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My review of Counter Revolution 2011


Geoff
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After a failed attempt at Soundwave Revolution, I was glad to see that something good still remained in the ashes. Although the likes of Steel Panther and Van Halen were not a part of the Counter Revolution line-up, they still somehow managed to bring out every other band I had wanted to see in the first place, bar maybe one or two others.

 

So, with a plentiful line-up I was delighted yesterday to find out that The Big Top is an indoor venue with one stage divided in two where each band played one after another all day. Delighted it was inside because it was the shittest day in a long, long time in Sydney. The British bands all said it, but I am sure they did bring the weather with them. It was pure misery outside, but pure glory inside. Here’s how the day panned out for me:

 

We are the Ocean ; good openers. I only just got their latest CD the other day (thanks Tim!) and didn’t really recognize many songs, but it was a good solid performance and a nice way to get things started. One thing that was very obvious was that the guitarist/vocalist, who actually did a lot of lead vocals, has a MUCH better voice than the lead vocalist.

 

Terrible Things ; another band I just started listening to last week. They had a couple of catchy tunes that stood out during the set, most notably (and fittingly?) a tune called ‘Revolution’ which is real nice. They’re a pretty gentle and harmless band and the set was good without being real good.

 

The Swellers ; I’d timed my lunch break at this time, but in hindsight I regret it. I gave them a chance, and ended up sitting there for 3 songs, which were all quite impressive. Some great choruses at hand. They did have a slight punky vibe, but I wish I’d seen their full set and I’ll check out their latest CD to see if they’re worth a chance. Poorly timed lunch break considering who came on a few bands later.

 

We Are The In Crowd ; my early favourite of the day. Again, a band I only heard last week but I will get their new EP for sure. They have dual male/female lead vocals, but the girl is MUCH stronger in that department. I did like the mix, though, so it wasn’t a full female vocal band. But I loved the songs, most importantly. Like a mix of Paramore and Hey Monday, but based on that and what I heard of the EP, I’m preferring these guys at the moment. Some good, strong and hooky songs. Even having only heard a few of the songs once, they still stood out when played live. Good band… even if they were young enough to by my grandkids.

 

Alesana ; man, I didn’t know whether to laugh or just enjoy. They are a 6 piece band and the crowd looked very crowded. The stupid thing is they could get rid of their “lead vocalist” today and be a better band. He is a big, chubby oafish and awkward lump, prowling the stage offering the most indecipherable screams you’ll hear in your life. Then they have one guitarist who does all the clean vocals with a gay, kind of sexy delivery, touching his face and balls etc… sets up a nice creepy atmosphere, and the other guitarist also throws in heavier screams. So the band could easily survive with those 2, and do without the fat dude and his high pitched rants. Anyway, these guys were heavy as f*ck and pretty good, though the lead vocalist is without doubt a hindrance on an otherwise pretty decent band. Decent set.

 

Go Radio ; these guys were disappointing. There are a couple of obvious hits on the CD and they came out really well, and they did a killer cover of that ‘We could have had it all’ song by Adelle. Apart from that, they kind of lost me a bit. A pretty mellow set, and even though I’ve spun that CD a lot of times this year, nothing much was registering. I kept just wishing they’d play Mayday Parade songs (for those who don’t know this is the dude who was the chief song writer and vocalist on MP’s awesome debut).

 

Hellogoodbye ; ouch, just terrible. I think you call this nerd rock? These guys were absolute dweebs – typical ugly as sin looking nerds with guitars bigger than their bodies. But regardless of that, their songs were just terrible. Really, really terrible. I hated this set and really wish I’d chosen to eat at this time. I will say, though, their last song was good. Will check it out if I can find the name.

 

Make do and Mend ; not a bad band, but by now it looked like the sound quality was struggling on stage 2. It was hard to make out the dude’s vocals. These guys were a decent no-nonsense hard rock band. I got it wrong with the pop-rock thing. They were not bad, but not knowing any of their songs really made it hard to get too much out of this set.

 

The Damned Things ; this band features Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of Anthrax and I’m surprised they haven’t been mentioned here. Combined with 2 dudes from Fall Out Boy and a dude from Everytime I Die, they’re not bad. But there is no chemistry in the band at all. The young guys were all on one side of the band and the 2 old dudes on the other side, with no interaction or acknowledgement at all. And they kind of played like 2 bands – a heavy rock band mixed with that FOB-style stuff. I don’t mind them, but I had the feeling each person was just doing this before they got back with Anthrax and FOB respectively and did what they really loved. They do have some good songs, but I wasn’t sold by the overall performance. They were enjoyable, though.

 

Funeral For a Friend ; finally got around to my first A-lister at about 4pm. This set seemed to fly by, but I did enjoy every brief second of it. It was a pretty scattered list, most songs coming from the debut. A few from the new album, but not as many as other bands played from their new one. Which I didn’t mind. Love the debut, and those songs are monsters live. Still no representation from ‘Tales don’t tell themselves.’ Good set, always love seeing these guys.

 

Set Your Goals ; I heard during the week that their new album is really quite good. Looking forward to getting it in the mail soon. Their set was kind of a pretty average pop-punk kind of affair. Again I suffered from not knowing any of their songs, but it was still kind of cool. Again, visually these guys were another trainwreck. Two lead vocalists with only their mics – one tiny guy as big as my entire penis, and a big fat dude who could eat the other guy by mistake. Together they were an awkward combo, again with no acknowledgement of each other – just doing their own thing and not really creating much magic. They could probably get rid of the fat dude and be a better band immediately too.

 

The Providence ; another band I discovered last week, but who sound quite good. Kind of in the Thriving Ivory mold, these guys were a little different and I thought they went alright. Turns out the lead vocalist is originally from Melbourne too. Again I suffered from knowing few of their songs, but a few stood out and these guys were pretty cool.

 

Story Of The Year ; finally it was action time and these guys did not for a second fail to impress. With a banquet of killer tunes to choose from, there was no shortage. Like FFAF, the set seemed to fly by and I was left wondering where ‘We don’t care anymore’ or ‘Message to the world’ was – two songs I would have LOVED to hear, and that I think would have been killer live tracks. But as I said, they were all good ones anyway. Most probably coming from the debut (3). Good set, and musically, these guys were easily the tightest of the day, with the best rhythm and lead guitar work by miles… including the 2 dudes from Anthrax. Lead vocals were second to none too. Such a killer band… would have loved this set to be at least twice as long.

 

Face To Face ; ate a crappy pie for “dinner” while these guys played. Caught a few songs – boring and bland as punk gets.

 

Yellowcard ; man were these guys impressive. The production value on stage one had really stepped up by this time and these guys were basically flawless. They only played ‘Light up the sky’ from the brilliant ‘Paper Walls,’ a couple of the best tracks from ‘Lights and Sounds’ and the rest was from ‘Ocean Avenue’ and the new album… plus one real oldie, which was cool. The new album may not be as good as ‘Paper Walls’ but I still like it plenty, and ‘Ocean Avenue’ is killer in spots (‘Only one’ was one of the highlights of the day) so there was nothing to dislike about this set at all. Every song was great, performance was excellent… even that dude on the violin. Man was that dude getting into it! Lol.

 

Young Guns ; I really felt sorry for these guys but the sound on stage 2 and a completely disinterested crowd took it’s toll. Credit to the Jani Lane look-a-like lead vocalist for trying everything he could. They definitely put in the effort, but the crowd was just waiting for All Time Low and no-one cared about these guys, or even knew who they were. I thought they did well and I enjoyed the songs, but the sound was pretty muffled, especially the vocals. I think they might have cut their set short too, because it was over and done with much shorter than the rest of the bands coming on this late. Oh, and they played a new song too, which sounded great.

 

All Time Low ; holy f*ck these guys have come a long way since playing stage 4 at Sydney Soundwave around midday in just February 2010. These guys were now pretty much sub-headliners and had the entire crowd at their mercy. And good luck to them. It’s hard to find a song I really dislike in their entire discography, and it goes without saying that every single song they played (and there were a lot of them!) was absolutely awesome. Killer hooks all over the joint. Good band and crowd interaction – a humerous bunch of guys. Yeah, again, hard to fault these guys in any way at all. Loved this set. Songs from all their album, including quite a few from the new one… jeez ‘Time Bomb’ is magic.

 

DRUGS ; these guys, by far, made the best out of the situation going on on stage 2. Despite the poorer sound, these guys sounded huge. There’s a couple of fillers on the debut, but they were nicely avoided and song after song were the gems of the debut, of which there are plenty. This set also seemed to be quite brief, but every second of it was enjoyable. One of the more exciting and heavy bands of the day. Great set.

 

Panic At The Disco ; I was tossing up whether or not to stick around for these guys and was always leaning towards the ‘why not’ option. And I’m glad I did. They seemed a little pompous and acted like headliners, but they were okay. Not a fan of a lot of their songs, but jeez did they light the place up with ‘Ready to go’ as an opener, and that monster chorus. I was bored for a few of the songs, but there were more good ones than I expected. I always thought the band was kind of a studio project and I’m sure there’s only 2 band members listed on the booklet of the new CD, so I was surprised to see a full band who seemed to have been together for a long time, since the debut at least. I was also surprised to see the main guy is quite multi-talented, playing keys, guitar and a drum throughout the set. He was witty, I think, but seldom showed and something didn’t sit too right with me about this band. But it was a decent set and I’m glad I bothered.

 

So overall it was a most joyous game. No surprise that all the highlights came from the bands I already knew well, though I did really enjoy We Are The In Crowd and also The Damned Things was a good set. It'd be hard to name my fave of the day as I think All Time Low, SOTY and Yellowcard were all particularly awesome. Would have loved a longer set from SOTY, but maybe next time. :)

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Nice review mate, no surprise at the stand out bands, but might check out 'We Are The In Crowd'......also not really heard too much from 'All Time Low'. Need to check that too.

 

Cheers

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Nice review mate, no surprise at the stand out bands, but might check out 'We Are The In Crowd'......also not really heard too much from 'All Time Low'. Need to check that too.

 

Cheers

 

I'd probably skip both mate. WE ARE THE IN-CROWD are very poppy, as is the new disc from ALL-TIME LOW (though there are a couple of killer tunes on it).

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Nice review mate, no surprise at the stand out bands, but might check out 'We Are The In Crowd'......also not really heard too much from 'All Time Low'. Need to check that too.

 

Cheers

Thanks mate. Yeah, if you still have a soft spot for the lighter side of modern rock, these 2 bands are both in that pop-punk/rock style, but both very catchy. In the lead up to this show I was spinning a lot of the albums and if you haven't properly checked out 'Nothing Personal' by All Time Low, make sure you give that a go. Man that's a great disc.

 

We Are The In Crowd may be a little childish for you (as the name suggests) but they do have some killer hooks on board. :)

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Nice review mate, no surprise at the stand out bands, but might check out 'We Are The In Crowd'......also not really heard too much from 'All Time Low'. Need to check that too.

 

Cheers

 

I'd probably skip both mate. WE ARE THE IN-CROWD are very poppy, as is the new disc from ALL-TIME LOW (though there are a couple of killer tunes on it).

I agree the new ATL disc has a few ups and downs, but to me the worst song is 'Return the favour' which still earned a 5 from me. Which is not bad if that's as bad as a CD gets. But on the positive side, 'Time Bomb,' 'No idea,' 'Heroes' and 'My only one' are amongst my favourite songs of 2011. With stuff like 'Do you want me dead?' (the main chorus hook is awesome), 'Forget about it,' Just the way I'm not' and 'Under the paper moon' not being far off either.

 

I dunno, I just like these guys and both times I've seen them live has only made me like them more. Fours discs down, I think they've done well in terms of keeping a good degree of quality to their work.

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