Big Day Out 2014: Round Up
With the sad news that this is to be Perth’s last Big Day Out, it was fitting that two bands who played at the first show in 93’ be here to close things off; Mudhoney and the Cosmic Psychos. Although both struggled to attract crowds, that was the flavor of the day, with the exception of a few acts like Flume and well, a lot of ‘old mates’ over at Pearl Jam for their mammoth set. I will add that, with the exception of organisers who stand to lose their important capital to secure next year’s lineup, and of course the acts who get disheartened, as was evident with The Hives’ Howlin Pelle’s remark “Make some noise… you don’t want us saying y’know Perth’s okay but it’s not really Adelaide is it?”, the punters get spoiled with lack of lines, ease of access and room; Which are all very non-festival things.
Anyway, my day started nice and early to catch Brisbane thrash-electro-punk dudes DZ Deathrays who played to a rather strong early crowd at the main stage who party’d on to Bloodstreams highlight ‘Cops/Capacity’ before treating us to a few rad tunes recorded for their soon-to-be-released sophomore LP including recent single ‘Northern Lights’. The duo are an impressive force on stage, showing exactly how much noise two people can create and meld into a cohesive track in the live setting.
Then their brothers in Violent Soho opened up on the Red Stage, cutting tracks from their 2013 breakthrough Hungry Ghosts as well as the little known (I thought) debut and sophomore self-titled effort. ‘Muscle Junkie’ went off just as hard in the pit as did Hottest 100 top 20 hit ‘YEHYEHYEHYEHYEH’[sic] (more on that later). Violent Soho are a sight indeed; from the menacingly bearded guitarist, stripping bassist and impressive frontman they held the again quite strong early crowd’s attention throughout their catalogue, who’s fondness for the grunge jams only grew stronger after the obligatory stoner dialogue which probably makes them cool or something.
For their last song, and for the sake of a Gentlemen’s Agreement, Luke Henery, the aforementioned stripping bassist went sans clothes bar a McGyvered G-string after losing a bet with “some guy from perth” that ‘YEHYEHYEH/yehiknowitscalled Covered In Chrome’ made the top 20. Awkward fun was had by all, maybe.
Then the crowd disappointingly left before Toro Y Moi got his funk going, sending out great vibes to the devoted fans and slowly growing amalgamation of passersby. I’ve heard little of the American artist, but he travelled a mighty long way to play to us, and I was transfixed by the soulful music he and his impressive backing band produced. His impressive live synth modulating was a definite highlight, especially whilst I recalled walking past the Boiler Room to some fairly derivative boom bap pow step.
My time at the Red Stage was not over though, because The Drones started with a bang, playing their eponymous track from their latest acclaimed record I See Seaweed. Gareth Liddiard’s unique-yet-so-Aussie vocals penetrated the grounds, and his erratic guitar noise was a welcome change from the aforementioned boombappowstep.
Local heroes Tame Impala played the main stage to huge applause, the biggest crowd of the day thus far. Opening up with a Frisbee throwing purple suited Willy Wonka type character urgin the crowd to “lose their minds” started their show off well. Their impressive song segues including ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’ and ‘Solitude Is Bliss’ were a sound to behold, however Tame Impala’s subdued stage presence and lack of energy was, although not surprising, not really fitting for a midday festival set. There was also a technical fuck up where Gum’s vocals weren’t coming through, and the harmonies were lost for a while. The opening thumps along to ‘Elephant’ caused a stampede (see what I did there?) of festival-goers who obviously have no concept of maps, timetables or indeed time itself to the main stage.
Those people, of course realized that Tame Impala were playing during the last few songs of the set, and therefore would have been within earshot of Primus for their fantastic guitar vs. bass intro. Obviously, Primus are a difficult to pigeon-hole band but they had a fair few fans out there supporting them which was great to see. For the benefit of those of you who don’t appreciate the bass guitar, all I can say is Les Claypool. His talents, only complimented by Ler’s guitar virtuosity, are quite simply something which must be seen to be appreciated.
This brought us to the all important lunch time, and people were spoilt for choice with the Big Day out really stepping up it’s approach to catering. A wide array of foods were available, from gluten-free wood fired pizza through to two Nandos stands. Pretty cool right?
Meanwhile, on the not so distant JBL Stage, The Cosmic Psychos paint a picture of what Nirvana would look and sound like had they not successfully conquered the world of rock and disappeared forever. The Aussie icons, who landed a spot on our 6 Bands To See list for this year’s Big Day Out were fantastic to see and pulled a decent crowd. An amazingly influential band in the early formation of that punk-grunge sound, coming from three of the MOST OKKA PEOPLE I HAVE EVER SEEN. Culture meets farm workers was surreal. “We’ve got too many minutes left, we played too fast” remarks bassist Ross Knight, before ripping into another wah-infused punk song.
The Hives, everyone has heard whispers about their live show. Holy shit. The most rockin’ of the ‘rock revival’ crew of the early 00s, the Swedish band were handed their instruments by Ninja clad roadies. NINJA ROADIES. Performing in their signature suites, they were surely one of the highlights of the day for many punters. Pelle wasted no time acquainting himself with the crowd, jumping right in early on before running side to side around his ludicrously active axe wielders.
Northlane shared the ‘token metal band’ duties with Deftones, but the former’s afternoon set was unfortunately marred by sound issues. Not that the ‘pit cared, who happily obliged to Adrian Fitipaldes’ requests for a circle pit much to the dismay of nearby medics who looked a combination of confused and angered at the metal ritual. The New South Welshman were a little lackluster, however their song selection and passion saved them, featuring plenty of riff heavy favourites as well as that great positive vibe which they promote.
6:30PM, not usually the time the second-billed band hits the stage, however the oh-so-literal Arcade Fire started off with ‘Reflektor’ off Reflektor on a stage full of reflectors! Production-wise, their set was lavish, and the approximately 312 band members somehow managed to fit onto the stage. Anyway I’m not here to report on these guys, as I was Vista Chino bound. The desert/stoner rock incarnation of Kyuss (CONTRAVERSIAAAAL!) are putting out some great new stuff as of late, and these jams complemented the classics beautifully.
I spent the day taking photos, so upon discovering that Snoop Dogg/Lion/Zilla would clash with Ghost bar a 10 minute head start my course of action was see Snoooooooooooooo- oooooooowp and his crew perform ‘P.I.M.P’ and then run over to be terrified at Ghost. That is exactly what happened.
As the man who was almost barred from entering the country had his hype crew teasing the crowd with intro cuts over his illustrious career, a very suspicious-but-actually-not-at-all-suspicious smell overcame the crowd and then he appeared. His first two songs were fairly restrained, the 40-something rapper not quite the pup he once was (yes).
Ghost, another of our 6 Bands picks were extremely puzzling. I am unsure of what they are. But their whole, thing, which is the performance and stage personas they project draw you in. They are a mix of equal parts The Pope, Dethklok and opera. Instrumentally they were impressive, blistering solos and bass interludes during which Papa Emeritus II would simply stand and point the audience’s attention wherever he so pleased, with his pope staff.
With one of the biggest EDM releases of 2013, the Major Lazer banner was flown high and mightily loud by Diplo and Co. A great land for the Big Day Out team, and a helluva way for a lot of punters to say goodbye. Also sending off their respective stages were the Deftones and Pearl Jam. The heavier of the two played a cracking set, and since they were here earlier touring their latest offering thanks to Soundwave Touring, we were treated to essentially a best of set to close out the festival.
And that’s how it all ended, one stage Major Lazer, a huge EDM collective, another Pearl Jam, arguably one of the biggest rock bands of the last 20 years and the Deftones, a successful alt. metal band. Quite fitting really.
Anyway, that's the words, here is the gallery!