Gwar, Amon Amarth Deliver Down Under

Satyricon also play Soundwave shows, which left our Xander Harrison ecstatic

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Gwar

First off, I know this is a bit late. Last week was pretty crazy, gig-wise, and now I’m back at university, so I have less free time. Anyway, when I heard about the lineup for a new Soundwave sideshow, I was a bit confused. Gwar, Amon Amarth, Satyricon, and The Black Dahlia Murder? That makes no sense, subgenre-wise.

Not nearly as much as Mastodon, Gojira and Baroness did. Combined with the fact that Billboard was no longer Billboard and was a nightclub after 10 p.m., I was very confused. Excited, but confused. What I failed to realize was that the gig started at 4 p.m., and when I did, it was already too late. I missed out on all of The Black Dahlia Murder’s set, (un?)fortunately. I’m not a massive fan of them anyway but I promise it wasn’t deliberate.

Anyway, I made it just in time for Satyricon’s entrance to the stage.

First things first: The sound was hit and miss. Really good for Satyricon, awful for Amon Amarth, and excellent for Gwar, save the vocals being slightly low in the mix. Considering their largely lyric-based humor, I found it very annoying that I couldn’t hear Oderus clearly. The lights were great except for Satyricon’s, which were that huge peeve of mine — white flashing lights right into my eyes so I can barely see.

I’m not too familiar with Satyricon’s material but I liked what I was hearing. Solid riffing backed by Frost’s insane mustachioed drumming and a great live presence.

They didn’t really do much other than headbang, not even engaging with the crowd too much, but it worked. I wasn’t expecting much engagement really, seeing as all the other black metal bands I’ve seen pretty much did the same thing, with the exception being Rotting Christ. What really let them down wasn’t even their fault; it was just those stupid lights that ruined their set for me.

Musically brilliant though — instrumentally and vocally awesome, and the great sound made it even more powerful. Slightly weak bass but that’s just nitpicking based on my own taste, really. I really enjoyed them and I’ll definitely be listening to more of them.

Amon Amarth took the stage a while later and to be honest, I wasn’t massively impressed. I’d seen them at the same venue two years previously, and that was brilliant. But since I’m not a huge fan of Surtur Rising or Deciever of the Gods, which made up a fair chunk of the setlist, it was pretty underwhelming for me. The sound was somehow terrible, even after the great sound for Satyricon.

It was strange and disappointing, but the lights were pretty great. On a more positive note, everyone performed excellently. The bass was extremely low on the mix, but Johan Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen were brilliant. Johan Hegg was full or energy as always; he’s always brilliant live though so no surprises there. All in all, it was not great, but (almost) purely from a subjective point of view. But it’s a review, right? The whole fucking thing’s subjective.

Gwar, on the other hand, were nothing short of phenomenal. Undoubtedly one of the best, most entertaining live bands I have ever seen. From decapitating Tony Abbott (the current Prime Minister of Australia — he’s a bastard, everyone loved it), cutting the tits off the Queen of England, disemboweling a policeman, a disabled Englishman, and many bloody intergalactic battles, the crowd was soaking with fake blood by the second song. It was fantastic. On to the music, I think.

Firstly, the sound was awesome, save for that I would have like more of Oderus in the mix, but I’ve already explained that. Instrumentally, they were absolutely fantastic. Punky and fun to jam out to, which you can’t not when it’s Gwar, especially live. Engaging the crowd at every turn, their faux violence and dark humor-filled songs were hilarious and entertaining in the best display I have ever seen. I cannot say enough praise about this band. They were never really a “listen at home” band to me, but you would have to be brain-dead to not want to see them live. Do it, I say!

You know the drill, check out the bands on the lineup. Even The Black Dahlia Murder, if you have nothing else to do. Literally nothing. Do dishes instead; it’s more worthwhile. And definitely go see Gwar live, guys. I mean it; you won’t regret it at all. My Mastodon review should be up in a sec, so go read that one too.

Satyricon’s set list:
1. Nocturnal Flare
2. The Infinity of Time and Space
3. Fuel for Hatred
4. To the Mountains
5. Mother North

Amon Amarth’s set list:
1. Father of the Wolf
2. Deceiver of the Gods
3. Death in Fire
4. Destroyer of the Universe
5. Shape Shifter
6. Guardians of Asgaard
7. Twilight of the Thunder God
8. The Pursuit of Vikings

Gwar’s set list:
1. Madness at the Core of Time
2. Hail, Genocide!
3. Bring Back the Bomb
4. Hate Love Songs
5. Metal Metal Land
6. Bloodbath
7. Ham on the Bone
8. The Private Pain of Sawborg Destructo
9. Gor-Gor

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