Review by Scott Singh
Come Australia Day, traditionally there will be a BBQ set up in the backyard with the Hottest 100 playing all afternoon. Or rather than that the family will be taken out for some inspiring journey to revitalize the bunch after the recent holiday celebrations. Though, while others were off to their own devices, many faithful punters attended the Sydney Showground in preparation for BDO. With fans as varied as the artist playing today. This day out offered its signature range of music genres to accommodate for everyone’s taste in music.
All The Colours timed in with the downpour, contrasting the dismal weather with their catchy riffs and summer infused, rock sound. Playing in the rain really added more weight to the set as Josh Moriarty brought out his rough, dominant vocals kicking off the day and attracting wayward punters as they passed by.
With many seeking shelter from the rain inside one of the indoor stages, this gave the perfect opportunity for The Jungle Giants to impress the crowd with their highly contagious & energetic sound. Coming off the success of Learn To Exist hits such as I Am What You Want Me To Be and Skin To Bone got the crowd moving and shaking off the depressing attitude the weather brings with it. What started as a cluster of loyal fans ended with new additions to their fan base.
For those who chose to brave the weather, DZ Deathray rewarded punters with a hard hitting trash/industrial inspired set. Booming drum beats and crafty guitar work energized the drenched moshers as they showed no signs of letting the weather bring down their ambitions for the day.
Luckily the rain didn’t hold up long enough to bring down the good vibes associated with Bluejuice. Fitted with bright golden spandex, their party themed tunes kept the ball rolling. Certainly not acting their age, they were the first act of the day to draw a full crowd to party along with them.
Now, obviously the sound of rock won’t tickle everyone’s fancy and so, many found refuge in the Boiler Room. Electro mix-masters Peking Duk flooded the venue with mixes of past and present hits that was complemented with a stunning visual show.
Following this, Big Gigantic maintained the energy with a staggering baseline that surged beats throughout the bodies of onlookers. Bringing their unique live element of percussion and saxophone to highlight their mixes, the duo kept the scene buzzing even while the likes of The Naked and Famous were on.
Come afternoon & the main arena housed a majority of the punters sticking it out for Tame Impala, Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam. Those staggering about represented a spilt interest in the remaining acts. Luckily, there were many notable acts to fill in the void before the headliners; Prog rock veterans Cosmic Psychos layered their set with an entirety of their back catalog giving seasoned fans a dose of nostalgia.
Northlane were easily the black sheep of the festival. The Sydney based hardcore band took to their hometown turf and tore it up, with the only circle pit of the day. The boys made sure they weren’t shun out of the festival for being different.
If brutal, loud & destructive can be used to describe Northlane, than the opposite strongly applies to The Lumineers. Playing to a submissive crowd, Wesley led a relaxed performance that involved no real interaction from the crowd; they merely needed to observe the bliss that was in front of them. Momentarily piping up for the crowd favourite Ho Hey, The Lumineers encouraged a more dormant presence from the audience.
Finally, we come to our first headliner, Arcade Fire. A name that is now synonymous with Indie rock, this multi-award winning, multi-instrumental, multi-levels of brilliance act, provided an adrenaline infused performance that shook the now packed moshpit, enticing you to draw yourself in to immerse yourself in the moment. Win and Régine added elements of the theatrical with their duel vocals and sporadic movements; this propelled the band from one intense song to another, with members discarding instruments in preparation for the next song. In a live context, the performance brought more weight to the recently released Reflektor. Where Joan Of Arc showed off the bands ability to build atmosphere while still being able to please fans with Ready To Start. Faces drenched in sweat and a sign of exhaustion, the journey to the end was summed up in the expressions of each band member.
Now Arcade Fire may do a lot of things well but with a little under 25 years in the business Pearl Jam approached the expectations of a headliner band, smashes them down and redefines them in a show that’ll go down in Big Day Out history. With 10 albums to choose from for their 2 hour set, both new and diehard fans were not disappointed with this pure representation of a rock show.
Some may have gone off to see Sydney raised mixer Flume or the king of gangster rap Snoop Lion aka Snoop Dogg to get a fix of something different than the majority of acts that played today. But these people missed a history making performance by Pearl Jam.
Eddie Vedder smashed out the nostalgic hit Even Flow that had both McCready and Gossard sweating to their core as they’d ensure that the crowd would not be disappointed with the performance. After a while you forget you’ve just spent the whole day here and let the music revitalize you as Sirens resonate throughout the arena to a welcoming sea of passionate fans.
Although the Big Day Out is exactly that, a BIG DAY OUT, being immersed in the performances and enjoying the atmosphere sees time fly past and before we know it the day comes to an end. Apart from those raging on with Major Lazer, the majority of us are satisfied with what we have witnessed.
The only question that remains now is, how can Big Day Out possibly top this next year?
Review by Scott Singh
Pearl Jam – Photo Credit: Kane Hibberd