongside classics like The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears and they could absolutely tear it up.
Regardless, it could easily be the most jam-packed Soundwave yet.

Bush and Staind, Enmore Theater, Sydney, 27/2/12
The other great thing about Soundwave is the proliferation of sideshows it tends to propagate.  Why make a trip to Sydney for one festival when you can add in a bunch of other shows too!  Anyway, this is arguably the '90s nostalgia sideshow'... both bands have probably just enough good songs to put on decent live sets.  If you ask me, Staind are immeasurably better when they go for harder rocking numbers (example: Mudshovel and most of their self-titled album from last year) as opposed to Aaron Lewis' penchant for acoustic ditties.  As for Bush, well it's really only half of the original line-up, but they put out some decent tracks back in the day so maybe Gavin Rossdale still has something positive to contribute to modern music.

Alter Bridge, Enmore Theater, Sydney, 28/2/12
The third night of a triple-header... actually this is a double-bill with Steel Panther but I dislike 80's hair metal enough without needing that dislike to be reinforced by 80's hair metal imitators.  Anyway, I already raved on about Alter Bridge... somewhere I have a half-finished blog post dedicated to them.  This should be a really good show, and one of the last chances to see them for quite a while.

But for holiday plans, I would have also gone and seen the mighty Soundgarden and supporting acts of variable (mostly shit) quality at Mt Smart (this I believe is referred to as the Big Day Out) - I shall have to settle for a Soundgarden t-shirt instead.  

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