I went to the Big Day Out in Auckland yesterday (January 15th 2010) and post some comments about this here.
Previous Big Days Out
Previously I went to the first New Zealand Big Day Out in 1994 when I was at the front for the Smashing Pumpkins; 2002 when Garbage and New Order played; and 2004 when I got down to Basement Jaxx (and oh my goodness they were just absolutely fantastic – quite possibly the best live performance I’ve ever seen).
In the other years there either wasn’t enough to interest me (the majority) or I later wished I had gone to. In the early years I remember listening to 95bfm (Auckland University radio station) when it was on and wishing I’d gone…
I probably also used to be more self concious about going to a music festival on my own but now I don’t care; if anything it’s easier because I can see who I want and do whatever I want while I’m there. I’m sure I’ll be going to more future events more frequently after this year.
Big Day Out 2010
I arrived about 11:15 and sat down to The Drab Doo Riffs while I had a good read through the programme and the artists that were on for the day. I used to be a grunge / heavy guitar band guy but have changed as I’ve grown older and the stuff on the minor stages and in the Boiler Room (read big hot dance music tent) is what appeals more to me these days. I’m generally not interested in what’s going on on the main stage.
I briefly checked out James Duncan before heading off to Nick D in the Boiler Room. Then I briefly checked out True Lovers and The Checks before filling up my water bottle and going to the toilet and then it was back to the Boiler Room for Magic Johnson. He played a good set and there was dancing all round but I found his transitions between songs a bit odd.
Dimmer followed up Magic Johnson which seemed an odd choice for the Boiler room. I watched a couple of their songs but ducked off for some lunch before returning for Concorde Dawn and Minuit. They both went off and Ruth of Minuit is way cool but then I knew that already 🙂 I was soaking wet with sweat and water by the time they’d finished.
Girl Talk came on next and he was just amazing – he does some crazy mash ups of stoncking background beats with classic lyrics on top; everything from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Crowded House to The Carpenters and everything inbetween. I would have liked to see his full set but I really wanted to see Ladyhawke so left after about 10 minutes or so.
Ladyhawke was great, finishing with her best song My Delirium, but also playing her other singles and some other stuff too. She even had three violinists playing live along with the band.
Back to the Boiler Room for Peaches and my only regret of the day… she started off doing some rappy stuff which wasn’t really me, so I thought it was a good time to fill up the water and go to the toilet again. I sat down on the main field while Powderfinger was playing to have a snack and after a while decided it wasn’t really for more and Peaches was more my style. I got back just in time to see her last two songs and SHE WAS AMAZING. What a performer! I wish I’d seen the whole thing. Oh well, she’s been to enough BDOs so is sure to be back again.
Tim Phin was up next and played a great set and then was Calvin Harris. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Calvin Harris; I knew a couple of his songs from GeorgeFM (an Auckland dance music station, playing mainly house music) but was a little surprised when it was quite a guitar based set. Nevertheless he absolutely went off and was fantastic. He finished with “I am Not Alone” which was just amazing.
Phew, hot. Outside. I was absolutely soaked with sweat and water after that and needed some fresh air. I had quite a lot of time to kill before Groove Armada so it was time for dinner.
I got something to eat and went to the upper field to see what Gin Wigmore was all about and stayed for her whole set; I’d never heard of her before (other than seeing the “Under My Skin” song on the Air New Zealand ads, and then I didn’t know it was her or who she was). Her great sounds and voice kept being puntucated with her Kiwi Lass Accent inbetween which I found quite funny.
After Gin I grabbed a coffee, took one last pit stop and back into the Boiler Room to listen to Sasha while waiting for the main event: Groove Armada. I have to say I did like Sasha’s set but it was very repetitive and effectively a little bit boring. People certainly weren’t getting down to it anywhere near as much as I expected and I managed to get pretty much up the front in time for the groovemeisters.
And then Groove Armada came on. I can’t really say much except they were simply brilliant. I saw them the last time when they were here about eight years ago and it’s not possible to compare the performances. Last time was played more like the albums and this time more guitar rock and both were fantastic. This was the highlight of the day for me and they topped it off with a ten minute rendition of “Superstylin” at the end.
The only other regret I have for the day (other than not seeing all of Peaches’ set) is not seeing Head Like a Hole, but that was out of my control as they played during Groove Armada. I saw them a number of times when I was at University so there was a real nostalgia factor there, plus a friend commented after the BDO that they were superb.
Wrapping up, for me Groove Armada absolutely rocked with Calvin Harris in close second. I think Minuit and Ladyhakwe probably tied for third place and I just wish I’d seen more of Peaches. I hope next year’s line up is just as good.