Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Big Day Out 2011 - Melbourne (PART 1)

I find myself feeling older and older all the time. It's disheartening occasionally, but I have to admit that I (at times) get quite a bit of sick, twisted enjoyment out of raging and whining (usually raging) about the "youth of today". I know however, that I'd be a fool not to think that I too, fall into that category. I'd also be a fool not to think that I can - quite often - be loudmouthed and obnoxious. However, being that I was born in the 80s, and that I graduated from high school a fair few years ago, there's just something about kids born after I started my primary school education that just ... riles me up. I'm going somewhere with this, promise. 

So. On Sunday, my brother Evan and I made our way to Flemington for BIG DAY OUT 2011. I had high hopes for having my brain and ears made love to by all manner of musicians, including Grinderman, the Greenhornes, LCD Soundsystem and Andrew WK. Boy, oh boy. Excitement plus. Unfortunately, no sooner had we arrived at the train station, my heart sank. Met with a squawking, mostly orange, hoard of youths-under-twenty, I glanced at Ev and said loudly, "YOUR MATES." 

He laughed, "Haha. Nah. Shotgun not."
That sentiment, "SHOTGUN NOT", was one felt throughout much of the day. Not all of it, thank God, but a portion that was a little too big for me not to call it Downright Irritating.

What makes me so angry? Is it the guys all dressed in a matching uniform of oversized white singlets, often with completely obnoxiously loud shorts? Is it because most of the girls are able to wear items of clothing that would be eye-rapingly bad if ever seen on me? Or is it the absolutely, completely INANE conversation I was forced to overhear during the entire (double) train trip to the Big Day Out? A little from columns A, B and especially C, I think. Two stops or so into the second train trip (Flinders Street to Flemington), a rather large group of guys and girls literally fell onto the train, yelling and squawking. I say squawking because that's what it sounded like. Squawking. 


Your mates.

That's not an exaggeration, by the way. I promise I'll cease this ranting in a moment, but there's just a few things I need to say. It's important. I promise. In fact, it's a few Helpful Hints Regarding Big Days Out and Festivals In General
  • I know it was a hot day. It was 41 degrees, for chrissakes. But, that doesn't mean I want to see your cellulite-ridden butt cheeks because the crotch of your shorts is lower than the end of the legs. It's not a matter of me having anything against short shorts, nor is it because I cannot myself wear short shorts. Wanna know why I don't wear short shorts? Because I know that if I do, it'd make people vomit. Your butt cheeks make me want to vomit. 
  • Think before you open your mouth. Please. 
  • If we're in front of a stage, and if it's cluster-fuck-crowded, don't think that using a squeaky, sweet voice will do the trick and result in me giving you my spot. No. 
  • If you wear thongs to a festival, don't start wailing about how your feet hurt. I wore my Docs for a reason. That reason is not because they breathe well. 
  • If you spent that much money on tickets to a music festival, don't spend all day at the bar. Go see some music. 
  • If you're seeing some music, don't spend the entire time recording on your iPhone. I took a few photos, sure. But when something amazing is happening onstage, there's just something about seeing A THOUSAND IPHONES IN THE AIR that gives me the irrits. So you like having a fuzzy-quality recording in which you can only hear the screaming crowd of that band you don't remember watching properly because you were viewing it through a screen and not your eyes? Okay. Idiot.
  • Reapply sunscreen. This one didn't make me angry, it just made me laugh. I have the good fortune of having Chilean skin that takes a shit-tonne of sun to burn, but I do have a bit of a bag-tan. To the crispy and fried masses, maybe only wearing a bra on your top half and not bothering to put on sunscreen was a dudd move. Dunno. Just sayan'.

Anyway! Ev and I entered the festival proper and after a quick wander around, decided to head to the main stage. This was in order to see Little Red, but we arrived to find The Vines were still onstage. I found it a little sad, seeing as they'd been rather high up on the bill a number of years ago, and here they were, first band of the day in 2011. How the mighty have fallen, eh? Their set was adequate. I mean, I was watching from the blue stage (they were on orange) but "adequate" is really all I have to say. 

As far as Little Red goes, I've loved them for years. Years and years. I'll readily admit that while I enjoy their second album Midnight Remember, I don't like it even nearly as much as Listen to Little Red. I'm a sucker for 60s-esque pop, and I don't think Midnight Remember is exciting enough to sell me on the new direction. That being said, they put on a fun enough set. Unfortunately, the crowd was filled with those youths that I was raging about earlier. Jesus, I'm being negative. Promise, this'll stop. Obviously new fans via Triple J, they screamed loudest during "Rock It" and "Slow Motion". I danced around and sang happily along to "Coca Cola" and "It's Alright", however. Side note: I definitely got a certain amount of joy out of seeing guitarist/singer Tom's skinny white legs in shorts. Superb. Good set, marred by irritating teens. 

Sweet, sweet relief was just around the corner, however. Both from the teens, and the sun. I convinced Ev that The Greenhornes would be worth watching (he was on the lookout for his pals) and we headed to the Hot Produce tent. We heard the last strains of Gypsy and the Cat, and I amused myself with thoughts of "What would Dave be saying if he were here right now?". For those not in the know, Dave is a good friend of mine. A good friend, and also a cynical and bitter, albeit hilarious, prick. One with a certain (huge) amount of disdain for hipsters, and Triple J. Why he's my friend then, I have no clue. At any rate, the crowd completely cleared out after that, and in a near-empty tent I waited for The Greenhornes. First saw them supporting Wolfmother in 2007 (lol), I was pretty damn excited for this one. While Gypsy and the Cat was PACKED, the crowd was significantly smaller during The Greenhornes. It grew of course, but what pleased me most was the distinct lack of loudmouthed and obnoxious teens. Pretty sure my mood was visibly changed. 

The Greenhornes' set? They seemed to be in a rush to finish the set. That was a bit of a shame, to be honest. They rushed from song to song, only acknowledging the audience twice at most. Having said that though, musically I was very, very pleased. Like I said earlier, I'm a sucker for 60s revival, and these guys poop all over Little Red (as much as I love them dearly). As sure as a bear shits in the woods, I'll be heading to their gig at the Northcote Social Club on Thursday. I wanted more, much, much more and I suppose that's where I'll get it. For those of you who haven't sampled the 60s garage delights of The Greenhornes, please for your getting them in your ear drums NAO. 

The Greenhornes. Winner.
Next, Ev and I headed to Andrew WK. A few of my pals had gone to see him and Barbarion the night before, and I had sadly been unable to attend (being that I'm in SAVING MODE for South America, I'm limiting the amount of gigs I attend). Again, I noted with interest the very different crowd in attendance. Very different from both the crowd at Little Red and The Greenhornes. 95% of the crowd was male, almost all dressed in various shades of black. One had his face painted as the Joker, one was wearing army camouflage shit, complete with netting and fake leaves/shrubbery. He was wasted, and yelling. This was a crowd I felt much more at home in, more so than the wannabe hip teens. Ah, relief. 

For the uninitiated with Andrew Wilkes-Krier, his music is of the metallic variety, and his subject matter includes not only Partying, but also having Fun and living for the moment/fun/today/the party/getting ready to die. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that his set was some of the most fun I've had in a long time. It was also probably the sweatiest I've ever been (that's not an exaggeration). Andrew WK appeared onstage wearing a battered and sweaty white singlet and white jeans, looking as if he'd already been partying in the sun for some time. His wife Cherie also was a part of the show, wearing a PARTY HARD PARTY HARD top over her fitness gear, assisting AWK in whipping the crowd into a frenzy along with his burly, bearded bandmates. Sure, most of his songs sound alarmingly similar, but I don't much care. Andrew WK is pretty much the epitome of charisma, a consummate frontman. Incidentally, he's also drop-dead gorgeous. Never a lull in energy, one song would end to his yells of "MELBOURNE, ARE YOU READY TO PARTY?!?!" or "IT'S TIME TO PARTY!" or "GET THAT CIRCLE GOING AGAIN! I WANT TO SEE THAT CIRCLE!". Speaking of which, I wanted so much to be in that circle pit...rather regretting not throwing myself in. At any rate, it was incredible, head banging, fist pumping, lose-a-few-kilos-in-sweat fun. I felt like I'd just had sex and was in need of a cigarette.

His set ended and I turned to Ev. "HOLY FUCK." exclaimed my little brother. 
"I KNOW, RIGHT? FUCK!" was my response. 

I immediately headed over to a refreshment stand to buy some water (my bottle had been lost in the Fun). Standing in line, a young woman about my age turned to me. "Were you just at Andrew WK?" she asked. 
"Yeah, definitely." I replied breathlessly.
"Ah, no wonder." She said, grinning. "That's why you're smiling so much!"
I laughed, "My god, that was fun!"
"I know! I think everyone coming from that stage has a giant smile on their face!"
Pretty accurate, I think.

I headed back to Ev, and we made an executive decision to go to Die Antwoord and take it easy for little bit. You know, rest, replenish the absurd amount of fluid we lost through excessive SWEATING. Rest, definitely. And it's on that note, that I rest from BDO-ing. More tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Bernie from AdelaideFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I love what you said about Andrew WK, so true, loved his set, i looked like the cheshire cat afterwards, only differences, I'm a 48yo male, who went into the "circle of death", holy shit it was fun, got smashed up and fell over, so fun. I also agree with your comments about the phones/cameras/videoing, must be a gen Y thing.