Saturday 3 February 2007

Big Day Out 2007

Another year, another big day out, and another disappointing Boiler Room line up. Sure, all the acts that played this were top notch, but I don’t know, maybe the all-dance events like Good Vibrations, Field Day and Parklife keep scoring all the crowd pullers, but I wasn’t too impressed with the Boiler Room this year and spent a good deal of my time seeing bands.

Having said that though, the Herd were the first band I saw, and testament to the draw of hiphop, especially in Adelaide, they had the Boiler Room packed and pumping in the early afternoon. They have such energy and vitality on stage, and bringing John Schuman out for their cover of Redgum’s “I Was Only 19” was a very pleasant and welcome surprise.

The floor thinned out considerably for Digital Primate, which was a shame because he was really good. Playing his own tunes, with his rappers jumping up next to him and kicking some delicious rhymes, he was better suited for a later time slot. Also at this time I decided to get a drink. What a farce that was! Lining up for 30 minutes in the hot sun just to get tickets to go line up again for a drink? From a logistics perspective I can see why they did it – only a few places that deal with cash so no money goes missing from the bars, but from a punters point of view the idea is almost as stupid an idea as trying to prevent people wearing the Australian flag.

Spank Rock surprised me. I knew MC Spank Rock was a no show, but I expected the Spank Rock DJs DJ Devlin and DJ Darko to be far more hiphop orientated than they were. They only did a couple of their own tunes and played a lot of dance orientated stuff in mashup style, mixing up Mylo and AC/DC and the Rocky Theme, with Pacerock hyping the crowd rather than rapping to the music. They reminded me of the Nextmen or Z-Trip, and I really wonder how different they would have been if Spank Rock had made it.

I went for a wander after this, managing to catch My Chemical Romance, who, I grudgingly admit, were rocking the crowd far beyond my expectations. I’ve never really listened to them, and what I’ve heard on the radio I can’t say I like them, but I didn’t run away with my fingers in my ears screaming “You Suck!” at the top of my lungs like I have to other bands in the past.

Making my way back to the Boiler Room for Peaches, I was not disappointed by her on stage shenanigans. Sucking water out of fake boobs during Shake Your Dix, ripping off her tight black jumpsuit to reveal porn style electric pink underwear, she dominated the audience with her sexy style and on stage presence. And I love how many instruments they swap for every song – I much prefer to see people playing samplers on stage than relying on DAT backup tape.

Needing a rest, I wandered over to the Lilly Pad, and managed to catch King Kapisi, New Zealand’s king of hiphop. I don’t care what people say about Scribe, King Kapisi wipes the floor with him. Better rhymes, better attitude, just simply better.

After Kapisi came Afra & the Incredible Beatbox Band. And my word, they are aptly named! Beginning with the Shadow’s Apache, made famous by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band, the proceeded to box out various beats from Michael Jackson to James Brown, and classic hiphop like ‘Let Me Clear My Throat’. The Japanese rapping was pretty cute too, and these guys are the best beatboxers I’ve seen to date. Although I’m seeing Rhazel next weekend, so my opinion is open to change.

After Afra, I went and checked out the Streets, who played far too much of their slow stuff, so I went to see Jet instead. I must admit in the past I’ve not liked Jet, thinking them to be too derivative, but seeing them live really made me appreciate their sound a little more.

Speaking of sound, Muse blasted some awesome rock, but not knowing too much of their stuff I sought out something I knew and could bop along to. Enter You Am I, another Australian band I have never given much credit to, but on the smaller Green Stage they seemed much more intimate and comfortable than last time I saw them.

Tool kicked off their set with probably the only Tool song I could identify as them, but I stuck around for a while and enjoyed the heavy rock, until hunger got the better of me and I went to grab some food. Here I was subjected to the wailing of Her Latest Flame, which made me glad I don’t go out to see local bands anymore. I understand you’re an angry teenager, but do you have to scream about it? Listen to the other bands on the line up – Tool and Muse didn’t produce eardrum busting yelps!

After dinner, it was time for the Violent Femmes, and I was happy as a pig in mud dancing and singing along from the first note of ‘Please Don’t Go’ to the last I heard, ‘Add It Up’. I loved the fact they played ‘Country Death Song’, one of my all time favourite Femmes tunes, and Brian Ritchie was great on the Xylophone for ‘Gone Daddy Gone’.

Leaving the Femmes before the end of their set was a heart wrenching decision, but I had a job to do. I had to go see Crystal Method to see if they’d disappoint me for a fourth time. In the past they’ve been average or simply downright crap. The ease I got into the Boiler Room confirmed my suspicions that the Crystal Method aren’t as popular as past BDO closers, but I grudgingly admit they played an alright set. Recognising their own remixes of Prodigy, New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, along with their own ‘Born Too Slow’, and capping off with their squealchy and tough ‘Keep Hope Alive’, they exceeded my expectations, but my expectations were pretty low.

All in all it was another great Big Day Out, but there was nothing absolutely mind blowing this year, like two years ago when I heard Wolf Mother for the first time.

To see the bigger versions of these photos, go to

All in all it was another great Big Day Out, but there was nothing absolutely mind blowing this year, like two years ago when I heard Wolf Mother for the first time.
To see the bigger versions of these photos, go to