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Home > Blogs > Live Music Reviews > April 2013 > Big Day Out
Live Music Review

Big Day Out

13 May 2013

I had every intention of getting to the festival by 1pm to catch a local favourite, and former AIM student, Nick Weavers band, Deep Sea Arcade. It just so happened that Big Day Out fell on the hottest day in Sydney since 1939. With temperatures reaching a whopping 46 degrees, it was hard to muster up the motivation to get out of the air conditioned, beer filled house at all, let alone in the middle of the day. However, with tinnies in hand, and flasks of vodka down our shorts, we got on a stinking hot train out to Olympic Park along with hundreds of other sweaty punters.

We made it to the sold out festival just in time to catch the end of one of my high school favourites, Against Me. Vocalist, Laura Jane Grace, just last year was known as Tom Gabel before bravely admitting to transgender dysphoria. The transition from a heavily tattooed punk icon into a rocking front woman in leather mini shorts and heels, definitely did not affect the bands performance in playing an outstanding live set to a smaller, but loyal audience.

Following Against Me on the main stage, were veteran Big Day Out legends, Grinspoon for their seventh year at the festival. Grinners brought in the crowd with familiar opener, ‘Hard Act  to Follow’, and continuing with old favourites like ‘More Than You Are’, ‘Lost Control’ and what I have named ‘the Big Day Out Anthem’, ‘Chemical Heart.’ I didn’t see one person not singing along whilst front man, Phil Jamieson kindly shared a bottle of champagne with the crowd.

Band of Horses were one of the main reasons I was there. They delivered nothing short of what I expected. The Seattle five piece played tracks from across their four albums, that had their very happy fans singing along to all of their songs.

Having attended Big Day Out every year since 2004, (bar 2010), this was the first year I didn’t make it to the boiler room, which in my belief would have easily been around a million degrees Celsius inside. In fact, I didn’t really stray very far from the main stages at all, with such a killer line up on the main stages it was hard to leave. The exception being Childish Gambino, and wow, is he one talented dude. I managed to catch half of his set on the Essential Stage before racing back to the main stage for the rest of Vampire Weekend, who’s crowd was made up of most of the festivals teenagers in their barely-there shorts and bikini tops dancing up a storm to the bands bubbly pop songs.

Over my past eight Big Day Out experiences I have formed festival traditions, including sneaking in poorly concealed vodka flasks, wearing overly bright clothing (I have been known to get lost) and my festival food staple- Gozleme. This year however, brought on a new challenge when it came to choosing food. The introduction of Chow Town provided a tasting plate of some of Sydney’s best restaurants, including Brewski Buns from the geniuses at Poteno and Bodega, tasty Thai from Longrain, and Rojo Rockets Mexican delights, initiating a whole new Big Day Out experience.

The only downfall being that everyone else was just as intrigued by all these amazing food choices and there was no way I was going to stand in a line for an hour for a $10 taco. I did manage to get myself a drinking coconut from Three Blue Ducks which proved to be a perfect mixer for my warm vodka, and decided not to break from my greasy and delicious Gozleme tradition.

Whilst filling my face with much needed food and rehydrating ie. pouring $20 worth of bottled water over our heads, came the distinct sound of Karen O’s screeching vocals with a song I had never heard of before. That was enough to get me back into the main stadium to see her rocking out, in all her yellow leather suit glory, fronting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Given the age of the crowd who were already up the front from Vampire Weekend, the only song that everyone really seemed to know and really get into was ‘Heads Will Roll’ but that didn’t stop Ms O from dancing and jumping all over the stage for the entire set.

I had never really considered myself much of a fan of The Killers up until they opened their set with ‘Mr Brightside’ and totally won me over. Perfectly timed with their incredible light show and perfect dancing songs like ‘Spaceman’, ‘Human’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’ the skies opened up and Brandon Flowers had the whole stadium singing in unison and dancing in the rain. I would have to say they were probably the best performance of the festival.

By the time the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were on pretty much every single person in the venue was in the main arena for their much anticipated performance. Half an hour into their set, I got bored. Anthony Keidis was struggling to sing his own songs, his voice was off, pretty sure he was making up some lyrics as he went along. Whilst the light show and energy of the crowd singing along to every word was incredible, it wasn’t enough to keep me there for the rest of their set. I headed over to see Foals who were a much needed chill

Overall, Big Day Out 2103, was one of the best Big Day Out’s I have been to over the last few years. Everyone was generally well behaved, I didn’t see one fight and the whole festival was fairly douchebag- free. All the artists made braving the extreme heat and sunburn, overpriced water and being stuck on a sweltering non air-conditioned Cityrail train for an hour more than worthwhile.