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Live Review
Big Day Out 2009 - Review

Big Day Out 2009 Review

Event Info

January 16 2009
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Reviewed By
30th March 2010


It’s an Auckland staple attending the Big Day Out and one I truly look forward to each year.

This year, like all the rest, I had planned my day to scoot in-between as many acts as possible aiming to savour some packets of music from a broad a variety as possible.

On first arrival was newly remembered Subtract who were on the main stage igniting the PA in true metal fashion. Mutli –metal man Evan Short is the newest addition on guitar and was shredding like a seasoned Subtract veteran. Sludgy/Speed metal never looked so good on a sunny day.

Luckily for my lazy bones Auckland’s Cobra Khan we on next on the opposite stage. By now a sizeable crowd had arranged themselves, and Cobra Khan continued the metal/rock vein, which eventually burst spectacularly over Ben Lee’s white guitar. It was hard to look away. Highlights were of course seeing “Shutter” live.

By now the crowd was getting a little more heated so it was off to Silent Disco. The little tent by the boiler room was jam packed with Kingsland Vinyl Appreciation Society (phew..) challenging some Euro cheese poofs. Indie won on the day.

Tiki was on in the Boiler now and a sizeable crowd had gathered for this 2008 No1 single artist; he even acknowledged this by playing Always on My Mind and enticing a full sing along. Ambitious but it all paid off. The Addition of a full band does a lot for Tiki live as his set moves between Drum n Bass, Dub/Regaee and Acoustic pop. Tiki was in control.

It was time for a bit of mainstage action from the shade of the stands. Bullet For My Valentine were nearing the end of their set and while not a fan of their music, The Wall was pretty cool, see below (thx Nix).

Pendulum were next on the mainstage and I witness something I never thought possible: Drum n Bass in the day time, to an out door festival audience. Isn’t this music sposed to be in small sweaty dark clubs with bowel emptying bass? Well the bass was enormous and seeing a full band play drum n bass made me think of local heroes, Concord Dawn. They should be the ones to cash in on this mainstream success of their sound.

On to TV on the Radio. The band most of the more musically educated had been waiting for, and me too. They were fierce on stage with a white jeaned singer turbo shuffling his way back and forth across the stage firmly cementing the audience into their grasp. Then – over - it did seem abruptly short and I reckon not an outdoor band but some mid sized venue at their discretion, hopefully sometime soon.

The Datsuns are great live, I had forgotten just how great they are and thoroughly enjoyed checking them for the first time in years. Still the swagger and still the attitude that got them to where they are now.

Why are the Trons so popular? Simple it’s clever and funny as f**k to see a bunch of robots play poppy indie music. The lead singer had a bit of a big head but he was extremely shy between songs. I was hoping for some female robot groupies, maybe oiling parts between songs… enough.

Hang on a sec it’s the Mint Chicks. Now it became clear what’s been missing all day at the Big Day Out … Creativity. (subtract TVOTR here). Thought out bands who are challenging the tired old rock band (sorry My Morning Jacket, you guys sucked). It’s a different group these days without the bassist Mike, but Cody did his damndest to cover all parts of the stage. 99% fn cool, 1% get a bass player.

The other main attraction of the day and the one I had been waiting for: Neil Young, the simple strummer (even pre stoner rock) song smith was everything I had hoped. Each song was delivered with the intensity and vigour as I suppose it was written. I get the feeling most of the (almost capacity) crowd wasn’t just there for the music, but to ignite memories from this music that has been drifting along for over 30 years to it’s own simple groove. Each song was a new treat with numbers like “Heart of Gold” and “Hey Hey, My My” serving up strong reminders as to why Neil (yes I’m on a first name basis now) is regarded as a living legend.

Award for the biggest rock out ending also goes here, around 1 minute.

Best Smash up – Bullet For My Valentine

Best Use of an animal outfit – Cody - The Mint Chicks

Best Lights – Simian Mobile Disco

Best Crowd Sync – Pendulum

Best Injury – Cobra Khan

Best Nostalgia Sway – Neil Young

Best Guitar – Buzz from Fantomas - Travis Bean (yeaa!)

For pics from the day click here


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