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Big Day Out 2003: The Hobo Review 

Foo Fighters, Deftones, Q.O.T.S.A. and much more

The Big Day Out began in 1992, and since then has risen to become Australia’s largest and most widely appealing music festival. Bands having graced the Big Day in past years include the likes of; Nirvana, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, TISM, Ministry, The Cult, Offspring, Silverchair, Rage Against The Machine, The Prodigy, Shihad, Fear Factory, Soundgarden, Korn, Hole, Fat Boy Slim, Marilyn Manson, Soulfly, Grinspoon, The Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Blink 182, Joe Strummer, At The Drive In, Rammstein, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne, Regurgitator, Alien Ant Farm, System of a Down, The Crystal Method, Amen, NOFX, Drowning Pool and Basement Jaxx. And with history like that, the Big Day Out has evolved into one hell of a day.
 
The Hobo rose at the hour of eight, a most unholy hour for only the night before he had attended a ridiculously potent 21st at a reputable hotel in the depths of Sydney. After downing several coffees and various painkilling drugs I headed up to Olympic Park to begin the Big Day.
 
Writers Note: The Big Day Out has a total of seven stages so it would be physically impossible to cover the festival in its entirety. You will however be treated to a review through the eyes of a hobo and the bands he chose to see.
 
12:00 – Frenzal Rhomb
Local punk heroes and international terrorists Frenzal Rhomb were the first band to hit the main stage. With a forty-five minute set, and an average song length of about two-minutes, the band was able to churn out almost every decent and half-decent song from their vast array of albums. The band also played three new singles from their upcoming album including the soon-to-be classic “At Least We Know Russell Crowe’s Band’s A F#cking Pile of Shit” and “She Only Likes Me ‘Cause I’ve Got The Drugs”.
 
Jay (vocals) highlighted the loveable cocktail of destruction, drugs and rebellion by introducing his wife and declaring “she only wants me for my bucket bong”. Following this, Jay threw his wife into the sea of people in the pit and finished off his set. The newly inducted bassist Luke received a warm welcome to the band and was well accepted by Frenzal’s home crowd.
 
If brat-punk’s you’re thing, check out Frenzal Rhomb, always good for a laugh and some entertainment. The self-proclaimed “punkest band in the world” still knows how to rock. Yes they may be a joke of a band, but they know it – and they still don’t care.
 
12.45 - 28 Days
The mainstream rap/rock stylings of Australia’s own 28 Days produced a buzz amongst the younger members of the pit. With the release of their new album, 28 Days were “on fire” so to speak with the mainstream teenage crowd. I however could only deal with the bands first three songs; “sucker”, “rip it up” and “what’s the deal” before walking away in disgust to get myself a well-earned beer. 
 
1.30 - Pacifier (Shihad)
With the temperature peaking at 37 degrees Celsius (that’s like 30,000 Fahrenheit for all the Yanks out there) Pacifier took the stage. They began by churning out their heavier songs and singles from their debut album, but halfway through their set found they had only soft songs to fill their last twenty-five minutes on-stage.
 
The result was a totally mood-killing set which only frustrated already smoldering, dehydrated and near-dead moshers. To my total disappointment I had to leave the mosh-pit early to grab a $3.50 bottle of water, somewhat confused as to why Pacifier produced such an amazing show at Homebake only a month earlier, but could not repeat the event at the Big Day. 
 
With almost ninety-minutes till the Deftones, I decided to take a look around at the various sideshows Big Day Out had to offer. Bong stalls, alternate/anti t-shirts, taekwondo matches, bad Dj’s and various goth-wear was all to be had – aside from several corny circus-like games. 
 
I surveyed the social scene, it seemed as if there were three types of people at festivals such as these: The stoners, who come not to see bands but rather to smoke (a mate of mine fits these perfectly, after the Foo Fighters set he said “man… that was Grinspoon wasn’t it?), the Pisshead, and hey we all need a little to drink, but these people drink until they can stand no more, and the Music Junkies, moshing in the pits, raving in the Boiler Room, where their musical tastes lead them. 
 
As my stoner-friend searched endlessly for pot, and I downed beer after beer following after him, I asked of him the time. He responded 3.15. The Deftones had started five minutes ago. Without a second to waste I bitch-slapped his stoned ass for making me miss the opening songs, and ran towards the D-barricade.
 
Writers Note: The D-barricade is a ‘safety’ measure in which only a certain amount of people are allowed in the moshpit. Thus a team of security guards are able to control the inflows and outflows of the moshpit.  

3.20 – Deftones
I arrived sweaty and exhausted at one of the entrances to the D-barricade. The security guards informed me that no one would be allowed in again for at least ninety minutes. So I thought to myself ‘am I willing to miss possibly one of the greatest bands at this festival, or am I prepared to do something about it’. I gathered at least twenty other drunk and angry rockers, and just like in Braveheart, led a charge over the gates of the barricade to face the many security guards. I hit one head on, bounced off and proceeded to run around him into the depths of the moshpit. (Hobo – one, D-barricade – zero)
 
While I led the charge over the gates I missed Chino scream inhumanely to the healthy beat of “Be Quiet and Drive”. As I made my way to the middle of the moshpit the crowd surged forward to meet Chino as he shook hands with the audience. But for the most part the entire set was a let down – not so much due to the music but more over the general attitude of the crowd. The mosh pit decided they were in fact too tired to mosh, and just stood and stared blankly at Chino and the band.
 
Crowd aside, Chino tried to make conversation with the audience; “You like pie? You like lotion. You like baby lotion… He didn’t read the memo, what nerd.” Lord knows what the legendary front man was on that night but it caused only frustration amongst the crowd. But to my relief the last two songs of the set (“Engine No.9” and “Headup”) reenergized the exhausted crowd. I crowd-surfed out of the pit as Chino finished up the set and wished everyone a good-day.
 
4:00 – The Vines
Garage rock ‘sensation’ The Vines began their hour-long set just as I found myself a seat at the back of the stadium. As predicted, they sucked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater of The Vines’ music at all. But facts are facts; I liked the album, but they simply can’t perform live – which seems rather ironic since The Vines bullet-trip to stardom was accredited to their ‘amazing’ live gig in a small pub in early 2002. 
 
I quote The Drugs front man Ian Baddley’s review of The Vines at the Big Day Out: “They were shithouse”. I left after the first couple of songs to get more beer, more food and more rest. 
 
5.15 – The Living End
Once more I chose a seat rather than the Pit as my musical preferences tend me away from The Living End. However, I feel The Living End’s debut and self titled album not only broke new ground for three-piece punk band’s, but more so acted as a showcase for the talented singer/songwriter and lead guitarist Chris Cheney. Their live act was equally impressive; each musician was technically sound and tight and posed a treat for any Living End fans in the crowd. 
 
6.15 – Queens Of The Stone Age
Just before the closing songs of The Living End, my stoner friend (lets call him “Jif” for the sake of things) decided to go on yet another quest for illicit substances. To cut another bland and uninteresting story short he made me late for Queens of the Stone Age. As I arrived, one more I was informed that the D-barrier had been closed and will continue to be so throughout the entirety of the Queen’s set.
 
After abusing several security guards and being ‘escorted’ from the D-barrier several times I attempted to enter via the VIP entrance in a gap in the fence. To say the least my attempt failed and I was forced to merely watch and not feel the Queen’s of the Stone Age.  
 
Not knowing what to expect, I was somewhat by the Queen’s set – not being too big of a fan. However their diverse nu and heavy metal stylings were to my great pleasure as I found myself entranced even from such a distance. The modern rock and roll outfit provided a fresh breath of life into an already cluttered and unanimated genre. The band of the day that I feel matched – and had circumstanced been different – even beat the Foo Fighter’s performance. 
 
7:30 – Murderdolls
The Murderdolls had a large crowd amassed up against a rather smaller and more secluded stage even half an hour before their set began. Old school rockers ‘The Hard-ons’ produced a solid last half of a show, ending on a very credible metal solo. But as the interlude music was cued, a silent hush fell upon the crowd. A bloke next to me asked ‘these Murderdoll blokes… are they any good?’, truthfully I could not answer him. I think most the crowd was just wondering who the Murderdolls were and came out of curiosity rather than by recommendation.
 
Former Dope frontman Wednesday 13 walked onto the stage as the crowd cheered. He came out screaming; “One thing I’ve learnt on this tour, is that people – hate – me”. What was to follow was a constant onslaught of a mangled, choked and psychotic version of the Sex Pistols. All right – we all know the lyrics are a joke. But the band was fun – besides Frenzal they were the only band who just came to have fun. A most enjoyable performance from the new generation glam-rock band, leaving you having to admit – “hey, its catchy!”  

9.15 – Foo Fighters
As the headlining band of the tours time drew near, the pit of followers grew more and more frantic. Extra security was called up as hundreds attempted to jump the gates – and indeed I was amongst the fray. Was I prepared to miss the Foo Fighters when I paid my goddam money for a ticket? The answer was obvious to all around – hell no. And nothing, come security guards come the heat, come the nine hours of continuous live music, come the polices, come dehydration or exhaustion was going to stop the true fans from jumping the barricade.
 
As the horrendous homosexual from Jane’s Addiction wished the crowd a good night, and Dave Grohl stepped on stage to strum out the opening riff to “All My Life” the crowd surged forward as electricity struck the already exhausted mob with a newfound energy. Throughout the entire seventy-five minute set Dave and his crew plugged out hit after hit from albums past and present, with the sweaty mob screaming every word, jumping to every beat. 
 
To say the least the atmosphere was incredible. If there’s one man in music who could not do one thing wrong, its Dave Grohl. But performance aside, stadium rock concerts are what The Fighters of Foo do best, so the arena was no real stretch for the band.
 
As the Foo Fighters set came to an end I sighed a sigh of relief and satisfaction. My mates begged me to stay for Xzhibit but I waved them off and begun the long trip back home. Upon my arrival I collapsed into a drained heap of sore and bruised flesh. My Big Day was over till next year.

The Hobo is  iconoFAN's man on the scene Down Under.

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