Big Day Out @ Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, Adelaide (29/01/10)
Mon 1st Feb, 2010 Event Reviewsin
There was one major contrast between the BDO of 2010, versus the final of the last decade: it was at least 10 degrees Celsius cooler. Hooray. Rather than wandering around in a daze, you could actually enjoy the act you were watching, rather than feel like you’re watching a dream sequence in the back of your mind whilst having that precious sip of water or vodka.
For those who were there for an electronic experience, this years big day out did spoil, however it was far from the rave/club/dance music festival vibe. With headliners Groove Armada for the Boiler Room being a slightly tamer act than last years i.e. The Prodigy, it’s no wonder the dance scene didn’t seem to dominate. The first act to really create the Boiler Room style zone was MDX, playing around with live controllers, Bjork vocal licks in remixes. It was the perfect lead up to Itch-E and Scratch-E.
Seniors in their trade but by no means dated, Itch-E and Scratch-E gave an amazing audio and visual display. Busting out sounds and tunes on their Moogs and Korgs and keyboards and MacBook Pro (yes I am drooling over the equipment) these two boys sure gave us a techy treat. Although dancing like Dads to their own beats whilst changing the sounds with knobs and faders, there was also a voice over host to join them as a compare with coordinated graphics, Microsoft Mary. And she was hot. Seriously. Nothing better than telling us that Itch-E and Scratch-E were ‘back from the Rave, or the Grave as some would see it.’ And making a mockery of making it past the sniffer dogs, which ironically weren’t to be seen. But to finish, seeing these guys jam out on keyboards for ‘sweetness and light,’ was amazing. Although the kids loved it, most of the under 25’s, which was most of the room, had no idea about the history and amazement of the track. Brings me back to the Triple J hottest 100 CD it was on, listening to it when I was 10.
After this point I questioned just how much I was showing my age or living in the past. It felt like it when I was waiting for my next favourite for the day to show, *Simian Mobile Disc*o. Not to say that Kisschasy aren’t aiming at the younger more teen crowd…okay I am. But the line up for food was much shorter in the Green room so I caught a glimpse.
I also caught glimpse of something I witnessed again throughout the day. Crowd Interaction Division, or ‘CID’ as I coined it. CID, is when two artists fight for one half of the crowd’s attention, but conveniently makes everyone to scream together so everyone feels some kind of euphoric amazement. This is done by yelling ‘Ok, everyone on the left put your hands up and make some noise!’ … Followed by the ‘other guy’ stage left going… ‘Everyone on the right, lets make it louder!’ … ‘OK now everyone together!’… ‘WOOOH.’ At this point, some crazy tune is dropped and the pit goes bonkers: Dizzee Rascal styles.
Dizzee Rascal with his own CID, and Bonkers track to end his show, had everyone moshing hard in the ‘D.’ Same goes for Aussie icons Hilltop Hoods. Both great acts working a crowd, they dropped all the classics with some CID to boot. Although like most hip-hop, the amazement of them is appreciated in a slightly more intimate zone. None the less, having people go off to Dirtee Cash and Nose Bleed Section is something of an experience.
Just because I had to, I also took 15 minutes to check out Lily Allen. After hearing reports of her being rather sloshed at the Melbourne show, I had to see how loose this British goose could get. Although noticeably tipsy and being one of the first icons on stage in a while to sport a cigarette hanging out her mouth, I thought she was rather composed. Then I witnessed her cover Britney Spears’ Womaniser. Ouch did I just drop 10 IQ points?
Calvin Harris of course had all the young clubbers in the boiler room. And how do I know they were young? A mass exodus upon the conclusion of Calvin’s set of those sporting the Ray Bans/revival Hungry Jacks/Kanye West style sunnies. None the less, it let the intelligent music appreciators have some floor space, and to appreciate beats and sound-scapes without vocals and electro-sawtooth sounds to dominate. Although they were only playing with CDJs and not the 1930’s style analogue equipment of last year, they were still a treat to the ears.
In much the same style as Simian, Sasha continued the progressive tech-like vibe, only to fall into a softer more ‘trance-girly’ like finish; a bit of an anticlimax. What wasn’t a let down was Peaches. Known for her outrageous costumes, theatrics and lyrics, Peaches was as always ever impressionable. Starting with a black veil and reducing gradually to a hot pink bodysuit with amorous and space-amour-like shoulder padding… we’re talking at least 30cm peaks here! This woman exudes unique style and presence. Having to gain a good view in the Boiler Room for main act Groove Armada, I had to leave Peaches display.
I had a very open mind as what to expect from Groove Armada, although maybe I was a little daft in assuming there would be a fair amount of ‘groove.’ Having to check my ‘non-cheap-plastic-sunnies-wearing’ eyes, I thought Peaches was doing a cameo appearance! Sporting an almost identical style short blonde haircut, and a blue-silver bodysuit with amorous and space-amour-like shoulder padding…Yes, the same style outfit as observed earlier! Suddenly I wondered if I had missed something. Then, there was a whole lot more rock, Peaches style, to boot. So with not much groove, but a whole lot of live instrumentation, it seems like the Groove was taken out of the Armada, and that special touch lost somewhere in the delivery. Although there was some amazing drumming and reworks of classic tracks like Easy and Super Styling, the act would have been more fitting for the main stage at the Big Day Out; especially with no I See You Baby lines to be heard.
Although I was still at least 8 IQ points down, without the previous years heatstroke and Boiler Room finisher amazement, I felt like I hadn’t partied quite as hard as I should have. With the exception of a few pockets of great technical amazement like Itch-E and Scratch-E, Simian Mobile Disco and the first half of Sasha’s set, this event won’t go down as a personal favourite for a Big Day Out event. Although it was refreshing not to feel sniffer dogs up against you and police officers acting with a tough ego like at the more commercial dance events, this was much more of live hip-hop/rock style event; much more like the Big Day Out of the earlier years.