Big Day Out 09.... THE REVIEW!!!
So, yesterday I went to Auckland's Big Day Out. It's the first one of the tour, so yay us, but sadly it's also the smallest because it's held in shitty little New Zealand. I'd sell my soul to go to the Sydney or Melbourne ones.
This is the full story of my experiences at BDO Auckland 09...
So, of course, it's REALLY long. Hope you have a while.
I meant to post this with pictures every so often, but unfortunately Buzznet's not letting me do that, so I've just put little markers where they were meant to be and there'll all lumped in at the bottom.
We set off from Tauranga at eleven am. Yeah, dumb thing to do. We probably should have left at like six the night before. We never stood a chance.
We were making good time right up until my genius father decided we needed lunch, and picked the slowest diner, with the oldest serving staff, of every town between Tauranga and Auckland. Amazing. Nearly half an hour for two bacon sandwiches. Me and Dad's friend's son Hugh and his mate Matt had finished our McDonalds (I'm vegetarian, won't go near bacon sandwiches) within five minutes. Meanwhile, Dad and his friend Mark were waiting patiently for these charming golden oldies to finish their conversation with a random guy who'd walked in carrying a sack of beans. I ask you.
So, we missed all but the (literally) final chord of the final song of Elemeno P's act. The Tutts- missed *tear*. Elemeno P- missed *TEAR*.
Dad and Mark had dropped us at the gate so we walked in and sat down in the stands, but Bullet was starting and I had no patience. Hugh and Matt, who'd been raving the whole way over about the awesomeness of Bullet For My Valentine, were content to sit in the stands like a couple of old coots. I gave up after five minutes and went into the mosh pit. I didn't even like Bullet, btu I wanted to make the most of my Big Day Out. Besides, from where I was sitting I could see the pit going wild and I wanted to be part of it, whether the music was good or not.
Some people may remember the blog I wrote a few days ago about BDO. In that blog, I wrote off Bullet as a total disappointment. I believe it went something like this...
And I'm not even mentioning Bullets for my Valentine. I've given them many chances over the years, but I always come to the same conclusion. They overuse the bass drum, and they must have lost the switch on the amps that stop the guitars sounding like needles because they do, in every single song, without fail. No offense to those who like them. I may change my tune when I've seen them live on Friday. I doubt it, but hey- maybe.
...So, let it be known that my tune has hereby been changed!!
They've somehow discovered the distortion switch, and Moose (the drummer, for those who don't know them well- like me!) has misplaced his second bass pedal! Hallelujah! It's a miricle! Praise the Lord! (Pass the ammunition!!!)
So, within the course of the first three minutes in the mosh pit, I fell in love with this band. I found myself desperately wishing I knew the lyrics to their songs so that I could sing along at the top of my lungs. I found myself wishing I knew the names of, at least, the lead singer and the bassist, who was right in front of me, so I could fangirl out and scream their names. I pushed to the front, and joined the mosh they set up around that point. I felt like a total pretender- I didn't know their songs, I didn't know their names, I'd never liked them until now. But hey, every dog has its day, right? I loved every minute of the set!
At the end, the lead singer (hereby unnamed, as at this point I did not know his name) wiped his face with a towel and threw it into the crowd. I caught it, and I still had a hold on it for the whole of the next several minutes while me and a lot of other people, most of whom were big, burly metalhead dudes, tried to rip it apart so everybody could have a piece. Unfortunately, some chick got slammed up against the barrier and nearly strangled herself on the towel. Still don't know how she did that. One minute she wasn't even there, the next she was, and almost dying of asphyxiation. Needless to say, at that point the security dudes took the towel off us and chucked it under the stage. No fair.
Next up was pendulum. Cue the mass exodus of metal dudes and migration of people who'd just come from The Ting Tings or Tiki Taane and a whole heap of... um, I can't think of a better phrase than 'techno randoms'. Seriously weird few minutes, while all the girly girls and techno... uh, people ...pushed in past these massive, dreadlocked, aggro looking muscly metal guys and twice as dangerous looking girls wearing some kickass punk clothing and most of them with more piercings than the whole of My Chemical Romance put together. It was scary at a few points, seriously.
I got out, and went back up to the stand, but my father was wandering around with a cigarette, Matt and Hugh had gone off to something I hadn't even heard of and probably didn't want to hear, and Mark was still sitting in the stands. I looked at the timetable, but then the first note of Pendulum's set rocked the stadium and I literally dropped the timetable, wheeled around and walked straight back to the entrance to the mosh pit. The sound was fucking incredible.
It took me over half of the set to get into the mosh pit again, and even then I couldn't get further than ten metres from the stage. Epic fail for me, considering I'd give Frank Iero a challenge for midgetness and I'm the kind of kid who can run from one end of Mt Smart stadium during BDO to the other, and back, in under five minutes. It isn't that I'm fit. People just don't notice me, or else take one look at me and decide I look so pissed and/or purposeful they don't want to be in my way and step aside. I stood in the middle of the crush and danced my heart out, and it was awesome. The sheer sound of Pendulum's tracks is a fucking miracle. It's incredible. When they played Tarantula the place blew up! Second time in as many acts I was wishing I knew more than one word in the whole song. So instead I danced, and lip synced really badly.
Then Pendulum was over, far too soon, so I looked around and followed the crush back out. At that point, TV On The Radio came on, They looked fun, but I didn't love the songs, so I tracked down Dad again.
We went for a walk to the Boiler Room just for the sheer hell of it, and got distracted by the Silent Disco. We thought it looked interesting, so we went in, heard the music, looked at everybody, wondered if they were hearing the same tracks as us, gave up and walked out.
We went into the Boiler Room, but Lupe Fiasco was playing and it was lame. And seriously, what happened to 'Boiler' Room? I swear, I nearly caught a chill in there. It was shitty.
So we moved on, and decided to go check out the Converse Essential Stage and Green Stage. Can I ask at this point why a rock music icon such as the Converse Allstar Chuck Taylor shoe is sponsoring a stage that plays bands like Ladi 6, Sneaky Sound System and Luger Boa? Escape The Fate would have been at home there. Goodnight Nurse, perhaps. Hell- why not Beneath The Silence?? They were made for that stage!
At this point, Sneaky Sound System were playing, so we milled around and checked out the C4 tent - I entered that competition for the pick and win thing, and hopefully I've won Rock Band - and Dad, for some unfathomable reason, forgot it was a sweltering day and bought himself a coffee. We went around to the Spookers tent and I got stickered by a lady whose attempt at a safety pinned shut 'cut' on her forehead, pouring 'blood', was falling off. Well, they tried. I suspected they probably should have shut up shop at that point though. They were next door to the Myspace Signing Tent, and people were arriving for Bullet For My Valentine. I'm being completely honest when I say there were people in that line scarier than everything Spookers can offer put together.
I fangirled out over Bullet for the second time in the day, and told Dad I was going to get their autographs. He clearly thought I was completely insane, and left to go find Mark. I joined the line, where I met a girl with a kickass collection of fluoro earrings and bleach blonde hair that had been sprayed into more colours than the rainbow. And you thought people who listen to metal only wear black!! I learnt she had been waiting 3 years to see Bullet, and she was a mad fan. I was reminded heavily of myself in relatin to My Chem. We chatted until we got to the front of the (first) line. Here began the problems.
You see, to get to meet the band, all you had to do was sign up to Myspace. So I did, only to discover I've actually got a Myspace lying around somewhere but I've just never used it in my life, and my friend showed them a print out of her Myspace page info. So we both got in, even if neither of us did what we were meant to. But the lady told us that Bullet were only signing for fifteen minutes, there were already a stupid amount of people in the line, and we didn't stand a chance of getting a signature. She suggested we get our cameras and snap as many shots of them as we possibly could.
Both of us swore. My camera was back over by the Blue stage with my bag, and my friend loved Bullet more than any other band in the world. Fellow My Chem fan[atic]s, I ask you- how would you feel if you were offered the chance to meet our boys, in person, and get their actual autographs (HOLY SHIT =D I'd be so happy) and were then told you couldn't, you'd just have to sit around outside and try to get photos. I think I personally would sink to the ground and cry. I'd probably be miserable about that for months and months.
So for the sake of my new friend, I told her to join the line and I'd run for my camera, and we'd try to get either autographs or a photo. This is where the aforementioned running from one end of Mt Smart to the other and back in under five minutes comes in. I bolted through all the people and got there and back in, seriously, under five minutes. I was so exhausted when I got back I could barely breath and I felt sick, but hey- I did it. That's what counts, right?
I stood at the front of the tent and snapped away like a nutter. I got a few good shots.
But standing a few meters away and taking pictures like a tourist at a geyser has never been my thing. I turned around, marched over to my friend in the line, and said "Fuck it. We're gonna get signatures."
She fretted the whole time, and the chick she was with I suspect didn't even know who Bullet were, but we got there in the end. I was surprised right up until I stepped into the tent that I wasn't freaking out. Then Moose smiled at me, and I very nearly collapsed there and then. Hottest drummer in world history. Hands down. Until you bring Bob Bryar into mix. I know, that's weird and sounds like I'm just trying to say I like MCR better, but he's made of awesome to me.
I told Moose (drummer) I loved their band and that they were an inspiration to me. I know, I know, load of bull - I didn't even like them until three hours beforehand. But still. They are pretty awesome. He looked stoked, and said 'wow, thanks.'. God, man. That smile. Shit...
Padge (guitarist) just grinned at me. He's awes.
Jay (bassist) is really, really nice. He asked me if I'd been in the mosh, I said 'fuck yeah!' he asked if I liked it, I said 'definitely'. He asked me if I was having a good day, I told him it was the best. Sweetheart, welcome to the deepest dam conversation I can hold [oh gods, sarcasm...] but hey, he's still really nice. His accent is so awesome, I love it. He sounds like a fucking leprechaun.
When I went to Matt (lead guitarist, singer), I was planning to ask if he had any advice for someone who wants to make it as the vocalist in a rock band (because I mean shit, who better to ask than somebody who has??), but he grinned at me and I lost my train of thought. I can't believe this. I fangirled out, completely, over I band I'd liked for under three hours. Wtf?? He also made the 'g' in Padge's signature into a dick. I laughed. He laughed, and I'm genuinely surprised I did not pass out. I mean it's not that I'm that pathetic screaming idiot who freaks out. If I met My Chem, I seriously think I'd be able to hold a decent conversation with them. I mean shit, I did better keeping myself calm than a lot of the guys who were in that line. Half of them, anybody in the band tried to say something to them and they just choked up. I did better than that...
Me and my friend freaked out for a good five minutes when we got out of the tent, then we said goodbye and I went back to the stands. I got there and Hugh and Matt saw the card I was holding the the fact it had signatures on it, and I had the pleasure of watching their faces turn green. It was nice, it really was...
The Datsuns were just finishing (dammit! Another band I missed), and I decided Serj Tankian would be interesting to see. I saw them come on and cracked up laughing- full suits, completely with bloody top hats. It was priceless.
I went down into the most pit, and got right up to the front.
I'd never seen Serj live before, in System Of A Down or otherwise. But about him, I believe there are really only two things that need to be said.
One) There are two men on earth that can play a rock concert in a suit and look fucking awesome. One is Gerard Way. The other is Serj.
Two) There is only one man in the world who can do a remix of It's A Rich Man's World and have you headbanging to it. And much though I love to rave about Gee's superpowers, onstage and off, in comic books and out of them, that man is not Gerard Way. It is, most certainly, Serj Tankian.
Praise the Lord! Pass the Ammunition!
(^ I'm not religious, Serj got everybody screaming that)
Then Serj finished and everyone started moving around. People were already trying to get in to see The Arctic Monkeys, and they weren't on for an hour. I turned around to leave and go back up to the stands, but then I heard The Living End start and went there instead. I love them. They fucking rock.
I got to the front, right in front of Chris (guitarist and singer). It was fucking awesome. The Living End are the best live band apart from my Chemical Romance I've ever seen. If you think that's a bit rich, than let me ask you... have you ever seen a man play a kickass guitar solo while standing on top of an upright bass? It is quite honestly the best thing since Frerard. Seriously. Like, it really is. Chris and Scott (bassist) are amazing performers.
Yay!! There was a break between songs and all these people were yelling 'Roll On! Roll On!" and I yelled "Wake Up!" and they played Wake Up instead! I felt so spesh lol even though it may have been set out on a list, there's still a tiny possibility they listened to me...! "This song is dedicated to the memory of George Bush." I loved that. Chris made it sound like George is dead. Man, I wish he were...
Scott is extraordinary- he has just about the best stage persona I've ever seen or hear of, he's in the league of fellow [legendary] bassist Lyn Z and Pete Wentz, and he plays an upright bass!!! The dam thing's taller than he is! And he got up on top of it himself! AND HE PLAYED THE WHOLE SHOW IN A SARONG!! If anybody has a picture they can share of Scott at yesterday's show, can they please come forward and share it! I didn't bring my camera into the mosh pit, and I deeply regret it!
And Andy (drummer), is awesome! He puts all his heart and soul into his performance- he's the Frank Iero of drummers! I loved watching him play. Often the guitarist(s) and bassist in a band steal all the limelight and the drummer doesn't get a look in. I found myself watching Andy and only Andy for easily a third of the set!! He's just so dam good! Wow!
I got back from The Living End on a massive buzz, and went to get food as The Arctic Monkeys began. But I came back and decided I absolutely had to get back in the pit. The Arctic Monkeys are fucking awesome. Hugh said afterwards that they weren't putting much of an effort into pleasing the crowd. I think he needs to get his head checked. Certainly they didn't lose it and jump around the stage, but how could they have? They're not that genre. I think for the kind of music they make, they were fantastic. And man did they draw a crowd! They should have been the headline act! I got right to the front, which must have been a bummer for the people who had been crushing in at the start of The Living End's set to get a place at the front. But it was fantastic. I loved it. And wow, they're seriously just kids! Alex Turner (vocals, occasional guitar and keyboards) probably still gets asked for ID in pubs! Holy shit, they have some serious confidence for their age! Watching Alex was like watching a total veteran of rock! Uh... minus the wrinkles, athritis and... um, and rock.
We were nearing the end of our night as I returned to the stands to join Mark, Hugh, Matt and Dad. It was freezing, but I didn't have anything but a shitty jacket. So I huddled up and settled in to watch the final act we'd be staying for...
Yeah. There isn't really much else you can say. I tried to get a picture of just how shit it really was, but I only came up with this...
So I tried a different approach and turned the camera on myself to try and give you all an idea of just how bad it was. This is five minutes in.
By ten minutes in, I was blocking my ears. I mean, I do like one or two of Neil Young's songs. They're not too bad, in small doses. But it wasn't the songs that sucked. It was Neil playing them! His voice was terrible. He was in terrible shape. You know it's bad when the cameramen are trying to distract people from how crap a solo artist is by doing close ups on the drummer.
I tried going over to check out Dropkick Murphys. They were utterly hopeless. I came back within ten minutes.
At ten past ten, I got my iPod out. I figured I could listen to Bullet For My Valentine to drown him out. But even Bullet didn't do it.
I turned to MSI, and rocked out like a total freak in the middle of all these geriatrics singing tunelessly along to Neil. Hugh and Matt looked really jealous. They only had one iPod between them, and it wasn't blocking out anything. They had to sit there and take it, even when Dad and Mark, who only came to Big Day Out for Neil Young, disappeared for twenty minutes to smoke cigarettes over by the Boiler Room.
Eventually, they woke up to the fact Neil wasn't going to get any better. We packed up, and like over three quarters of the people at BDO, walked out on Neil. The people I really feel sorry for are the Headless Chickens. By the time they came on, the only people left at Mt Smart were probably a couple of old gerries, some idiots who'd passed out because they were too stoned (seriously, the smell of weed was everywhere!) and the remains of the crowd at The Prodigy. I really wish I'd got to see The Prodigy though. I had been just about to get up and go over there when we left. Oh well. I saw better bands than them that day.
And so that, my friends, was my experience at Big Day Out 09!! I hope you didn't fall asleep four hours ago on the first sentence, but hey- what can you do? Tell me what you guys did and what the Aussie dates are like, I want to hear!!