BIG DAY OUT 2011
Every year I walk into the Big Day Out with the same feelings of dread and loathing. It’s hot, dusty and full of people who’s enjoyment of music is matched only by their love of denim shorts, wearing singlets and their want to stay in one spot, drinking over priced beer and watch one just band all day, but it’s always a sick day, man.
This year the feeling was the same, if not a little worse. The line-up did little to make me smile but when I left eight hours later my mind was changed, and I didn’t even get stuck in traffic.
The Big Day Out’s relevance has diminished over the years with bigger and better festivals taking its place but with It was because of the older and lesser known acts the 2011 Big Day Out shone.
I checked out Airbourne from the comfort of the grand stand, not a bad place to watch a band whose show is more about the antics then the music. Although their guitarist did churn out a kick ass solo from on top of the speaker rig.
A quick peak over at Andrew WK did little to garner my interest. High energy and a hell of a lot of bravado did little to counter the fact that songs about partying can only go so far.
Perhaps the most interesting and highly anticipated act of the day was the gangster ninja’s of South Africa’s Die Antwood. Half mockumentary, half comedy duo but all fun and perhaps the smartest ‘rappers’ on the plant. With the alien voice of Yolandi echoing over the Boiler Room there is something to behold with this duo of ninja’s who put on quite a show.
The Greenhornes began to a very small but interested crowd on the Hot Produce stage. Having been around for a while and with most members spawning in other bands, theses guys know how to play, shame the people crossing in front of them ignored that fact.
As the day turned into evening it was time for the old hands to take to the stage. Iggy Pop and The Stooges were the daddy’s of the daddy’s. Bursting on stage with the bravado you would expect, middle fingers in the air and pushing camera men around Iggy Pop belted out a collection of his serious back catalogue. His energy is infectious and his control over the crowd was something to behold. With dancers on stage and frequent trips into the crowd, he even managed an encore. Well played Sir Iggy.
Primal Scream continued the old timers feel with their playing of the classic Screamadelica. Bobby Gillespie swaggered, everyone danced. Punctuated by a brilliant light show, Primal Scream were an evening wonder and a testament to the endurance of a truly great album.
Tool played back over on the main stage. I only caught a few songs, both of which were loud and baked by a quite spectacular light show. Maynard was silhouette on a drum riser and although for a non fan the lights were more impressive than the sound I can see why die hard fans would have been in rapture.
Grinderman finished my night. Nick Cave may just be more relevant than any current artist in the world and he could just be the finest performer Australia has ever produced. With his ‘second’ band behind him this became the most enthralling and intense hour of any festival set I have seen. Warren Ellis made noises to behold and Cave himself sang not to a crowd but, seemingly, to a bunch of pals. Where the singlet and demin shorts mob were playing in silence and being shot by MIA the true music lovers were getting their heads torn off by Grinderman.
With rumors around that the Big Day Out may not be back this was a very, very, good swansong.