Thursday, January 7, 2016

What To Do With Your Life Now That Soundwave Has Been Cancelled

You may not have heard if you live in a country where the metal community is too expansive to fit in a 3 bedroom suburban split-level, but Soundwave has been cancelled indefinitely. Much like the assassination of JFK and the moon landing, the cancellation of Soundwave is an event that brought not just Australia, but indeed the entire world to a grinding halt. Decades from now when I'm sitting around a roaring fire with my children burning Avenged Sevenfold albums to keep warm and stave off imminent death by hypothermia now that climate change has turned the entire planet into a totally not lame Immortal film clip, my scrotal spawn will turn to me and ask, in their infinite ignorance, "Papa Jim, where were you when AJ Maddah killed off the most mediocre metal festival in the entire history of sentient life?", whereupon I shall immediately beat them to death so that their bloody, lifeless corpses may offer me sustenance through the bitter post-apocalyptic winter.

But after I'm finished eating my children for being stupid enough to refer to Soundwave as a 'metal festival', I'll probably be in the mood to reminisce, and I might cast my mind back to that fateful day when the Australian metal community, from the ashes of the most definitively terrible music event in the entirety of creation, finally had a chance to come together and create something wonderful, and then completely ruined it.

The cancellation of Soundwave had for weeks been a limitless supply of schadenfreude for the scattered few Australians who still foresee a day where true metal will reign supreme. There had been a massive shit-fight over who should pay the cost of the refunded tickets, and it was hilarious. In the end, though, the ticket agency agreed to cover the cost of refunds a few weeks ago.

Man, sometimes Master of Puppets comes on shuffle on my IPhone while 
I'm driving my 17 year old girlfriend to her high school, and she's all like
'Hahaha what is this? It's so weird and angry!' but I just put on my fedora and
tell that bitch all about how she doesn't understand real music like us true metalheads. 
So cash, bro. Hey, are you keen for a game of League of Legends or an episode of 
My Little Pony? My parents will totally let you crash on the futon.

The above photo features a man named AJ Maddah, who organized and promoted Soundwave, a festival that was, for many years, the best chance most metal fans in Australia had of seeing an international metal band they liked live, even though the only true metal bands in attendance were constantly relegated to the bottom row of the promo posters.

After the initial rush I felt knowing that thousands of people who were stupid enough to shell out $185 Australian (roughly $3.18 American) to see the likes of Disturbed, NOFX, Bullet for my Valentine and Deftones would be left heartbroken (and that perpetual disappointment/rabbi beard owner AJ Maddah was out of the picture) I was left cautiously optimistic for the future of live metal in Australia.

As per the norm, my optimism didn't last long. The word on the vine was that in the wake of the cancellation, the 'alternative' music festival scene in Australia was apparently to be rescued by a crowd-funded initiative, spearheaded by Howard Jones' most recent abomination, Devil You Know (disclaimer: if you click that link, you're going to get brain cancer, and don't come fuckin' crying to me). Devil You Know decided that, in the wake of the utter humiliation suffered by the organizers of the poorly managed Soundwave Festival, they'd just take out the middle man and let the mouth-breathing Slipknot fans that vote in 'Indie' music charts fund a festival that would prove once and for all that the people who try and organize national metal events in Australia can always be relied on to completely miss the point. Thus, The Legion Festival was begotten.

So far, the fringe dwelling, uncompromisingly brutal, progressive and underground acts announced for the crowd-funded Legion Festival include eccentric, game-changing acts like... Battlecross and DevilDriver.

Here we fucking go again. Here's some free marketing advice to whatever soulless corporate RedBull pedlars are trying to coerce Australia's true metal fans (or indeed any true metal fans) into attending a festival: On behalf of myself and my fellow back-row arm folders; we are never gonna tell you what we want. Ever.

The very fact that sites like Metal Snob exist, and that even a hairy-backed Australian fuck like myself is willing to spend hours of his free time writing in defence of true metal for zero financial gain is testament to the fact that metal fans cannot be bought with flashy social media advertising campaigns, and that the only thing for which we may be unconditionally relied upon is stubbornness in the face of overwhelming opposition. In this country, and many others, metal fans are a largely untapped market. This is how the metal world has survived untold generations, by changing our minds too fast for the marketing world to keep up.

Every true metal fan has a list of 2-3 bands whose attendance would make them claw their way into any national-scale festival without question, for any price. Thus is the extent of the devotion of the trvly kvlt. But we won't just tell you which bands they are. The unrepresented masses of the metal community in Australia don't vote in Billboard polls. We probably won't buy singles, or get our music off iTunes to make it nice and easy for you to ruin the bands we like. Since even before the days of Glam Metal, through the torturous years of Nu Metal, and more recently since enduring the agonizing advent of Metalcore, we have learned to play our cards close to our chest.

These days our best options are to buy our music from the artist for a fifth of the price on BandCamp, or pirate it. You're never gonna get our opinion for free, especially if you are the sort of duplicitous douchebag who would attempt to pander to metalheads after you tried (and failed) to bring a European-style indie event to Australia.

Even if you scrape consumer data off of Facebook, there's plenty of bands whose pages I have liked just to see the hilarious jabs their slack-jawed fans take at them, or just to watch them make desperate deathrattle attempts to regain fans by posting clich├ęd metal memes. In a metal community as small as Australia's, there's no way you can tell what we want to hear unless you are one of us, and personally I am so abhorred by Legion's squandering of the chance to create a genuine nationwide metal event in this country given by an opportunity to step nonchalantly over the lifeless body of Soundwave that I plan to pledge money to the crowdfunding campaign and do my part to make this festival happen, just so I can intentionally not go.


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