I went to the Big Day Out a few days ago a young and innocent man, with only a bright shine in my eyes and a smile on my face. What I learned there will stay with me forever, changing me, forcing me to accept some of the realities of life.
First of all, after about seven seconds at the festival it became apparent that the male trend of ‘peacocking’ or dressing for attention (like a peacock with its feathers) has spiralled out of control. Guys, this needs to stop. First of all, those singlets with arm holes that stretch almost all the way down to your pants are just offensive. Secondly, no one really wants to see you with your shirt off, there are no excuses for this at the Big Day Out, it isn’t the Jersey Shore, so keep it on. Don’t you realise you’re getting sunburned? Don’t you remember slip, slop, slap? Slip on a shirt is the first one. I think the worst offender was this one guy I saw who had tucked his shirt into the back of his cap like a legionnaires hat. His brain obviously told him that this way, his back wouldn’t get burnt and the world could still see him with a top off. Bravo sir.
Disgusted, I walked into the pavilion which housed the V tent. It was around 2ish by this point and Andrew W K had stepped onto the stage. Now, I’ve heard of this guy, but I’d never seen him live. It was INCREDIBLE. Every bit of anger I had completely disappeared, if I had cancer he would’ve cured it. His attitude is just SO positive, it’s ludicrous. There is nothing that can bring him down. His rock heavy music was very entertaining and if that wasn’t enough his female back up vocalist was stripped down to a onesie and then danced like Olivia Newton-John in Physical. Although I wasn’t around for the ‘true’ rock bands of the 80’s and 90’s, this must have been what it was like. Loud music, crowds going crazy, amazing light shows. My second life lesson was Andrew W K loves to party. Not for an occasion, not to escape from some horrific past but just because. At one point he stopped the music and gave a speech “Do you see this?” He said as he held a peace symbol above his head “This is a peace symbol and this means that all of us are here in the name of good feelings, in the name of friendship and in the name of partying” At this point the rock started up again. It was like if Disney made a rock movie, mind blowing.
I moved outside at 4pm to see Deftones, who my friends raved about. We were a few metres from the mosh pit as we watched the show. It was a very energetic live set with the singer dancing all over the stage. The crowd loved it, throwing broken thongs and beach balls into the air and I learned my third and fourth life lessons: Even people with baby blue guitarists can rock out and never wear thongs to a music festival, they will break and people will throw them.
I relaxed for the better part of two hours, wandering aimlessly and drinking frozen cocktails (excellent addition BDO! Promote whoever decided to include them in the drinks line up) finally the Bloody Beetroots began in the boiler room. Loud, fast music washed over me like a wave of excellence. Much of their music sounded very similar to me, except of course for that one song, the song where the crowd was always destined to lose its mind, Warp 1.9. People were dancing, jumping and throwing hats, a brilliant beginning to the evening.
Finally the reasons I had come to BDO were up, Rammstein. Their outfits were pretty messed up, but that was to be expected, I’d never seen them live before but had loved several of their albums despite not being a metal head by any means. My god do they know how to pull together a live show. Fireworks, explosions, fireballs they had everything. I was reeling from the shock and awe and then lead singer Till Lindemann got a flamethrower.
Now, Rammstein are renowned for their pyrotechnics (which Till Lindermann checks personally before each show) but I was not prepared for this. He set a guy on fire! A real live guy! ON FIRE! Lesson number 5: Never mess with Rammstein. Now, not only was it hands down the best pyrotechnic display I had ever seen on stage, but it was also an exceptional performance by the band including the keyboardist, who spent most of it walking on a treadmill while playing.
I didn’t think Tool could follow on from such an exceptional show. And before I write this I should mention, I’m not much of a Tool fan, so I was left wanting after their first few songs. (I should mention my friends, who are Tool fans, claim that it was the greatest show of their entire lives) However, their last track saw members of Rammstein come back to the stage (with the flame thrower again) and play the drums, which were on fire. Lesson number 6: Seriously NEVER mess with Rammstein.
All in all, an excellent showcase of local and international acts, a few disappointments here and there but overall a great Big Day Out.