Big Day Out 2010, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne – Festival Review

January 28, 2010

Gig/Concert: Big Day Out 2010 Melbourne
Venue: Flemington Racecourse, Epsom Rd, Flemington, Melbourne
Date: 26 January 2010
Headliners: Muse, Lily Allen
In one word: Massive

Blowfly at Big Day Out 2010, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne - photo by Kimberley Paterson for Music Vice

I’m not a festival kinda guy; I hate long lines, long waits and big crowds –  I suppose it’s part claustrophobia and part impatience but when it came to the Big Day Out line-up this year I really couldn’t pass.

After the extremely long wait to get in we went for a quick look-see of Los Romanticos who are an extremely talented Mariachi band that brought the sounds and atmosphere to the Mexican themed Lilyworld.

More searching and getting to grips with my massive surroundings took me to the blue stage where Mastadon were playing. Up close the weak, bass riddled sound didn’t do them justice but further back they sounded excellent. A lot of people made it into the D-ring for the early show by these modern metal innovators and they certainly didn’t leave unimpressed.

Up next door on the Orange stage were Kasabian, one of England’s best bands around who brought a considerably large crowd and didn’t disappoint. After they played all their hits including “Fire”, “Shoot the Runner”, “Empire”, “Club Foot” and “Lost Souls Forever” it left me with the feeling that they should’ve been put much higher up on the bill instead of 2 o’clock in the afternoon which actually seemed quite insulting.

The talk of Big Day Out in the lead-up was that of Girl Talk who’s a dude doing some of the most interesting and relevant things in dance music today. Decked in tennis gear and armed only with a laptop and some party-police with TP blasters he mixed hundreds of songs together in the hour he was on-stage.

“Girl Talk was most definitely a hard act to top today”

The only way I can possibly describe the atmosphere at times was that of pure euphoria and energy. I faced my own claustrophobia in the most sweaty and crowded space I’ve ever been in and enjoyed being squashed, knocked about and holding onto my other half for dear life. Girl Talk was most definitely a hard act to top today and if you ever get the chance to witness him in action don’t think twice about it.

Dizee Rascal was up on the Blue Stage afterwards riding on the success in Australia his latest album has brought him and played a set that reminded me how many great songs he’s actually had.

Rise Against were but a mere flash out of the corner of my eye but from what I caught had the largest crowd of the day and easily doubled that of fear factory who headlined later on.

I’m not really a Lily Allen fan, her single “It’s Not Fair” last year appealed to my country inclinations but her brand of ned-pop (well, she’s English, so make that chav-pop) has never impressed me. The crowd that gathered to the Orange Stage certainly didn’t share the same sentiments and roared as she took to the stage wearing an Aussie flag as a dress. She played all her hits and satisfied all but me I’d reckon. The highlights of her show were calling out the bouncers for being dickheads and a dance outro to “LDN” (or was it “Smile”? They all sound the same to me).

Now was the time I was really excited, my main reason for attending the mighty Big Day Out was to see the guy who pretty much invented rap and has been sampled by various greats including Jay Z, Beyonce Knowles, Ice Cube, Wu Tang Clan and a shitload more… Blowfly was but a mere 10 minute wait.

Playing before him however was a guy I’d seen on TV called Bangs who’s a Melbourne based rapper from Sudan that raps broken English in an upbeat, friendly tone.

His song “Take U 2 Da Movies” was an internet sensation that received over 1.7 million views on Youtube. The small mob that gathered at Lilyworld was there for one reason obviously and he saved that gem till last in which he promptly threw popcorn all over the crowd.

Blowfly up next was intensely good. His parodies of well known songs with dirty lyrics were great fun and the dirty old man promptly called every woman a lesbian bitch and guys gay ho-men. Amongst the parodies were “Now I Wanna Fuck Your Dog” (Now I wanna be your dog) and “Should I Fuck That Big Fat Ho” (Should I stay or should I go) he also fired out three Michael Jackson piss-takes as well as his originals “Rap Dirty” and “Porno Freak” which I believe was the first rap song to be banned in America.

“Who should give a fuck about Lady Gaga when Peaches has done it all before?”

Peaches on the Converse stage was a revelation; who should give a fuck about Lady Gaga when this woman has done it all before here AND with better songs? Opening up with a hair suit she burst into “Talk to Me” as well as more from her newest record. A few songs in she does an Iggy and walks on the crowd (sadly, sans the peanut butter). Many outfit changes later and sadly it’s time to leave her and head back to the Blue stage.

Muse are about to start up and tens of thousands of people are there to witness these modern legends in action. With three massive screens, three smaller screens and a load of lighting that doesn’t quite hit the spot in daylight it takes 20 minutes to get the desired effect. Sadly the sound just doesn’t cut it for me and listening to the drunken bogans in front of you isn’t nearly as much fun as actually hearing the band.

Saying that though I certainly did enjoy Muse. A lot of people from the UK will remember them as they were just coming out and none would expect how insanely big they now are but they definitely have the music chops to back it all up. There were murmurs of disappointment post-set for the lack of favourite “Stockholm Syndrome”, but really this was just a minor disappointment because there was plenty of other Muse hits in the set and everything went down well.

Most in the crowd have turned away from Muse now and averted their eyes towards the roof of one of the drinking areas where a punter is running along and avoiding bottles to the face to my amusement. He spends around 20 minutes up there until security eventually gets up but fails to catch him only falling on their arses to a massive cheer below.

My girlfriend being a big metal fan leads me off back to the Green stage where Fear Factory are playing to a relatively small crowd compared to Rise Against earlier. They were very good though and really kicked some butt as they thundered there way through around a dozen or so songs. Although most of the band looked very out of shape and past their hey-day the new material still packed a considerable punch and the musicianship was phenomenal.

In an incredible amount of pain from working all night to standing around all day I sat on the ground and soaked it all in; what an incredible day I thought, what a great line-up and oh what fun I had. If this year was 10x better than last what’s next year going to be like?

Big Day Out? No kidding!

© Danny Crombie

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