The 2003 Big Day Out was never going to be a total write off. This is because I received the ticket for free due to some clever finagling from Ethan and the fact that I'm now all smacked up on heroin.
Despite this the day got off to a bad start when I got a call from my friends saying that they had missed the train.
In hindsight, it was probably for the best because for some reason my friends (Arturo, Clare Bear, Livania, Ethan) had decided to go to the Big Day Out ridiculously early.
I'm not sure what it is with my friends but being late for everything is almost standard operating procedure. Bare in mind that I'm constantly missing trains and busses and yet I manage to make it to most places on time. It's gotten to the point where I'll leave for a place half an hour late knowing that my friends are going to be there later still.
The worst is when we visit the Revesby Workers Club. Say we're told to arrive at about 7pm I make a point of arriving at 8 and even then most everyone is still at home. This means that for the next half hour I have to sit by myself while people walk past and laugh at me.
Let's be clear now: people always laugh at me.
The first band that I wanted to see was Bluebottle Kiss. I'd been told by numerous people that they were an amazing band.
As I was making my way to the JJJ Essential Stage where they would be playing I was called over by Bluto (singer frigidaire for Peabody) who happened to be waiting for Bluebottle Kiss as well. I decided to hang with them for the time being and then to try and catch up with my friends later (they'd gone to see Waikiki at the Orange Stage).
The band that was playing at the time were called The Mess Hall. They were a generic hard rock band and normally I wouldn't have even bothered to mention them save for the fact that during this set I saw a girl with a Sebadoh shirt.
For those who came in late: Sebadoh are one of my favourite all time bands. I think it's gone beyond music now; Sebadoh are actually one of the five main food groups as far as I'm concerned.
Anyways: it was a pleasure to see someone rocking a Sebadoh shirt, especially as she happened to be wearing the first mass produced Sebadoh shirt. Old school Sebadoh.
Why not? I was rocking old school Peabody. This led to an interesting encounter which I will elucidate on later.
Bluebottle Kiss came on next. The people that I'd bumped into decided to move up towards the front. Having no one to stand with I decided to move up with them.
There, at the front of the JJJ Essential Stage, I witnessed one of the most amazingly boring bands that I had ever seen. In fact, Bluebottle Kiss became the boredom yardstick to which I measured the other bands that day.
Dear God, why do people insist on making midtempo, pretentious, and bloated rock music? I cannot for the life of me see what makes other people go so nutty for this extraordinarily mediocre band.
I kept myself occupied during the set by looking at my feet, the sky and the horrible scars on the lady who was standing a few metres to the right of me. I have no idea what could possibly have cause such horrendous scarring but if someone paid me 50 bucks to try and duplicate that effect the only reasonable way that I could see to recreating it would be to take to someone's flesh with a stanley knife. What made the situation even more bizarre is that she had similar scarring on her other arm.
After absorbing what I hastily calculated to have been about 38 megatonnes of boring from Bluebottle Kiss I decided to stick around for Rocket Science. Most everyone that I was with at the time were, by virtue of knowing them, going to go watch Frenzal Rhomb. I had decided with my friends to meet at Rocket Science.
After about one song I realised that, due to being in a festival setting, Rocket Science has lost all of their power. It's not really their fault; some bands sound better inside a pub or a club. I decided to make my way to the Blue Stage to see Frenzal Rhomb.
I haven't liked a Frenzal Rhomb album since 'Not So Tough Now', which was a punkers dream come true. Live, they are always entertaining. They threw in a little political diatribe about John Howard and Philip Ruddock. It's always nice to see a little dissent. I didn't really pay attention to Frenzal Rhomb (by this I mean that I listened to them but didn't watch them) because I was still trying to find my friends.
Apparently, I was spotted by some acquaintances who were in the Frenzal Rhomb pit and, apparently, this created in them a certain amount of pity. I guess I just smack of loser.
I had decided that after Frenzal Rhomb's set I would make an earnest attempt to find my friends. However, I was unable to get very far as I was stunned by two very amusing sights:
1. People running - running - to get to the Orange Stage so that they could see 28 Days. What's up with that?
2. A group of lunkheads (thanks, Thurston) who were trying to attract girls by using the dual seduction technique of 'being drunk' and 'making lascivious comments'. Now, I'm no ladies man and I know very little about girls but I can't imagine that attracting a girl with this two prong manifold attack is going to be very successful. If by chance it is successful, well... I think that speaks volumes about the type of girl that you've just 'bagged'.
Knowing that my friends we're going to be waiting for me at Rocket Science, I decided to make my way back to the Green Stage to see if I could catch up with them. I couldn't see them.
I did, however, bump into Bluto and his crew again. I sat here for the next few hours. I saw three bands play during this time. I saw Preshrunk, Augie March, and The Music. The Music were the best of the three bands.
Augie March were boring as all hell. My friend Arturo, who I managed to catch up with later, told me he knew that they would be boring on account that they called their band 'Augie March'. He was partly right; what I suspect made them boring was partly the name and partly the middle-of-the-road boring music that they played. Partly.
I had a nice conversation with Bluto and I alienated a few people by repeatedly telling them how boring I thought Bluebottle Kiss were. Apparently these people were Bluebottle Kiss fans and as soon as I realised that I decided to make the most of it and try and be as annoying as possible.
I made a clandestine deal with Bluto' s girlfriend Kate Scott to make her a tape of the new Roots album 'Phrenology'; apparently it's frowned upon to enjoy Hip Hop in the indie rock world.
Great Scott, Kate Scott: the tape is made and I won't say a word.
It was during this time that I overheard one of the most amazing stories that I have ever overheard. Ever/Over.
Apparently, this guy (lets call him 'Guy') received a phone call at 3a.m. from his little brother who was complaining that his ticket had been stolen. He went over to his brother's place and tore the place upside down looking for the ticket but it was all to no avail. Guy, being the decent guy that he is, gave his own ticket to his brother. After this Guy made his way towards Olympic Park where he set upon breaking in to the compound so that he too could enjoy the festival.
What makes this sordid tale even more sordid is that, not wanting to get caught with the several illicit pills that he had with him, he crammed them up his ass in a condom. This would ensure that, if he did get caught, he would merely get tossed out and not tossed into jail for possession of narcotics.
Of course, it would also ensure that he would have a sore asshole the next day as he set about retrieving the pills.
It was during this time that I managed to bump into my friends who, I think had given up looking for me, and had made their way down to the Green Stage so that one of them (Livania) could see The Waifs. The Waifs suck.
Anycrocodile: I bumped into them and they had a little surprise for me: Ethan (of Wax fame).
I was meant to meet Ethan back at Lidcome station but we were unable to find each other. Well, apparently, my friends and Ethan had bumped into each other at nude karaoke.
During The Waifs set this guy came up and asked if he could clean his sunglasses on Ethan's shirt. Ethan, not knowing what to make of this, declined. The guy kept on bugging Ethan before turning to me and asking if I would clean his glasses.
I don't know why Ethan and I are so suspicious but I told the guy that there was 'no way that I'm playing that game'. Ethan wanted to know why the guy couldn't clean his own sunglasses. Me, I suspected greater treachery. I knew that if I kowtowed to this strange man then a series of calamities would befall me; that I would end up poor and unemployed. Oh, wait...
Livania, who'd had enough of our stupidity, cleaned the sunglasses and sent the guy on his way.
Caring and Sharing: 1
Obnoxious Obstinacy: 0
It was soon after this that we (Arturo, Ethan and I) decided that we would catch the tail end of the Millencolin show. We made our way to the Orange Stage and watched approximately one song before it was unanimously decided that we probably weren't going to enjoy this.
Normally, I would have liked to have stayed for more of their set but unfortunately we were too far from the stage and we couldn't really make out the music.
Ethan bid us farewell at this point. He decided to go back to the Lilypad. It was a final farewell as he predicted that we would not see each other again that day. He was right. We left him at about 2:40 in the afternoon and we never saw him again.
I rather suspect that he just upped and went home but I've yet to question him thoroughly.
Soon after Ethan left I decided to hunt down some of my brother's friends. I made plans to catch up with Arturo, Clare Bear, and Livania at Jebediah. I got in contact with my brother's friends who were on their way to the Boiler Room. I met them there and we shot the shit for a while.
We made our way towards the back of the Blue Stage and caught a bit of the Deftones. There's really not much else to what the Deftones aside from heaviness, and heaviness doesn't make a song. Having said that, they seem to be more intelligent that their Nu-Metal counterparts.
There was no way that the Deftones were going to be able to maintain my interest for very long so after taking my leave of my brother's friends I went back to the JJJ Essential Stage to catch the last of Jebediah.
Jebediah are always an entertaining live band and their set Big Day Out was no exception. I managed to find Livania in the crowd and I hung with her for the rest of the set.
After Jebediah I went with Livania cause she wanted to go to the Orange Stage to see The Vines. I hate The Vines. I stayed for a few songs and then I left to go to the Green Stage to see Sparta. Several other people who saw The Vines thought that they sucked as well. I was happy to see that. Maybe this will dispel the outright myth that the Vines are the hottest shit on the planet.
A friend Daniel Arena described it best when he described the show as one guy going nuts and the other three who look like they just want to go home.
Understand: I don't hate The Vines as much as I say I do, I just like pissing people off. People who, for some reason, feel personally slighted cause I don't happen to like every shit band that they like as much as they do.
No matter: Sparta weren't much better.
I did manage to catch up with Bluto's cousin and Champagne (bassist for Peabody). Champagne offered me some sun screen lotion which I declined. Keep that last fact in mind.
After the Sparta set I went to the Blue Stage with Livania (who I'd met up with (again (though I don't remember (when)))). We decided to sit down in the stands for The Living End.
I'd always been told that The Living End were an excellent live band and they were. They put on an energetic and exciting show. I really dug it.
The only thing that distracted me from the show was what was happening just behind me. While we were watching the show we kept on hearing this loud stomping sound followed by a cheer from the crowd.
Turns out that just behind us one of the steps jutted out a little and that every time people went up that step they would trip. The stomping sound was them landing heavily as they attempted to not fall on their faces.
Apparently the people around us had been there a while laughing at the poor unfortunate souls who had yet to work out how to use the stairs properly. Livania and I must have witnessed about 40 people trip on that step. Towards the end we were laughing our asses off as well. Good times.
We learnt afterwards that Arturo had tripped on the same stairs some time earlier.
We managed to find Arturo and Clare Bear again and, having done so, we went to the Orange Stage to see Queens Of The Stone Age.
I wanted to like Queens Of The Stone Age so bad I could taste it. I wanted to love them. They were kinda boring.
It was either really sludgy rock or really fast rock. The only song that really stood out was the last song that they played which, incidentally, was also the first single.
I was mostly disappointed with Queens Of The Stone Age, as were my friends.
No matter: PJ Harvey was up next.
Of all the bands playing the Big Day Out, PJ Harvey was the person whose set I wanted to see the most. It was a really enjoyably set, I really dug it.
I'd heard that PJ Harvey doesn't sound as good in a festival setting as what she would do in an inside venue. I'm not sure if this is true but she did very well for herself.
My plan was to stick around for half of her set and then go to the Hothouse to see Chicks On Speed. I ended up seeing most of PJ Harvey's set because I couldn't bring myself to leave.
I'm not sure how to describe her music so I'll not bother. <=== how's that for cutting edge journalism?
I was with Arturo and Clare Bear for most of PJ Harvey. Arturo had pointed out that Triple M had given out free tickets to the Big Day Out and so we were duly apprehensive about the type of redneck derelicts that would be receiving these tickets.
I am firmly convinced that they were all at the PJ Harvey gig. I will now recount the four events that lead me to this conclusion:
1. We saw a bunch of kids skipping with the chewing gum that they had procured from the mouth of a friend of theirs
2. We saw two mullets, where previously the day had been mullet free. Well, I lie: there was a guy with an orange mullet but that shit's classy.
3. We also saw what might have been the weirdest fight ever. I can't say what sparked it but all we saw was a one guy holding another guy up by his pants. The guy who was being held up was drunk, swaying and nursing a bloody lip. The other guy had blood all over his hand and he was threatening Drunky McBloodyLip. We moved away from them because we weren't in the mood for idiotic, mindless violence. This brought us closer together as friends. No, wait. I mean it brought us closer to...
4. The girl standing on a bin. She was wearing shorts and a bikini top. Unfortunately, the guys (dickheads?) around her kept bothering her and telling her to take her top off and to get naked and making all sorts of assorted sexist comments. She finally tired of it and got down and left. She was also heaps short so there was no way that she could see PJ Harvey after she got off the bin. Fortunately one of those same dickheads (guys?) decided to get up on the bin. The bin, buckling under the weight of his own misogyny, tipped over on its side. I turned just in time to see the guy land on his head. It was glorious. This girl standing said to me 'oh no, did she fall down?'. I replied 'no, the guy did'. To which she said 'oh, that's ok then'.
Incidentally, I managed to bump into a guy who happened to be an ex-drummer for Peabody. He was drawn to the Peabody shirt that I was wearing. This was the point that was to be elucidated. Pretty lame, huh?
After PJ Harvey I went and caught the last few minutes of Chicks On Speed. They're this weird electronica band. It sounded great and I regret not having seen them the day before at the Annandale.
I came across Daniel Arena at around this time and we decided to go check out Kraftwerk at the Boiler Room.
Kraftwerk was an amazing mindfuck. The whole thing was so eighties that I almost retched. The background looked like it was done with an old Commodore. The lyrics were also really bizarre in a weird retro way. Songs about 'Computerworlds' and lyrics like "Interpol and Deutsche Bank, FBI and Scotland Yard, CIA and KGB, Control the data memory". Really bizarre.
It wasn't so bad but we weren't really in the mood for it so we left and caught the last few minutes of Jane's Addiction. Goodbye bloated 80's electronica, hello bloated 80's rock. I didn't really like them but then I suspected that I wouldn't.
Daniel Arena and I decided to see a little bit of the Machine Gun Fellatio set. On the way to the Green Stage we stopped off at the Lilypad where we saw Kamahl (guest celebrity) get mobbed by a bunch of kids.
I came across my brother's friends at Machine Gun Fellation where they informed me that they had been missing another friend of theirs since 10 in the morning. Apparently he had gone into the Boiler Room with a slanted brain and decided to make it his home. He'd been missing in action ever since.
I enjoyed Machine Gun Fellatio the first time I'd seen them. It was at the Metro opening for Primus.
Several things had changed since that time however: the novelty had worn off and they'd released an incredibly shitty CD. I find Machine Fun Fellatio more annoying than anything else.
Also, there is nothing more pathetic than a band that writes songs that are meant to be offensive or controversial but manages to do so in a completely safe and acceptable way. Yeah, I'm talking about Pussytown. It's a piece of shit and I hate you. I hope you die.
Another example of this 'safe controversy' is the clothing label called 'fcuk.' "Hey, look at us, we're cutting edge, we almost said 'fuck.'" I hope you die.
At this point my brother's friends wanted to go on this weird slingshot type reverse bungee jump ride. I went with them. I found my friends (minus Livania (who was at Foo Fighters)) again.
We hung around in front of the ride waiting for Livania. After she showed up we decided to go see You Am I. Though I enjoy You Am I, I was very hungry and so we went off to find some food.
I got screwed over waiting for some vegetarian pizzas cause every time I was about to get them someone else would claim them and I'd have to wait for another batch to be cooked.
While I was eating I got a message from one of my brother's friends who couldn't get into the Boiler Room to see Underworld and was stuck at You Am I. I went back and found him.
After You Am I we decided to go home.
As the crowd was thinning out I spotted Bluto's cousin and her friends. I went over and said hello and then beat a hasty retreat because for some insane reason they were calling me 'Ma-T-Shirt'. It scared the crap out of me.
At this point my friends and I made our way to the train station. Since we are on a different line I had to wait a bit longer for my train. It was well worth it when a group of about 15 people had to get off the train when they realised that the train was going via Bankstown and not Blacktown.
There was this girl on my train who was so on the wrong train that the train conductor told her it would be safer to stay on the train until she got to the city and then catch a bus home. I have no idea where she was going.
Of note: of the 50 thousand something people at the Big Day Out I think I was the only one on the Bankstown line save for those who screwed up and wanted to be going home to Blacktown.
I think that the weirdest aspect of the day was the inordinate amount of Australian flags. It was almost getting surreal. People were either waving little flags or were walking with Australian flags draped around their shoulders.
I guess it was just patriotic fervor. Even more patriotic were the people wearing VB shirts or no shirts at all. When animals attack/when patriotism becomes nationalism.
The worst part of the day was that I burnt my nose rather badly. It peeled this morning.
I don't know what idiotic pride I have that prevents me from accepting some sun screen lotion from Champagne. I can't imagine why I would say no to something that would protect me from the sun. Earlier in the day I refused to buy a hat cause it wasn't orange. Way to go, retard!
Get on your feet and learn to love your microwave.
Much Love and Much Respect: To all the people who talked to me.
Reviewed on Tuesday, 28 January 2003