Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spiral Out. Keep Going

Big Day Out Sydney, 25th January

After attending stunning performances by Muse and Tool back to back over two nights, I got to see them both performing together at the Big Day Out. This was pretty exciting in and of itself, but as it happened there wasn't a lot else in it for me at this years festival. I'm obviously getting old and out of touch with what's cool in music.

Nevertheless my friends and I dutifully took the day off work, got up early and had a very nice champagne breakfast. In a throwback to the days of tertiary education we drank two bottles of champagne between four of us before 11am (not counting the spirits we added to give it kick).

Seeing as there was little that interested any of us playing early in the day we didn't show up until about 1pm, and spent most of the afternoon in queues. Queues for the toilets, queues for food and oh god you'd better believe there were queues for drinks. You were looking at at least half an hour per drink. One suspects that this was a deliberate decision on the part of the organisers to prevent drunken violence. They certainly seemed more concerned with safety and did more to boss the punters around than what I was used to at the Big Day Out back in Auckland.

The show was held at Olympic Park and it was very similar to Ericsson Stadium, the Auckland venue. The layout was much the same and the individual stages were similar sizes, there was just a lot more room between them. The major difference was the dance tent, which was absolutely cavernous compared to the shitty little supertop back at Ericsson. The other difference was all the Australian flags, but that subject is probably best reserved for a post of its own...

The first band I made an effort to actually go and see was The Butterfly Effect, who are more or less the Aussie equivalent of The Bleeders, or maybe Blindspott. I was surprised to realise I knew a few of their songs (they're often played in the clubs around here) and they put on an OK show, but The Bleeders would blow them off the stage. I really missed seeing all the Kiwi bands who you can rely on to play almost every year early in the day. The Bleeders, Deja Voodoo... you know, I even miss 8 Foot...
The Butterfly Effect

Immediately after them we made a hasty exit from the main stadium in an attempt to hide from the shame of coming from the same country as Evermore and Scribe. Now there's a couple of bands I wouldn't have missed.

At that point there followed a few hours of aimless wandering. We finally decided to sit down and watch a bit of My Chemical Romance. In the past I have often dissed these guys quite strongly, characterising them as worthless, turgid, talentless little shits capitalising on the most inane kind of teenage angst who would only be worth watching if you put them in a blender, but I've come to reconsider that position. Maybe it was the bourbon but I came to realise that there is a lot of entertainment to be found in watching a really shitty band perform really shittily while a bunch of pubescent emo losers jump up and down and squeal. For added comedy, ensure that half of the little morons are wearing Australian flags over their black t-shirt and boardies.

My Chemical Romance. From a good safe distance.

At that point I jettisoned my friends and made a solo mission to see Peaches. I first saw her at a Big Day Out in Auckland years ago, and was surprised (but entertained) by the overt sleaziness of her act. This time I knew what to expect going in and didn't enjoy it as much. She was cool and delivered what was expected, but failed to really get the crowd going, at least around where I was standing. Points though for causing some dopey hick battler to get all pissy and drag his 11 or 12 year old son out of the crowd, announcing loudly and angrily “I don't want my son to see this kind of thing!” apparently referring to the giant penises flying across the huge video screens behind the stage. Even if Peaches' music didn't do much for me this year I do wholeheartedly approve her attempt to pervert the youth of Australia.

Peaches

The line up was looking pretty sparse for the next few hours so after a half hearted attempt to reunite with my friends I decided to cut my losses and head into the D barrier to get a place for Tool. I was faced with two tough dilemmas; firstly should I stand on the barrier and be right in front of the stage, but have to put up with the moshpit for the four and a half hours until they finished (plus being right by the speakers for the whole time) and secondly should I stand stage left so I could see Muse play, or stage right so I could be right in front of Adam Jones but be unable to see Muse. I eventually settled on 'almost right on the barrier, in front of Adam'. Most satisfying. But before I could enjoy the fruits of my careful decision making, I had to suffer through my greatest trial yet. An hour of The Killers, followed by an hour of Jet! A truly horrifying prospect, and a lesser man would have caved and gone home rather than face it. Or perhaps enjoyed it.

The Killers weren't too bad. I do say nasty things about them sometimes but it's more that they're overrated than that they are actually bad. I certainly don't dislike them nearly as much as say Green Day or My Chemical Romance or The Arctic Motherfucking Monkeys. Of course when I say 'weren't too bad' what I mean is that I endured through it without too much trouble, and in fact all I can remember about it now is that the singer is an annoying little b-grade Morrissey impersonator who I wanted to punch in the face.

The Killers

Jet on the other hand were abysmal. I can scarcely fathom how they got placed so highly on the bill but I suspect it had something to do with misplaced Aussie nationalism. They're nothing more than a second rate copy of The Datsuns, and The Datsuns are pretty shit to begin with. Fortunately I was not alone in my assessment, judging by the healthy amount of verbal abuse, obscene gestures and broken glass that was hurled their way in a steady torrent from the moment they took the stage until they played their last song and mercifully departed. It was almost worth it, but unfortunately none of them received any head injuries.

Jet

Finally, my long dark winter of the ears was over and Muse took the stage. I couldn't see them at all except for on the big video screen so I have no wild tales to tell of on stage shenanigans or breathtaking visuals, but I can say that they sounded awesome. The setlist was a subset of what they played the other night:

Knights of Cydonia
Starlight
Butterflies
New Born
Supermassive Black Hole
Hysteria
Map of the Problematique
Invincible
Time is Running Out
Plug In Baby
Stockholm Syndrome
Take a Bow

Good stuff but no one else around where I was standing seemed that into it. And to be honest even I was feeling a little impatient...

Matt Bellamy Fashion Watch:
I dunno, I couldn't see him.

Maynard Fashion Watch:
Pretty much the same as the night before. Only with a hat.

So after a long long wait (the girl in front of me claimed to have been hanging on to that barrier for seven hours before Tool walked on stage) the headliners finally appeared.

Stinkfist

Seeing Adam play this song from a couple of metres away can only be described as being like dying, going to heaven and having Sarah Michelle Gellar ask me to poop in her butt. To tell the truth, this whole concert was amazing.

Yay it's Adam!

The crowd got pretty mental during this song. I saw no fewer than three semi conscious girls get carried past me by St. Johns before it ended. I became mildly worried for the well being of my friends back in the moshpit and for that of the gaggle of cute little goth chicks I seemed to had found myself surrounded by but things actually mellowed out completely by the time this song was over. Rumour has it that the moshpit the night before was brutal, and that Muse's BDO set had been really rough, so maybe the munters had just worn themselves out.

The Pot

I was a bit disappointed not to hear this one the night before so I was very pleased that they played it this time. Justin played that crazy assed bass riff like a motherfucker. Awesome.

46 & 2
Jambi
Schism

Probably not quite as good performances as the night before (even Danny's solos, while still amazing, weren't as mind blowing as at the earlier show), but being right in the crowd, surrounded by (refreshingly mellow) people who were as into the music as I was made it personally more enjoyable for me. I liked Maynards little dance with his hat while Adam played his talk box solo during Jambi.

You can't really tell but in this photo Danny Carey is transcending time and space.

Epilady Solo

I was stoked to see this one again from up close. Go Adam go!

Sober
Opiate

A couple of nostalgia trips tonight. I appreciated that they made an effort to play a few different tracks for the sake of those of us who attended both concerts!

After three days I finally take a decent photo. Adam playing Vicarious.

Lateralus
Spacey Instrumental
Vicarious

Aenima

All just as much fun as the previous night, if not more. The stage show and performances weren't quite as good but the vibe in the crowd was fantastic and it was by no means anything less than fantastic. Things are just always a bit less polished and not as intimate at a festival. Was it just me or did Adam stuff up the intro to Vicarious a little? If so it was the only time I heard him make a mistake over the two nights. Seeing him up close like that was like a spiritual experience for me (I was still grinning my head off two days later, so that on Saturday night people in bars kept asking me what drugs I was on). At the concert I (barely) refrained from yelling out “Adam I love you and want to have your babies!” but between the constant waving about of my hands and the singing along with the guitar solos and so on, I think he probably got the picture anyway.

And then they left, promising to be back in December. (A year!?! But I want it now!) We stuck around for a bit of The Crystal Method (DJs) but my legs were about to fall off by that stage, so it was off to bed for me.

I seem to have outgrown the Big Day Out a little but it was still a good day. The highlights being, in this order:

Adam
The rest of Tool
Muse
Champagne breakfast
Laughing at My Chemical Romance

4 comments:

Donna said...

LMAF at your read!
;D

Jacob said...

Man, I'm so Jealous. Tool and Muse twice in a matter of days...

Joel said...

Man, I wish I was there for Peaches. I enjoy mixing her music ;)

Jon said...

Yeah it was pretty cool. Plus, Isis tomorrow!