We rose to a beautifully overcast and slightly breezy morning, a veteran BDO campaigners’ wish come true – no sunburn today, and the mosh might almost be cool for once! A short public transport ride later, and the semi-traditional pre-event carbo loading, we clambered off the train along with veterans and newbies alike, and trekked off to the BDO. Excellent signage and security presence, and no line either at the gate – bag inspection was even quick! A quick tour around the stalls and local stages to find our feet (the new boiler room is sweet – no more sweat rain!) and we were into it.
T54 – a cool local band who won a Bnet compo – nice riffs and enthused vox, talented dudes, hope we hear more from them soon.
Steriogram – saw the last bit of their set, another standard set from the boys. Highlights were the story behind White Trash, and a crowd-energizing performance of Walkie-Talkie Man.
I Am Giant – much better live than on plastic - I’ve been listening to their EP for a while now but hadn’t got their buzz, I understand it now, they’re not empty, its just digitalising them makes them flat. Watch out for their debut album later this year. Wifey enjoyed their set, especially their energy.
Airbourne – cheap wine and cheaper (Auckland) women! In a set full of raw power, stage scaffold climbing, tui can smashing (autographed and hiffed into the crowd no less), cheap wine sculling, pussy songs (yes, it’s about pussy, you know what I’m talking about) and wailing axes, Airbourne showed us how our lesser pacific neighbours rock out in magnificent style.
Deftones – theirs was an awesome set, yet somehow I was disappointed. The more gigs I attend, the more the tendency to browncoat is getting easier to resist, and yet here I am. Sigh. A good set nonetheless, heaps of classics, the crowd went off, and Moreno even cranking a bit of crowd surfing. Sweet. I love how bands crowd surfing really freaks out security!
Lupe Fiasco – a few sound issues in the intro and throughout let down both the teenyboppers and Lupe himself, not at all my cup of tea, despite persuading myself to have an open mind, the obvious fandom were entranced and fully into it though – and Lupe was also just as obviously drinking it all in. Wifey liked the set, noting the big youthful change in crowd in the ‘D’ leading up, and afterwards.
Wolfmother – a choice as set, pity they didn’t play Mind’s Eye but beggars can't be choosers. Joker and the Thief, and Dimension were particularly impressive.
John Butler Trio – an amazing use of different stringed instruments, banjo, standing bass and straight old guitar and varied acoustic enhancements – a very fine set, the whole band obviously enjoying themselves, rocking out a wicked drum trio, I’m sure I’m missing something with the banana though ...
Shihad – another favourite, they did a damned fine General Electric show, followed by Sleepeater (off their current album), and one from their upcoming album. They had the crowd pumping (when don’t they?), despite the steady rain which was really setting in by this stage.
Iggy and the Stooges – damn that dude is munted eh, he’s fully a legend but fuck he makes you laugh seeing him skip all gimpy round the stage and flail his skinny arms around! Got at least 12 people on stage – his aged stage manager was doing his best to keep them off Iggy, but didn’t succeed very well.
Rammstein – definitely the highlight of the show for both me and Wifey, awesome explosions and pyrotechnics, a crazy amount of fire, including a dude set on fire by what looked like a petrol pump - on fire, the intensely disturbing keyboardist in a pot – on fire, flamethrower mouthpieces – on fire. Gouts of flame so hot you could feel them halfway across the D, and explosions I’m sure they heard in the city. Overall an outstandingly awesome show – this is the way German should be taught! The crowd got fully into it, singing along enthusiastically to Du Hast, cheering and moshing their hearts out the whole way through, and fully going mental anytime anything blew up!
Tool – a fantastically epic and spectacular show, as always. The mosh was hungry and huge, despite, in my opinion, Tool being a very hard band to mosh to. It didn’t stop them though! Standout performance of Third Eye, I’m still humming it.
Overall Big Day Out 2011 was a very well run event, sometimes they feel too packed (strange, that, given there are 40K people there) and you end up spending a large part of the day sun burning and waiting in line for something. This wasn’t our experience this year – whether age is lending some wisdom and therefore good planning, or the BDO team is fully nailing it, I’m not sure – but the BDO crew should have the credit either way. All in all it was a damned fine day. What at first seemed like a fairly lacklustre line-up compared to past years (and let’s not talk about the cost of a ticket!), the heat was turned on, and a damned fine time was had by all – despite the rain.
- Rammstein, Tool, Airbourne
- No aimless lines that we got stuck in
- Grass in the mosh pit! An unreal feeling, pleasant though, that’s for sure
- Breezy, mostly overcast day that was none too hot
- Many many inappropriately dressed hotties! ;)
- St John was everywhere, and offered sunscreen and earplugs for a donation
- Not too many market stalls, the ones that were there offered hairbraiding, tattooing and shirts and such, nothing bulky that couldn’t be easily carried. Conspicuously absent were the herbal stalls ...
- Mega water refilling stations, and in the hottest parts of the D security could also fill water, and they had gardening guns for cooling the mosh – a fantastic idea, and top marks to the Big Day Out crew for this innovation
- Veolia Transport (the train people) – fantastic service offered. Thanks! Actually, on that note, all public transport was very well sorted – lots of big signs, security and police out in force to keep order in a really subtle way (no paddy wagons like the last Maiden gig I went to)
- The rain that started showering early afternoon and got heavier throughout the evening, drenching all in sight and cooling off those hotties that should have listened to their mums and covered up – not that I’m complaining!
- Sore feet, back, arms, neck! But hey, maybe I’m just getting old.
- It’s only a day, and Tool were scheduled to finish at 10.30 – a full hour earlier I’m sure than any other year. I can see why they did it, get the punters moving nice and early, but still ...
Stuff I Learned/Reconfirmed
- Make sure to get the cash you’ll need before you go in – there are cash points but they’ll charge you for the privilege, $3 this time round. A pair can spend a hundred easily, more if you’re drinking
- Camelbaks are awesome – take them in empty to save time at the gate
- Carbo-loading is important if you want to see the end of the night. I’m talking about full English breakfast here, people!
- 5 P’s: Prior Preperation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance, the only useful thing the army ever taught me. If the forecast says rain, then for fucks sake get one of those rain jackets that look like rubbish bags – they’re small and they’re cheap. Sunscreen not so much a major, it’s usually available on site, but lather up anyway before you leave home
- Be nice to your mother
- Cheap t-shirts outside the venue may not actually be event-sponsored, sure they’re cheap, but are they official merch? And does it matter? Discuss.
Du hast mich gefragt!
CEOMong & Wifey