Big Day Out @ Gold Coast Parklands, 23.01.2011: Part 3

I only know about Plan B through the UK media as he seems to be huge back home. Calling himself Plan B I just assumed he was a rap act as it’s the sort of name rap acts have. It’s a real surprise when he turns out to be a white soul singer playing plastic soul that puts him in the same ball park as Simply Red. I’m bored after a couple of songs so head back to the main stage for Deftones.

Although everyone goes through their obligatory teenage metal phase, it’s usually mostly if not all over by the time everyone reaches twenty. Metal to me always meant the stuff that was around in the 1980s and which was pretty much killed off by the onset of grunge in the late 80s/early 90s. Then it became Nu Metal and had turned into this awful beast of rock/dance hybrid, with bands fronted by middle aged men wearing baseball caps or bands who looked like they were just trying to hard to impress troublesome teenager and taking the whole thing way too seriously. I know so little about those bands, except what I was subjected to, mostly on TV, and had little interest in finding out about them anyway. When you reach a certain age you just don’t bother with bands that pitch themselves largely at a teenage audience and so Deftones, along with a whole slew of bands who started after the mid to late 1990s have largely passed me by. Although I only get to see three songs before I head off to the next stage, they don’t really impress. I guess it just wasn’t for my generation.

In the days leading up to the Big Day Out there had been speculation as to whether Crystal Castles would play, due to singer Alice Glass breaking her ankle whilst playing in Japan. However, the band make it and there’s a very full looking Boiler Room and a photo pit of photographers waiting to see them. In the last few minutes before the band are due to stage, the photographers at the far end of the pit start making their way along the pit and it looks like we’re being kicked out. Instead there’s an instruction from a guy in the pit who’s either someone working for the Big Day Out’s media team or for the band telling us that whilst we can’t photograph from the pit it’s because of safety reasons but we can photograph from the stage. Leaving the photo pit at the far side, we’re escorted around the side of the stage and up the staircase at the back onto the stage itself. Although I find myself at the back of the queue and having to photograph from towards the back of the stage, it’s exhilarating to be up there and see the view that the bands see from the stage. The downside is that all the photos get taken from the same spot as there’s not much movement from the photographers towards the front of the stage giving up their prime position for the three songs we’ve been given.

I think Matt & Kim were another band that someone must have recommended to me, as even now I don’t know a whole lot about them. Plus, having never actually been to the Lilyworld stage in all the years I’ve been going to Big Day Out, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally go and check it out. I get there a bit before their set and watch some guy doing a┬ácabaret-style performance with a inflatable balls. However, it becomes clear very soon after that the stage is running behind time and by the time the gear has been set up and there’s been a quick soundcheck there isn’t a whole lot of time to photograph before I need to run off to my next appointment. For the short time I see them, I’m completely mesmerised by Kim’s insane drumming; it’s quite a sight to watch it close up from the front of the stage. There’s no photo pit at the stage and the audience is pressed in close so having decided to move on it’s hard work getting from the front of the stage.

The next band on the list is Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. There’s a load of musicians on the stage but within seconds of the set starting, singer Alex Ebert, is off and into the crowd, with a throng of photographers following him around in the photo pit. Getting photos in the tent is hard though as there lighting isn’t great; it’s not great on the stage to get shots of the musicians playing there and it’s certainly not good in the photo pit in trying to get shots of Ebert with the audience. The band start with Home, their best known song and it goes on for ages so in the end I only stay for a couple of songs before deciding to go and see something else.

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