The Big Day Out (BDO) is most notable for being Australia’s premier music festival. With some of the biggest names in popular music, the annual event has seen everyone from the Ramones, Marilyn Manson, Rage Against The Machine, and Ministry rock its stages. While some years have been more successful than others, there’s no denying that the festival has cemented its place in Australian history. This year, the BDO’s solid line-up of both homegrown and international artists once again gave everyone something to enjoy.

It’s pleasing to see how far Brisbane’s Violent Soho have come in such a short time. Mixing a nice blend of 90s grunge and impressive songwriting  – filled with big hooks and catchy choruses – the awesome foursome blew the roof off the place. If there was any band suited to kick off a BDO with such ferocity, you couldn’t go past Violent Soho.  They had the crowd in the palms of their hands and rightly so. They’re set to take over the world, and we as a nation should be proud to call them our own.

Portugal. The Man’s unique mix of pop and melancholic harmonies made for the perfect come-down soundtrack after Violent Soho. Kingswood, on the other hand, were definitely the opposite, throwing out party vibes with their 70s-inspired classic rock. With heavy groove mixed with hot guitar shredding, the Melbourne four-piece not only had the best looking t-shirts at the merch stand, but gave everyone a set to remember.

Tame Impala have done well for themselves over the last couple years, and their performance proved why they’re now a household name. The psychedelic space jams were a treat and the receptive punters showered the band with cheers.

When it comes to Australian rock n’ roll, you’d be hard done to find a band more Australian than the legendary Cosmic Psychos. They performed at the first Big Day Out way back in 1992 and have made a good number of appearances ever since. Wasting no time, they opened with ‘Pub’ before taking the crowd through a whole slew of Psychos classics, including ‘Thank Your Mother For The Rabbits’ and ‘David Lee Roth’. Vocalist and bassist Ross Knight revealed that he no idea how he was going to explain the latter song to his child sitting side of stage. Finishing with ‘Lost Cause’, the legendary three-piece did Australia proud, proving that various line-up changes have done nothing to slow down their brute force and power.

It’s always a good time seeing Mudhoney. The quartet survived the outbreak of “grunge” in the early 90s, went through the major label cycle, continuously released quality albums – and they’re still around today, jamming to their unique brand of fuzztone, sludge rock n’ roll. More importantly, they are one of the bands that can say they performed during Big Day Out’s infancy. Packing as many good time tunes as they could into their way too short set time, the classics like ‘Suck You Dry’, ‘In N’ Out Of Grace’, and the anthemic ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ were all received with huge applause.

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Newer tunes, like opener ‘Slipping Away’ from their latest record Vanishing Point and the infectiously groovy ‘I’m Now’ had the people movin’ and shakin’ as guitar slinger Steve Turner busted out his quirky riffs and freestyle licks over vocalist Mark Arm’s signature wail. It’s safe to say that Mudhoney will not be putting away the ‘Bigmuff’ pedals anytime soon, and for that we should be thankful.

It was inevitable that Beady Eye would bust out some Oasis covers amongst their indie pop tunes. So, as expected, Liam Gallagher and co. dished out splendid versions of ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’. Both were met to a huge applause – much more than their own originals – a reason to ponder whether an Oasis reunion is far away. Let’s face it – while Beady Eye are most definitely a talented band, they’re more than likely to remain a shadow of the frontman’s former group.

Arcade Fire were definitely interesting – their elaborate stage show made for a fun time – but it was Vista Chino who showed their cult followers that less is indeed more. Armed with nothing but riffs, a pounding drum beat, and thumping basslines, John Garcia and his henchmen gave everyone enough Kyuss memories to last.  Every opening riff was met with thunderous appreciation of the deafening volumes. Although Garcia appeared to be struggling with his vocals and monitors on stage, the sound emanating through the PA was note perfect, heavy, and monstrous. The band finished just in time to catch Arcade Fire’s anthem of all anthems, ‘Wake Up’. To hear a crowd of thousands sing along to this was nothing short of mesmerising and impressive.

Have you ever tried to explain the band Ghost to people? Some call them metal, others label them as classic rock, but one thing is for sure ­­– they’re a sight to behold. From their stage costumes to their lyrics, the overly satanic themes don’t seem so scary once you hear the music. Packed with Swedish pop sensibilities and irresistible harmonies, Ghost are quite confusing. Their sound is definitely not metal, yet it appeals to a metal audience, and as they played an assortment of guitar driven hymns, it felt like one was partaking in some kind of ritual at the hands of vocalist Papa Emeritus II.

Standing on stage in his signature cloak, mask, and branding his sceptre adorning the ‘Grucifix’, his vocals were of such a sweet nature that it makes you wonder: how can someone so ghastly to look at sound so innocent and harmonious? It’s an ingenius idea and their BDO set was a definite standout of the day – not to mention their superb cover of Roky Erickson’s ‘If You have Ghosts’.

Pearl Jam claimed the headline spot and their extensive set covered all grounds. No one was left feeling cheated as the band performed two hours of tunes. While they’re not for everyone, they still sounded fresh and exciting after 20 years. They played the hits, they played obscurities, and they rocked the Big Day Out to a close.

Once again the Big Day Out stepped up to the plate and brought a good range of genres to the masses. It was a mixed bag of music, and like all festivals, seeing everything is impossible. You could try though, it’s actually really good cardio. Thankyou Big Day Out. We’ll see you again next year.

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