BIG DAY OUT featuring the White Stripes, the Stooges, the Mars Volta, Franz Ferdinand, and Wolfmothe
Our intrepid Aussie braves the summer heat (and the Mt Everest of festival queues) to bring you the Big word from down-under.
BIG DAY OUT featuring the White Stripes, the Stooges, the Mars Volta, Franz Ferdinand, and Wolfmother
BIG DAY OUT featuring the White Stripes, the Stooges, the Mars Volta, Franz Ferdinand, and WolfmotheCity: Sydney, Australia
Venue: Sydney Showgrounds
In the 12 years I've been going to the Big Day Out I've been awed by many things: seeing the Ramones, the Breeders, Teenage Fanclub, and the Smashing Pumpkins all in a row was one. Being booed and pelted with beer cans for leaving Primus early was another (how was I supposed to know all the latecomers had been locked out?). Big Day Out has come a long way since the dark, grungy days of 1992. In that lost age, the festival was held in the dust and horseshit of the old showgrounds, close to Sydney's heart. Now the festival takes place in the relative comfort of the new showgrounds, built for the 2000 Olympic games. Wide avenues and larger venues should translate to an end for over-crowding. Should. The thing that awed me this year was the queue. I have never before encountered a line like this. This was the kind of line that makes you question your faith, the kind of line that makes you shit your pants at the thought of how many bands you were going to miss because of it. The effect was comical: every corner I rounded revealed exactly how much further the queue extended. This was the Everest of festival lines. In order to stay Australia's number one touring freak-show, the Big Day Out has had to grow bigger and louder each year. While it used to be a Sydney-only affair, the event now travels to most Aussie states, and even spreads its rockin' wings across the waters to New Zealand. But does this necessarily make it any better? Many have bemoaned the lack of cutting-edge acts on this year's bill, the kind of act that the Big Day Out was previously known for. We got inside just in time to catch Gerling warming up the crowd. Every time I see the band, I'm stunned by how criminally underrated it is. The band's set moves from dark electro to grinding guitar noise, then back to disco-boogie without anyone gaining a sweat. It also includes a guy in a shark suit performing mock-cunnilingus on another guy in a nude-suit. Some things will always be classic.