System Of A Down @ Rod Laver Arena
After half a decade’s hiatus, System of a Down were in town for the fifth consecutive year of the Soundwave Festival in Melbourne. Dillinger Escape Plan opened the night and proved why five years after Ire Works and two years since Option Paralysis, they’re still an explosive force in mathcore to be reckoned with and still infectiously wired. Puciato, their vocalist who 11 years ago joined the band in an almost cinematic fashion similar to that of the film Rockstar with Marky Mark, spearheaded a sonic assault that left DEP’s mark and set the pace for System of a Down’s ferocious opening with Prison Song.
Speaking of rockstars and shortly after DEP, System of a Down looked thrilled to be on stage although not so switched on at the beginning partly because of the horrible sound of the venue. That is until Science – when they started unwinding and showcasing just how tight of a band they really are. By the time they rocked out Aerials, they reminded their fans why back in 2005 they were nominated by Kerang! for the Best Band On The Planet award.
Inviting legendary Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison to join them for a song while John Dolmayan crowd-surfed had everyone in the arena headbanging like it was 2003 and they had just released Steal this Album! Odadjian was as usual a machine and Daron Malakian with his Kirk Hammett wannabe stylistic choices sounded surprisingly on the ball despite his admittedly lyrical writing of an already strung out from alcohol and drug abuse 14-year-old on the recovery path with guitar dexterity skills that never made it past playing the chromatic scale drills on the 1st string of a bouzouki.
Dolmayan is still one of the meanest metal drummers around, balancing Serj Tankian’s operatic performance; operatic not only in terms of his mannerisms but mainly because of his vocal range, downright freakish flow that makes him borderline impossible to emulate and outright inspiring to listen to live as if you’re listening to the freaking CD.
The hardcore/metal scene surely ‘represented’ Melbourne well, with Tankian being genuinely amazed that the crowd knew every word of Toxicity as well as Soil, but sadly that wasn’t repaid with at least an encore of Streamline.
To rephrase SOAD, ‘the bottom line is rocking, nobody gives a fuck’ about how long it took them to get back on the swing of being a band again, but they’re back, and watch out.
BY NASH PETROPOULOS
LOVED: Stadium-wide frenzy during Sugar.
HATED: The unacceptably bad sound and lack of encore.
DRANK: Ice-cold Cooper’s.
Photo credit: Nick Irving