Big Day Out 2003 - Melbourne Review
Ian Kerr - 29 January 2003
The Big Day Out isn't just a clever name. It truly is a Big Day Out. Seven stages and a load of bands, DJs and performers all packed into one day at one venue.
To give myself that authentic festival feeling, I've been wearing the same clothes for the past couple of days, sleeping in a tent in my backyard, and since I blocked up the toilet I've been pissing over the neighbour's fence and occasionally dropping in at McDonalds to use their public facilities.
Melbourne's public transport system put paid to any plans I had to see Australian band Waikiki, whose singer is rumoured to have the whitest teeth in rock 'n roll. But I did talk to the punters on the tram, who were pumped. "I look forward to the Big Day Out more than New Year's", said one bloke, sipping rum and coke from a 2L plastic Coke bottle. "Look out for Jimmy Eat World," said rum and coke's fluffy faced mate, "they rock." The third member of the rum and coke gang then turned to me and said, "My girlfriend broke my nose last week, but you can't really tell, can ya?"
Frenzal Rhomb were on the main stage as I entered the main arena, playing their well-worn blend of novelty songs and songs about drugs, so I took off to the JJJ Essential Stage to catch some of Melbourne band pre.shrunk's set. Although early in the day, their dual-bass funked-up sounds had the crowd pumping. Over at the perpetually-packed RRR stage, Rocket Science showed again that the comb-over is not dead. Long live keyboard-fuelled rock!
Back to the main stages, 28 Days were finishing their set, and New Zealand band Pacifier hit the stage. Pacifier put in a tight set that had the crowd fully going off. Their set included recent songs such as "Bullitproof" and "Comfort Me" as well as early tracks such as "Home Again".
At the end of Pacifier's set there was a rush from the main stage to the JJJ stage where The Music were about to start. "Hey you kids get off the stage!" yelled one gent of incomparable wit as The Music started their set. The buzz surrounding The Music has reached Australia, and as a result there was a large curiosity factor. The biggest reception was for their songs "The People" and "Take the Long Road and Walk It", which have received airplay on JJJ.
I was witness to The Vines' first shambolic show here in Melbourne last year, and had hoped that they had returned to redeem themselves. Nope. It was a listless effort, and the crowd only really responded to their singles. After the band screamed through "Get Free", the crowd started to dissipate, and I shot through to go grab a bucket of overpriced soggy chips before Jimmy Eat World kicked off.
The JJJ stage was a stinking hot shed, and it was packed to the rafters for Jimmy Eat World. Literally. There were people climbing poles, swinging from the rafters, jockeying for any position possible. The band ripped through a set while the police were called in to get those folks down from the rafters.
Over at the Boiler Room, the Resin Dogs previewed material from their forthcoming album. The new stuff was politely received, but didn't generate the same energy that some of their earlier work did.