I started writing a gushy post about all the amazing heavy bands I was excited to see in January, only to have my hopes and dreams to sing along to old jams and enthusiastically nod my head to new ones shattered with the news that Australia's Soundwave festival has been cancelled. All the bands that were set to play were spring-boarding from Australia to play shows here, but without Soundwave, that's not financially viable for them; so heavy music fans will have to thrash YouTube videos to get their fix. It'll keep us out of the sun I suppose, which is great if you've a penchant for fair skin and wearing black. Silver linings.
First up, Bring Me The Horizon were scheduled to return to Auckland touring their amazing new album 'That's The Spirit' on January the 21st, but melancholic hearts the city over are more despondent than usual, now that they've postponed the show to an as yet later date.
Soon after that, West Fest was bringing an amazing line up to Auckland on January the 30th, but that's highly doubtful now due to Soundwave's cancellation. All the Australian acts have cancelled, and I'm picking the other internationals will too. Sweden's reformed Refused were who I was especially looking forward to seeing in New Zealand for the first time. Their latest album Freedom, is an awesome return to the stage. It's been 17 years since they released their ground breaking 'The Shape of Punk To Come', and their June 2015 release picked up where they left off with genre blending song structures and politically charged lyrics. But alas, chances are we won't get to see them this time around. Le sigh.
Bridgeport Connecticut's Hatebreed would have been on the same bill, returning to New Zealand for the fourth time. They've crushed some smaller club shows on headlining tours here over the years, and slayed the crowd at the Big Day Out 2005, so it would have been a fun time to see them again. Whether they have a new generation following them in Aotearoa I'm not sure, but I know a lot of people who would have got baby sitters to see them again.
NOFX were headlining the bill, again no strangers to our shores, last headlining a show with Bad Religion in Auckland back in 2009. Whilst interviewing vocalist Fat Mike and him being a cock put me off the band; I'm certain their loyal following of punk rockers would have turned out en masse to see them.
Rounding out the show were local boys done good Antagonist A.D, a reformed Bleeders, Saving Grace and Dawn of Azazel. It was set to be an awesome show that ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of people, but chances are slim it'll eventuate now.
Still, my inner emo gets to sing along to some screamy jams when Asking Alexandria plays the Power Station on April the 5th. Buried In Verona and Bless The Fall support them, so it's a show that'll be sure to be popular with the kids and is set to sell out.
Recent well populated shows from Parkway Drive and Amity Affliction in October and December respectively have reminded me that there's still a passionate following for heavy music in New Zealand (well, Auckland at least), and a new generation of fans that mosh away their angst and growing pains.
All this makes me wonder why radio ignores the demographic. Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction have all had a lot of chart and commercial success in Australia and further afield but are ignored here. Zane Lowe's taste making Apple Music show Beats One, debuted the singles and gave a lot of love to Bring Me’s That’s The Spirit for example, but no one here seems to want to rock the boat in a seemingly risk adverse environment. That said, everything is cyclical and trends are cyclical, so hope springs eternal that a station out there might see the light. Gotta keep that PMA right?