01 February 2010

BDO 2010 - We came, we saw, we consumed

RHUM REVIEW - Big Day Out 2010 - PERTH
Claremont Showgrounds - 31st January 2010
Rhum Magazine

by Allan Boyd

We came, we saw, we consumed

We arrive early for local openers Emperors on the Hot Produce stage. Fellow sandgropers, Sugar Army, bleed from the bigger stage between songs. Emperors' bold riffs, radio-fresh melodies and vocal-combos are infectious. They shine like drive-time pop-rock in the Sunday sun.

Ignoring Bluejuice's advice from the Blue Stage, to "go fuck yourself," we amble to the Orange stage for the complex precision of Karnivool. On giant screens we watch vocalist Ian Kenny's restrained, brilliant performance. Kenny's vocals soar long and loud from the massive stacks. Sporting oversize, thick-rimmed glasses and a cheeky moustache, he’s an evil scientist conductor - his flailing hands pulling tracks from Sound Awake. Karnivool give us a flawless, dedicated set. Immense.

Then we're deep into the D area of the Blue stage for Mastadon. These big hairy oafs make Metallica seem piss-weak. Mastadon's punch is hard, with extra beefy bottom end. This is monstrous progressive metal. This is pulsating adrenaline, a circular moshpit. This is aural disembowelment. Mastadon, you are fat as fuck.

We wander the showgrounds, eat a shitty cheeseburger and rehydrate. Chillin' in the grandstand we watch Eskimo Joe from a distance. Then Hilltop Hoods are spitting: "we say Hill, you say Tops." The swollen crowd pulses in response.

Back at the small stage, we discover The Scare. Frontman Kiss Reid taunts a boisterous mob into delicious submission. The Scare are grindin' hips, oozing a dark and naughty swagger - frontbar theatrics and beer sweat personified. All five members give everything to the BDO cause. Cool-as-fuck attitude with dirty, dirty banter. At set's end Reid launches himself into the crowd. Most audacious act of the day.

Dizzie Rascal spits Bonkers. We share shade, vodka and smoke with friends until the mood alters slightly. Then we catch Abbey May & the Rockin Pneumonia. She's pure blues, man - the most heartfelt voice of the day with a band to match. She sings Amazing Grace all over Dizzie's munted hyperbole, her guitar prowess and gorgeous vocal tones belt the crowd senseless.

We are unimpressed by Tame Impala and The Horrors. It’s just too hot, flat and stupid in the Essential stage. And the Green stage is awkward, almost inaccessible. Through a wall of dickheads, we can nearly see Temper Trap.

Nearby, people wander on an empty theatre stage, unable to find Audience is the Art. A young man naps on concrete, next to a pool of vomit. We think we hear Rise Against out there somewhere, but the mass is too thick.

On the big stage a sparkly-cute Lilly Allen declares she "badly needs a piss,” but denies she is pregnant. Lily says she wants to live in Australia, and this is her "last show ever!" We all chant: "fuck you, fuck you very very muuuuuch..." Nice outfits I guess.

We’ve just about had enough now. But there’s one crucial set to consume: The Mars Volta. Within moments, we are immersed - inside the womb of perhaps the best rock band on the planet. Is this a jam? Is this jazz? Is this post-hardcore-salsa? Cedric's vocals are a flurry of mesmerising energy, rising and falling in superb mastery of craft. At one point my eyes are actually vibrating in my skull - the bass so guttural and intense that it’s difficult to stand.

Playing for over an hour, The Mars Volta completely dominate our senses. Looking around, we thousands are at one. We're all open-mouthed, swaying, banging together as the pink-yellow sun sets over showground masses. We're sore feet and sunburned. But this is bliss. Utter bliss.

We bail. Fast. Before Powderfinger can ruin the day.


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