BDO Memories: Nothing tops RATM.

ImageTomorrow is somewhat of a milestone day for my festival-going habits.  I’ll be attending my fifth Big Day Out in seven years – and this year also marks the festival’s 20th anniversary.

The BDO has become a part of Australian cultural folklore – it’s almost a rite of passage to go to the event at least once in your life.  Sure, it has changed a fair bit, the ticket prices have increased heaps and there has been increasing competition with all sorts of new festivals popping up over the years.

But the BDO has always brought some of the world’s best acts to our shores, and it has also introduced thousands of new festival-goers to the awesomeness of live music and mosh pits.  And for that, Ken West deserves a massive pat on the back (especially with all the dramas he’s encountered behind the scenes this year).

I’ve seen many memorable performances at the five Big Day Outs I’ve been to. There was Iggy and The Stooges’ wild set at my first BDO in 2006, Tool’s lasers and eye-popping visuals in 2007, Muse’s knockout displays in 2007 and 2010, The Killers’ coming of age in 2007 – and the anthemic, joy-filled sets from some our country’s best acts past and present like Powderfinger, Silverchair, Wolfmother, The Vines, The Living End and Hilltop Hoods.

But hands down – the best set that I have seen at Big Day Out – let alone any festival that I’ve been to in my life – is from Rage Against The Machine who headlined in 2008.  The atmosphere in the mosh pit then was like no other gig that I have been to – just thousands of people all bouncing around and rockin’ out together like a cult army.  Whether it was Testify, Bulls On Parade, Guerilla Radio, Freedom, Wake Up, Bullet In The Head or Killing In The Name – each track was met with such a passionate response and led to dust clouds filling the air en masse due to all the jumping up and down.  

It was just vintage stuff, and at some stages, being in a RATM mosh pit felt like a battle to hang in there and make it through!  It’s going to take something incredibly special to match the atmosphere, energy and passion of that performance.

But having said that, I am very much looking forward to seeing Kanye, Soundgarden, The Living End, Hilltop Hoods, Parkway Drive, Boy & Bear, Stonefield and Calling All Cars all in action tomorrow – and I’m sure they will deliver great performances of their own!  I’m also going to be doing some reviews of the festival for Music Feeds – so keep an eye out for them on Monday.

 

 

Advertisements

Why this year’s Hottest 100 is all about who will get No.2.

Wally De Backer – I hope you’ve got champagne on ice.  You’re going need it around 9pm tomorrow.

The Australia Day institution that is the Triple J Hottest 100 will be blasting out of our radios from midday – now in its 21st year.  Created by my former university lecturer Lawrie Zion – the countdown celebrates the best 100 songs of the year that has passed by – as voted by Triple J listeners.

In the past, there have been winners which have lived up to the station’s alternative nature (Queens Of The Stone Age’s No One Knows, The Cranberries’ Zombie), some local artist gems (Powderfinger’s My Happiness and These Days, Augie March’s One Crowded Hour), obvious songs which owned the year (Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl?) and some suprises (The Offspring’s Pretty Fly For A White Guy, Alex Lloyd’s Amazing and Bernard Fanning’s Wish You Well).

And tomorrow – another song will join those ranks.  It will be Gotye (featuring Kimbra)’s Somebody That I Used To Know.

Not since Kings Of Leon’s Sex On Fire in 2008 has there been such a hot and obvious favourite for the winner of the world’s biggest music poll.  Sportingbet had a market going last month for Somebody That I Used To Know to win at $1.15 – with ‘Any Other Song’ at around $5.

Somebody That I Used To Know ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a Hottest 100 frontrunner:

  • A Triple J-approved artist whose past releases got plenty of airplay on the station,
  • A crossover hit which went from being played on the J’s to being flogged all over commerical radio.  When you can hear it on an Austereo station’s breakfast show, you know you’ve cracked it.
  • Scored industry acclaim and numerous awards (ARIA gave it Single Of The Year, while Gotye and Kimbra won Best Male and Female artists respectively).
  • Recieve a whole new audience of ‘mainstream’ fans – who pack out your shows just to hear your new hit single (Gotye sold out four shows at The Forum in October).
  • Had numerous people covering it on YouTube or in their live shows – (just look at Canadian band Walk Off The Earth’s recent awesome cover of the song – which has clocked up over 36 million views and seen them invited to play on Ellen).

And, courtesy of my fellow blogging friend Jeremy Stevens at On The Tune – I’ve learnt another bit of news that makes Gotye’s task even easier.  His only real threat – Foster The People’s somewhat-catchy, somewhat-annoying radio staple Pumped Up Kicks is ineligible for this year’s countdown as it was released in 2010.

So, tomorrow – the only interesting thing worth listening out for is who is going to get score the second most popular song in 2011.  In any other year, that artist would be the real winners of the Hottest 100.  My prediction is fellow Triple J approved Aussie act-of-the-moment Boy & Bear may fill that spot.

Instead, they’re going to have to play second fiddle to the song which has owned altenative and commerical radio, led to an unheard-of Canadian group becoming YouTube sensations, and turned the normally pop-and-dance filled ARIA Charts on its head.

Brace yourself Australia – much like Angus and Julia Stone last year –  the crossover indie ‘hype’ act of the year is going to reign supreme again.  Gotye and Kimbra have the 2011 Triple J Hottest 100 in the bag – and I dare anyone else to suggest otherwise.

You can stream the Hottest 100 here from Midday tomorrow (AEDST).

3630’s cancellation: A wake-up call for anyone who cares about live music in Shepparton.

Last Thursday, Shepparton’s music scene was dealt an almighty blow as this year’s 3630 Festival was cancelled.  Organisers stated the reason behind the cancellation was the previously-secured headline act (who never got announced) over-committing and pulling out of the event.  It sent a huge wave of sadness through Shepparton’s music community and was a real shame for all the previously-announced local acts who were going to play on the day.

Now that the dust has settled a bit – I’m going to share my detailed thoughts on the festival’s cancellation with you – most of which I scribbled down upon hearing the news on Thursday.   After all, I am a writer, I’m entitled to an opinion, and I am passionate about music in this town.  Take what you want out of this – but this isn’t a personal attack on anybody in particular, and hopefully you’ll read long enough to see the underlying message within this piece.

It was always going to be difficult to see 3630 return again this year – financially and reputation wise.  Aside from the fact that it posted a loss in the tens of thousands of dollars – a number of my music industry pals who were involved in last year’s event described it as a “shambles.”  Which, given the unfortunate mid-afternoon downpour that caused scheduling nightmares and saw two of the big acts (Muscles and 8 Bit Love) not even get to play their sets – is a fair call.  Infact, several people I have discussed 3630 with have wondered why the organisers bothered coming back when they’re already in debt.

For personal reasons, I have steered clear from supporting the festival this year.  I’m not going to go into detail over why I’ve taken this stance –  because that’s not what this is about.  It’s bigger than that.  It’s about how incredibly sad the cancellation of this event is for our city’s music scene.

Shepparton deserves to have an annual event like this to showcase our local talent.  Sure, I founded SheppSounds – but it’s only for a select number of people and certain types of performers.  And it only goes for a week or so, and is on a much smaller scale compared to 3630 and other festivals/major events that take place around here.

Shepparton is also a big enough regional centre to have some of Australia’s most popular bands and artists come and perform for the many live music-starved fans in our city.

On far too many occasions, bands and artists have included Bendigo, Ballarat, Traralgon and even Mildura or Warrnambool  in their tour itineraries – but Shepparton misses out.  And the reason for it is simple – there’s a lack of financial support and people power to lure these big acts here.

We are without an adequately-sized, purpose-built live music venue to cater for these acts, and we are also without anyone with financial muscle willing to part with their money to pay these acts appearance fees.  But then again – why would they want to when so many people in this town don’t pre-purchase their tickets and instead leave it to the day of the event to decide whether to go or not.  It’s just not worth the risk.

I believe the 3630 Festival’s cancellation is a gigantic wake-up call for anybody who cares about live music in this town.  It’s an indication of just how little support there is out there to bring well-known acts to Shepparton and that big changes are needed if we are going to turn Shepparton into a live music hub.

We need people and organisations that are willing to open their wallets to support the people who have the vision and the drive to do big things for the music scene in this town.  There are a select number of people in and around Shepparton – including those involved in 3630 – who are trying to make things happen, but too often, they cannot make their desired impact due to a lack of financial and organisational support – or a few wrong decisions and mishaps.  They put their bank balances on the line to do something for the town, and yet they are the ones who are unfairly burnt at the end because people don’t turn up.

But most importantly, music lovers in this town need to get out there, show their support up-front and buy their tickets in advance.  If they did that in droves, I’m certain that this year’s 3630 wouldn’t have been canned – regardless of the headline act pulling out.

So, Shepparton – if you want our town’s music scene to improve and for events like 3630 to take place again in the future – get your act together.  It’s a terrible shame that the demise of our own music festival is the sacrificial lamb amongst all of this.  But maybe, and hopefully, it’s the trigger point for those who can make a difference to wake up, take action and turn things around – and not let our music scene continue to stutter in its current state.

Mmm… Cookies.

image

There are a hell of a lot of blogs about food & cooking out there. This isn’t one of them.

However, I couldn’t resist snapping my cookie-baking efforts this afternoon.. and whacking Cookie Muncher in there as well (naturally).

Mum & I whipped up a batch after we found a packet of Betty Crocker
choc-chip mix burried in the cupboard.

Needless to say, they were very easy to make – and taste bloody good too! I shall be taking a few up with me to Shepparton tonight to scoff over the w/e… provided my housemate doesn’t get to them when i’m not around.

Plankin’ in Lakes

Yeah yeah… i’m about nine months late on the whole planking craze.  But that’s exactly what a mate and I got up to during a bored/random moment on our Men’s Weekend in Lakes Entrance on Saturday.

Fresh from turning the phonebox into “Out Of Order” mode, Adam decided to perch himself across the two poles lying at the entrance of the Lakes Plaza – as we waited for Chris to finish up in the toilet.

Image

He successfully posed, and I then had the urge to do the same and bring out my inner superman.  Mind you, it was just a tad uncomfortable – I felt like I had a pole pumping right into my stomach!  But when you’re putting most of your weight on it, I guess that is to be expected.

Image

Oh, and for those of you still playing along at home – we then proceeded to go and buy some stuff from  Safeway.  The rest of the trip was filled with beach, eating at the pub, drinking, mini golf and watching movies.  Good times had by all.

Pounders

Speaking of lunch with Dave – here’s what we devoured: Pounders! Dave even got an extra patty added into his greaseball.

image

Both of us hadn’t done one before, infact Dave had it on his list of stuff to do before he dies. Needless to say, I didn’t have much else to eat that day after 4 patties, cheese, sauce, onion etc!

image

Doing an ‘Andy’

Yesterday, I had a bit of a Toy Story moment.

You know, the bit right at the end of the third movie when Andy’s about to move off to college?

*Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen it*  Andy drops by to a family friend’s house and gives his toys to their young daughter. He does this because he’s all grown up now and figures the toys would be better off with a new owner who will play with them – instead of gathering dust in his toy box.

This was the motive for me donating a few of my smallest soft toys to my friend Dave, who leaves for a three-year overseas adventure today. His first stop is Cambodia, where he and some touring buddies are going to visit a Cambodian orphanage and give the kids some toys and sporting equipment to brighten their lives.

Those of you who know me and have visited my home in Melbourne would know I still have a pretty massive soft toy collection which I collected during my youth (I was an only child, what could you expect?). I still pick up a toy occasionally if I see something unique on my travels too – last year I picked up a Cookie Muncher at a cookie shop in Queenstown, a kiwi on a spring after bungee jumping of Kawarau Bridge, and another panda at Adelaide Zoo.

However, by my own admission, the majority of the toys just sit in massive piles in my bedroom and my study – and I pay them hardly any attention these days.  And although I made a pledge when I was younger to never give away any of my toys and put them in some giant exhibition or museum one day, the thought of following in Andy’s footsteps and giving some of them a new loving home in another country seemed like a mature one and a decent opportunity to start the inevitable ‘cull’.

So, I went into my study, found a collection of small animals in a basket (a few of which came from Happy Meals at Maccas), gave them one last hug, whacked them in a bag and gave them to Dave when we caught up for lunch yesterday.  He’s promising to send me a few pics of the Cambodian kids with the toys, so I’ll share those on here once I get them.

In a way I felt bad, because I pretty much singled these toys out as ‘the ones I can live without’.  Even though they’re just made of fluff and have no trace of human life in them whatsoever, after seeing the Toy Story trilogy and having such a connection with the movies, I sometimes imagine that they (the toys) have their own feelings and thoughts too.

But you’ve gotta move on one day, and I still have plenty of my favourite toys hanging around in my room. So I’m glad to have farewelled some of them and have Dave pass them onto the Cambodian kids, because I know they will brighten their lives when they have so little to their name.  It’s also cleaned up a bit of floor space in my study, which is great because it needs a gigantic cleanout!

Heck, I can live without all of my soft toys – and I have plenty of typical 24-year-old activities and interests (work, partying, girls, travel etc.) that occupy my time these days.

But they represent my childhood, which was such a fun and memorable time in my life – and contribute to my personality as well. And for that, I’m proud to still have them hanging around and occupying floor space in my room.