Big Day Out By Cam Ewart
Children Collide started our day with a bang. A very loud bang. With each Johnny Mackay solo a squealing space jam, and fellow band members Ryan and Heath providing a stellarly tight rhythm section throughout, the day had started on a very good note.
Heading over to the main stage, we catch the first half of Airbourne's set. Taking the stage by literally running on and launching into their first song, the guys did pretty much what they do at every Airbourne gig ever. In terms of look, the guys have it down, with their 15 Marshall Stacks and synchronised hair windmills. However, with each song an exercise in rewriting AC/DC tracks and yelling at the crowd, there was more to see at Flemington. Sorry lads, the rest of the crowd seemed to love it though.
Andrew WK took to the Green Stage with fury; complete with a scantily clad young lady who whipped the crowd into a frenzy as Andrew himself blasted through his "Metal-Meatloaf" onslaught of party anthems. With a set that had me smiling the whole way through, the sun ended up getting the better of me and it was over to the Hot Produce tent, just in time for Gareth Liddiard to saunter onto an empty stage and pick up his acoustic guitar.
In solo made, Gareth played tracks from his solo debut Strange Tourist, opening with Blondin Makes An Omelette, a song that in his words, "Is a good song to start with. Not necessarily a good song, but a good one to start with." Drinking from a water bottle that clearly did not contain water, Liddiard's long and winding songs were perfect for the shady tent and the audience sat back to hear the tales within each song. The talk between the songs was a lot more than fans are used to at a Drones show, as Gareth used the time to chat away about whatever was on his mind.
Deftones took me back to when I spent my days trying to scream like frontman Chino Moreno, and as I hadn't seen them for a number of years, I feared I may be out of the loop in terms of their set list. Opening with the two-song attack of Be Quiet And Drive, and My Own Summer, Moreno was in fine vocal form, and I was in my element. Although the heat was taking its toll on everyone, the band blasted through a set dotted with old favourites, Passenger (unfortunately without Maynard's contribution) plus a crowd pleasing Change (In The House Of flies) and even two songs from their first record. With bass player Chi still recovering from his coma (oneloveforchi.com) the band battled on with a worthy substitute in Sergio Vega and were fantastic.
Returning to catch Iggy and The Stooges, we caught the end of John Butler's set. Surprisingly he played overtime, and was playing an electric guitar whilst standing up. Cutting into Iggy's set with a love-in-drum-off with drummer Nicky Bomba, Butler has become a staple of the Big Day Out, seemingly loved by all and repaying the favour by treating fans to the songs they want to hear. Although I only saw two songs, I came to the conclusion that Butler should get out of the 'off-beat-reggae' groove he is in. But hey, it's not my band.
Iggy And The Stooges were, well, Iggy and The Stooges. Whether he had his hands down his pants, or was using cables to simulate asphyxiation, Iggy showed little signs of ever slowing down. Although he was a tad less rambunctious than last time, he made up for this by repeatedly jumping off the stage and wandering the front pit, and as a highlight, even called for fans to join him on stage. This call was met by about 40 odd punters rushing the bouncers and climbing onstage to boogie away with him. When security tried to halt the process, Iggy started dragging some members of the audience up himself. Search And Destroy was a highlight, and it was great to see such a cultural icon in the (somewhat saggy) flesh.
The visual highlight for the day was Rammstein. With the language barrier firmly in place, they make up for such obstacles by providing a fucking amazing fire and light show. Singer Till spent most of the set setting fire to things or shotting fireworks over the audience, no doubt keeping promoters and MFB members on their toes in the heat. At one stage a 'stunt-fan' ran onstage and was subsequently set on fire, the band playing a game of cat and mouse as he ran around in false agony. Great stuff.
After the large-scale show of Rammstein, and having caught Grinderman the previous week, Tool's laser show was a mellow way to end the evening. Without a new album on shelves since their last BDO appearance, the set was largely the same, however, in true Tool style, it was awesome to see. Always note perfect, the band played the 'festival-set' of better-known and more accessible songs, including a roaring opener in Jambi, Vicarious, Schism, Aenema' and of course, Stinkfist. A highlight was the small section the band changed, adding jam sections to the middle of songs, primarily in Lateralus, in which Adam Jones was able to express '70s prog influences with a crowd-pleasing solo. With Adam Grey's superb art playing out on the screen, Tool left all suitably impressed, and with sun finally down for the count, it was a fitting way to end the day.