Big Day Out 2003: Adelaide Review

Big Day Out 2003: Adelaide Review

Photographer: Ian KerrScott McLennan on 31 January 2003

Adelaide Showgrounds

More sunburn than Bondi Beach, more freaks than Michael Jackson's Thriller clip and more ink action than a giant squid, it's obvious that these punters are fired up for some great music over the next 12 hours.  Losing my mates before I'd even seen my first band, I make my way to the main arena to watch the pint sized Juanita Stein do her stuff, fronting Waikiki

The little poppets seem engulfed by the sizeable Orange Stage, however they serve up a decent set that breaks in the young nymphs for whom this Big Day Out is their first.  It appears that their 45 minute set is little more than a sound check for the mixing desk operators, who mercilessly warp the songs from 'I'm Already Home' until they find a suitable balance.  The growing crowd appear ambivalent about the initial distortion, choosing instead to cheer on Waikiki and request radio-friendly songs such as 'New Technology' and 'Here Comes September'.  "It's coming babe!",  Juanita responds, before launching into Complicated, "You're the best audience of the four Big Day Outs we've played - no shit!". Big brother Joel Stein steps up for the microphone for new song 'On The Road', before the much more appealing Juanita returns to the spotlight for obvious closer 'Here Comes September'. 

At the stroke of midday, the first green smoky fug begins to waft its way across the oval, coinciding well with the appearance of punk pranksters Frenzal Rhomb on the Blue Stage.  Although the opening antics of Rhomb affiliate Neil Hamburger are far too mismatched to garner appreciation from the crowd, Lindsay from Frenzal's opening comments of: "Anyone see Waikiki?  They were shit!", receive a number of laughs from their eager supporters.  The clowning around and general malarkey of the Rhomb boys ensure that even non-fans enjoy their stage pantomime.  Whether it be the arse-kicking dealt out to Ronald McDonald, the offing of 'surprise guest' Russell Crowe or the appearance of Kevin Crease in his boxer shorts to introduce 'Punch In The Face', the high energy performance of Jay and the boys was never short on amusement - with songs such as 'Coming Home, You're A Fucking Genius' and 'Bucket Bong' also registering highly on the crowd approval metre. 

The Music leap onto the Green Stage at 2pm, and for a moment it appears as if some local schoolboys have evaded security.  For a band that had no living members when John Bonham died in 1980, the foursome from Leeds perform a blistering set of songs that often recall the sounds of Led Zeppelin.  Wailing singer Robert Harvey gurns his way across the stage, looking uncannily like the lovechild of REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin. 

While the UK press have been trumpeting about the skill of these young musicians for the best part of a year, they certainly haven't learnt to dress like rock stars as yet.  While his clothing ensemble is made up of a Nike shirt, Puma shoes and a pair of Adidas Enforcers shabbily pared at the knees, Harvey looks far too scrawny and insipid to pass as a sportsman.  Nonetheless, his loping and erratic movements across the stage contain a touch of Ian Brown and perhaps even a pinch of Freddie Mercury's poseur.  Rounding off the Stone Roses comparisons are guitarist Adam Nutter and bassist Stuart Coleman.  Nutter, with a concentration broken only by a water bottle thrown to his feet and spilt across his FX pedals, is a possible John Squire in the making, while Coleman's throbbing bass and agile manipulation of the bass frets mark him as this decades' Mani. 

While The Music are yet to make a large dent on the local sales scene, the singles 'Getaway', 'The People' and 'Take The Long Road And Walk It' are received with rapturous response from the crowd.  Harvey appears to be enjoying himself as much as his fans, ducking and weaving the squirts of water aimed at him from the crowd, giving the best microphone lead flicks this side of Morrissey, and even "squeezing his lemon" in true Robert Plant form.  The Music has certainly turned the atrium of the Green Stage into a House Of The Holy this afternoon.

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