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25 and Under...and 23...and 22 I'm trekking southern Australia in the World Nomads Ambassador van with my little brother & his girlfriend. This should be interesting.

Our BIG Day Out

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 29 January 2008 | Views [1121]



Day 18

Back in February when I decided to come to Australia, one of the first things I did was look up who would be playing Big Day Out. It wasn’t posted all the way back then, but either way, I decided I’d be going some way, some how.

Then in July a good friend of mine in the music industry told me he’d be touring with a band for Big Day Out. He asked if I’d like to go... obviously. Fast forward to Thursday, literally the day before the show — three tickets were magically waiting for me at a hotel in Sydney. My friend, you rock.

You may remember we made a quick pit stop in the Sydney Olympic Park before getting into Sydney for the first time. It was an hour detour, all to use the bathroom at some café there, because other than a beautiful park and sports grounds, there’s not much to see. An hour later, frustrated, tired and cranky, we finally got to the city. So it was with great irony that when I looked up where Big Day Out was — wait for it — of course: Olympic Park. It’s almost as if the place didn’t want to leave us with bad memories. Suffice it to say, it most certainly did not.

We arrived at the site around 3:30 p.m. Towering carnival rides whirred and clanged around us, food stalls beckoned with munchies galore and the music was pumping from all around. My heaven, pretty much. First stop, the free water stations. American music festivals take note: You do not have to charge $2 for water!

First stop, Spoon, where a very overeager security guard got way too excited about his ability to spray water on the crowd. It was early, it wasn’t that hot — we weren’t having it. Bottles were thrown, the crowd was getting feisty and we were all waiting for a full-on water war to begin. After tight versions of “Small Stakes” “Jonathan Fisk” and “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” an increasingly frustrated Britt Daniel turned to the power-tripping guard and said, “Dude, stop spraying them.” He didn’t. Britt, again, “They’re throwing water bottles at you because they want you to stop spraying them. Stop.” He didn’t. “Asshole. Stop.” One last spray…one last word from Britt: “Dipshit.” Other than the stellar set from Arcade Fire, I’d say that was the highlight of my Big Day Out.

Next up, new Australian wonder Pnau. I’d heard a bit about him from Sydney music mags 3Dworld and The Brag, but I wanted to see for myself. I ditched Jeff and Crystal at Billy Bragg and headed to the dancetastic Boiler Room. Minutes later I was in a massive hangar surrounded by the club kids of Sydney. It felt like 4 a.m. — and we danced like it too.

After the set and now full from delicious, greasy Turkish Pide sammies, we emerged into the main stage area where Aussie rock gods Silverchair were about to start. Daniel Johns emerged minutes later, half-naked, Wayfarers on, as always. Unfortunately we spent the set waiting to get into the front partition to get a good spot for Arcade Fire.

It was worth it. By the time Win Butler and Co. took the stage we were one row back from the front. When the “Wake Up” chants started the crowd lurched forward into pure frenzy and I ceased to stand on my own. Soon enough, Crystal and I both went up on Jeff’s shoulders. I sang my heart out to “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” and by “Rebellion (Lies)” (the set-ender) my voice was happily gone.

We stayed for three Rage Against the Machine songs — when else am I going to see them — then rocked off to New Yorker LCD Soundsystem. I danced my butt off again, regained my voice just enough to sing along to set ender “New York I Love You” and went home happy.

Pretty good last day in Australia for Crystal and Jeff, I’d say. By 6 a.m. they were headed to the airport, and I was on my own for Australia Day weekend.

Tags: ambassador van, big day out, party time


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