Gig Review: Big Day Out 2013

Original review found here

Once again, the festival circus that is the Big Day Out hit Claremont Showgrounds with a huge line-up, some interesting distractions and the never-ending debate over noise restrictions, writes Jessica Boccamazzo.

With an attendance this year of around 35,000 people, BDO proves to still be a popular and comfortable festival enjoyed by all ages.

Hitting the track in the afternoon heat, Grinspoon got the punters fired up. Always a crowd favourite, frontman Phil Jamieson has got it back after a few years off fire and packed a punch into their set, getting old hits like “Champion” and “DCX3” out for a kick in the sun. It was great to see that mosh pit jumping – they picked a good day to fire up.

In between sets and other amusements, there had to be a stop at the always-entertaining Lilypad. With a range of weird yet wonderful goings on, including burlesque dancers, nakedness and general shenanigans, the Lilypad provides a much-needed breather in a full day like this. A sight to see was the Lucha VaVOOM troupe at the El Jimador Mexican Wrestling Bar, with four wrestlers throwing each other around the ring.

The younger crowd was mainly at the Essential Stage, with the popular B.o.B throwing out radio hits one after the other. Opening with “Arena”, the kids went crazy early on and gave B.o.B the confidence to stage dive into the crowd. With most of his songs normally featuring other artists, it was a one man show with pre-records of Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown and Rivers Cuomo belting through. Hits like “Magic”, “Both of Us” and a hint of Jessie J’s “Price Tag” steamed up the pavilion, and the lady-loving track “Nothin’ On You” gave the chick-heavy crowd something to swoon over.

360 opened with “Killer” to a packed house on the same stage. A proven hit on the festival circuit, the rapper had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand from the get go. Never one to put on a second rate show, he pulled out the goods with “Just Got Started” and as the set went on the crowd got bigger. His rhymes came out thick and fast, accompanied by enough lights to cause a fit, enough bass to shatter windows and enough potential to be a main stage act next time. This guy has an unbelievable amount of respect and love from his fans. Crowd favourite “Child” was getting a work through when it was time to exit the building and get out to the main stage but, judging by the sweaty bodies swarming closer, he was a clear frontrunner for the day.

Outside, there was mayhem to get to the main stage for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who brought out the old school funk and a taste of new for their headline act. The sound wasn’t the best at the beginning of the set, with Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar feeling slightly soft for the rest of the band, but it did get better as they charged on. Always one to give cheek, Flea stirred up the crowd and handed out bass solos on the fly. Frontman Anthony Kiedis seemed on the quiet side, letting Flea do most of the talking to the pumped up fans.

In between a slew of new songs, the boys threw in the hits that everyone wanted to hear, with “Californication”, “Scar Tissue” and “Can’t Stop” amongst the finest, along with a throwback to their old days giving the bursting crowd the high they wanted. After a guitar battle between Klinghoffer and Flea, a stirring rendition of “Under The Bridge” flew through the air, smacking punters the face with lyrics that offer a glimpse into Kiedis’ past with awe. The crowd ate it up, loudly demanding an encore with the boys giving in and putting their famous rendition of the old Stevie Wonder song “Higher Ground” into the mix, showing they’ve still got the funk.

“Soul to Squeeze” was next, followed by one of the most popular songs in their back catalogue, “Give It Away”. Never before has a crowd full of young and old been as one in jumping in for one last mosh. That’s what they want. That’s the kick BDO needed – let’s hope next year is just as big.

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