Sympathetic Stupid

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Big Day Hot

A very funky BDO (possibly the 112 percent humidity contributed to that...). Not-so-brief rundown of the day:

Saw the very end of Airbourne and they were everything I'd expected - lots of energy for the opening slot ("Melbourne Rock 'N' Roll!"). They won't be playing that early next time. A little bit of The Greenhornes; kinda mediocre, nothing special about their standard three-piece rock. Plenty of local bands with a fraction of the profile could wipe the floor with them. Introduced to the - mercifully under cover - RRR stage where I'd be spending most of the day.

But first to the pit at the main stage, where I caught the end of Faker, good energy, JJJ-friendly guitar pop-rock, not bad. (And incidentally felt very, very old, as is the standard refrain.) Straight into festival regulars Gerling, who I still like though they haven't come close to the the brilliant melodic post-punk/dance-rock of Children Of Telepathic Experiences. I shouted for Ghost Patrol but to no avail; still, a good high-energy show which got my exercise out of the way early.

Back to the RRR stage to listen to Cut Copy (tres funk as always) while jostling right up the front for the day's highlight: Sleater-Kinney. Kicking a very, very large amount of backside, they launched straight into the crunch of The Fox played pretty much everything off The Woods. Most impressive was Janet's high-energy, rock-solid drumming (when she slumped over her drums during Modern Girl I thought she was down for the count). Notable also was the watching Jack White at side stage - fully outfitted six hours before his show. Everything flawless. (Except Corin stomping on the end of Janet's solo in, I think, Let's Call It Love.)

Onwards and ever upwards. The Go! Team do a pretty great live show and you've gotta love Ninja, but ultimately left me a little cold - it just sounds a bit empty on stage when compared to the many-layered sounds of the album. Then out into the sun for my other highlight, Augie March on the tiny local stage. One Crowded Hour, the new single, is a corker (Tim still has it up at O Song! if you're interested) and they played Song In The Key Of Chance which is another of my favourites. A good show from the guys despite the small stage and hair-metal drifting across from the main stage - especially during The Night Is A Blackbird. Can't wait for the album in March.

And then to that time when it starts getting really crowded and slightly less pleasant. Caught the end of Hank Rollins, doing some populist gear about how Howard and Bush suck, and how good the Melbourne music scene is, and how nuts Iggy is, and how good the Ramones were. Someone said last night "that's not spoken word" and I have to agree. But he's still Mr Charisma. A bit of Living End (turns out they haven't got any new material), a bit of Franz (from eight kilometres away they seemed OK). A lot of The Mars Volta - it's quite amazing what they can do with metal, playing most (all?) of the epics from Frances The Mute. A bit of Iggy And The Stooges who are all old and grey except Iggy, who's just nuts. But again, Mr Charisma. And finally a bit of The White Stripes, though not much, before pulling up stumps and trudging wearily back through Carlton.

Good venue, and not just cause it's close to my house. Plenty of grass makes for a much more forgiving environment, and it's a huge area. Let's hope they're making sufficient cash to keep it there. But the take-home message: Sleater-Kinney = WOW.