Review: Big Day Out 2012 – Gold Coast Parklands – 22nd January 2012

Review by Lauren Sherritt
Big Day Out – it’s not just a music festival. It’s a fashion show, the latest summer clothes coming out to play (2012 including girls shortest short shorts, guys screen printed singlets and a whole lot of hair on everyone). It’s a test of the strength of boyfriends’ spines as they hoist their girlfriends high above the crowds on their shoulders. It’s a feat of endurance, a challenge put to the elements that no kind of weather can stop the show, a day of sunscreen and sunburn, of thrills, friendship and fried food. And yes, there is some excellent music as well.

The Gold Coast leg of the festival kicked off at eleven a.m. For those of us travelling from further afield the day started much earlier, a mixture of trains and shuttle buses becoming more and more crowded with others in festival garb as we neared the event.

Ticket checks, bag checks, ID checks done and we were in. The sun shone brightly, the outside glare making us squint to make out the shape of Abbe May and band on the contrasting dark stage, their hard rock carving through the muggy air.

It’s a great thing to see so many young Australian artists playing the huge crowds of Big Day Out. The Victorian sisters of Stonefield lured a fair crowd into the cool tent of the Green Stage with their already classic sounding rock. It’s no wonder these girls are playing shows at Glastonbury; robust vocals, a decent amount of hair thrashing and masterful playing of instruments making them great entertainers.

Kimbra, hailing not from Australian but New Zealand, thrilled the audience, her tiny frame on stage the only small thing about her show. From her incredibly strong voice to her colourful full skirt and sharp shouldered dress, everything about the stunning songstress wowed the audience, a musician surely on the brink of huge success.

Architecture in Helsinki, playing their first Big Day Out, stood out as a highlight with their high energy, huge fun and big entertainment set. After entering the stage, appropriately running in slow motion to the Chariots of Fire theme song, and delighting all with their synchronised dance moves, they played all their hits from Beep to Hold Music. It was clear that everyone, band included, hoped this would be only one of many appearances at the festival.

It was a day for covers, a few notables being Architecture in Helsinki’s version of Betty Davis Eyes which had the crowd dancing and Stonefield taking on Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. Boy and Bear showed off their stunning harmonies with instant crowd pleaser Fall At Your Feet and Kimbra fit Bobby Brown’s Every Little Step I Take neatly into her high energy set.

While they played their new songs too, it was My Chemical Romance’s rendition of Black Parade which had the crowd singing along. After allowing my suddenly recalled sixteen year old self to revel in the drama, angst, eyeliner and tight skivvies, it was time to clear out of the rain and refuel for the evening sets, grabbing a surprisingly good pizza dinner.

Kanye West, main man of the whole event, had the crowd waiting in heady anticipation as heavy rain caused his stage and sound gear to be re-set. When he finally appeared however, the stage, now turned a dramatic white, was everyone’s only point of focus. Dancers filled the floor, their writhing coupled with heavy choir music setting an apocalyptic scene. Kanye, of course, was the man to come on and save the day. Lyrics, lights, dancers and set were all choreographed stunningly to set up the huge spectacle of the show. Playing all of his hits, including Monster and Gold Digger, Kanye did not disappoint fans who had waited the whole day to see his work, the drama of his show (including the moment he made a mistake and restarted an entire number, angrily cursing himself) smashing even high expectations.

As the thousands slowly left the festival to go and have a well deserved sleep on trains, buses, footpaths while waiting for lifts or, finally, at home, the buzz filling the air was similar to that of the morning. It had been, the consensus was, a great day. A big day, yes, but one definitely worth all the effort and definitely worth remembering for a long time to come.

Review by Lauren Sherritt

Soundgarden, My Chemical Romance, Stonefield, Cage The Elephant, The Amity Affliction, Kimbra

Kanye West, Kasabian, Abbe May, The Jezabels, Foster The People, The Living End, Mariachi el Bronx, Calling All Cars, Papa vs Pretty, Parkway Drive, Boy & Bear, The Vaccines

Crowd Pics