While some festivals cater to a more specific target demographic, Big Day Out is renowned for attracting all walks of life with ‘the more the merrier’ being the motto for those eager for a solid day of live acts and general tomfoolery.
Crowds gathered donned in requisite festival costumes, be it animal, the tried and tested Indian head-dress, or their bronzed bodies out on full display. No matter what they wore, all were in agreement with Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson when he blurted unapologetically, “I don’t mean to state the obvious – but it’s hot as fucking balls.”
All in all there’s a jovial vibe walking through the front gates, and the anticipatory laughter makes up for the already sweltering heat.
Toucan are one of the many acts to begin the day, drawing an impressive crowd considering it’s only 11am. Whether or not the attraction of the show lay within the music or the relief of the tent’s shade is a subject to be debated, but never the less they performed beautifully.
With a great stage presence and excellent musical ability, the grooves escaping the tent were enough to draw any crowd, deeming the Triple J darlings ones to look out for.
Meanwhile over at the Boiler Room, Nina Las Vegas was getting the crowd dancing with tight remixes of tracks everyone loved.
Disclosure’s ‘Latch’ made an appearance, along with Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ ‘Household Goods’ – a definite favourite. Only Las Vegas could get a crowd up and moshing at 11:45 in the morning.
Brisbane-based band The Medics had the throngs gathering far before their arrival to the stage (or maybe it was just the Bob Marley pumping out of the speakers).
There was some definite anticipation and despite some minor guitar issues at the start of the show, the band brought their signature bass-throwing, stage-diving antics to a pleased audience undoubtedly looking for a good time. And a good time they had. The Medics inspired what was probably the only circle pit of the day, and a mighty entertaining one it was too.
The Boiler Room is named somewhat ironically, considering it is one of only three stages housing that sweet, sweet shade; and yet the crazy club anthems blasting out of the speakers get bodies bouncing so hard it’s difficult to imagine a hotter, sweatier place on the face of the Earth.
This was the case for audio/visual genius Sampology, as he pumped out his usual pop culture drenched excellence. Mixing the likes of Kanye West with The Verve, projecting Bruce Willis, Will Ferrel,l and Eddie Murphy behind Evil Pimp’s ‘Diamonds On My Teeth,’ and creating a hilarious parody to the infamous ‘Down Down Staying Down’ advertisements – to name just a few of his stints. The AVDJ was on top form, and Sampology had got to be one of the most entertaining acts of the day.
Finally the crowds started flocking over to the main stages to catch Grinspoon and their energy packed set, starting out with ‘Hard Act To Follow’ and proving that to be the truth. ‘Chemical Heart’ was the definite highlight of the show, and had crowds belting the lyrics at both of the main stages. Quite an achievement considering the sheer number of people gathered, but one you could easily expect from a band like Grinspoon.
Waiting extended periods of time in the heat for acts to come on stage has got to be the worst part of any festival. But the water passed out from Big Day Out volunteers, the general camaraderie in the crowd (for the most part), and the keen use of the ol’ slip slop slap meant that people were in good spirits when Band Of Horses made an appearance.
‘Great Salt Lake’ was a brilliant start but it was a pity the vocals weren’t a bit louder. Their great stage presence helped that along though, and while most songs were unappreciated by a gathering eager for the hits (or even just camped out for Red Hot Chilli Peppers later in the night) their performance was great.
The much anticipated Vampire Weekend hit the perfect spot with the crowd, bringing that quirky indie rock at their usual high standard. Breaking the ice with ‘Cousins’ to an extremely eager crowd, ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Campus’ were also high hits, and finally ending in their usual tradition with ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,’ theirs was not a show to miss.
The crowd had a ball, propping people on shoulders, beach balls being thrown, and Vampire Weekend’s usual fun stage antics deeming them most definitely a highlight of the day.
Unfortunately, what will probably be the most talked about occurrence regarding their set (on social media anyway) won’t be the music, but the whole… er… flashing incident.
Starting with one girl finding herself on the big screen and pulling up her shirt (Ezra Koenig’s face has never looked so embarrassed). Soon every girl on someone’s shoulders was doing the same thing, until finally, when two women relented to the big reveal, someone behind the scenes wrote up on the big screen “GET ‘EM OUT.”
It was all a bit of fun at the time but bets are out as to how much the person behind that humorous display representing Big Day Out’s opinion on the female anatomy is getting their ass kicked right now.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were up next and the threesome truly brought it. Karen O was a goddess in a red leather pant-jacket combination and a zebra cape, her crazy dancing, floor-rolling and glitter explosions, were everything you could possibly want and expect from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert. With hits from all their albums including a few new songs, the band was, as usual, totally unstoppable.
By now the sun had given the crowds a rest and with it the welcome cool that comes with dusk.
Foals excelled in their time slot, creating absolute magic and making the audience swoon. There were people holding hands and skipping in circles at the back, others dancing dreamily with themselves, more jiving, and people all out moshing at the front. The gig has got to be one of the best of the day, they were an absolute dream.
The fireworks that announced the end of The Killers’ amazing set and excellent comeback also signalled the beginning of the headliners everyone had come to see.
As Red Hot Chilli Peppers walked on stage the crowd erupted like they never had before. Their sheer presence triggered a mass of phenomenal screams, and though from the middle of the massive pit the Chilis could have been a little louder, watching them live was somewhat surreal.
‘Otherside,’ ‘Dani California,’ ‘Can’t Stop,’ ‘Californication,’ and ‘Under The Bridge’ were definite peaks of the show, not to mention a David Bowie cover chucked in just for good measure.
Encore songs ‘Suck My Kiss,’ ‘I Could Have Lied’, and ‘Give It Away’ were also huge, and funnily enough, one of the coolest parts of the show wasn’t even from the band but a fan who jumped up wearing nothing but a sock, recreating the Peppers’ own infamous look.
The crowds left rather civilly which was a nice surprise considering how amped up they had become since Red Hot Chilli Peppers entered the stage. It was a radical end to the day, and the exact reason Big Day Out continues to thrive since its inaugural opening in 1992.
With examples like this, it’s no wonder the crowds come from all over for the festival, and hopefully will continue to do so for a long time coming.