There I was, 10.17 am on the morning of the Big Day Out, puking in the gutter on K’ Road (or something like that). I diagnosed that I was indeed ill, probably brought on by eating at that horrible cafe at the bus depot.
Of course this meant that I couldn’t go to the Big Day Out. No, I would have to curl up on a couch and feel miserable, especially since at that moment I was missing Blindspott and/or Augustino. I was getting ready to do this when I realised that I was feeling better and could probably handle nine hours of music festival madness.
So I showed up at Ericsson Stadium, was randomly abused by this lame-arse dude handing out flyers for some corporate rave, but once I got inside I caught the last few songs of Sommerset’s set. A few seconds into their punk-arse sonic assault, I realised that I had made the right decision in coming.
After Sommerset, I met up with the fellows who had peer-pressured me into buying a ticket in the first place, Mr Satan and Mr Titboy.
First stop was the booze area. DB Export Gold was the only beverage available, which I think is actually a good thing. It means all the 18 year olds who can legally drink won’t drink because they don’t like beer. But of course that didn’t stop the girls sitting near us from sneaking in a bottle of peach schnapps.
Teenage girl bum crack cleavage a go-go. (Sorry, I just wanted to write that.)
We drank through Tadpole and The Feelers. Tadpole were really nice. They made the grey, overcast sky feel a little bit sunny. The Feelers, however, have an almost terminal uncoolness about them. There’s a bit of good pop in there, but I could see that the crowd was getting a bit bored when the set when on too long. We sat around for a bit of System Of A Down, then trekked over to the green stage for the White Stripes.
Having listened to the White Stripes quite a bit lately, I realised that they kind of remind me of the late Darcy Clay. There are similarities between Jack White and Darcy Clay’s singing style and guitar playing, but it’s more like that if Darcy Clay was still around today maybe he’d be sounding a bit like the White Stripes. I wasn’t going to pay much more mind to my Darcy Stripes theory, but then the White Stripes launched into a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, a song that Mr Clay also covered. It was at this point I had to run away and throw up. This really annoyed me because I was really enjoying the White Stripes.
I emerged from the portaloo to some really heavy rain. I got soaked, but I didn’t care because I’d just thrown up so I was feeling pretty good. I met up with the boys and we discovered that Shihad had just finished playing and System Of A Down were starting again after previously being stopped because the crowd had gone wild.
It was still raining, but the mosh pit and the stands were packed with thousands of people who wanted to see System Of A Down. About halfway through the set the opening chords of “Chop Suey” were played and the crowd went mental with excitement. I’ve heard the lyrics many times before, but it was the first time that, “wake up! Grab a brush and put a little make up,” really made any sense. The crowd surged with energy.
(Y’know, there were these System Of A Down t-shirts for girls. They were white baby doll tees with “System Of A Down” in pink and silver. How cute.)
By then the schedule for the main stages was out of sync with the timetable. Silverchair were next on stage. We watched them for a bit then left and saw Jurassic 5. A week ago I vaguely remember seeing a Jurassic 5 video and declaring, “this isn’t rap. It’s pop.” But standing there on wet, muddy grass, I realised that no matter what genre it was, I was diggin’ it.
Next we headed over to the Lilypad to see Peaches. The rain had slowed the schedule down, so we had to wait until Bambi Slut’s Allstars had finished. We were just sitting around, waiting, when some police came over. One of them invoked section 18 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (1975) and insisted that Mr Titboy empty out his pockets and prove that he didn’t have anything on him. Mr Satan was also asked if he’d been smoking pot. They didn’t talk to me about anything, which was disappointing. I listen to gangsta rap, I try to cultivate this hardcore image, but it would appear that it’s just not working. The police found, surprise, surprise, nothing illegal on Mr Titboy, so we were free to continue loitering until it was time for Peaches.
The first time I heard of Peaches was when I was in New Caledonia. I was watching an interview with her on a German arts TV show. It was dubbed into German with French subtitles. Through all that I thought she seemed pretty interesting.
So on stage she comes with her big hair, aviator glasses, black pants and a pink jacket. By the end of the show she was wearing red stockings, red hotpants and a black bra. What happened in between was very entertaining.
There was a CD providing the backing music. Peaches would rap and/or sing the vocals. She was also joined by Mignon and the Cobrakillers, who also took turns at performing their own songs. There was bondage stuff, wobbly strap-ons, latex nurses uniforms, and I think she was the only performer I’ve seen who not only told the audience her bra size, but performed a song about it.
There were times when she finished a song and would need to leave the stage so the other girls could come on and do another song, and she’d just drop the mic on the ground and split. Thunk. That’s more punk than smashing a guitar.
Peaches: “Licky, licky sucky, no one here can tell me they don’t want a fucky fucky.” Audience: “Yeah!”
Obviously after that wondrous performance nothing else was going to be as good. I noticed that walking in mud all over the place had turned my blue Vans into brown Vans. But I like swamps and I’m happy to hang out in one for a while. We returned to the stadium seats and were just in time for the Prodigy.
I’d forgotten how much fun and how rockin’ they could be. “Change my pitch up,” Keith Flint chanted. “Smack my bitch up,” the audience responded. That song and “Firestarter” were the ones that really got the huge crows moving. Steam from the pit was rising high, and there was love out there, man.
There were quite a few radio stations along for the ride. BFM is cool because they play music like Peaches and the White Stripes and it felt more like they were there for the music, not just to promote the station. It was really fun mocking the other radio stations there, especially the one that was playing Nsync as I walked past it. The ‘Sync has its place but the Big Day Out is not it.
We wandered around for a bit and Mr Satan revealed that he’d found some guy’s wallet. I was looking through it and as well as finding a selection of cards, some receipts and a little bit of cash, there, tucked away in a little pocket was something that looked not unlike an eighth of a tab of acid. We guessed the wallet’s owner probably wouldn’t be reporting it missing to the police.
It was getting late – a Big Day Out day gets late earlier. We considered squeezing into the big, hot, dripping tent to see Basement Jaxx, but we decided to call it a night and got a bus back to the city, then caught a taxi back to Mr Titboy’s place. The taxi fare was paid for out of the lost wallet.
Despite all the incidental annoyances it turned out to be a pretty good day. Hooray for live music.