Counter Revolution @ The Riverstage, Brisbane (24/9/11)

Early Saturday morning,the Soundwave fans made their way to The Riverstage in Brisbane to enjoy the kick off of the Counter Revolution tour. Some very excited All Time Low fans had been there since 4 am and there was a sense of anticipation buzzing in the crowd as they made their way onto the venue.

First up on the stage were We Are The Ocean, who started off with a strong drum beat that seemed promising. Unfortunately, the screaming of the lead singer and the over all loudness of the band seemed too much for the crowd that early in the morning. The band seemed to fall flat with most people sitting on the grass or seeming uninterested, and the band made sure to complain about it. They complained that no one was dancing or reacting to their antics, but the crowd continued to look on with little promise of action.

Playing their first set in Australia, Terrible Things opened with a self titled track next. A little calmer than their predecessors, the sound was definitely pure rock and roll. The large group were perfectly synced with heavy guitar rifts from Fred Mascherino (lead guitarist of Taking Back Sunday) and drumming from Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria). Though they sounded good, the band was very vocal about their disappointment in the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm.

The Swellers, who are label mates with Panic! at the Disco, came next. They fit right in with their driving guitars and extremely heavy bass, much like the Terrible Things. The foursome seemed very excited to be in Australia, especially after the release of their new album Good For Me. The Swellers worked hard to keep the crowd’s interest, but they seemed a little disappointed by the lack of response. Many people seemed to be warming up to their almost punk sound though, and the band played an energetic set.

We Are The In Crowd’s female singer seemed like a breath of fresh air over The Riverstage as the band took the stage. Taylor Jardine took control of the stage, moving back and forth and belting out perfectly on key. The crowd was definitely interested in the first taste of pop-punk music they had heard all day. With their new album Best Intentions to be released early next month, this band fits in well with the pop-punk veterans such as Yellowcard, Paramore, and All Time Low.

Next to take the stage was Alesana, an all male band from Raleigh, North Carolina with influences such as Blessthefall and Chiodos. The band was much more intense sounding then the previous acts, but the crowd didn’t seem to be turned away. Ranging from thundering drums to rhythmic guitar riffs, the band’s lead singer screamed every line before breaking into a progressing chorus. The crowd’s ears were left ringing at the end of their set.

Go Radio was back on track with the more punky sound, but seemed to lack enthusiasm for their set. They took numerous opportunities to complain about lack of crowd involvement, the people sitting on the grass, the heat of the day, and even the ticket prices. Though they sounded complete musically, their over all stage presence didn’t seem to go over well with the crowd and left many passive and uninterested, until they finished the set with an amazing cover of Adele’s_Rolling In The Deep_ which had every one singing along.

When Hellogoodbye came onto the stage, it was clear that some of the people in the crowd were loyal listeners. Dancing around the stage to their pop-punk numbers, the band drew in a large crowd and seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Even though they didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the bands that had already played, Hellogoodbye made sure their fans were singing and dancing along.

When Make Do and Mend came on the stage, the generally interested feeling of the crowd instantly lowered. Only a handful of people seemed mildly curious about the band as the lead singer hollered the lyrics into the microphone, slurring most words into one long phrase, and the guitarists tried their best to change up the sound of each song. The band, at best, could be described as elevator music used between sets.

Thankfully the apathy didn’t last as The Damned Things took their places. Fans seemed generally ecstatic as the rockers belted out their set. Rock and roll with a flare of dancey-punk, The Damned Things made the crowd move, singing and dancing along to each song. Fall Out Boy veterans Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley seemed perfectly comfortable with their new band mates, Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano (both of Anthrax), Keith Buckley and Josh Newtown (Every Time I Die), even performing a few customary drum stick flips and guitar swings the two are known for.

Funeral For A Friend kept the moral up as they seemed to catch the attention of the crowd a lot better than the bands who performed on the smaller smaller of the two stages, had before them. Much to the punk tradition they sang of heartbreak, broken homes, and questioning authority. They kept the crowd’s interest as they moved across the stage, making sure the energy was present through their whole set.

Though their lead singer was of little stature, Set Your Goals did not run short on energy as they pulled the attention of the group. Bouncing, dancing, and running across the stage, lead vocalist Matt Wilson screamed at the fans to get to their feet and expected nothing but their full attention. Though more on the metal side of rock, the fans seemed to generally enjoy themselves and the band had a fairly large following who screamed along with the band.

This Providence, also on the same label as The Swellers and Panic! At The Disco, were supported by a large group of fans for their slightly calmer set. The band seemed generally excited to be in the country and to be performing. Dan Young, lead vocalist for the band, appeared to be especially zealous to be on stage, cracking a few jokes and talking to the crowd as if they were old friends. The response was very friendly and easy going, with many loyal fans singing along. Over all, the set seemed upbeat and happy.

A well known pop-punkers founder, Story of the Year had the crowd singing along, lifting their hands, and stomping along to drummer’s Josh Wills’ beats as Dan Marsala belted out the lyrics. Older and more recent songs were played, but the crowd had already been excited through out the day and the anticipation was building all through Story of the Year’s set.

Face to Face had big shoes to fill following Story of the Year. Unfortunately, the crowd seemed a little tired out and took the band’s set to take a break. With only a small gathering, Face to Face played their whole set with very little support. The feeling within the venue was boredom as the fans waited for the band that most had come to see. Face to Face band members seemed to sense the lack of enthusiasm and let the crowd know they were not pleased.

As Yellowcard took the stage, all eyes and bodies drew to the stage. Clearly one of the main highlights of the evening, the crowd went wild when Ryan Key took the microphone up. Fathers of the pop-punk revolution, the band never missed a beat as they played through their set. Fans of all ages seemed completely enthralled with the music, and were especially excited as the band ended with Ocean Avenue, proving the band’s fanbase is still very much alive and well.

A large portion of the crowd was leaving, the Young Guns took side stage. With big boots to fill, the band was more concerned about making the fans stay to hear All Time Low, then their actual set. Still, their quick music was enough to keep the crowd active even after the extremely long day they had already been through. Young Guns seemed generally happy to be in Australia, and sounded fairly good with the help of their lead singer, Gustav Wood’s, amazing voice.

All Time Low were the next to perform. Always a crowd pleaser, the band’s energy was high, lifting the crowd’s spirits. Alex Gaskarth cracked jokes, sang, and waved at the crowd as Jack Barakat bounced around in circles, even jumping down at one point to hug fans in the crowd. Zack Merrick (guitarist) and Rian Dawson (drummer) also seemed to be enjoying themselves as the band pounded out songs off three of their albums. The band was a great way to put the crowd into a happy place as the next group took stage.

D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows) is a band straight out of Pontiac, Michigan and includes a patchwork of musicians such as vocalist Craig Owens (Chiodos), drummer Aaron Stern (Matchbook Romance), guitarist/vocalist Nick Martin (Underminded), guitarist/vocalist Matt Good (From First to Last), and bassist Adam Russell (Story of the Year). The band stuck out with it’s hard driving guitar solos. Still, the crowd seemed more inclined to be close to the stage in order to save their spot for the next band, then actually interested in the music. A large chunk of fans were there to see the band themselves and showed their support.

Finally, Panic! At The Disco took centre stage and opened with Ready To Go off their new album Vices and Virtues. Though missing two of the original band members, Panic did not disappoint as they sang through a few new songs and went back to sing songs off their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Brendon Urie’s voice was flawless as he moved across the stage, pitch right on key. Their cover of The Darkness’ I Believe In A Thing Called Love was spot on as Ian Crawford’s guitar and Dallon Weekes’ synth helped the pop song along. The fans were going wild for the band, and a sense of general excitement was felt through out the large crowd. The band successfully ended the evening with Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…) showcasing Urie’s strong vocals and a tinkering piano background.

As the crowd began to file slowly out of the gates, the sense of buzzing that can only be felt at a concert was still in the air. Though not every band was well received, every person in the crowd seemed to enjoy at least one aspect of this jam packed festival and the bands were able to walk away with a few new fans. Counter Revolution proved once again that the genre of punk rock is far from dead and the fan base will be thriving for a very long time.