Big Day Out, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, January 21st 2011

January 25, 2011

The “Let’s Get This Party Started” moment: Steriogram.
An enthusiastic crowd turned up for the local band-done-good. Frontman Tyson responded with an enthusiastic and well-received bout of crowd surfing. And that’s how he hurt his nuts.
He also enjoyed watching the handful of white trash thugs in the crowd up front partake in a bit of punk slam dancing. That’s where you have a fight with a stranger but disguise it as dancing. Unfortunately that’s where I was standing. The little punks were all wearing black wife-beater singlets. Unfortunately so was I and I think that’s how they confused me with wanting a slam dance. When they started up, it was amazing to see the crowd around them flee, like a gunman walking into a shopping mall. Fortunately they beat the crap out of themselves so I didn’t have to. Poor little babies, walking from the mosh early with bleeding faces and near-dislocated shoulders. Good times, good times.

The “I’m Here Through Vanity & The Mighty Stalking Powers Of The Internet” moment: Luger Boa.
Sometimes I remind myself that I was meant to be, like, a poet or something, so sometimes I do stuff and get shit published. The girlfriend of one of the band members liked one of my published poems and posted it on one of her blogs. I know this because I have one of those vain google notifications set up for all mentions of my name. Which also introduced me to the work of Luger Boa and they’ve been on my To Catch Live list for sometime. I caught the last half of their set, and their pop rock gems like You’re On My Mind and I Wanna Girlfriend do rock live. You get the feeling with these guys though that there’s still something bigger to come. Also I’m pretty sure I saw the girlfriend watching the band’s performance from the side of the stage.

The “At The Front, Right In Front Of A Bigg Ass Amplifier Might Not Be A Smart Place To Stand” moment (or “Give Me The Name of Your Lawyer, I’m Going to Fucking Sue”): The Greenhornes.
These guys were loud, despite their slow groove blues. And that was the beginning of the end of my hearing. I like to get up close, but sometimes you can be too close. They were cool, though. Not Raconteurs-Cool, but, still. Drummer was good and got rewarded with a drum solo.

The “Spinal Tap” moment/s: Jim Jones Review.
These guys kicked off with the frontman pouring his heart and soul into it. Unfortunately you couldn’t hear him at all due to microphone issues. Then the snare drum fell off of the drummer’s platform mid-song. Then the microphone finally kicked in properly and then the microphone stand fell off the stage which saw Jim Jones yelling/screaming at a security guard to pass it back up. The security guard had his back to the stage and was wearing earplugs. But all that amusement aside, this was one of the BDO highlights. The band looked and sounded like they were straight out of the 1950s and they were there to rock, and roll, and they so did. Highly Recommended. The frontman knows his craft. Even if he doesn’t always know when his mic is turned off.

The “Stop Hosing Me, You Dicks!” moment: CSS.
Thanks to the rain, half of the BDO was spent drenched. But the first soaking came much earlier, courtesy of some overzealous security guards in the boiler room who kept blasting me with a hose because I think they thought I was standing on someone’s shoulders. Dicks! I really am this tall.
Loved CSS. Good to see some chicks (+1 guy) rock the stage for a change, and I loved Lets Make Love And Listen to Death From Above. And the lead singer stripping down to her hotpants.

The “You Should Do The Who Covers Instead And Call Yourselves The Whom” moment: Wolfmother.
Wolfmother were OK. But they became orsum when they broke into a cover of The Who’s Baba O’Riely. I closed my eyes and it could have even been The Who performing. Brilliant. They band is some hairy mothers. Reminded me of Supergrass. Talented musicians though.

The “OMG I’m Going To Fucking Die In This Moshpit” moment: John Butler Trio.
It was packed and I was upfront. And those same little punk bastards from the start of the day were back. It was too packed for them to pull that punk slamming shit again so they just started swaying backwards and forwards and it took everything to stop from falling over and disappearing under feet. Cut that shit out boys before someone dies and then Pearl Jam will never play Alive live again!
JBT were OK. Laid back. Although John Butler went solo for 10 minutes of self-indulgent non-spoken solo-jamming. So not so much a trio at that point, just John Butler. But then, it’s his trio, so he can do what he likes, I guess. A sight to see though was John Butler and the bass player grabbing drumsticks during the last song and performing a three-way drum solo with the drummer, punctuated at the end with JB throwing his drumsticks up in the air and the drummer catching them. Nice. The drummer then threw his own sticks in the air and failed to catch them. Ha.

The “I Want To Join Your Cult” moment: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.
This was one band I had to see. Hooked since someone sent me a link to their Home music video last year and they didn’t disappoint. Frontman Alex Ebert spent a lot of time singing while crowd walking and Jade Castrinos also delighted by walking along the front and greeting fans. And I was right there. Being baptised.

The “Put Your Shirt Back On, Iggy” moment: Iggy Pop and The Stoogies were worth seeing. And the “stage invasion” where security were told to let 20 people get up and stage with Iggy was entertaining, although, er, staged. But the sound was so loud that the music all just blurred together in an indeterminate mix. And it was raining fucking hard by this stage. Wet and miserable, I cut out five minutes before they finished.

The “What Would Bear Grylls Do?” moment: DJ Bulletproof.
I had bought a waterproof poncho from the $2 shop in case it rained. But it wasn’t camo-style like I wanted, so I left it in the car.
So wet and dying of pneumonia, I needed to dry out and warm up. And since there were no camel or tauntaun carcasses to climb into, I headed for the boiler room. It wasn’t a boiler room this year, though. They had a new supertop, with no sides, so it was much cooler. So fuck it. Had to dance to a DJ to keep the blood from freezing. Sigh.

The “I Think You Were Better Last Time” moment: LCD Soundsystem.
Caught them last time they were here. They started half an hour late due to “technical problems”. Much better to dance to than the DJ but seemed a bit low energy for some reason and my favourite song of theirs, Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, was not as good live this time. Sigh.

Biggest Delight/Disappointment: Grinderman.
Grinderman was The Highlight of the day for me. I forewent Tool to get in early, unprotected in the pouring rain, to score a spot up front and centre for Grinderman. Which was worth it. Nick Cave was looking right at me. Pointing right at me. Coming down into the crowd and nearly standing right on me. They got off to a shakey beginning with technical difficulties delaying things. Then when they did kick into a high-energy start, guitarist Warren Ellis’ power supply blew out. So they stopped, then started again. Power blew again. So another delay while a new amp was hooked up. Then they were into it proper. Cave was amazing to watch. All that dark poetry was well suited to the wet and the wind and the cruel chilled bones. Ellis was also fascinating to watch. All hairy and mad-looking like a crazy old history school teacher. Or Mick Fleetwood, or Keith Moon. Cave would keep deliberately bumping into him to shake things up. And Ellis was still hard rock when he broke out a kid-sized electric guitar for one of the songs. These guys were nasty and loud.
The disappointment came, despite starting late and despite being the last act on the stage, they still finished at their normal allotted time. I was left waiting for an encore that never came. A friend who hitched a ride with me easily found me at the end of the night because everyone else had cleared out behind me while I stood there, wet and waiting. Boo. Hiss.

The “OK, Maybe I Am Getting Too Old For This Shit” moment:
I was laughing at the kids who were sitting on the ground with their hands over their ears in a “I want to go home, mummy, it’s so loud” pose. And those wearing fluoro earplugs. But I was pretty deaf as I walked to the car. And the next day when I listened to music or the answer machine, voices sounded like chipmunks. Freaky. I think I need to start consider wearing earplugs before I wind up like Beethoven.
Actually, that would be orsum. Just without the deafness. And maybe with an electric guitar. And groupies.


#16: Don’t –

January 1, 2011

… do New Year’s resolutions.

They are a dangerous waste of time.

For example:

Last year my brother resolved to “not take any shit from anyone, anymore”.

Then he went to the video shop to hire a DVD. He took it home and put it in his DVD player. He pressed play. But it wouldn’t play. So he tried another DVD player. It wouldn’t play. So he tried every device he owned that played DVDs. It wouldn’t play.

So he took it back to the shop, but they didn’t believe him when they said it wouldn’t play. Nor were they going to refund his money.

Remembering his new year’s resolution, he decided to argue the point. And, in what was meant to be the dramatic punctuation to his final demand for them to “Go Fuck Yourselves, Then!”, he threw the DVD down on the counter.

Unfortunately, as he did so, the case came open and the DVD flew out like a ninja throwing star in search of a store clerk’s forehead.

Then the police turned up.

And now he’s banned from the only Video store in the Northern Wairoa.

Which is an unfortunate resolution.

Gorillaz, Vector Arena, December 21, 2010

December 22, 2010

I used to mock pirates for making maps with the location of their buried loot, but it doesn’t seem such a silly idea now after hiding –then failing to find again– my ticket to the Gorillaz’ “last live performance, ever”.

I guess it really is pointless having super ninja hidey-hole skills if your memory is crap. You’d have thought I’d learnt that lesson the time I hid our passports and didn’t un-find them until after we’d gone and returned from our OE years later. (And after forking out for replacements.)

My memory is so bad, I don’t even actually recall receiving the tickets. All I remember is ordering them, then waking some months later thinking Shit! Where’s My Gorillaz Tickets?!

I searched the house several times before admitting defeat and calling Ticketmaster’s lost ticket line. I wasn’t hopeful, seeing as their website declared, in bold text, that lost General Admission tickets would not be replaced “under any circumstances”. But arranging a replacement pickup in this digital age of barcode-scanned tickets was easy.
Almost a little too easy…
I started to worry that perhaps this was all part of a rival ninja clan plan and that they had intercepted the courier in the first place, knowing that I would wind up at the ticket booth on the evening of the concert.

So I got there extra early in order to out-ninja them. Lucky I did. The show-ID-and-get-replacement process took just 30 seconds and while I was hiding afterwards waiting for a friend to turn up, a rival ninja revealed himself. Well, they weren’t wearing a costume or anything, but the somersault they executed while running from the nearby park onto the road as they headed to the ticket boot had pure ‘Assassin’ written all over it.

With the ambush foiled, I could now relax and enjoy the concert.­­­­

The Gathered ranged from comic book convention geeks through to bogans and homies, which was fitting seeing as Gorillaz is the multimedia visual brainchild of former Blur frontman Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, and various rappers and remnants of punk rock have laid tracks for the collective project.

Hip-hopping collaborators De La Soul stepped out onto the stage early to performing support duties. They got the crowd warmed up with a mass bouncing and waving of hands in the air, and even tried starting a turf war by splitting the crowd into an Eastside and a Westside and then playing one off against the other to see whose shit was the dopest. Orsum. No one got shot though.
I kept waiting for them to play Mr Wendell, but then realized that I’d mixed them up with Arrested Development. Like I said, my memory is not so good sometimes.

It was my first time in general admission at the Vector Arena and I was impressed by how close the stage was from down there. Plus, you’re already on your feet, so all you do is dance.

The Gorillaz made their entrance with the virtual cartoon frontband members being shown on a big screen above the stage, bickering that the warmup act was taking too long to clear off. The animation amazing.

Then the non-virtual musicians took the stage – a whopping 22 to start with, which later swelled to 35, and included the likes of De La Soul, soul legend Bobby Womack, the Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, a clutch of hot violin chicks, a brass band, and even an Arabic orchestra at one stage. Oh as well as Albarn. There he was. Front and centre. As animated as the cartoon animations that have helped make the band’s music videos so popular and sell a shitload of t-shirts.

At times you wondered whether you were at a movie or a concert as your neck got sore switching between the art on the big screen and the artists on the stage. Oh wait, we were definitely at a concert because there was that constant flow of people through the packed masses, to and from the bar, and a constant flow of beer spilt from plastic cups to the floor and my shoes. Fuckers.

I found Jones and Simonon a little subdued on rhythm guitar and bass, but then they went and destroyed my hearing right near the end by unleashing on Punk and Plastic Beach. I’ve never heard the Vector arena so loud. Felt good.

The extended encore included the big hits Feel Good inc, and Clint Eastwood, which was a great way to go out.

With so many musicians and so much animation costing so much money to come so far, it’s no surprise that this was their first world tour and “final outing” as a collective. Glad the “lost” ticket and rival ninjas didn’t stop me from seeing it.

#16: Do –

December 8, 2010

Watch what you wish for.

Because you might just get it. Especially if you go around writing songs that start with the words “shoot” and “me”.

I’m just saying.

#15: Don’t –

September 3, 2010


My daddy was a cowboy. He came up with this crazy saying about having to get back on a horse if it threw you off.

Well, I thought he was a cowboy. Years later I discovered he actually went around inseminating cows. But that’s another story.

This story is about the time I was little and the horse bucked me off.

“You have to get back on the horse that threw you off,” he’d say.

So, despite the tears, he put me back on the horse. It immediately galloped off, bucking wildly. Jumped a couple of ditches. I hung in there, screaming. But I hung in there.

My dad was proud. But to this day, I still can’t be around Shetland ponies.

Anyway, the point of the lesson here is: if a horse bucks you off, just shoot the fucking thing.

That’s what the beach trek guy that we sold Follyfoot to ended up having to do when she bucked him off. It was the final straw that nearly broke his back.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think twice.

Also, dads can be pricks sometimes.

#15: Do –

August 25, 2010


It’s OK. There’s no shame.
Because, let’s face it: not all opinions are created equal.

That’s the problem with democracy. Every dick has a say. And not everyone deserves one.

And that’s the same general problem with the likes of journalism. Monkeys with keyboards think they’re nicely balancing a story by giving an opposing point of view. Some crazy talking head. But some thoughts weigh less than others. And some have been over at the Shakespeare’s Tavern since lunchtime. So why give them equal space in your dying pages?

Things will be different when I’m in charge.
And sober.

#14: Do –

August 14, 2010

Be content with your place in life.

Especially if you happen to find that your place is suddenly behind that of that fit hot young blonde cycle chick from work who has somehow just managed to pass your ass while riding home.

Sure, you could go all macho and pass her right back, cos we can’t just lose to a chick like that time your little brother came second in a national building competition, getting beat by a girl of all people!
You could.

Or you could just sit back and relax and realize that there’s worse places in life to be than behind a nice Lycra-clad behind.

Mmmmm, sweet objectification.