There’s a lot of people out there wearing black T-shirts… and I don’t see any one of you being beaten up!
– Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance
Give it a couple of hours.
– The instant response from most people listening at the pavillion
Ah, the Big Day Out. Den of iniquity, music, and this year, emo kids galore out to listen to My Chemical Romance and be the subject of derision from most of the other patrons. Much as the Big Day Out of 2004 was seemingly defined by its visible minority of metalheads out to see Metallica, this year’s Big Day Out was defined by the increasing proportion of emo in attendance.
Still, the Big Day Out was not only big but a good day out, as per usual. The weather today was outstanding, the throng seemed generally friendly (occasional cracks about… er, cracking emo kids notwithstanding), and a good time was had by all. By all, I mean me. I can’t really comment for anyone else, in fairness.
Quick thoughts on each band I saw before I go to bed:
Spazzys: Really, really ordinary. I caught the latter part of their set while moseying around the main stage, and it did little to suggest that they’re anything other than a second-rate Ramones tribute girlband.
The Butterfly Effect: About what I expected. Wholehearted, passionate, with a crunching sound that occasionally verged on being vaguely melodic.
Birds of Tokyo: Went to this one not quite knowing what was going to happen, since I’d only heard Off Kilter. As it turned out, they were a very solid live outfit who got the Essential stage hopping. There’s maybe a bit of a sameness about a few of their songs, but it would be easy to argue that it’s simply their sound. Quite impressive.
My Chemical Romance: I watched the show mostly to watch the crowd, but there was an element of curiosity about the band, too. They’re reportedly having Muse support them for at least one gig in the US later in the year, which should be interesting, because on the evidence of today’s performances they’re going to get severely upstaged. Leaving aside their fandom, they seem to be a reasonable but unspectacular live band — Something for Kate with better outfits, if you will. Not boring, but nothing to grab you by the throat (or hips), either.
Eskimo Joe: Local bands playing big shows tend to put on a good show, and the boys from Eskimo Joe were no exception. I was a long way from the stage, but they sounded great.
The Killers: For the first third of their set, I was attempting to get into the D barricade (Note to BDO organisers: This really didn’t work this year. While the numbers inside the barricade were OK, the crush trying to get in was really, really bad — as the organisers seemed to realise very belatedly when Jet were stopped for several minutes.) and couldn’t hear it well enough to have an opinion. Once in there, I had a great time. I’ve heard variable reports about The Killers as a live band, but they really produced a good set. No question in my mind that the songs from Hot Fuss work better than those from Sam’s Town, though — which pretty much lines up with my opinions of the albums.
Jet: I was trying to get into a reasonable position for Muse when they played, so I can’t say much else than that the performance was not terrible, but also not particularly memorable, from where I was. Having to stop for the aforementioned D barricade entry crush didn’t help.
Muse: Outstanding. I’m never going to be an impartial observer at a Muse performance, but comparing the dynamism and musicianship of this performance to, say, My Chemical Romance left no doubt as to who the real stars of the day were. Still, I have to say that next time I see them I think I’ll try to be somewhere other than a mosh pit, just to get a different experience. The only disappointment was that they didn’t manage to slip a song in from Showbiz — I’d have loved to have heard the crowd’s reaction to Muscle Museum, in particular. (Another note to BDO organisers: Your security guys were generally really good, but they should have been hitting us with water a lot earlier than they did while Muse were playing.)
Violent Femmes: Unfortunately, I decided to leave just over halfway through the set to ensure that I was home by midnight, but I really enjoyed what I heard. A real change of pace compared to everything else I heard during the day — I just can’t imagine any other band at the Big Day Out saying
and now we’re going to play some bluegrass and actually mean it.
So, that’s that. As usual, the public transport system coped admirably with the numbers (well, it does have to deal with the Royal Show), so two thumbs up to Transperth. And two thumbs up to the organisers, who apart from the fairly questionable handling of the D barricade entry, did an excellent job once again.
Now, time for bed and to rest those strained dance muscles.