BDO

I realize that this posting skips ahead a way and misses quite a few recent and important events, but i want to post it now while the memory is fresh. Rest assured the tale of woe preceding these events will follow shortly.

Sunday just gone saw the annual drugged up mosh fest that is the Big Day Out, at the Gold Coast Parklands. Given that i have only just arrived back in Australia, i was shocked to discover that Rage Against the Machine would be headlining this most hyped of festivals, the very band that i had long given up hope of ever seeing. A quick perusal of the line-up showed a distinct lack of any other bands i actually gave a crap about but as fortune
had it a friend had a spare ticket, and i was happy enough to shell out the $130 just to see the Rage in person.

Having learned the perils of not staying nearby in previous years (let's face it after 12 hours of rock, drugs, and alcohol, no-one should have to take a bus for 2 hours) I arranged with some friends to get a hotel room in Surfers Paradise for the weekend. This turned out to be somewhat more entertaining than i had anticipated: We booked a 2 person room, which turned out to be quite large, with a desk, balcony, massive bed, and sofa bed. As a result of all this, we soon found our room filled with 10 people. Now, this was a 4 1/2 star hotel, and we only had 2 keys, so sneaking in and out was certainly an adventure.

But back to the festival. I can honestly say that i love the summer festival vibe here in Oz, the festivals in the UK definitely have more atmosphere, largely i think due to the camping/multi-day nature of them, but you can't beat a Brisbane summer day for bikini clad, tit's out action. Awesome.

And so to the bands. Unlike previous years i did not bother to get there exceptionally early as there was nothing that i cared about until around 3pm. We arrived around 11:30am, waltzed through the front gate (and not to matilda) without so much as a queue, and proceeded straight to the beer tickets line. Here i have to mount my high horse for a second. Can the organisers of festivals please come up with a better method of distributing beer? Having to line up for an hour to get tickets for beer, then half an hour for said beers is unacceptable.

If you insist on going the beer tickets route, at least offer the option to pre-buy quantities of beer-tickets at the time people purchase their festival tickets, thus eliminating at least one (the longest) line. You don't need a degree in economics to see that this will result in higher sales, and more profit as people will most likely over buy, and yet they will still be happy at not having to wait for hours for the chance to go to another line and wait for hours. Is it really that hard?

After we were all suitably liquored up, the rocking began in earnest: Operator Please were first on the list, as two of my friends are fans. I'd not heard of them before, but was assured that they were a local Gold Coast band, (wo)manned by adolescents with a need to rock. They turned out to be a kind of J-Pop/alternative/nonsense band, complete with a violinist in a Japanese school girl outfit (and very fine she looked too). They reminded me of the 5-6-7-8's seen in Kill Bill, not really my thing, were well and truly good fun.

The first band i actually wanted to see was Regurgitator, I was so amazed to see them on the bill, as last time i was in Oz they had broken up, I remember Quan's last interview with Richard Kingsmill of Triple J where he basically told Australia to go fuck themselves for being racists c*#ts. Anyway, apparently he has recanted, and they are back slinging there own particular variety of pop-rock. Before these festivities though there were a few hours to kill.

We headed to the side-show area of the festival and were treated to Box-Wars! This is a movment started in Canberra, Oz, whereby grown people fashion armor and weapons from cardboard boxes proceed to beat the crap out of each other. It was mid afternoon by the time this got under way and the participants were filled with the vim and vigor that can only come with loads of beers consumed in the summer sun. They put on a great show and by the end not one of them had a costume left or didn't have welts on their shoulders and torso.

I met up with my brother and headed down to Regurgitator, to remember the ninties, Brisvegas-style. Regurgitator took the stage, dressed all in white with massive Aviator sunnies, and proceeded rock our very souls. The first couple of songs were good, slow warm-ups, before they launched into Black Bugs, to thunderous applause. Polyester Girl thrilled the hit-single lovers in the crowd, but the highlight of the set was ushered in by Quan's brief introduction "Here's an old song", before launching into a heavy rendition of Kung Foo Sing. I can honestly say that Regurgitator kicked even more arse than i remember, and it's great to see them back together rocking out.

Now, in my experience festivals are largely filled with waiting around for people or trying to meet up, this one was no exception, the next couple of hours were spent downing beers and trying to rejoin a group of friends to head off to see Tom Morello's acoustic project, The Nightwatchman. We eventually all got together despite the lack of mobile coverage, and headed off the the Converse Essential Stage (yes, like football stadiums before them, festival stages have souled out and allowed sponsors to name them). This was the prelude to the days greatest disappointment: apparently Billy Bragg and The Nightwatchmen had swapped timeslots, without any announcement being made, and we had missed them by an hour or so. Top work organisers. Thanks very much. Oh, and Billy Bragg sucked so bad it hurt. His music was fine, and i do love the whole one guy with a guitar thing, but out of an hour set, i think he talked for about 45mins.
Shut the fuck up and rock!

Anyways, as the headliners rolled around the girls in our group insisted on seeing Bjork, and i was interested myself as to what the Icelandic Pixie would be like. It turns out the answer is annoying. There were some cool bits, I am after all a sucker for cool lasers and smoke machines, but on the whole her visual heavy performance seemed a little out of place in the open air environment. However, this was fine as it gave time to rest before the main event.

Rage Against the Machine appeared in front of the biggest crowd that i have seen in front of the main stage. Helped, no doubt, by the fact that there were no descent DJ's or Hip Hop acts headlining in the other tent. Zack was looking particularly cool with his new 70's style afro, while Tom Morello, well, let's face it the man's look hasn't changed one iota. There was much debate as to how they would kick off, with the smart money going to Bulls on Parade for the first tune, however as the first driving notes of Testify rang out through the speakers there was no room for complaining, as their performance was truly inspiring. Bulls on Parade appropriately followed, while Bullet in the Head kept the anger rising. Now, I have seen all the Rage DVD's and Zack is a bit lack-lustre in some of them, but damn, that guy was on his game, jumping around like a mad thing, and providing a masterclass in hip hop rhyming and timing. The crowd noise died down as the singles thinned out, with classic album tracks like Down Rodeo and People of the Sun, delighting the real fans, and bemusing the bandwagon jumpers. However, the parted seas were soon joined when Gorilla Radio kicked our arses, and it is a great sight when 50,000 people are screaming "It has to start somewhere....". Vietnow drove us on, delivered with similar vehemence and followed with a nice rant from Zack on how happy he was at Howard being recently deposed (to which we vociferously agreed), and an impassioned Freedom closed out the set. Zack even managed to get out the screams at the end of this song, which, after a long set of screaming impressed mightily.

Needless to say no-one was moving and the chanting was soon rewarded with an encore. Renegades of Funk got everyone moving again, and War Within a Breath (a personal favourite) brought the anger back; We were all left drained and elated by Killing in the Name of..., suitably left until last.

It's been about 15 years coming but i can say that they were honestly worth the wait, and i am looking forward to seeing them again, this time away from the festival environment.

Definitely the best show of 2008 so far, and it's going to take some beating....

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  1. Kerouac Cat says:

    WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?!?!?

  2. the j says:

    No. Figure it out yourself


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