Well, we’re in Adelaide Airport on our way back home after 5 days/4 nights in Adelaide. This was our second trip to Adelaide for the Big Day Out music festival – although unlike last year (when we drove), we decided to fly this time around. We stayed in an apartment in the city, only about a block from the Adelaide Central Markets – which suited us perfectly as we strolled down to the markets the first three days we were here to buy top-notch ingredients to cook up back in the apartment that night. We still love the markets here so much – the markets in Canberra are good (and the Italian Deli at the Fyshwick markets is still, on the whole, better than Lucia’s, but I digress…) but the Adelaide Central Markets are just so much better. The food is better quality and cheaper. In Adelaide we paid less for wonderful quality fully organic produce what we paid for normal vegetables in Canberra. It’s really just no competition. However, it was difficult to find really good coffee in Adelaide, so hey – it’s not all perfect. The day leading up to the Big Day Out was a bit stressful when I realised I’d left our tickets at home, but our next door neighbour fetched them and Express Posted them to us, for which we will be eternally in hers and Australia Post’s debt. The Big Day Out was awesome. We had such a great time, and Tegan even managed not to throw up too much (although the same can’t be said for the rest of the trip). We arrived to see Josh Pyke, who was good, but not spectacular. He has a good sound though and singing along with ‘Middle of the Hill’ was a lot of fun. After Josh Pyke we watched the Hilltop Hoods from a distance; they were a lot of fun. From there it was on to The Nightwatchman, who is Tom Morello – the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.
The Nightwatchman was the surprise hit for us this year at the Big Day Out. The Nightwatchman is Tom Morello, the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, doing a solo folk-style act. Equal parts Bob Dylan (think solo act with just classical guitar and harmonica) and Billy Bragg (politically activist songs – I kept waiting for a cover of ‘All you Fascists are Bound to Lose’). The set was awesome – probably the top act of the day for us, on the whole. Highlights were the opening song, ‘One Man Revolution’, a cover of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ with the verses changed to be about George W Bush et al, and a finale where he brought Billy Bragg and Anti-Flag on stage and covered ‘Beds are Burning’ (in Tom Morello’s words, an alternative anthem).
After working our way toward the front during The Arcade Fire (who were ok) and Silverchair (surprisingly enjoyable) the next main act we saw was Björk. In a word – amazing. And fun. Sorry, in two words. (Ok, enough Monty Python jokes already). Neither of us are huge Björk fans, but we loved it. Björk is an amazing performer and she put on a wonderful show. I think her set was the most *fun* I’ve had at a concert for a long time. She really mixed it up between her more trance-like songs and ones that really rocked, such as ‘Army of Me’ and ‘I Miss You’. I can’t remember the last time I basically danced during a concert (and that while carrying a whopping big SLR and lens and being only about 10 rows from the front). We even went out today and bought her album Post, which contains the songs we enjoyed the most in her set. We’re going to listen to it on the plane tonight. The brass band she had with her were also very interesting – dressed and acting somewhere between the Polyphonic Spree and a Cirque du Soleil production. I was particularly impressed at the way they kept dancing whenever they weren’t playing.
After Björk we worked our way over to be in the front row, though off to the side of the stage, for Rage Against the Machine – who were the band we were most keen to see.
They were loud. Very loud.
This was the loudest gig I’ve ever heard – and that’s saying something. It turned out that we were standing directly in front of a massive speaker stack. The first kicks of the bass drum nearly made us fall over. I was still recovering my hearing two days later. The mix was so loud that the lead singer’s vice sounded high pitched and it was somewhat difficult to make out some of the lyrics. But, it was awesome.
They kicked off the set with ‘Testify’ before going into ‘Bulls on Parade’. We loved every moment of it.
During ‘Bulls on Parade’ Tom Morello moved to the front and stood on top of a foldback speaker for the guitar solo. It was amazing to watch – he’s such a great guitarist and it was really impressive to see the way he moved his left hand all over the fret board while working the killswitch with his right hand in that solo. It’s a fun song to play in Guitar Hero 3 (during The Nightwatchman’s set he quipped about being digitised in that game) and it was even more amazing seeing it in real life.
Of course, they finished their set with ‘Killing in the Name’ and of course the crowd went absolutely crazy for that. About what you’d expect really – but still great to be there and be a part of it.
The last days of the trip were spent meandering around Adelaide. We also went to Glenelg for a swim at its very average beach, had a very good iced chocolate at a new-ish chocolate shop called Bracegirdles House of Fine Chocolate (thanks again to Beccci for the tip), drank good tea at the T-Bar, had lunch and read books in the Botanic Gardens today, and discovered a very funky wine bar called La Boheme (most people there were dressed up in retro fashions). Nothing else interesting to say about that stuff, really.