Blog: Big Day Out 2011

Last updated 01:05 22/01/2011

Backstage with the Jim Jones Revue

Plan B on being a genius

Lupe Fiasco disappointed with main stage

Meet the fans 2011

Backstage with The Greenhornes

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METAL MAYHEM: The Deftones will be performing at the 2011 Big Day Out on Friday, January 21 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
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MARK DAVIS Zoom
PRECARIOUS POSITION: Mark Davis took this winning photo of a punter enjoying a main stage act from a good vantage point. He wins Big Day Out tickets, upgrades and CDs. Congratulations.
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SHOW STOPPER: Muse perform at Big Day Out in Auckland.
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RAWK IT UP: Keith Flint from the Prodigy starts a fire in the Boiler Room at the 2009 Big Day Out.
LAWRENCE SMITH/Sunday News Zoom
ANGRY MAN: Zach de la Rocha performs with Rage Against the Machine on the Big Day Out main stage.
MARK TAYLOR/Waikato Times Zoom
SO EMO: My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way works the crowd into a frenzy at the Big Day Out 2007.
KELLY SCHICKER/Waikato Times Zoom
OLD SCHOOL: Iggy Pop rocks the Big Day Out 2006 crowd.

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Bloggers Chris Schulz, Tracey Bond and Bridget Jones navigate their way through the moshpits and the mayhem to report from the Big Day Out 2011.


 Chris: 1am: It was with soaked shoes and a sodden shirt that I snuck into the Boiler Room to catch MIA's closing set. Many punters were choosing to head home because of the heavy rain, but completists like me stuck around hoping to see something unmissable. And we weren't disappointed.

MIA went off in a blaze of technicolour glory, with a set punctuated with gunshots, modem connection samples, 'You've got mail' bleeps, cash registers and zoo animal noises that was very much in the vein of one of her mixtapes. Check out Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1 if you haven't already.

It was noisy too, with tracks from her last album Maya creating the biggest racket thanks to Teqkilla's dubstep squelches and Steppin' Up's chainsaw riffs nearly drowning out her vocals. The guitar-fired Meds and Feds even had me up and dancing - I think Tracey was covering her eyes by that point.

It ended rather fittingly with what seemed like half of the Boiler Room joining MIA on stage for Boyz. It looked like mostly 'girlz' up there from where I was standing though.

So that's it, it's been another great Big Day Out. Despite a wayward main stage closing set from Tool and some pretty heavy rain falling later in the day, Rammstein, Die Antwoord and MIA have made this a day to remember. Roll on 2012.

Can Rammstein play next year, and every Big Day Out from now on, please?


Bridget - 11.55pm: The choice between MIA and Grinderman was probably the toughest of the day.  But I bit the bullet and waded through the now muddy fields to see Nick Cave and his boys show the kids how it's done. 

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And they totally taught them a thing or two.  Cave is an animal on stage, and you can't help but watch him prowl around.

There is something a little bit special about dancing in the pouring (and I mean pouring) rain, in the dark with a bunch of strangers to a band who nailed it, well and truly.  But it turns out throwing away my poncho about half an hour before the heavens re-opened was the dumbest move I've made since 9am.  Grrr.

But wet T-shirts and muddy shoes aside, today has been fantastic.  Even though it'd been touted as the best line-up in ages, I didn't really have any huge expectations. But there were some absolute stars today - Die Antwoord were such a surprise package, Rammstein were full of fire (literally) and Kody and Bic were a nice mid-afternoon break.

Now though, it is time for a warm shower and some clean socks.  See you next year BDO, it's been fun. 

 


 

Chris: 10.30pm: So I've seen Tool perform seven times now. Six times they've taken my breath away. Tonight? I'm not so sure.

It didn't help that they had to follow Rammstein, who completely stole the show with their pyrotechnic mayhem. And Maynard fluffing some of his vocals for their opening track Aenima certainly wasn't a good start to the show.

Trust me, I never thought I'd be writing these words but it kind of felt like watching Tool rehearse. They had all the glitzy lights, lazers shooting out of skulls hovering over the stage and trippy background visuals, but something was missing in their execution.

It felt loose. There, I said it. They weren't that great. Rammstein should have been the last act on the main stage. Start flaming me, Tool fans.

Okay, okay, I'll give them one positive thought: Seeing them play classic Undertow track Intolerence and Third Eye from Aenima was awesome. But my band of the day so far is Rammstein.

Unless MIA can change my mind?


Bridget - 10.20pm: "Technical difficulties" delayed LCD Soundsystem hitting the Boiler Room by 15 minutes tonight.  And it made people restless.  I guess when you've been on your feet all day 15 minutes is a long time.

Luckily, unlike Crystal Castles earlier on, James Murphy and his band performed their full set, no shortcuts, the whole shebang.

And the shebang is good.  Really good. Moods were lifted, waiting was forgotten and there was dancing a-plenty. I swear Murphy's voice just keeps getting better every time he comes here and the band were as tight as you would expect.

It makes you hope this whole "last album slash tour" thing - yes, apparently LCD are to be no more - is just a terribly cliched publicity stunt.  They are too good not to have in places like BDO.

On a different note, Phoenix Foundation are doing an okay job keeping the post-Primal Scream, pre-Grinderman crowd happy with their classically peppy set.  It's an interesting time slot for them - I'd pick them as a better mid-afternoon band in the sun, personally.

Something seems to be lost in the darkness and drizzle.


Tracey - 10.17pm: Two groups of people are doing a roaring trade this evening at Big Day Out. Those canny folk selling 'ponchos' (aka plastic bags) for $5 a pop and the coffee folk.

I queued up for a good 15 minutes determined to warm up with a hot chocolate only to watch as the man before me got the last of the hot milk. Grrrr.

The scary folk from Spookers were wandering around the crowd handing out fliers.

After just seeing Rammstein on stage it was very unnerving being accosted by a woman with her face held together by staples whilst trying to walk around the line for the toilets.

Primal Scream were the first band I've seen today who actually used a video screen behind them to good effect.

The tracks off 1991 hit Screamadelica were accompanied by suitably trippy imagery.

Higher than the Sun sent shivers down my spine. At least I think it was that and not the fact that my jacket is soaked through.


Chris: 8.45pm: A giant black curtain was covering the stage when Rammstein were due to begin, and it proved to be an ominous start to proceedings. These guys are terrifying - if you like Saw movies, chances are you love Rammstein.

The German metallers put on another theatrical metal powerhouse of a show, complete with
plenty of pyro, flame showers, giant shotguns, rain cascading off the stage's eaves and a man-giant of a singer that stalked the stage like he'd just escaped from an institution.

I didn't understand a word, but it's impressive stuff and they shocked me into a stunned silence - they could make Tool look like lightweights. It's the scariest thing to hit the Big Day Out main stage since, well, the last time they played here.

Here's some housekeeping we need to take care of: We're really sorry about the lack of pics of Rammstein. For some reason, they wouldn't let us take any because we're a website. They don't like having their mugs splashed about on the interweb. To be honest, it's probably a good thing. You wouldn't sleep tonight if you saw them.

Right, speaking of Tool, the D barricade is full, people. Red light means no go, so you're stuck down the back with the likes of me. Let's mosh anyway. Go hard, or go home.


Bridget - 8.30pm: I have to remind myself that I don't like Rammstein.

Every time I see them perform, they manage to make me completely unaware that I am not a fan.  Last time I saw them was the last time they played the Big Day Out and I was
stunned and amazed.  And tonight is completely the same.

There is just something about the German metal masters.  Despite having no clue what they are yelling about, watching them in full flight is almost like watching some grotesquely amazing opera complete with drama, light and dark, costumes and fireworks.

Oh yes, there were fireworks! It's just a shame it wasn't quite dark enough for them to have full effect, but they were still a killer sight.

Rumour has it, the band's contract for the tour stated "no pyro, not performance".

In other news, it is very wet.  I was even forced to spend $5 on a flimsy piece of plastic to keep me almost dry.  Turns out I should have paid more attention to the weather forecast after all.

I am about to dance my soggy feet dry at LCD Soundsystem.  How will they match up to last time? We will soon see.


Tracey - 8.17pm:German metal act Rammstein started their set with a bang. Literally. The stage had been shrouded in a massive curtain. As the band began to play there was an explosion and the curtain dropped.

Most of Mt Smart have their hands in the air.

Most of Big Day Out may be squished in the Boiler Room and in the stands around the main field but the D-ring was still packed out for Iggy and the Stooges.

Always the showman Iggy (of course he was shirtless) seemed determined to party despite the wet weather.

At one point he invited members of the audience up on stage, where they all promptly removed their shirts and then had a group hug at the end of the song.

"I love you guys," said Iggy.

The lush green grass which earlier covered the main field is now a sodden, matted, muddy mess.

Screamadelica could be a bit of a wash out.


Chris: 7.55pm: When the heavens open up and the rain starts falling, there's only one place you want to be at the Big Day Out, and that's in the Boiler Room.

That's where I found myself, along with thousands of others, as we sought refuge from the rain that is threatening to turn today's event into a washout. Looks like I was the only one who bought a jacket with me, suckers.

I can't remember it raining at a Big Day Out for at least seven years, so it's somewhat of a surprise to be wandering around soaked through to the skin as strangers splash around in puddles beside me.

If you chose to wear white today, girls, then that was a bad decision. Head over to the street stalls and pick yourself up a new shirt before Hugh Hefner turns up and offers you an engagement ring.

Right, DJ Bulletproof, I've got a bone to pick with you. Why was reality TV star Jessie "Jessie G" Gurunathan on stage with you? Shouldn't she be preparing for another series of Celebrity Treasure Island? Where was the buzzy dubsteps, bro?

Alright, Rammstein, do your worst. I'm sure you will.


Tracey - 7.02pm:The more it rained on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros the louder they played.

It is raining. A lot. My feet are soggy. But everyone in front of the Essential Stage was performing their own happy rain dance.

People are taking shelter under the trees and turning plastic bags into bespoke rain macs.

Mt Smart is in danger of turning into a quagmire but there is a steady stream of deserters making their way out the main gate.

Should make Iggy interesting.


Chris: 6.40pm: You know Jon Toogood is in the mood for rocking when his bottom lip starts trembling and he climbs on top of speaker stacks to play those beligerent riffs Shihad are known for. Dude is a crowd pleaser, and after at least 10 Big Day Outs, he knows it.

Playing their 1999 album The General Electric from front to back for their 6pm set has proved to be a boss move - the main stage pulled its biggest crowd yet and when the Wellington hard rock act played epic track Pacifier as the heavens opened up, it seemed like everyone in the stadium was singing along.
 
Earlier, I pushed my way into the Boiler Room for Mt Eden Dubstep. Ahh, dubstep. Dubstep, dubstep, dubstep. How much do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

The Auckland duo played a crowd-pleasing DJ set that included classic cuts from Chasing Shadows and Burial, and when those nasty squelches started mixing into all that slurred bass, I was in subwoofer heaven.

Sure, some people might think Optimus Prime was having a major meltdown in the Boiler Room, but they should just move on. These are not the droids you're looking for.

Elsewhere, I managed to catch the end of Crystal Castle's injury-plagued set. Poor old Alice Glass - she's used to jumping into the crowd and she looked pretty upset at having to hobble around on a pair of crutches. If I was at the Big Day Out on crutches thanks to a smashed ankle, I'd be pretty pissed too.

Anyway, all that, and we've still got Iggy, Rammstein, Tool and MIA to come. Big Day Out, can you get any bigger?


Tracey - 6.13pm: So I got to see precisely one song of Crystal Castles set. They didn't come on til after 5pm because noone could get Die Antwoord to get off the stage.

Alice Glass was on crutches (her doctor told her not to play, so good on her for ignoring him) so there was none of her usual writhing around the stage and howling into the microphone. She still howled into the mike though.

It was disappointing that they left the stage bang on 5.30pm making this possibly the shortest set of the day so far.

The crowd were none too pleased.

It's still tipping it down but that hasn't dampened the spirit of the punters at Mt Smart Stadium.


Bridget - 6.07pm: I take it back. Kody and Bic were good, but Die Antwoord were great. Like really, really super great. It was officially my first real dance of the day and it was just what I needed.

And while I think Chris is totally right, for now they are the Kings (and Queen) of South Africa and Mt Smart stadium.

Meanwhile, the main stages have been taken over by Aussies.

Wolfmother were up first and they didn't disappoint. While they aren't really my cup of tea, I did lose a friend to the D-pit or barrier or whatever it's called this year, and he was stoked.

And BDO faves John Butler Trio managed to bring the crowd off their rawk-high with their soothing mix of electric roots-jammy-bluesy goodness. It almost made the rain feel like it wasn't here.

But according to the fine St John's staff here today, the cloudy weather has been a blessing in disguise with the number of sunstroke cases way down on last year.

Okay, it must be time to track down something nutritious for dinner before some Rammstein goodness.


Tracey - 5.23pm: Plan B put on a polished performance over at the Green Stage.

Britain's answer to Eminem had his band in matching waistcoats, it was a little reminiscent of being at a wedding.

The English rapper told the crowd to indulge but 'not to stay too late.'

Towards the end of the set it started to drizzle, and then the raindrops got a little larger. Then everyone started making their way over to the Boiler Room.

Andrew WK. played a second set over at Lily World which had the fans who had packed the area out a little bemused.

Playing what sounded at first like an extended organ recital which wouldn't have been out of place in a church, people started to yell "This is strange." to which he simply nodded.

Crystal Castles seem to be running a little late.


Chris: 4.48pm: Just when you think the world is taking itself too seriously, along comes a band like Die Antwoord to remind you that things really aren't worth stressing about.

The South African rave-rap duo whipped the Boiler Room into a frenzy with their instantly recognisable internet anthem Enter the Ninja. With their crazed haircuts, weird facial hair, outlandish dress sense and wonky accents, I was in hysterics.

Die Antwoord will either be bigger than U2, or you'll never hear from them again. My money's on the later, but right now, they were perfect late afternoon Big Day Out fare, thanks to their sexually challenged singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er and partner in crime Ninja. Dude really needs to find a pair of shorts that fits him.

I haven't laughed that hard since Dwight skinned a crash test dummy's face and pretended to be Hannibal Lector during a first aid course on The Office. Hmm. Maybe you had to be there.

Right, it's time for Crystal Castles, anther beer, Mt Eden Dubstep, and another beer. I hope my boss isn't reading this. Ho hum...


Bridget - 4.30pm: It's official.  The party has been brought, started and delivered safely.  Thank you Mr Andrew WK. 

The notorious advocate of PMA (that's Positive Mental Attitude for those of you out of the happy-vibe loop) was on fire at the Green Stage. 

I was afraid, based on reports from past shows, that I may not make it out of this one alive. Or at least with my nose in it's original shape.  But it's okay, turns out I'm tougher than I thought! Result.

And what's this? A special appearance by Owl City next door on the Local stage?  No, wait It's local balladeer and So So Modern's Grayson Gilmour serenading the mostly seated crowd.  It was nice, but not necessarily Big Day Out-tastic.  My partner in crime for the day made noises about taking a nap.  Um, I don't think so buddy.

But my highlight so far?  The first outing of Kody and Bic, as in the totally legitimate love child of Mint Chicks and Bic Runga.  It is glorious, 60s pop with the edge the Chicks are best known for.  A perfect set for a perfect afternoon.

Hold the phone team ... is that the first drops of rain?  Let's hope not!   


Chris: 3.50pm: Here's the bad news, Deftones fans: Maynard didn't show up for their 2.30pm main stage set. Many were hoping he'd show up for their joint song Passenger, but that wasn't to be. That Maynard, he's such a spoilsport.

But that didn't stop Deftones from being a pretty big highlight. Here's what we did get: Stef Carpenter's ever changing roster of multi-coloured guitars and endless array of buzzsaw riffs, front man Chino Moreno jumping perfectly from speaker stacks into the crowd and back again, and some of the best metal to hit the Big Day Out main stage in a long time.

Their set was mostly a greatest hits affair, but included several tracks off last year's excellent album Diamond Eyes - including a brutal version of the title track. Then there was a thrilling You've Seen the Butcher, Rocket Skates, Change (In the House of Flies), My Own Summer (Shove It), Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) and bruising closing track 7 Words.

I loved it - every second of it and I wish Airbourne had pissed off early so we could have heard more. Their earlier set lasted at least three tracks too long and ended with the singer - I just don't care enough to Google his name - smashing a beer can into his forehead. Sums them up perfectly.

If you're getting bored with the music, there's endless fun to be had by the texts being sent by punters onto a giant screen next to the main stage. Highlights include: "Jenni, I love goats and you - will you marry me?" and "Play some dubsteps bro - it's buzzy as".

Hey, that's exactly what I feel like hearing too. After Die Antwoord I'm heading straight into Mt Eden Dubstep to get, er, "buzzy as". Feel the bass.


Tracey - 3.30pm: So it is possible to be in two places at once. Over in Lily World (which this year is bigger and better) there is a massive video screen opposite the stage showing the act playing in the Boiler Room. Granted there is no sound, but you can almost imagine you are there.

And so to the mystery of Arse Painting - what was it? It was in fact a bunch of young girls up on stage, in G-strings, having their derrieres enhanced with some flower-power imagery. I think there was a body painter up there. But mostly it was the hosts of Lily World doodling on girls butts.

So after watching that, for all of thirty seconds (although I noticed in that time that the audience had swelled somewhat) I went over to the Boiler Room to see what CSS sounded like.

The sassy ladies from Brazil worked The Boiler Room into a frenzy.

There was a steady trickle of drenched punters leaving the very front of the stage with big grins fixed onto their faces.

I'm worried I may be hallucinating - I keep seeing blue people.

The D-ring is packed out for Deftones. I fear we may never see Chris again...


Chris: 2.15pm: There's only one way to get out of a moshpit that you don't want to be in: By forming a conga line. That's how I escaped the sweaty masses that had gathered to soak up the feel-good vibes of regular New Zealand visitors Ratatat.

The duo create perfect festival fare and pulled the Boiler Room's biggest crowd of the day. Their instrumental MGMT-aping rhythms were certainly danceable enough and the 3D visuals were cool - but it just seemed to be missing something. Seeing them perform with a few guest rappers would be cool.

So it's not what I'm in the mood for and neither was The Greenhornes. Their earlier set over on the Essential Stage was just a little too countrified for my liking. Don't get me wrong - I like a bit of country but not when it comes with cowboy hats and spurs.

Can anyone guess what I'm in the mood for? No - it's not awful Aussie rockers Airbourne. Guys, we have AC/DC already - we just don't need you. Go chuck some prawns on the barbie, mate.

Nope, I'm getting fired up for the first big act of the day: Deftones. Moshpit, here I come. I hope St John's Ambulance staff are ready for this - it's going to be mayhem.


Bridget - 2pm: So this new Boiler Room set up, eh?  No sides, no fight to get and out of the tiny doors and no five-year-old sweat dripping from the roof.  All good things, but somehow it has kind of lost a little bit of the "Boiler Room-ness" that we love to hate.

But that being said, the breeze that is blowing through there at the moment is going to be pretty awesome as the day gets warmer (if that is possible, it's pretty cosy out there kids!).

Those little power-pop-dance scamps, Kids of 88, got everyone a little bit hot and bothered, in the best way possible. They proved one band can never have enough tambourines on stage and it is never too early for the water hoses to be turned on the overheating crowd.

On the other side of the festival, The Earlybirds were greeted by a bunch of hardcore fans who had spent more than enough time waiting on the black ground mats in what is essentially a gravel car park. It really is a shame that the Local Produce Stage has to be stuck where it is - no one likes getting gravel in their shoes and it can be pretty tricky for the crowds to find their way over for some really good Kiwi acts.

But the 'Birds always put on a solid show and today was no exception - full of energy and excitement.  Oh sweet youth!  They even managed to out-play the screams coming from the oh-so-cleverly named "Rok 'n' Rol" ride nearby. 

Sorry team, there is no way you'll be getting me on that thing today. 


Tracey - 1.02pm: Obviously the message that this year's Big Day Out is a smoke-free event didn't reach everyone. Like the two guys who came up to me and asked me if I had a lighter or knew where to buy one from.

"Who goes smoke-free at an event like this?" they asked.

"Why do you want a lighter?" I repled.

"Stuff," they said, with shifty eyes.

Hmm. Could they have been up to no good?

It's been a busy hour. Luger Boa were bouncing all over the Green Stage while over in the Boiler Room Kids of 88 were truly getting the party started.

Those kids certainly know how to get the crowd jumping. However I'm not sold on the side-less Boiler Room. Sure it makes getting in and out a bit easier but part of the draw of the Boiler Room for me was the way you stumbled into the dark, sweaty space, tripping over water bottles and rucksacks to discover some fantastic new track.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat I headed over to the Blue Stage to catch Bang Bang Eche who were showcasing tracks off their new album, only to become entranced by the messages scrolling across the big video screen.

Favourites texts so far include "Ginger Pride" and "Where am I? I'm really scared."

And that lush green grass Chris mentioned earlier? Sit on it at your peril, it's a little ... damp.


Chris: 12pm: Street Chant, Knives at Noon and Die! Die! Die! - how's that for a great way to start the day? Perhaps if I set up a small stage in my backyard at home they'd come out and perform as my personal alarm clock each morning. I'd cook them a fry-up breakfast in return.

Street Chant were the bratty young upstarts they've always been, firing through their arsenal of grungy garage anthems as if it  was 10.30 at night, not in the morning - even if they had this to say: "If you play the worst spot of the day, you get the worst performance!"

Here are some words of wisdom: If you want to play the Big Day Out again guys, don't criticise the organisers for the crappy timeslot. You might not be back.

Knives at Noon certainly look the part, and fresh from supporting the Smashing Pumpkins late last year they're starting to sound the part too, thanks to their synth-heavy doom-pop sound. They said it was the earliest they've ever played, but it didn't affect their performance.

Die! Die! Die!, meanwhile, look like they want to harm their instruments. And the crowd too. Front man Andrew Wilson kept climbing down off the stage and into the crowd in the kind of unhinged performance that can set the Big Day Out alight.

What a way to start the day. My eardrums are warmed up and raring to go. Now I just have to find some lunch. And somehow get Steriogram to cut their main stage set short. Perhaps if I call in a fake bomb scare?


Bridget - 11.24am: Well, the crowds are officially allowed in to the Orange and Blue Stage! And despite the excitement, stampedes were avoided and everyone played quite nicely.

But apparently not all rules are made to be followed.

Although it is a smokefree event, it seems cigarette fiends are rebellious creatures, blowing smoke rings in the face of danger. Naughty, naughty kids.

And Tracey, I think you might be on to something. It seems it really is never too early for a drink, well at least if the queues to get into the "beer pens" are anything to go by.

And it's always a sign of a good crowd when security are locking beanbags to the ground. How anyone would steal one of those things makes the mind boggle. But I'd love to see them try!

But it might be better than healthy alternative. $4.50 for a teeny tiny bottle of water is a little bit steep! But at least there are a couple of taps for some sneaky refilling later in the day.

Oh and music-wise, Street Chant have just finished a blinder of a set. You can't help but think the trio got a little bit jipped with being first up for the day - they would have nailed it later on in the day.

*Sunscreen application count - two. Mum will be happy.


Stuff.co.nz has three bloggers, two photographers and a video producer covering today's Big Day Out. Keep checking back throughout the day for updated blogs, photos, interviews and videos from the event.


Tracey - 10.55am: Black is obviously the new black this year at Big Day Out. Black Ramones T-shirts seem to be the unofficial uniform.

Apart from the man wearing a very hot-looking (in the temperature way) full blue smurf body suit accessorised with white shorts. Check back later for the video evidence.

Oh and Elvis is in the building. Or at least someone in a white jumpsuit is.

Just about everybody I've spoken to so far says they're here to see Tool or Rammstein.

There's a lot of sunscreen applying going on and already people are getting dizzy on the fairground rides.

Over on the Essential Stage local band Street Chant got the proceedings off to a very nice start and Knives at Noon are about to take to the Green Stage.


Chris: 10.25am:The Big Day Out main stage has been taken over by monsters. Instead of the happy clowns that usually decorate the stage, this year giant paintings of werewolves, skeletons and what appears to be one of the masked members of Slipknot are adorning the giant eaves.

That'll suit scary metal bands like Tool and Rammstein later in the evening - but I'm not sure what John Butler will make of it all. Perhaps he'll have to give his mum a quick call from the side of the stage to settle his nerves.

That's not the only thing that's different this year. The Boiler Room has been pimped out: No longer will dance fans suffocate from the excessive heat and sweat as they enjoy bands like LCD Soundsystem and MIA. All the tent's sides have been left open, allowing a cool breeze to waft in. Feel the breeze.

Also, the main stage arena that is usually a rugby league field has been allowed to grow its hair long. Instead of the plastic mats that are usually laid down, punters can relax by rolling around in the tall grass. If that's what you're into, that is. 

So we're logged in, set up and ready to blog the crap out of this year's Big Day Out. Hi mum. Look at me! I'm blogging! The media room isn't so grubby this year - they've even left little bowls of lollies out for us. And we have our own toilet, which is nice. Especially when the public ones start flooding around 3pm. Maybe I'll make some money on the side and start selling passes to use ours.

It's not too early for a Fruit Burst - but Tracey, there's no way I can chug a beer down yet. You're too diehard for me.


Tracey - 10.16am: So we have arrived. We're set up and we're raring to go. The queues are already starting to build with the die-hard fans who are intent on securing those prime front-of-stage positions.

Mt Smart Stadium is looking very green, but not for much longer... oh and the media room has no water. So a good start. Is it too early to have a beer?


Chris: 9am: What's going on? Is it just me, or has the world gone crazy? We wait four long years for Tool to get their butts down to New Zealand again, and they're only playing for just over an hour. No sideshows, no encores - just one hour and 15 minutes is all we're getting with the moody prog metallers.

I'm sure Muse got an-hour-and-a-half last year. And didn't Metallica get two? If Maynard James Keenan and co are coming all this way, surely the metal legends - and don't you dare try and say otherwise - could play for a little longer than a mere 75 minutes? Tool fans like me (today will be the seventh time I've seen them live) deserve better.

It's not long enough. It's nowhere near long enough. That's about how long it takes to get my hair cut. Or bake a decent chocolate cake. It's also roughly the amount of time I spend navigating my way through Auckland's gridlock each day. Heck, it's barely longer than an episode of Jersey Shore.

Speaking of Jersey Shore, will there be any Guidos at this year's Big Day Out? Rest assured, if I spot a juiced up gorilla head lurking around the Boiler Room, gleaming like an Oompa Loompa and showing off his chiselled abs to a replica Snooki, you'll hear it here first. Consider me Stuff's Guido reporter-at-large.

Aside from Guido Watch, I'll also be checking out some bands. But not The Black Keys - as you've no doubt heard, they're not coming. Sniff. I really wanted to see them. But they're too tired. Sooks. Haven't they heard that the Big Day Out is dubbed the 'Big Day Off' by other bands because the schedule is so cruisy?

So here's my must-see list for today: Deftones (for the moshing), Die Antwoord (for the giggles), Mt Eden Dubstep and DJ Bulletproof (for the bass), CSS (for the balloons), Homebrew (for the hip-hop), Surf City (cos they're local), MIA (for the sweat), Shihad playing The General Electric (for the memories) and Tool (cos they rule and they're cool, fool).

But I have some concerns. I feel sorry for Lupe Fiasco. He's playing between Deftones and Wolfmother in some kind of weird metal sandwich. That's gotta hurt. I hope he's more like Dizzee Rascal last year than Scribe the year before, but apparently he's playing all new material, so I'm worried about the mini-Kanye. He's never been on the main stage before. He's always been a Boiler Room boy. I hope he can survive the heat.

And here are some other questions that will no doubt be answered today: Do dreadlocked Aussie boys John Butler Trio deserve their 5.10pm main stage slot? Will it rain? Will Iggy Pop and Jon Toogood wear shirts for once? Will Maynard come out and perform with Deftones for their song Passenger? Will Tracey survive her experience with the Arse Painters on the Lilyworld Stage?

And what will Andrew WK be doing on the Lilyworld stage at 4.45pm? Still bleeding from his 2.40pm show on the Green Stage, probably. I hope he gets two pay cheques.

Speaking of Tracey, she's trying to drag me along to see Primal Scream. Apparently they're legends. Screamadelica is supposed to be an iconic album. Bobby Gillespie is a living legend. Blah, blah and blah.

Aren't Rammstein playing at the same time?


Tracey - 9am: I'm really hoping that bad things don't come in threes. The Black Keys pulled out at the 11th hour and the heavens are threatening to open up on us today, so I'm crossing my fingers that nothing else bad happens for this year's Big Day Out.

So, first things first. Lily World. 2.45pm. Arse Painting. What on Earth is Arse Painting and why has Chris volunteered me to go along and check it out? The mind boggles. Stay tuned to find out all about it.

There's so much going on in the Boiler Room this year (Kids of 88, CSS, Crystal Castles, LCD Soundsystem and MIA) that it's tempting just to camp out in there - especially if it starts raining. Please don't rain. Please don't rain.

But I will probably spend most of this year, as always, dashing between the main stages, the outer field and the media room. Note to IT - why does my laptop weigh the same as a small car? Why do I not have an iPhone? I hear they are all the rage these days.

But technical issues aside,  I'm looking forward to reliving the 90s when Primal Scream perform Screamadelica and wondering what Iggy Pop has in store when he takes over the Blue Stage this evening.

I'm also hoping to catch Lupe Fiasco and Brit sensation Plan B. Andrew WK plays not once but twice this year, so I think I'll check him out at LilyWorld. Then there's the quirky Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the Essential Stage.

This year, I vow to drink more water (because that has worked out so well for me in the last three Big Day Outs I have attended. Not) and to avoid at all costs that pesky junction between the Orange/Blue stage and the Green/Essential Stage (which let's face it is impossible as it is just about the only way to get between stages).

Hopefully I'll have enough energy to kick back with the rest of Mt Smart with MIA when she closes out the action in the Boiler Room at 10.30pm.

Now let's see what Mt Smart is wearing. Perhaps some colour to ward off those rain clouds? A little drizzle-chic maybe?


Bridget - 9am: It's been a few years since I've been allowed out for one of these - I've either been held back by badly timed leave requests or a bank account shaking in a corner, still in shock from Christmas. 

Deep down though, it has be the ongoing, lifelong argument between the sun and my classic, pale ginger-kid complexion that has kept me away.  And FOMO (fear of missing out) got me every time.

But today will be different.  Today I have my SPF 70 sunscreen in my back pocket and a fool-proof plan to dodge the sun in the front (it involves a paperclip, some chewing gum and a couple of navy seal rolls - I'm essentially MacGyver).

And what's a little heat exhaustion with a line-up like this anyway? (My mother would be horrified if she thought I was being flippant about such a thing. I am the rah-rah girl for rests in the shade and drinking more water than your average fish. Honest).

Between the first ever outing of new dynamic duo Kody and Bic, some dance-your-bum off brilliance of LCD Soundsystem and the pure genius that is Grinderman, I am one happy camper. 

And then there are all the little bands you've never heard of but stumble upon, fall head over heels for and vow to dedicate the rest of your natural life to them and them alone.  That's what days like today are all about.

So hello Big Day Out it is wonderful to see you again. Take my hand - I have a feeling we are going to be very good friends indeed.


* What do you think of this year's Big Day Out? Post your comments below.

- Stuff

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