Yesterday was the Melbourne stop for Big Day Out. Big Day Out is an annual concert festival that travels the country, and was originally inspired by Lollapalooza. There is a mix of international and local acts on the bill and it's just one big day of music. I met up with Will and Helen along Sydney Road and we took the tram for a quick ride down to Princes Park South in North Carlton, where the show was happening this year. Thankfully the line moved quickly and we were inside around noon.
So many acts are scheduled on the eight stages throughout the day that you have to plan out who you want to see. Inevitably, there are conflicts and hard choices to make. There is no down time on the main stages because once one band finishes, the next band plays on the adjoining stage. This gives the crews time to set up for the next act. The main area on site was the Orange and Blue Stages. The other big place to see acts was the Green Stage and Converse Essential Stage, which were side by side under a tent.
We wandered around the grounds, caught a bit of Gerling's set on the Orange Stage, and then went to see Sarah Blasko on the Green Stage. Next was Cut Copy, who were very entertaining with their mix of pop and dance music. At 3:00 p.m. is was time for Wolfmother on the Blue Stage. Wolfmother are the Aussie band of the moment with their 70s inspired classic rock and extended jams. One of my favorite lines of the day was when lead singer Andrew Stockdale asked the crowd, "Are you ready to go to a new dimension?" They closed with their big hit "Mind's Eye" and if you are in the States, they are doing some shows in February, so go check them out. The next band we went to see was The Go! Team from the UK. They were another dance/pop band and had the crowd going at the Green Stage.
After taking a little break and eating some food, it was time to settle into place at the Blue and Orange Stages for the rest of the evening. We chose the Orange Stage side because the big screen allowed us to see what was going on much better. First big act of the evening was The Living End, and they rocked as usual. Chris played "Waltzing Matilda" on the guitar and the crowd sang along. Next up was Franz Ferdinand, who were excellent. Helen and I had a good dance to all their hits, and it was great to finally see them live. I love the whole look and attitude of the band, and their videos are never dull and have a great sense of humor to them.
Then is was time for Iggy and the Stooges. The Stooges are the godfathers of punk rock, having put out records in the late 60s and early 70s. Iggy Pop has been releasing solo albums since then, but the Stooges have reformed in the last couple years and have been touring. Their set was relentless and insane. Iggy is amazing to watch. Half way through the set he invited people to come up on stage from the crowd and sing and dance along. Iggy also went down to the barricades and almost surfed the crowd a couple of times. Henry Rollins was watching it all from side of stage and loving every minute.
The final act of the night was The White Stripes, another band I love that I had never seen live before. It was a ripping set of songs taken from the last few albums, as well as their cover of "Jolene." Jack White was amazing to watch as he went from guitar to piano and sung into the multiple microphones placed around the stage. Meg White even sang a couple of songs too, which was great. There's a definite intensity watching the two of them perform together as they communicate with each other through the music. Jack is also such a fantastic musician. I love that their crew is required to dress in suits and hats- it's a well dressed entourage.
After The White Stripes finished Helen and I headed over to meet Will, who was dancing to 2manydjs in the Boiler Room. We stayed outside because it was so hot in the tent. Helen ran into her brother, and around 11 p.m. we headed for home. Despite the sunburn, (and I did have on a lot of sunblock) it was a magical day of music and worth every penny.