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Review - Big Day Out 2008 - Sydney

Author: Jessica Miller
Monday, 4 February 2008
Of course, it seems a bit obvious now, but there's a reason why the Big Day Out is called what it is - despite the comic understatement of its name, BDO '08 managed to once again crank it like it still had both its headliners intact.

For some, the '08 line-up was bordering on lacklustre (with the odd exception of course), and despite Bjork calling in sick at the last moment, not many seemed to be deterred, for the excellent reason that there were plenty of other beauties on hand for the taking.

In fact, the hot spots for the arvo sessions were well and truly dominated by the side stages, filled with the relaxed arvo boozing and mellower sounds that are so often overlooked in the BDO hype. Josh Pyke was gorgeous on the Green Stage, despite looking and sounding about as hard core as the Eurovision Juniors, he had everyone gazing dreamily into the distance as they thought about all their past pets that had run away.

The next big thing was Regurgitator, who are still going on about how cool their old stuff was, but managed to whip up a frenzy regardless. Nothing says Aussie like afternoon beers and Regurgitator in the sun.

In a similar vein were the Midnight Juggernauts, although being slightly later in the afternoon, they had the advantage of a more booze-fuelled audience. They went hard in their set, no doubt wrapping up at 5pm to work their own way into the backstage areas and do what we can all but dream of...

To see Bjork...

Who unfortunately canned her headlining slot at the last minute, causing a lot of disappointment (not to say inconvenience) amongst her thousands of fans, but also embarrassment for the promoters who were forced to offer a full refund on tickets. Ouch.

Fairly close to the money though was Shy Child, who supported Bjork at her Sydney solo gig and just happened to also score the 4pm slot at the Hot House. The similarities to Bjork were non-existent, except for their persistence with a synthesiser - not quite the same, but good fun nonetheless. They certainly know how to put on a cranking show.

5pm is when things started to get complicated. Who to see- The obvious choice was Tom Morello as his solo alter-ego The Nightwatchman on the Essential Stage. Of course, he drew an absolutely stellar crowd. But what of Pnau, Grinspoon and Blue King Brown - all nothing short of fantastic in their own right...their downfall- They're local and, chances are, they'll be around the traps over the next little while anyway. That's showbiz.

Tom Morello was touchingly gentle on his steel-strings and hamonica. He made acoustic music at a rock fest look sophisticated instead of silly, and with his George Bush-inspired take on ACDC's 'Dirty Deeds', managed to wangle the crowd into a devotional stupor that would have made any all-American feel inadequate. And so they should've. The man's an expert and absolutely not afraid to show it.

And so began the acts we'd all penned into the diary long ago. Silverchair played a blistering set, sounding off with an audience-participation round of 'Freak'. Johns opted to forego some of the earlier stuff which disappointed a few, but by no means the majority. The steady bounce in the main arena was testament to that much at least.

The response to Arcade Fire was unfortunately a bit lacking, with most of the crowd at the back picnicking on more beers and chiko rolls. A sorry misrepresentation of the stellar set they pulled out.

Aceyalone was one of the misnomers of the show for many, but if they missed his set in the Hot House, they missed certainly one of the picks for the day. Smooth beats and some sensitive rhyming ensured the enthusiastic crowd was kept absolutely satisfied till the end, where they left more pepped than ever for the quick stroll across to the pumping Boiler House for Krafty Kuts and LCD Sou