Big Day Out 2004 - New Zealand!
Graham Atherton on 16 January 2004
Big Day Out 2004 - New Zealand
On this opening day, the Ericsson Stadium in Auckland is full to its 43,000 capacity and the buzz already seems to suggest that the majority of fans have come to see just one band - Metallica. The mighty rock gods do indeed pull a crowd but the rest of the line up have their fair share of followers too. To name but a few,,strong> 8 Foot Sativa, Muse, Blindspott, The Strokes, The Datsuns and The Darkness are all there fighting their corner for Rock and Retro, while,strong> Black Eyed Peas, Scribe, P-Money, Basement Jaxx and Concord Dawn,/strong> are doing their bit for Hip Hop and Dance.
Well, on to the show and it seems that mad dogs and Englishmen are not the only ones that go out in the midday sun, because it's time to check out 8 Foot Sativa. They burst onto the purple (main) stage with an attack of full on metal and deathcore that's enough to wake up even the sleepiest festival goer. Goodshirt, the first homegrown band of the day, appear on the other main stage. Dave and the boys take to the stage in the blazing heat and trawl through their New Zealand hits including a great finale of 'Goodshirt'. Despite the inevitable muddy sound and indifferent crowd during this early part in the day, they play to their strengths and the crowd get some great summer party music.
Next up, The Darkness, one of the first big acts of the day. They have pretty much been the talk of the World over the past 12 months, so the chaps from Lowestoft are eagerly awaited. They come on in full camp 70's Sweet mode and play their Englishness trump card to the max. Justin interacts with the crowd a lot during the set. He asks us if we like to "Boogie woogie" and later on many of the crowd seem totally bewildered by his "Basil Fawlty meets Alan Partridge in a pink stripy catsuit" impersonation. Back to the music though, ah yes the music... all the hits including 'I Believe In a Thing Called Love' and 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman' meet with a huge response. Slightly disbelieving smiles from the crowd though are dished out to Justin's "Ministry of Silly Walks" scenario and more rock posturing than a Saxon gig. Obviously not everyone gets his English sense of humour!
Next, local exports The D4, prove that The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols are all alive and well and playing in their hometown of Auckland! Most people in the UK probably have no idea who they are. My advice is get the album, because these guys are snotty, E chord, 3 minute rockers that get the crowd totally wound and rocking. Tracks like 'Rock and Roll Motherf***er', 'Exit to the City' and 'C'mon' are real highlights of the set.
Charging over to the Boiler Room stage for Concorde Dawn sees Hip Hop at its very best - dark, hot and loud. Possibly one of the leading lights of the New Zealand scene, they tear though the Big Top tent, proving that there has never been a more aptly named space. The temperature in the tent though is nowhere near as hot as the band - a great set making 2pm feel like a 4am rave!