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Big Day Out: Sun, January 20 @ Gold Coast Parklands

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on February 11, 2013

Big Day Out is typically a festival I avoid like the plague. The crowds alone are enough to put a fella off catching the host of great bands they get to play, but this year they nailed the lineup so hardcore that I couldn’t resist. The lineup boasted some of the biggest named indie acts of the last 10 years: Band of Horses, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals, The Killers, Vampire Weekend were some of the huge names that graced Gold Coast Parklands on a steamy Sunday mid January.

We had a big jam to local Brissy act The Vernons, who I’d keep an eye on, as they’re set to make themselves a household name in 2013. Their killer tune “Eliza” kept the frothing crowd going, and I’ll certainly be back to catch their upcoming gig at the Black Bear Lodge, for their “Right Hand Trigger” tour.

We got in to catch a great band that I wasn’t all too familiar with beforehand, Delta Spirit. They put on an awesome live show – particularly the lead singer, who was channeling some sort of Jim Morrison/Mick Jagger type of vibe, and the small, but devoted crowd loved every minute of it. “California” was the standout tune, and was deservedly the winner of Amazon’s Best Song of 2012.

I’d read a lot about Jagwar Ma before catching them at BDO. NME has hyped them as one of their artists to watch in 2013, and from their live set on Sunday, that hype is well and truly deserved. It was an incredible performance. They’ve been described as a bit of an electro Tame Impala, and it’s a great sound that’s being encapsulated by plenty of other talented, young bands being picked up by Future Classic. Everyone had only really heard “Come Save Me”, so that naturally went off, but the rest of the set was moulded into one long, epic party. I can’t wait for the EP, because there are so many tunes that I can’t find, and were just so epic. Watch out for these young Sydney lads.

Band of Horses were next on the agenda, and after the clash-city that was the 2010 Splendour in the Grass, it was awesome to finally see them. Not rating their new album, I was glad that they limited the set time it received, and they played a host of their best tracks from their top records, Cease to Begin and Everything All The Time. “Marry Song”, “Ode to LRC” and “Is There A Ghost” were among of their standout tunes.

It’s hard to beat a more fun, loose vibe at a festival than Vampire Weekend. You look around you, and everyone has the widest grins, enjoying some of the most upbeat, happy indie music out there. They set up a huge platform for the upcoming release of their third record Modern Vampires of the Sky. The lead singer has a particularly electric energy on stage, and knows how to run a crowd; a lot better than the twat of a big screen coordinator, who’s now been fired for asking chicks to get their tits out over the big screen. “Campus” and “Mansard Roof” were amazing.

Next up on the main stage was Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Another group which are out touring to promote an upcoming album release, Karen O’s fearless leadership meant that the BDO crowds were in for another epic performance. She’s certainly one of the greatest live female performers I’ve seen; her use of the stage is like no other. Looking forward to their new record, hope it’s far better than the fucked up, trashy album cover they’ve just released.

The biggest clash of the day was whether to see Foals or The Killers. After speaking to so many educated people on the matter, I finally decided that The Killers were the way to go. They started amazingly, with “Mr Brightside”, “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”, “Human” and “Smile Like You Mean It”. As good as their performance was, however, I just couldn’t get out of my mind, “What would Foals be playing right now?” Eventually, it was too much for me and I tore through the crowd, and sprinted to Foals. It was a decision I certainly didn’t regret. As I arrived, they were just breaking into “Balloons”, and I instantly felt at home. It was the third time I’ve seen them, and I always forget how heavy their live sound is. Unfortunately there was no “Electric Bloom”, because they were cut off for some reason, “Two Steps, Twice”, “Total Life Forever” and “Red Socks Pugie” were all super epic. “Inhaler” was all I could think about on the way down in the car, imagining how epic it would be live. It was just huge. Absolutely epic. My decision was justified by that track alone, and it just got me foaming for Holy Fire. 

Having never really had much time for the Chili Peppers, we watched from the very back, at a performance that I thought was pretty weak and underwhelming. Kiedis didn’t have much stage presence, and the sound was just lacking somewhat.

So we got out of there and back in time to catch the last couple hours at the RE. An epic day, and lineup permitting, we’ll be back next year.

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