A belated post about our visit to the Adelaide installment of the Big Day Out (it happened last weekend – Fri Feb 1st).
Its a day long music festival that tours Australia and New Zealand and we had a good time. Whinges would be that there was very little else going apart from the music and that the venue was crowded and didnt offer many places to rest, particularly on grass. At one point we had a sit down rest in what was basically a concrete corridor of the sort you’d find in an underground car park, with a large pool of vomit to one side of us, and after a couple of minutes a bloke started having a wee behind a door immediately to our right. nice!
Musicwise, a lot of the programme was the kind of angry, metally hip hoppy kinda stuff that the kidz are into these days which doesnt really do it for me, but I navigated through the day on a little personal musical journey which turned out well. First up on the smaller stage were Battles who were recommended both by a friend in Adelaide and also from having seen them advertised at a Capsule gig (a sure sign of quality). From fading memory a mostly instrumental guitar band with a jazzy feel offering some interesting rhythms and time signatures which for me sounded sometimes a little forced, but on other occasions more organic and engaging. They didn’t build up as big as I thought they might at times, but for a mid afternoon slot well worth the money.
Next up we dropped in at a nice little grassy space, the one place that for me really had that “festival vibe” for a guest DJ slot from UK music legend James Lavelle – the man behind the Mo’Wax label and UNKLE. The mood was pretty relaxed and I could have enjoyed it for a lot longer – once or twice there were a couple of builds that really kicked in nicely and I swear I caught Lavelle’s eye the first time as he looked around to see if anyone had noticed. It was one of those organic feeling build ups you get a lot in good breakbeat which really make my soul wobble (or something – more on this perhaps in a future blog entry).
Next up UNKLE itself in its third incarnation, this time still with a dancey feel as you’d expect but played much more along the lines of a traditional guitar band. I thought it worked well tho I had to keep adjusting to some sense of disappointment that there wasnt more of the other sounds that I know and love from Psyence Fiction – in particular they played Lonely Soul (the standout track of the superb first album Psyence Fiction) but stopped as it got to the great bit where the strings come in. To make up for it, the next track they played (presumably from album 3 – War Stories) was superb.
Next I did my best to enjoy Bjork on the main stage from a distance of about 500 meters, but was too distracted by the possibility of some breakbeat going on in the indoors Boiler Room. And so to Krafty Kuts – a Brighton based DJ – he didn’t disappoint – I lost myself completely, getting into the music and dancing, pulled in by the big breaks and change ups in a way that only breakbeat seems to do for me.
Finally I did try and enjoy headline act Rage Against the Machine but again, they were playing too far in the distance and they weren’t really my thing. I did have one interesting experience before the end of the night, but not sure if Im up to sharing it on here.