Big Day Out 2005 - Gold Coast (Aus)

Big Day Out 2005 - Gold Coast (Aus)

23 January 2005

Unlike the lucky live-music pilgrims living in Europe, music festivals are few and far between in Australia, so it becomes a time of rejoicing revelry when one of only two travelling summer festivals trundles into town. The Big Day Out is a one-day festival that always attracts heaps of curiosity, discussion and excitement, showcasing  some of the best in both Australian and international artists.

The sunshine burns and swelters on the Gold Coast on the morning of the Big Day Out. Armed with beer tickets and good spirits, most people accept that the festival will result in a concoction of heat stroke, loss of brain cells, and chronic dehydration, and probably in later life, blindness due to advanced retina burn. Ah well. 

The first band out of the blocks are the farcical Sydney punk rockers Frenzal Rhomb, vocalist Jay Frenzal welcoming the early crowd with a big 'Fuck you Queensland!', living up to his reputation for not taking anything seriously and hamming up good old fashioned Australian gutter humour. The frenetic four-piece pummel their way through a set that consists of classic tracks plucked from a career spanning 12 years, blasting through a hard-paced and humorous set which includs a mach-10 rendition of 'Punch In The Face', the infamous track that launched their career back in 1997.

All girl group The Donnas arrive onstage next to unleash their chick-rock AC/DC style. Despite every track sounding remarkably the same, with harmonies sicklier than 'Boyz to Men', they throw down an energetic set while throwing their blow dried hair into metal-esque helicopters. It kicks off with 'It's On The Rocks' from 'Spend The Night', but the remainder comes from the new 'Gold Medal' album, a record produced by Bruce Walker, who is also behind the success of Avril Lavigne - which in itself speaks volumes about the direction the band are sadly heading.

The next offenders on the main stage are those two-tone clad Swedish strutters The Hives. Defying the 35 degree heat in their patented black and white attire, they rip into a rocking, energetic set with the opening track from 'Tyrannosaurus Hives,' 'Abra Cadaver'. This is accompanied by both new and old hits including 'Main Offender' and 'Hate to Say I Told You So.' The band's onstage persona is nothing short of utter professionalism, and with clever doses of cheek, exaggeration and blaxploitation one-liners thrown in by vocalist Pelle Almqvist, no doubt come Monday morning The Hives will sell a tonne of records.

The Music's lead singer, Rob Harvey, cruises onto the stage dressed like a typical pommie tourist, wearing board shorts and a sloppy long sleeved shirt. Relaxed and probably off to the beach after their set, the Leeds combo play through their latest tracks looking energetic and well rehearsed, satisfying the crowd with tracks such as 'Getaway', 'The People' and 'Freedom Fighters'.

Even more relaxed is Money Mark who smoothly works his way through his set and, despite apologising for playing "possibly the slowest set of the day", has his fans in the palm of his hand, playing through tracks from his 'Keyboard Repair' LP. Great stuff but a programming travesty. Putting him on much later would have been money well spent.

The fun comes with Le Tigre, who take the crowd into a cheesy land of choreographed stage antics, using clean beats and new mix electronica to get the crowd going. These guys enjoy their set with energy and a happy, bouncing crowd to enjoy the ride with Le Tigre will without doubt convert a few sceptics on their first tour.

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Sasha Ong

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