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The office-block persecution affinity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Top Big Day Out experiences:

1. The Flaming Lips. They are sheer warmth and magic and joy with a wonderfully disturbing undercurrent. Balloons, and animal costumes, and confetti, and film, and a nun finger puppet, and squelchy noises! People actually *hugged* after their set, like they were on the good drugs. Wayne kept exhorting us to sing and wave and dance with such open-hearted enthusiasm that any detachment seemed somehow meanspirited. 'Come on, you guys! This is the last thing at the Big Day Out! Let's make it great!' I haven't (soberly) cried at more than one or two shows since I was 16, but the finale of 'Do You Realize?' was just too much for me. Yes, a tear or two trickled out. I admit it.
2. The older woman - clearly there to see Metallica with her mullet-garnished boyfriend - with the full upper arm tattoo of *all* the members of INXS. All six of them! Including the Farris brother with the freakishly large head and round glasses! *And* their signatures! When Brent realised which band was being represented there were (subtle but gleeful) high fives all round. Seeing that alone was worth the hundred bucks for the ticket! Can you imagine being *that* dedicated to your rock? Hats off to our bogan compatriot. (And spare a thought, if you will, for her profound sadness in 1997...)
3. Peaches. She is a shimmering, glowing star in the aggressively-sexual-electro-punk-feminist firmament (to paraphrase Lina Lamont). I loved the way she kept undressing and redressing in wacky outfits, confounding expectations, and her voice is surprisingly strong and on-point. It's time for us to get her off! Yay.
4. Betchadupa. They rock just as much and as hard as the Datsuns or the D4, but with one crucially important advantage: they write real songs rather than rave-ups. They're a really really tight little band who deserved to be on a bigger stage (although of course I'm glad they weren't!). Ironically enough, I can imagine the b crowd (that's 95bfm, the student radio station in Auckland, American friends) would be way more interested in them if Liam *wasn't* Neil's son. They're tainted by association with old-fogey-unhipness. They get noticed by the little girls here, but they don't get to play on Later with Jools Holland and take over Japan. Yet.
5. The Strokes. Surprisingly tight and charismatic, and managed to carry off playing just before Metallica with a lot of aplomb. Bless.
6. The Darkness. Sheer hilarity. I admire someone who can jump into the air, do the splits, and waver in and out of maniacal falsetto at will. They had a surprisingly large and vocal fanbase for so early in the day, too. That pink and white striped flared catsuit must have had something to do with it...

On the other hand, the Dandy Warhols: what the *fuck*? I've seen this band before and I remember enjoying them immensely despite all the background wankitude (their interviews... oh my GOD, it's like tea break in the philosophy graduate students' lounge. 'We understand Cuba in the fifties and Spain in the 30s.' Yes, Courtney, that makes you all so *different* and *special* with your lovely cheekbones and your decadent wee blow habit... meh. I swear, right *now* I can name ten people I know from little ol' backwater Aotearoa who dabble in class A drugs *and* have more of an insight than you do into twentieth century art and politics), but this was just a bad bad set on a lot of levels. Apathetically paced, badly played, weakly sung, poorly judged, awful awful awful. I think Courtney explained things most clearly when he told us what killer pot we had in New Zealand. In fact, the only entertaining thing in their entire set was the one-liner about sending Willie Nelson down here. Hee.

Other pluses: I didn't get sunburned; we found a place to park within a three mile radius of the stadium; the kebab stand there was really good; it wasn't too insanely hot after 3pm; when Metallica came on at 8.30 we were actually able to walk around freely in the rest of the complex; I got to laugh at Rachael for loving Muse so much. ;) Good-oh!


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