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Monday, January 22, 2007

Just got back from Big Day Out and...


Man, what a fun experience that was. From the quality of the music, to the weather, to the people in attendance, and last but certainly not least my two friends Steed and Christina, my trip to Auckland this past weekend was a total blast. There were lots of carnival rides, plenty of drinkies (I stuck to water), and lots of merchandise that I wanted to buy but couldn't justify. The music setup was cool, with the two main stages being inside the stadium itself, and two outdoor side stages on a hill just outside the stadium. They also had a gigantic big top with two stages inside of it, called the Boiler Room. I only passed through here on the way out but it looked like a great spot. My friends went and saw Lily Allen in here but I had to miss out, as I went elsewhere.

Here follow my capsule reviews:

Kicked Complete Arse: TOOL. Yeah, I am about as biased a Tool supporter as a 'fanboy' can be, but they still were the best thing going. The local paper the next day called them 'best blunt instrument', for their sheer primal prowess as a band. I think it's no small coincidence that Big Day Out sold out this year (possibly for the first time ever in New Zealand) because Tool were headlining the action. But seriously, though, as glorious as they were, there was much other great music to be heard as you'll see below. Tool's set list: Stinkfist, The Pot, Jambi, Sober, Prison Sex, Vicarious, Rosetta Stoned, Forty Six & 2, Schism, Lateralus (very surprised and pleased at this one!) and to finish it all off: AEnima. The best thing out of Maynard's mouth all night, though? His request that we all come back to see them play when they're back in New Zealand this November/December! Aww, yeah! Needless to say, you know where I'll be later on this year: Auckland to see Tool, baby!

Kicked Arse Nearly As Completely As TOOL: Muse. It's a band from the UK, and I'd only ever heard one song of theirs but they were excellent. They played right before Tool came on and were a great lead-in. I am by no means a scholar of musical styles but I know what I like and what sounds good to me. They reminded me a lot of Rush for three reasons: the lead singer's voice was a falsetto like Geddy Lee's, there were only three guys in the band but they produced a massive and very tight sound, and thirdly they just owned like Rush does. I will definitely be buying some of their music and, should I have the chance, be seeing them again in concert. Sixty minutes was not enough for these guys, and in spite of all of their energy and general arse-kicking, you still felt like they were only warming up when their set was done.

Best Band Not On a Main Stage But Should've Been: Kasabian. If you've not heard of them yet, well you heard it here first then. Yet another great band out of the UK, they have a hard-rocking, funky kind of sound with catchy beats. Just one of those bands that really performs well live and you can't get enough of them. A very animated lead singer with a highly talented bunch of musicians behind him. I had only first heard of them about two weeks ago, while doing laundry at the laundrette and their latest video came on, for a song called "Shoot The Runner". This was what they opened their set with, and it only got better from there. I'll be buying their music as well, for they're the kind of band that hooks you in instantly. The crowd was as packed as it could have been in this smaller area, and to me that means the word is already out about how great Kasabian are so do check them out.

Best Band I'd Bought Tickets To See Before But Had To Miss: The Killers. They came on before Muse, and they were awesome as well. I was so glad I finally got to see these guys live, and they did not disappoint. Sadly, the one flaw with Big Day Out all day was that, occasionally, they had problems with their sound. It wasn't the bands at all, but the quality of the sound coming from the amplifiers. At times during the Killers' act (and a couple others on the Blue Stage that day), they sounded as if you were listening to them on an ancient casette in a tape recorder in your car that badly needed its heads cleaned. I'm sure the band members weren't happy with this, but I wasn't sure if they could tell. Still, it was a kick-ass show and they played a great set, taking the full hour and then some. Brandon Flowers (lead singer) has an incredible voice and the band sounded great live. Can't wait to hear their next few albums, they seem to get better with time and they started out great, in my opinion.

Best Kiwi Band Who I'm Now a Fan Of: Elemeno P. What a cool band! So many catchy tunes, and they've been on the scene for about four or five years now. Of the whole day, this was the truest Kiwi experience I had for I was listening to a true-blue New Zealand band and was surrounded by scads of Kiwi fans who've been hooked on them since Day One. Again it's hard for me to classify just what style of rock these guys are but it's the kind of band you'd become madly addicted to in college and then think fondly of forever after, kind of like REM or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yet another band whose albums I will buy one or three of over the next few months, and they too were great live.

The rest: The one band that didn't exactly bomb but did fall flat (and I wasn't the only one who thought this) was My Chemical Romance. I had seen them with Green Day about a year and a half ago, and while they do perform well and have lots of energy, I can say with much certainty that I am not a big fan of the 'emo'. MCR is really popular here in NZ, mainly because of their second album, Black Parade. But their performance just didn't seem to draw the crowd in, like the above bands' performances did. Maybe it's because they're very new, and also the only emo band of the lot I've mentioned. Perhaps if the crowd were made up of nothing but tweens and the like, you'd have thought MCR was the second coming of The Beatles. As it was, the three of us bailed early and headed for the smaller stages (I was off to see Kasabian and didn't want to miss one note) and the review in the paper the next day pretty much mirrored my sentiments above. They weren't bad just... eh. Next.

But the organizers did an excellent job of setting this event up and pulling it off, as they managed to shlep 44,000-odd people around the stadium and show them a rollicking good time. The fans I encountered were all so polite and well-behaved for people getting their 'rock' on, but perhaps it was all that ganja I smelled in the air that kept everyone so mellow. Also, not entering the mosh pit has also skewered my opinion of the masses towards the positive, as nobody tried to clobber me or shove me into a hulking mosher.

But that was it for the concert, and I'm so glad I went! I followed Steed and Christina back to their house in Tauranga (TOU-rong-uh) and hung out with them yesterday and today. They are yet another very friendly and nice couple of Kiwis I have met and they were great hosts. Christina is Andrew's sister, and Andrew is one of the vets I work with down here in the Hutt. He's the one who had me over for their family Christmas. Christina is a drama and dance teacher at an all-girls school, while Steed is a builder. Tauranga is a beautiful place and is right on the Bay of Plenty, which opens onto the Pacific Ocean.

There is an interesting and eye-catching large hill that juts out from the shore, sort of like a piece of land that wants desperately to be an island but the mainland won't let go of it. It's called Mount Maungaraki and in typical Brooksian fashion, I forgot to take my camera along with me to our hike around it. But I did get some decent shots of the countryside on my (eight hour) drive up to and back from Auckland which I just can't be arsed to upload right now. But if you're very good and very keen, I'll upload them for you!

So I had a very Kiwi weekend as Steed put a few kebabs and sausages on the barbie and we all hung out and watched the cricket. We lost to Aussie, unfortunately, although there's no shame in that as they're the best in the world at it right now, and at the very least I came away with a full understanding of how the game is played. I don't feel like such a foreigner now! I'm not as hooked on cricket as I am on rugby, but I can watch it and understand it and chat a bit about it now.

Other good news from the weekend: Da Bears are back in the Superbowl! I'll so be watching that, although beating Peyton Manning and Co. will not be easy, yet it was either them or Tom Brady and Co., so pick your poison there. Go Bears!

Hope everyone else's weekends were good and I'll be posting again real soon.


Blogger Beechball * said...

Elemeno P. What a cute friggin name! That reminds me of Grade 2, when my teachers daughter who was in senior kindergarten was excited that she learned her alphabets and really wanted to show our class. So she came in and sang the song, but when it came time for the L-M-N-O-P... she said, ELMO-PEE! The whole class giggled, and thankfully, so did the little girl, but it was super cute and to this day I call her Elmo. Actually, since I tease her about that she called ME Elmo too which doesn't make much sense, but regardless, it was cute. I am glad you had such a great time seeing all those bands, I myself am off to enjoy one myself tonight - Go Tragically Hip! You Take Care Brandon!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

Cool story there Lyndsay! Isn't it funny how nicknames evolve? The best ones are ones like that, that don't make sense right away and have a good story behind them. I hope you had fun seeing Tragically Hip. Pretty sure I've heard a song or two of theirs but can't place them right now...

9:28 AM  

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