Gig review: Big Day Out 2010

The Big Day Out began to feel a little like a British invasion this year but most of the imports delivered. Chris Schulz checks out the Big Day Out.

Big Day Out 2010
Where: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
When: Friday, January 15

Bonkers. That one song made Mt Smart Stadium go stark raving mad as Dizzee Rascal provided one of those Big Day Out moments that will be talked about for years to come.

With strict timetables run with military precision, artists don't normally get encores when they play the Big Day Out.

But with the stadium's main stage bulging at the seams and demanding more, the grimy British rapper returned after an already sweaty hour-long show full of recent chart hits like Dance Wiv Me and Holiday to play his signature club hit Bonkers.

Fans went absolutely nuts, jumping up and down on the spot, raving like there was no tomorrow and sporting smiles as big as the one on the face of the infectiously cheeky rapper as the Big Day Out 2010 achieved lift off for the first, but not the last, time.

And then, straight afterwards, a guy with a jet pack strapped to his back flew over the stadium's main stages. Only at the Big Day Out.

From the crowds cowering in the stands to the masses packed into the Boiler Room's giant circus tent, sitting under trees or holding shirts over their faces in desperation, this year's Big Day Out became an exercise in beating the heat.

The 45,000 music fans expected at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland for the annual music festival found various ways to escape the oppressive sun as predicted rain failed to fall.

Regular visits to the misting tent, as well as giant sunglasses, thick sunblock and large hats were survival essentials as temperatures hit 25 degrees. Fans sweltered in long queues for toilets, drinks, food and bands as the show headed for a sellout.

Things also heated up on stage, with Kiwi band The Checks proving to be the best act early on. Fellow New Zealand acts Minuit thrilled in the Boiler Room, with their national anthem Aotearoa proving particularly popular, while Kora rocked a late afternoon main stage crowd with their grunty dub-rock-reggae mash-up.

Midnight Youth also attracted a young and enthusiastic group of fans, while Ladyhawke lamented the Haiti disaster during her well attended show on a smaller stage.

Elsewhere, DJ Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, turned the Boiler Room into a giant party by inviting fans up on stage with him and packing several hundred songs into a mash-up spectacular suitable for anyone with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Taking the stage straight afterwards, Peaches proved to be her raunchy self, showing off a Mad Max-themed costume for her show full of explicit electro-pop and encouraging the crowd to shed clothes with her. Thanks to the heat in the circus tent, many did.

For those after something a little heavier, Aussie mood-rockers Karnivool, British scuzz-rockers The Horrors and bearded American act Mastodon provided plenty of guitar grunt, despite the latter suffering early technical problems as they raced through the entirety of their acclaimed 2009 album Crack the Skye.

But with so many British acts on the bill, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd wandered into Glastonbury. Most of them delivered, especially Kasabian's rabble-rousing lad-rock in the baking mid-afternoon heat, but you can't blame a barefoot and cigarette-smoking Lily Allen for feeling a little light weight after Dizzee Rascal's stunning show stopper.

The looks on the faces of Lily Allen's fans as they sidled out of the main stage said it all as The Mars Volta's ambitiously warped rawk proved too much for their ears. They've got a new drummer, people, and he's good.

But it was the perfect warm-up for space age stadium act Muse, who proved just how tight, focused and uncomprising three blokes with a belief in UFOs and a love of psychedelic rock can be.

As they belted out Black Holes and Revelations, green lasers scanned out from the stage and reached up into the far corners of Mt Smart Stadium, and with a dazzling light show thrilling a massive crowd, even doomsday anthem Time Is Running Out sounded uplifting and euphoric. 

Who needs jet packs when you've got acts like Muse and Dizzee Rascal performing?

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