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Review - Big Day Out 2008 - Perth

Author: Brett Dias
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
This year's Big Day Out in Perth could have been a disaster. The 'Powers That Be' made sure the city sweltered and, as forty-thousand people crammed into Claremont Showgrounds, it would've been interesting to know how much thought event organisers gave to the typically hot conditions.

Plus, there was security who didn't seem to know much about the areas they were securing (I was asked to empty my pockets of suspicious looking sunglasses case which contained-a pair of sunglasses), a strange layout that saw the Boiler Room removed from the rest of the acts and joined by a corridor that was often packed to the edges with people struggling to move from one act to the next.

With the negatives out of the way, the organisers were spot on with their music lineups.

Tooheys Unchartered winner Krill was a great start to the day. The mostly electro-punk girl band had accessible music with lead vocalist Jan Jackson showing herself to be a heady mixture of Pat Benatar and Juliette Lewis. Their set was polished and on the safe side by the crowd responded warmly to their single 'Shake It Up'.

Festival darlings Operator Please had an eager crowd waiting for them and played a set that included their hits including 'Get What You Want' and '(Just a Song about) Ping Pong'. Their rendition of 'Whip It' by Devo was a hit with the audience, as was their final song 'Zero Zero'. Lead vocalist Amanda Wilkinson is an amazing vocalist and plays guitar with confidence.

Kate Nash played on the Essential Stage. Air conditioning in the building was essential, but unfortunately not provided so we stood there and sweated and her music was worth it. She drew a large audience who stood around waving their program guides like fans. She proved to be a talented pianist and gifted singer and lyricist. Her performance was controlled and commanding and she had a natural rapport with her fanbase, even singing 'Happy Birthday' to a girl in the crowd.

On the Orange Stage, Anti-Flag treated the crowd to fun, summery rock. Meanwhile at Lilyworld, people ran around wearing cardboard knight costumes, brandishing cardboard swords. I'm not sure what has happening in Lilyworld, but it seems neither did anyone else and maybe that was the whole point of it. The cardboard cut-outs that created much of the environment looked like it had been created in a hurry.

Midnight Jugganauts had a harder rockier edge to their electro set, with soft vocals and synth mixed with electric guitar. UK's Dizzee Rascal was a master at setting off the crowd with freestyling and instrumentals that were entering the genre of dub-step.

Bexta played a silky and energetic set of fast-paced and inviting house, while on the other side of the venue, Battles performed with experimental electro-indie, mixing electric guitar and drums. From all reports, their Perth show was their last, capping off a whole year of solid touring.

Back at the Boiler Room, Sydney duo Pnau rocked opening with 'Eat Them Up'. Colourful graphics flashed on giant screens, while a giant strawberry jumped around the stage. Massive balloons were released onto the crowd and soon the strawberry was joined by a yellow lightning bolt, a green skull, a pink love heart, a blue diamond and a seagull as bubbles floated across the stage. They played many of their well known hits including 'With You Forever', 'Wild Strawberries' and 'Shock to my System'. There were a few inches on stage that didn't have a large iconic jumping character on it, so the Pnau boys bought on stage a large dancing balaclava-or maybe it was a Spiderman mask. The set was wacky and the music was brilliant.

As the day wore on, naked became the dress code and Arcade Fire front man Win Butler declared 'Perth was the best city in Australia' as he threw himself into the human petting zoo. Their set was melancholic and acou