Live Shows, Reviews — January 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm

The Big Day Out 2012 – Sydney – 26 January


My day began with the noisiest train trip I’ve ever been on as the capacity carriages were filled with people of all ages (me clearly the oldest at this point) headed to the 2012 Big Day Out. Packed with their water and hydrating liquids you can tell these concert goers are getting ready for their own personal Big Day…

We make it in with no hassles and Stonefield are the first band I’m here to check out, as I get there a few songs in to their set they are already getting the crowd warmed up. These amazingly talented young girls are going to go far, their modern sound is retro at the same time and is so mature for girls of their age. I can see big things for these girls. Their cover of ‘Whole lotta love’ was totally awesome and set a bar for what now needed to already step up!!  Meanwhile, the grey clouds had set in and it began to rain, it seemed it was going to be a very Wet Day Out…

I got my bearings and headed out to catch the end of the Calling All Cars set, but arrived to an empty stage that left me questioning my timings this early in the day.  Later I find out THIS happened.  Now that’s Rock & Roll!!

The atmosphere of the day is electric and there are already so many here to catch the earlier bands as proven by the crowd that Frenzal Rhomb has at 1pm sending the crowd into a frenzy with their punk cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ which was insane. I predict the day will get much more intense and with Parkway Drive up next, who knows? Oh and I just found someone older than me. Awesome. Walking through the crowd and watching how much people are enjoying Frenzal it makes me remember what is so good about live music. PS: the earlier rain has gone and it’s HOT! My favourite part of the Frenzal set was them proclaiming that people should buy one of their t shirts as Soundgarden don’t need the money. Genius.

“We’re Parkway Drive and we’re kinda heavy…” ’nuff said.  A great intro from these guys as they got the heavy started and set the stage for those to come later in the day. The crowd were REALLY starting to get pumped now, thanks Parkway Drive, your work here is done.

I thought I’d check out Boy & Bear to see what all the fuss was about and why they won 612 Arias. I get it, they’re good and the contrast in bands from the last one (Parkway Drive) hasn’t even phased the crowd which is testament to the line up and music listeners these days. Boy & Bear are so excited to be here and it shows through their performance. The acoustic blended rock makes for perfect crowd participation and they’re lapping up every second of it. Looking around there are A LOT of people in the main arena to see these guys.  As they cover the Cowded House classic ‘Fall At Your Feet’ I haven’t heard a crowd sing along like this for a long time. What a great vibe on Australia Day.

On that note I headed out as I didn’t want to miss King Cannons. In my opinion, one of Australias best live bands, actually bands in general. The initially small crowd grew and grew as the Cannons gave us some new songs, some as new as they were only the second time they’d played them yet it sounded like they’d been doing it for years and the crowd reacted like they had been.  As they kicked it up a notch with songs like ‘Step Right Up’  it was in fact the last three of their set that Wowed everyone; ‘Take The Rock’ was insane! New single ‘Shot To Kill’ is one of the best songs Bruce Springsteen never wrote, and closing with a crowd sing along of ‘Teenage Dream’ the Cannons put on one of the best performances of the day and it would’ve been best on ground were it not for…

The Living End. Wow. This is a band that smokes any live band I’ve seen in a long time! They are as tight as a snare skin and were flawless. This is a band that you know every song they play, and if for some reason you didn’t know a song, you were singing it afterwards. Through ‘Prisoner Of Society’ and ‘White Noise’ to the instrumental crowd sing along of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ for Australia day and when I say sing along I mean it, everybody in the arena. As a tribute to the 20 years of the Big Day Out they Covered Nirvanas ‘Breed’ which sent the crowd crazy, literally, the mosh was insane at that point and they played it so well. Finished with one of their biggest songs ‘West End Riot’ and it was huge! I don’t understand how a live band can be that good. They’ve won the day for me.

Next saw the return of My Chemical Romance who haven’t been back to Australia for a number of years. As the intro tape played and the band walked onto the stage backed by their huge ‘MCR’ backdrop the crowd went crazy. Opening with ‘Na na na…’ there was no looking back and this set was going to be something special. ‘I’m Not OK’ was a huge highlight for me and a big sing along song. They played through many more hits including the fun crown sing along of ‘Teenagers’ and my personal favourite ‘Famous Last Words’ which I was stoked they played, they ended with ‘the Black Parade’ and with that they had done what they came to do which was rock our faces off. They succeeded. Oh and I’m still singing ‘Black Parade’ a few days later. Nice work.

Kasabian were up next. They nicely wished us a “Happy Aussie day or whatever it is” ha ha. These guys are a great band and put on a great show and the song I knew ‘Shoot The Runner’ was second and rocked! The highlight though was how they got the entire D barrier to sit down and then all jump back up at a well timed point. It looked amazing. I’m not sure whether it was the anticipation of Soundgarden but as good as they were I just couldn’t completely get into this set, I tried but I was just so pumped for what was next.

As the sun started to set, the legendary Soundgarden took the stage, seeing the original line up in Australia for the first time in over 15 years.  They were determined to give us all the hits and more, when they kicked into ‘Spoonman’ second song in the crowd were loving it and the people inside the D barrier began practicing their in unison jumping for what would still be required later, ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ was next and a highlight for sure. The band are tight and Chris Cornell’s voice was pristine as always. When the opening riff of ‘Outshined’ was played the crowd erupted, with the chorus being shouted back to the band at almost volumes louder than the band itself. This was my personal favourite for the night but to follow with ‘Rusty Cage’ the fans were losing their mind. People were saying there were sound issues with the band but I couldn’t hear anything that affected the performance. Of course ‘Black Hole Sun’ was a highlight as was ‘My Wave’ as Chris Cornell said to the crowd that they just may make this a regular appearance at the BDO, there were no complaints. Actually, the only complaint was that their set ended, but as I headed out of the main stages I saw a young guy run to the Rare Records stand who I was told had been selling ‘Chris Cornell is my husband’ shirts all day, proceed to buy one from the high he was on after just seeing Soundgarden. That made me chuckle.

I managed to catch the last 20 minutes of Grinspoon’s set and it was evident that regardless of Soundgarden playing at the same time that Grinspoon have their fans. It was close to standing room only at their set and it was lapped up!! The last 20 minutes gave us about 16 songs, I kid, maybe 6 but as they rocked through them all, these ‘Special Guests’ did that name proud and put on a great show. Phil needed to vomit as he told us so they finished up a few minutes early.  Rock & Roll!

As the crowd starts to head to the Converse Essentials stage to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds a smattering (including me) stick around to watch Cavalera Conspiracy annihilate everything. Obviously been doing it for years, Max now back together with Iggor these guys know what heavy is. They know, and they do it well. The sound at this set is so clean, the playing is tight and Max’s vocals ripped through a mix of Cavalera and Sepultura tracks, the circle pit evident that people still love heavy music and that’s a good thing!  Fingers crossed they’ll be back soon!

Oh and here comes the crowd from Kanye who was 15 minutes late I heard so people are walking briskly (well trying to after a long day of standing) to make it up to the Essentials stage to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Ok so I’m the second to admit I was never the biggest Oasis fan but after spending only 5 minutes at Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds‘ set I’m hooked. His voice is great, the band are sounding great and the people that have stayed to watch this new band are loving every second of it. His set of originals mixed with some cleverly chosen Oasis ‘covers’ is a perfect way to end the night. Including the almost entirely crowd sung ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ to finish the night. A magic moment as everyone walked out from that stage with a smile on their face. An excellent choice as the festival closer, song and artist.

The train ride home was slightly more subdued than the ride in as the tiredness had set in but the audible mumbles were nothing but positive and it seems a great day was had by all. Me included.

Essential Information

Date: 26th January 2012

Venue: Sydney Olympic Park


Check out the photo galleries from the Melbourne Big Day Out HERE

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