VF’s Top Tips: Big Day Out 2008

There are no good gigs on at the moment for one reason - the weather. Bands had enough of the cold and the rain over the summer months, so the global superstars have thought: "Sod it! I'm off to Oz," - that's where Big Day Out comes in...

With scorching temperatures hot enough to give revellers an instant David Dickenson tan and enough über-cool artists to fill Radiohead’s stocking, it’s time to get out of the darkened office, stop dreaming of the summer ahead and plan your own Big Day Out.

The touring festival hits five venues across Australia and New Zealand with eight packed stages of music. But luckily for you, we’ve picked what to watch, if you're lucky enough to be there, so you can pack your bags and grab those sunglasses.

Our pick from the bands performing at all venues…

Rage Against The Machine
There’s no better way to start the year than blowing out the cobwebs with the original political punk-funkers Rage. Zack de la Rocha and his elderly camaraderie have returned louder and with more opinions for you to steal, plus one of the greatest beat-downs in history – altogether now: “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.”

Battles are great and this group of New York Math-Metallers would definitely win the war. Trigonometry drums, scientific guitar-work and samples crazier than an ASDA supermarket, this quartet have bought Alice in Wonderland to life in a musical form.

Operator Please
Australia has given us some brilliant exports in the past: Neighbours, Kylie and everyone’s favourite session larger – Fosters (brewed in the UK). After some shining debuts at UK festival last summer, Operator Please can now join that illustrious list. The indie-pop youngsters may not be old enough to drink the aforementioned lager but they are able to create a noise like Blondie gobbling too many Skittles.

Now officially used by the NHS as a benchmark for true insanity, Bjork is hitting Australasia to Declare Independence. With her experimental selection of music the Icelandic queen could make a festival by herself as she mixes electro, dance, trip hop, rock, pop and any other noise she can throw in. With a cacophony of colours, creative energy and behaviour that should get her sectioned, Bjork will make more than entertaining viewing.

Krafty Kuts
Mr Kuts has been spinning tunes for aeons. With his mixture of funk samples, heavy warping breaks and more 303s than the Big Beat, elite it’s easy to see how Krafty Kuts has won the best Breaks DJ award for the last three years. Not one to be ashamed about chucking a well-known tune into the mix, the Brighton DJ can turn a gathering into a full-blown party.

Dizzee Rascal
With three albums and two Mercury Prize nominations, Mr Rascal has to world at his feet. So he’s decided to flip sunny side up and show the Southern Hemisphere how well the Brits can rap. Get ready to be dazzled by Dizzee as the Godfather of Grime belts of his Bow beats and foul-mouthed lyrics, rather then go and watch Hilltop Hoods to see how it shouldn’t be done.

The best of the local bands…

Auckland – 18 Jan
The Electric Confectionaries
The Electric Confectionaries are psychedelic Bubblegum Pop who sound like The Monkees covering The Bees.

Gold Coast – 20 Jan
Iron On
A soft indie version of Kings Of Leon with Mates Of State dual-sex duelling vocals shows why Iron On have earned them support slots with The Gossip and The National.

Sydney – 25 Jan
The Aston Shuffle
Not as good as Chunk’s infamous Truffle Shuffle in The Goonies, but The Aston Shuffle’s nu-rave electronica sounds like reworked versions of computer games out around the same time as the film.

Melbourne – 28 Jan
Little Red
Little Red produce heavy bass ridden Pop tilted by the groove of fifties rock, while the vocals of Tom Hartney are reminiscent of Dave McCabe from The Zutons.

Adelaide – 1 Feb
Unfortunately Adelaide doesn’t seem to be prolific at bringing out good local artists, so if you’re after some new talent go and watch hip hop artist Delta perform his song ‘Doorbell’ which borrows from The White Stripes’ track of the same name.

Perth – 3 Feb
The Dirty Secrets
The Dirty Secrets sound like The Wombats doing a karaoke version of Bloc Party complete with synths, quibbling guitars and bumbling basslines.

Not your cup of tea? Then here are eight more Australian festivals to dunk your biscuit into:

8 – BluesfestByron Bay, NSW – 20-24 March
This five-day festival brings together a host of big Blues names as well as a host of international rock and indie acts to the surfer’s paradise Byron Bay.
Three to see: Buddy Guy, Don McLean and Angus and Julie Stone.

7 – WOMADelaideAdelaide Botanic Gardens, SA – 7-9 March
Peter Gabriel’s World-Music festival has reached the Australian shores with a mixture of artists ranging from jazz, funk, reggae, African music and hip hop. The family-friendly event aims to give an insight into different cultures with over 100 art, craft and international food stalls.
Three to see: Beirut, Farafina and Toumani Diabate.

6 – St. Jerome’s Laneway FestivalVarious, AUS 23 February – 2 March
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival is another event that tours the country taking in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Organisers erect a stage in the streets of each city and fill it with up-and-coming acts from around the world.
Three to see: Feist, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Dan Deacon.

5 – Playground WeekenderDel Rio Resort, Wiseman’s Ferry, NSW – 7–9 March
Set in a stunning site, complete with kangaroos, the Playground Weekender sees revellers arrive by catamaran. The three-day event has five stages of eclectic music ranging from dance to indie as well as a cinema, healing zone and a swimming pool.
Three to see: Norman Jay, Tom Middleton and The Wombats.

4 – Soundwave FestivalVarious, AUS – 23 February – 3 March
This touring festival is one for those who like it a little bit harder. The event sets up camp at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adeliade and Perth, bringing with it three stages of international metal and rock acts as well as some local bands too.
Three to see: Incubus, Killswitch Engage and Coheed and Cambria.

3 – Future Music FestivalVarious, AUS – 1-10 March
Five Australian cities are set for a 12-day marathon of cutting-edge electronica and dance DJs. The latest house, breaks, trance and techno are all showcased at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide with some international artists spinning the choons.
Three to see: The Chemical Brothers, DJ Yoda and John Digweed.

2 – V Festival (AUS)Various, AUS – 29 March – 6 April
Similar to its UK sister event, V Festival Australia splashes the cash to bring in a selection of choice international artists as well as setting a platform for local talent. 50,000 are expect to turn up to each of the one-day touring shows that take in Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.
Three to see: Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stone Age and Air.

1 – Good VibrationsVarious, AUS – 9-17 February
The Good Vibrations festival is housed at four cities around the country but it’s always held in natural surroundings like botanical gardens, parklands and natural amphitheatres. 2008 will see the event take in Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney and Perth.
Three to see: Kanye West, Cypress Hill and Pharoahe Monch.