BIG DAY OUT Melbourne 2008 – feat. Rage Against the Machine, Carl Cox, Kate Nash + Silverchair

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Big Day Out is a religion. Throughout its decade long tenure, this festival has seen a convoy of sanctified artists, grace its stages at various venues around our nation girt by sea. And the Big Day Out faithful have followed uninhibited. In fact, uninhibited is a gross understatement. The devoted fans are completely out of control. Security guards, coppers and other punters alike could not halt the madness that spread exponentially throughout the drastically fervent crowd. The initial patron to embrace the idea of flashing his genitals whilst balancing on the roof of a bar tent, received some cheers and sniggers from onlookers, whilst also copping some precisely thrown bottles to the back of the head. Then the amount of people keen for a top notch view or near death experience, multiplied faster than an Ebola virus in the Congo.

There were dudes swaying from trees, hanging from fences and being crushed in the mosh pit. Of course, the cause of all this chaos was the chance to catch a glimpse of the most anticipated act on the bill and one of the most influential bands of all time, Rage Against The Machine. Seeing Rage re- formed and rocking it on stage, hammering out Killing In The Name Of was enough to make anyone want to swing half naked from a gum tree.

And speaking of gum trees, there was a palatable offering of Aussie acts dominating BDO. Pnau were incomparable, equipped with their entourage of crazy suited up characters which included a yellow sun and an angry strawberry. All three main stages and the Boiler Room had the goods, if you were chipper enough to meander into the squeeze – a line up that included Operator Please, Faker, Regurgitator, Grinspoon, Midnight Juggernauts, Augie March, Hilltop Hoods, LCD Soundsystem and Paul Kelly.

Strangely enough it didn’t seem like the crowd was feeling Silverchair’s performance – perhaps they were befuddled by Daniel Johns’ new peroxide hair- do. My confusion at the Silverchair response was mirrored by my shock that Bjork was still on the bill. The rumour mill had run wild with the notion that the Nordic weirdo had fox trotted back to Iceland.

The stand -out international acts included Kate Nash, Dizzee Rascal and the big man himself from the UK, DJ Carl Cox. It’s a pity the Boiler Room was literally a racecourse length away from the main stages, resulting in a mass exodus at the conclusion of Rage to check out Cox’s set. Yet, this is what the advocates of the Big Day Out are aware of – it’s a big bloody day out. So many acts, so many stages, so much body heat. With this many offerings at the altar of music, it’s hard to betray a creed that is ten years in the making. May it bring more sheep to the flock.

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