It would be unjust not to cover this…even though it’s taken a while to post, because I swear I saw other bands other than Pearl Jam at Big Day Out. Here’s the proof:
All the Colours…
Kicking off the festival day in Melbourne and Sydney. Sure, there were evidently a number of people who had arrived early to stake out a prime position for Violent Soho who were up next but the crowds slowly built. Entertaining as always, these guys know how to put on a live show even in the morning. Dapper suits provide little façade for the killer rock moments unleashed on stage amongst the more subdued grooves.
Melbourne crowds benefited from the refuge provided by the undercover stage, while Mother Nature couldn’t keep the Sydney crowds from dancing along despite the rain with the three singles that some may have already heard, and the newbie Fragile (love it!). Glad to say that the debut album came out this week…
Having heard some of the stuff from these guys, it was time to check out the Brisbane natives live in Melbourne…easy enough, didn’t involve walking to another stage. Definitely a crowd pleaser and upped the ante in the rock stakes with unapologetically raw and heavier sounds of Dope Calypso greeting the ears of many. Ripping guitar and bass with roaring vocals is an absolute winner and hard not to like.
Open invitations to sing along were unashamedly taken (who could refuse such a polite request?) and Jesus Stole My Girlfriend was clearly a favourite, validated by the ear-piercing scream nearby. The riffs lingered but it was time to move on…so little time, so much to see…
A short walk away, Loon Lake had already kicked off their set and the happy sounds of Bad to Me accompanied arrival at stage. Thanking the warm crowd the multi skilled and the fun continued with On Fire getting toes tapping and maybe even a few bodies dancing.
But it was clear that everyone had come along for the same thing, and with some back up on drums on stage the beats of Cherry Lips were accompanied with claps and cheers. Singing along would be a generous description, but the shout alongs and whoo’s worked a treat leading into a cover of Valerie – not the vocal prowess of Amy Winehouse, but made up for with every bit of energy and spirit. The crowd photo was taken and with the rain in Melbourne well and truly gone for the day, In The Summer was a perfect end.
This was by no means the first time I’d seen Kingswood, but they get better live every time…astounding vocals, and tighter delivery for sheer rock energy and entertainment. She’s My Baby was a killer start to the familiar and got things underway for hearing more of the new material including Sucker Punch that hopefully will be released on that long anticipated album soon.
Their cover of First Aid Kit’s Wolf has clearly become a staple in the band’s live offering (and rightly so). Love was offered from the crowd, Medusa was dedicated to everyone present and the grooves continued but the best was saved until last for the killer Ohio.
Love what these guys do with their sound. And so did a few others by the look of things in Melbourne, being stuck way back in the crowd as the spacey sounds of Solitude is Bliss blasted through. Spacey and ethereal continued before the more upbeat vibes of Why Don’t They Talk To Me got the crowd at the back a little more excited. The rock grooves of Half Full Glass of Wine were definitely a winner, but Elephant was the undisputable highlight – can’t beat it!
I know it’s a part of the band and all that, but there seemed to be nothing happening on stage. I can never really tell if they’re enjoying being on stage…the fun seems to be happening in the crowd and there were many quite happy to break out into solo dance routines and even a few locating partners in crime for a dance on the lawns, Adelaide and Perth included.
Only caught these guys in Melbourne, but anyone who didn’t join in here missed out on a party. With Itchin’ on a Photograph, the cheers, claps and shout alongs were evident of fun times ahead as the tent continued to fill with festival bodies. There was no shortage of energy from the stage either, enthusiasm from the costume-adorned Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi fuelling ongoing crowd participation through Lovely Cup and Shark Attack.
Then the tease of a new song, something we apparently hadn’t heard before…Tongue Tied, with energy lifting up yet another notch for a fun-filled few minutes. Surely that would have been the highlight, but the party continued with Borderlines and Aliens without any sign of slowing down, and a little favour from the stage to make as much noise as possible for Colours, the end only coming when the band finishing their set. A brief walk by their appearance in Sydney showed equal levels of fun and love.
Wow…seriously, just wow. I feel like I’ve had my head buried under a blanket for years but I’d never realised how good these guys are live with on stage antics galore, crowd participation and witty banter. It’s over the top and a bit of a spectacle that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can see it for entertainment and humour then you’re likely to enjoy. More importantly, if you’re willing to play along rather than trying to play it cool, you’ll have a blast.
There was no more perfect opening than the simple but effective Come On to get everyone ready for the hour ahead. In turn, the ladies, the gentlemen, and the ladies and gentlemen were treated to the self-proclaimed awesome songs from the stars on stage making it look so easy, but according to Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist is pretty bloody difficult.
Wait a Minute continued the fun and non-stop energy, and everything kept getting better with the crowd getting their heads around what was happening, especially the novices to the Hives live delivery. Hate to Say I told you so was epic (complete with a few Blur jokes), but nothing bet the humour of Tick Tick Boom with Howlin’ Pelle continuing his command of the crowd. Glad I got to see (well, hear) these guys again whilst trapped at the Blue stage waiting for Pearl Jam in Adelaide and Perth, and certainly no persuasion required to get me along to another show if (when) another tour is announced.
Moving stages and genres for some folk rock, hinting at a hoe down in Classy Girls as more and more bodies squeezed into any available space to join in the tomfoolery unleashing from the stage. The shared pain of Ain’t Nobody’s Problem soon turned into momentary respite before Hey Ho and the mandated singalong before taking things down a notch for Dead Sea. Shame about all the chit chat in the crowd, it made the experience a little less enjoyable than it could have been but still worth checking out, and enough to make me want to listen to more.
Win, Regine, the rest of the band and those Reflektor characters all came out to play on stage. Granted I was watching on the screens and whatever was happening side of stage while getting cosy and snug with all the other Pearl Jam fans staking claim on hallowed ground in front of the blue stage. I liked what I heard – I can’t say that I was a fan beforehand but I am intrigued now. Reflektor was pretty awesome live despite reaching overkill levels of exposure leading up to the event and I was actually more impressed with the rest of the stuff I heard – just as well, given there were another three days of hearing them ahead!
Rhythms were the absolute hook on Neighbourhood #3 while the rolling grooves of Joan of Arc were inescapable. Multi instrumentalists skills displayed on stage by Regine and the band were super impressive, along with linguistic skills and Neighbourhood #1 and No Cars Go were winners too (again, I’m favouring the older stuff!). But with Here Comes the Night Time with all of its percussion glory playing as the sun commenced its descent for the day and confetti canons exploding at the end of the set, it was hard not to be happy, everyone loves that stuff!
The Naked and Famous…
Time for some indie synth sounds from just across the Tasman, the driving beats and distinguishable guitar of A Stillness kicked things off and sounded pretty perfect out in the sunshine. Alisa Xayalith dominated the vocals but the female / male combination when vocals are shared with Thom Powers is something to witness live.
The epic sounds of Rolling Waves filtered through before coming back to the fun times of All of This. The older stuff definitely has more of a rock edge compared to the more synth pop emphasis on the newer material, but it’s all good.
Here was one of the bands that summed up the demographic and gender spread of the Big Day Out. Sure, some of the older crowd stuck around but it was evident that this was really one for the young un’s attending the day’s festivities.
The familiar sounds of The City filled the air and kicked off the delivery of an impressive set highlighting the strengths of the band’s debut. The indie rock pop sounds had toes tapping and from a few reactions may have even won over a few new fans. Working the crowd, Girls was received to screams from the girls in the crowd and only got louder when asked if anyone knew of a song called Chocolate. Offers of more to conclude the set weren’t refuted either.
The Cosmic Psychos…
I’ve heard about these guys over the years and even though it took me a while to listen, watching the doco Blokes You Can Trust last year created even more intrigue around the band. Wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was honestly really surprised, they’re awesome live! I’m not going to be converted to being a number one fan but you can’t help but smile with all the talk of beer, schnitzels and chips in Nice Day to Go To The Pub and their iconic Australian ways. This was just no-nonsense punk rock from a bunch of down to earth larrikins who were all business when it came to the music.
Shame that there was a crowd building and lingering near the barriers to see who was watching from the side of stage, but the rest of us had a blast watching the guys on stage.
These guys were around a little before my time, so it’s been a case of playing catch up as best as I can (don’t worry, next step is the doco and bio!) I wish I’d gone to their Melbourne sideshow but made it to their Sydney appearance at Big Day Out after being blown away by Mark Arm’s guest appearance with Pearl Jam a few nights beforehand for Kick Out The Jams. An incredibly charismatic front man who knows how to put on a show, not to mention some pretty fancy guitar work and roaring sounds from an incredibly talented band. The years have passed, but that only seems to have benefited the band in delivering an incredibly tight set.
Liam Gallagher and co. They sang a couple of Oasis songs which everyone seemed pretty happy with. There were a lot of people around who seemed to like them and knew words to songs that had never passed through my ear drums. Liam Gallagher definitely stands out from everyone else on the stage, very much a ‘me and them’ sort of set up with the rest of the band blending into existence in the background. Some might call it presence, perhaps attitude but it just seemed like arrogance. Not over whelming, not under whelming, it just was…but glad others enjoyed it.
A loyal faithful following seemed to appear when Primus was on stage, passionate sing-alongs and shouted song requests as proof. Even as someone who isn’t a fan (or at least wasn’t until this point in time), these guys are incredible live. Absolutely astounding bass from Les Claypool is mesmerising to watch, and certainly can’t dismiss the fancy fingers of Larry “Ler” LaLonde.
I’d only caught the last of their set in Melbourne moments before the Hives, so it was an absolute treat watching up close. We were invited to make our way to the shade, promising no less would be thought of us for doing so but sweltering in the heat (especially in Adelaide) was part of a grander plan…no one was moving anywhere – not under a parasol, not into the shade. But when you get to witness something like Southbound Pachyderm or Lee Van Cliff unfolding in front of you, how can you complain?
Someone clearly forgot to tell these guys that it generally takes a few more people on stage to create volumes and sounds to attract a worthy audience, but it’s worked for others in the past and these two don’t seem to have any issues either. After reading and hearing so much about them, it was cool to see what all the hype was about on a live stage.
There were definitely a couple of stand outs, but not for the fainthearted – this is loud, brash and intense with a few less severe and thrashy sounds (like Northern Lights) for moments of reprieve. But Dollar Chills is undeniably catchy and with heads bobbing along, a few others agreed.
Staking out the front of the Blue stage meant getting up close and personal with Bluejuice, in ways that only synthetic materials like lycra or spandex in the form of figure hugging gold jumpsuits allows. A cause for entertainment and humour amongst all, with the overabundance of energy that Bluejuice always delivers live from a bunch of crowd pleasing tracks.
Broken Leg is a personal fave, but hearing the newer S.O.S amongst the older stuff like Act Yr Age and Can’t Keep Up was nothing but fun and smiles. Choruses that had everyone singing along, upbeat tempos that got everyone clapping along and for a moment there we may have forgotten about the heat simply because we were having fun. There was certainly no reservation to Jake Stone coming into the crowd during both the Adelaide and Perth sets much to the dismay of some of the security staff.
Not a bad effort across four days!