The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

6 February 2011


We were blessed this year with a warm but not oppressively hot day for the Perth leg of the BIG DAY OUT travelling rock n’ roll circus, and (although the organisers doubtless won’t share our happiness about this point) having a slightly smaller crowd meant a much more enjoyable day for us – a lot more room to move, far shorter queues for amenities, and less agro spotted in the crowd.

The fact that many of the main bands on this year's line-up had featured on the Big Day Out bill over the previous decade had some pundits shouting "stale", but we were more than happy that the hard rockers had been returned to the schedule after a couple of years with the focus on more indie and dance oriented artists.



We arrived at 12:30 and braced ourselves for a long day and some interesting acts to come. Our first highlight was Airbourne at 2:20 on the big stage, but before them, DEAD LETTER CIRCUS proved a nice warm-up, despite the tendency to veer a little closely into Birds Of Tokyo territory.


The AIRBOURNE boys left Perth off their Aussie tour schedule last year, but the Warnabool boys more than made up for it with some powerhouse rock n’ fucking roll, showing how a few years of touring can turn the screws and mould a band into a chrome and denim rocking machine.


A shout out to the late great Bon Scott to intro ‘Cutting The Grass’ saw an impromptu circle mosh erupt front of stage, then a run through the likes of ‘Big, Blonde & Beautiful’ and ‘Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women’ (introduced with a hefty skol of Margaret River shiraz!) left no-one in any doubt that these were blokes who liked drinking, fighting & fucking!



The biggest cheer of the set was lavished upon singer Joel O’Keefe’s climb up the side of stage scaffolding, then a run for the finish featuring ‘Ain’t No Way But The Hard Way’ and ‘Too Much Too Young Too Fast’ ensured their energetic, crazed, crowd-involving fun show was a true highlight of the day.




Andrew WK partied hard on one of the smaller stages, complete with a highly energetic band of misfits and unlikely rock stars making up his band. At times resembling a party-metal Russell Brand, WK & Co delivered a wonderfully solid set of rock straight out of 1990, with some fine plink-plink-plinking Stooges-alike piano providing a nice counterpoint to all the hard rocking and metallic riffs. Highlights ‘She Is Beautiful’ and ‘Party Hard’ proved a perfect sunny afternoon party interlude, and we hope to see him back in town sometime soon.




Honorable mentions must also go out to the crowd-pulling antics and Carpenters-like warblings of ANGUS & JULIA STONE who managed to pack the hall they were in of sweaty kids and subject them to a very non-threatening display of melody, floppy hair and pouting. Catching local Eddie Vedder- approved THE FAGS along the way also made us want to check them out some more. Whilst GYROSCOPE were actually remarkably good for a band I had wrongly assumed I just wouldn't like. There's a lot of life in those sides for a photographer wandering between stages and drinking a lot of water!




One of the highlights for me was the DEFTONES - who released a killer album last year. Want a bit of nu-punk? Want a singer who is off into the crowd after one song? Want a really entertaining set - check them out!



If ever a band were destined to die in a gutter with arms full of needles after playing a gig to five people and a dog, it was IGGY & THE STOOGES. That they (mostly) all somehow survived until recently was almost a miracle, but seeing The Stooges a few years ago proved a dream come true when they blew all contenders away and showed the youngsters how real rockstars behaved.


When Ron Asheton passed away two years ago many thought that would be it for The Stooges, but Iggy somehow managed to talk his Iggy & The Stooges replacement James Williamson out of his real job (Sony head of technology, or some such thing) of twenty-plus years.





They exploded onto the main stage today as the sunlight began to wane with the killer opener ‘Raw Power’, Iggy Pop as irrepressible as ever as he flays from one edge of the main stage to the other. The set-list is mostly from the “Raw Power” and “Kill City” albums, James Williamson’s 3-chord dirty rock assault as vital and vibrant as it has been for 35 years. Whod’ve thought that after 20-plus years in a suit, not picking up a guitar, that he would still rock so hard?




Through ‘Search & Destroy’, ‘Shake Appeal’, ‘1970’, ‘Beyond The Law’, ‘I Got A Right’, the classic ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ a manic run through the photo pit, and an on stage dance with a dozen crowd members, these veterans make their 3-chords the only ones anyone REALLY needs, and this proved another of the day’s greatest moments.



Over on thee Green stage PRIMAL SCREAM were playing their “Screamadelica” album from start to finish, and with a few beers in our bellies we had fine memories of this classic album and its pivotal role in the massive changes in music twenty five years ago. For me, “Screamadelica” was the first semi-dance album I loved – the first album to make dance music accessible to me, a died-in-the-wool rock fan.


The integral factor at the time of the album's creation was the MDMA, or Ecstasy, that the band was taking, leading to an album which was purely UPLIFTING. We were looking forward to this as much as Airbourne, Iggy & The Stooges and Nick Cave’s Grinderman.


Sadly, the Primal ones’ performance today was dour, po-faced and flat - the very diametric opposite of uplifting. The elevating and inspiring essence of the CD was unfortunately all but absent today, and this set was the day’s only real letdown.



Now if you want to see a show then Rammstein is something else. Say what you like about the music and personally it's not quite my style but in the context of a live show it's quite brilliant as a package. Taking the stage behind a huge curtain hauled down by a dozen German and local crew they explode almost literally onto the stage. Coming across like an unhinged teutonic invasionary force there is enough firepower in their act to give vintage Kiss a run for their money and the first wall of flames causes a few singed eyebrows down in the pit. Everyone appears to be loving this and it's quite easy to get carried away but after the requisite three songs I retreat to the safety of the back bar where from the distance the show looks just as spectacular.




Following the flame, fireworks and industrial riffage of Teutonic nutters Rammstein, Tool were a much more mellow affair to finish off the main stage action of this years BDO.


With no new material on offer we were witnessing a rehash of their 2007 BDO appearance with a few set list variations and similar laser light show / freaky-shit video clips. Tool's epic prog metal musings mesmerised the throng of diehard fans who sang along with great gusto to the likes of 'Vicarious' and 'Schsim', however it is still the material from their best album "Aenema" which got the crowd going - the last 2 songs being 'Aenema' and the former Hottest 100 number 1 in 'Stinkfist'.


Maynard James Keenan is a man of few words and prefers nowadays to remain silhouetted at the rear of the stage whilst Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey effortlessly weaved their way through the pulsing rhythms of Tool's complex and meandering sound scapes, leaving the punters happy enough but some new material would be greatly appreciated by the legions of patient fans who have to wait 5 years plus for new output from the band who never seem to be in a rush.


Intense and hypnotic but not bludgeoning would sum up their effort tonight.

Set List - Tool

1. Jambi
2. The Pot
3. 46 & 2
4. Vicarious
5. Eon Blue Apocolypse
6. The Patient
7. Flood
8. Schism
9. Lateralus


There was a time when the furthest thought possible would’ve been that Nick Cave could have dreamt up a darker band than The Birthday Party or The Bad Seeds. The Bad Seeds, however, have more recently made some emotional piano-driven albums, Cave writing ever more beautiful ballads musing on love and life.



GRINDERMAN are, perhaps, Cave’s natural reaction to the mellowing of his songwriting. Two thirds of Cave’s Bad Seeds are on board to make up the rest of the band, and together they give vent to their inner creepy perve.


Cave prowls the stage like a demented, lustful and brooding wolf, shirt unbuttoned and flapping in the breeze, while his band conjure up a sound that is restrained and dangerous, and always giving the illusion of teetering on the brink of collapse the whole way through.




What a fantastic way to finish another very BIG Day Out.


Words by Trulie Jackson

Additional words by Shane Pinnegar & Metal Billy & Mark Diggins

Photos by Mark Diggins