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Big Day Out, 26th of January @ Flemington racecourse (Melbourne)

February 3, 2009

When the first couple of announcement were made for the Big Day out, I, like many others were somewhat underwhelmed, but leading up to the day I grew increasingly excited! The weather was good, the people were awesome and the bands killed it!
My day started off with Sparkadia, opening up the Orange main stage. Though I am not really captivated by Sparkadia on record, they played a light hearted and strong set and warmed the crowd up for a laid back day, with the audience they drew singing along to the song played on the radio, such as ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Too Much To Do’. Though, it was the next band on the Blue stage right next door I was busting for!

Children Collide! I can’t help but gush about how much I love this band! The Melbourne three-piece punk band tore through the songs of their debut, ‘The Long Now’ with an exuberance and vigour that isn’t found in many bands today. This band truly shines when playing live, with a set consisting of loud and energetic versions of ‘We Are Amphibious’, ‘Farewell Rocketship’, everyone’s favourite ‘Cannibal’ and the hectic, static ‘Fire Engine’ closing their set.
I made my way over to catch some of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s set, over on the Essential stage, where they had their crowd dancing in a frenzy to their catchy rock and roll tunes. I had always heard good things about this band live, and defiantly proved it to me and many others.

I then toddled to catch all-lady piece, Beaches, with their surfy guitar songs, under the cover of the Hot Produce stage. This band always brings ‘it’ live! Always mixing their set up and impressing those who have never seen them before. Their catchy, often vocal-less tunes, resonated through the large tent.
Next on my too-see list was Sydney four piece Mercy Arms, whose 2008 debut record was a favourite of mine. Though, despite this their performance didn’t ‘wow’ like I had hoped them to do, their songs missing that spark that brings their record to life, and the vocals not all that clear, and the spoken-word section of ‘Shine A Light’ suffering due to microphone problems. Lucky the sharply-dresses lads were easy to look at!
From there, my escort took me back to the Blue Stage, to see Bullet For My Valentine. I am not into what it is they do, it’s not my ‘bag’ at all, but they’re set was full of energy and they showed a real talent for stirring up their crowd and definitely bought a lot of enthusiasm to their show, which an ability to create almost a camaraderie within their audience.
Next was My Disco, under the big top Hot produce stage. This is a band that creates two sides, those who love their challenging, deafening, and completely enthralling. I am one of these people, captivated by their loud and uncompromising set. Or you can find them to be a whole bunch of meaningless noise. Though, many people there to witness this band were with me, and to see how they played their songs live was exciting!
I then made my way to catch the second half of TV On The Radio’s set on the Green stage. This band had energy, which had clearly transferred to their crowd, though whoever it was that was doing their sound wasn’t doing that greater job at it, as it sounded muddy at times, taking away from TV On The Radio’s powerful live performance.
After TV On The Radio was My Morning Jacket, with they’re catchy, slightly psychedelic rock songs. It went from one end of the scale to the other, with My Morning Jacket’s set rolling out over the crowd with clarity! The mix of guitar way amazing, and each song was performed with perfection.

I was excited to finally catch the Drones live, the Melbourne band gracing the Essential Stage. I had seen Gareth Liddiard solo several times, but now with the full band, I was amped! Gareth has this dark and brooding persona, his haunting vocals carrying and intimidating brutality. My favourite song ‘Oh My’ came to life with a biting vulgarity! They blew my mind! As Gareth ranted, raved and threw himself around, as the others kept their cool around him.
We then moved on to the Orange and Blue stages again, to see The Living End, old hats at the Big Day Out. I like The Living End, though today they were missing that energy their live performances are usually known for. It was flat, lifeless and boring, with their set containing mostly songs from their most recent album. What I thought would be a good time to have a jump around and a dance was uninteresting and didn’t keep many people’s attention for long.
Unfortunately Arctic Monkeys set went the same way. Their set was boring, with that cheeky character present in their earlier live performance gone, and pretention clearly set in. Present in there set was an attempt at Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’. Though they had clearly attempted to twist it into their own style, it was average at best.

Next was the legendary Neil Young! With a set consisting of the songs we all know and love, this old man blew everyone away! His onstage presence holds a great passion that floated over a throughout the crowd, blown away by his aggression and vitality. I, like many others there, feel the privilege of being able to see such a meaningful songwriter perform his songs that are held so valuable to people the world over.
Though, determined to catch a few more bands before the day ended, I made my way slowly over to the Dropkick Murphys, closing the Green stage. The loud and boisterous Boston band thundered around the stage, every drunken fool dancing and yelling along to the anthem-like chants! Though not really my kind of band, they looked like lots of fun, and everybody appeared to be enjoying the energy they created!
All in all, I had a very Australian Big Day Out, with the local bands being the ones to really impress me. The Big Day Out has received a bit of flack this past year, but I went and still had an amazing time, and managed to catch some of the best bands Australia has to offer, and one of the world’s most renowned songwriters.
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