(Firstly, I apologise that this blog entry is about a week late. I have been working my bottom off for the last few days. That's right. I have no bottom now.)
Big Day Out was on Sunday. I haven't been for three years so it was all very exciting.
After three hours sleep and ingesting a caffeinated mix of coffee, V and No Doz, our little gang set off on our Big Day Out adventure.
The first band we saw was Something With Numbers. Their sound leans a little to the emo side, as proven by the kids in black lining up to see them) so I wasn't expecting anything terribly exciting. I was wrong! Arriving on stage in cute matching blue outfits, Something With Numbers rocked all over the place. The lead singer, Jake Grigg, was hopping and dancing around and having a wonderful time. He also has long, permed, glorious hair which seemed to move organically on its own.
Jake Grigg and his amazing hair.
As well as being a passionate singer and guitarist, he has sweet tambourine skills. A great start to the day.
We hustled on over to the other side of the main stage to see Operator Please. I don't understand the hate for these kids. Sure, some of their song are ridiculously overplayed, but that's not really their fault. They're a bunch of incredibly talented kids, especially for their age. Admit it; if you were around 16 years old, your band would either sound like generic pop-punk crap or Operator Please.
As well as playing crowd favourites "Get what you Want" and "Just a song about Ping Pong", they launched into a cover of Devo's "Whip it". This mainly excited Dan, who was a mad Devo fan way back.
I was expecting to see a fairly crazy set. Unfortunately, even though they sounded great, the members of Operator Please mainly stood stock still the whole time - except the keyboardist, who danced around in between riffs. If they had put a bit more energy into their performance, it would have been great. Oh well. They've got a fair way to go yet.
We shuffled back over to the other side of the main stage to see American punk band Anti-Flag. What a show! What a mohawk!
These guys sure know how to put on a show. As well as leaping about and doing the splits mid-air while playing guitar, the band talked and encouraged the audience to go completely mental through the set. I also like a punk band who's friendly - lead singer Justin Sane encouraged the crowd to look out for each other and generally be nice. At one point, he told every body to shake the hands of the people next to them in the pit and "make some new friends". How sweet. One thing I love about Big Day Out is that there are rarely any fights, which is amazing when you consider huge crowd of drunk or drugged people walking around with sun stroke all day. We sang along, clapped our hands, and danced like maniacs.
We waddled over to see Gyroscope next.
The sound in the V tent was fantastic and did such a rockin' band great justice. When your ears feel like they're bleeding from the blistering sounds of crunchy guitar riffs and howling vocals, you know you're at a good gig.
We left early to catch Regurgitator. That was a highly disappointing set. They all looked tired and bored. I thought of a lot of songs they could have played which would have made it much better. The only good song they played was "Polyester Girl", which sounded rushed and lifeless. At one point, the band segued into the beginning of Guns n Roses "Sweet Child of Mine". They stopped as soon as the verse began, yelling "HA HA! Got you there for a second!" It was a shame, really. I think playing "Sweet Child of Mine" would have really improved their set.
This was the only highlight of the Regurgitator gig:
This man stood near us, wearing this fantastic hat. Sometimes it's fun just to sit on the grass and people watch. You see all sorts of weird and wonderful outfits (especially near the dance tents - the neon was blinding).
Next up was the Hilltop Hoods, I think? Can't quite remember. At Big Day Out '05, the Hilltop Hoods were in the tiny Boiler Room. This year they were at the main stage! The crowd waved their hands and faux gangsta signs in the air and bounced around to the funky band playing as backup.
A string quartet helped play "Recapturing the Vibe", which was originally performed with the Melbourne Orchestra. It's great to see real instruments being used in hip hop. It just makes the live experience that much more exciting and special. We caught Ben dancing and grooving along at some point. For a boy who's more into metal and screamo, this surely means that the Hilltop Hoods were pretty rockin'.
After the Hoods finished their set, mega Aussie rock bandGrinspoon started up next door. Oh, how my enthusiasm was short lived. Phil Jameson stumbled on the stage drunk, swaying, and visibly sweating behind a greasy emo fringe.
He whined his way through a few songs while clutching his microphone for dear life. In between songs, he strummed random notes on his guitar like he'd never seen one before. The crowd was getting visibly agitated.. It was getting a bit aggressive, so we got out of there. Very disappointing, Grinspoon! Thumbs down.
After spending a lot of money on food and shirts, we went over to see local band Dead Letter Circus. This was really the first proper and insane mosh pit I've been in. The band arrived on stage to do a soundcheck to the sounds of cheers. I think they were pleasantly surprised at the number of people who showed up.
First and foremost, they were fantastic. Their songs really came alive.
I mean, look at his eyes! You can't fake that sort of passion.
It also helped that hardcore Dead Letter Circus fans were moshing like there was no tomorrow. The crowd swayed and pushed together in a mess of sweat and screams. The more daring punters crowd surfed, with the help of supportive fans underneath. Dan described it as very gentlemanly. There weren't many girls in the mosh - huge men would bump into me, turn around and say "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry. Are you allright?"
I lost my hat, but it was totally worth it.
Next up was Karnivool, more for the boys than myself. Again, the sound in the V tent does wonders for hard rocking bands. We were standing near the back, but everyone around us was jumping around like they were in the middle of the mosh. It was getting dark by then. I found myself staring up at the top of the tent, watching the strobe lights dance off the lighting equipment and listening to the strangely ambient sounds of roaring guitars. It was a surreal moment, perhaps brought on by my lack of sleep, or the amount of second-hand marijuana smoke I'd inhaled that day.
The last act for the day was, of course, Rage Against the Machine. Of course, there was no way to get ino the D barrier, so we perched ourselves on the hill and waited for Bjork to finish. By this time we were tired, sweaty, and fairly impatient.
"What the hell is this bloody shit?" roared Ben, not appreciating the screeching sounds of Bjork's voice.
"BJORK IS WEIRD," I screeched, getting mildly terrified by the weird electronic sounds and strange things dancing about on the stage.
I rabidly protected my view from where we were. For I have terrible luck at concerts - EVERY time I go see a band, I inevitably get stuck behind someone very tall. No way was that going to happen when I saw Rage Against the Machine.
We had a fairly good view of the big screen and army-men sized band members. I have no idea how Zach De La Rocha can remember all those words, much less fit them all into their various parts AND sound passionate at the same time. No wonder he laid down on stage near the end! I also don't know how Tom Morello makes those sound on guitar. I figured out that it's got something to do with wah-wah and delay effect pedals, but some of it will remain a complete mystery to me.
I didn't get close enough to take a good photo, obviously, but here's a photo from their Sydney gig:
It had certainly been a very political Big Day Out, with Zach De La Rocha thanking us for voting out John Howard.
There's nothing like watching about 53,000 people with their hands up in the air screaming, "FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT THEY TELL ME!"
Smelly, sweaty and about ready to drop dead at Roma St when the bus got back, I concluded that it was most certainly a very good Big Day Out.
As I mentioned before, I would occasionally take some time out to sit on the grass and watch the people go by. It became apparent to me that there were many people out there who were either very new to festivals, or were obviously not there for the music. I was reminded of a rather stupid girl at school, who said that she went to Big Day Out "because of the atmosphere".
People, people. It gets HOT at these things. Your eyeliner and eyeshadow will melt off. Your fake eyelashes will be all over your cheeks. Your GHD-straightened hair will turn into a frizzy mess. Hey, little emo girls over there in the punk mosh - it gets rough. You might break a nail. Or get punched in the face. Stop your whinging. Hey dude, nice jeans, but they're going to be stuck to your arse with sweat after a while, and it will take you ages to peel them off when you get to the portaloo. Oh, and wearing thongs in a mosh pit is a horrible idea. Your toes are going to look horrible!
The only way to keep yourself looking good is to sit on the hill under an umbrella the entire time. Basically, you're paying $125 to have a picnic. Stupid much?
Proper Big Day Out attire: shorts, singlets, t-shirts, sneakers/boots, togs, stupid hats and silly costumes. Get sweaty, look shit and get in amongst it. Otherwise, go get dressed up, sit in your bedroom, and listen to a CD.
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