A day where one woman finds out she's not the oldest person in Auckland to like music not covered by Classic Hits 97FM.
I love live music - hell I love live most-things. But I really like live music. Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of live music - mostly, I suppose because I think I'm too old for the venues plus: I'm slack.
But I got my shit-together for the Big Day Out and all my ducks in a line for a most excellent Friday-Off.
Auckland turned on a perfect day - blue skies, fluffy clouds, sunshine - it's what we do best of all our weather, I think. Entry into the grounds was easy, quick and event-free. We made our way down to the main stages. Most of the bands Brett and I wanted to see where on the main two stages. We missed most of Steriogram, but were in the crowd for Gerling - unfortunately. Maybe because it was 11am, or maybe because Aucklanders are just like that, or maybe Gerling just sucked that day - we moved to the empty stage next-door and waited for Pluto.
One thing that amazed me all day was how close to the stages you could get if you wanted to.
Pluto was good though Milan's microphone could've used tweaking as his voice was somewhat lost. But by God, he's a beautiful boy. Strings of girls threading their way hand-in-hand through the crowd proved to be a big fucking nuisance and the Pluto set was the first I noticed it. God young girls can be annoying.
The Living End really got the crowd going, woke everyone up [I don't really want to dismiss them, cos they always do such a great job but if you've ever seen them you know that already] and then Mudvayne started. Holy fucking Lord - I didn't know anything could _be_ that loud. I high-tailed it out of the main stadium though their music was still making it difficult to hear anything else until we'd moved way the hell up into the Green and Essential Stages.
On our way we found food, sat under a tree and ate it: people watching. Saw a couple of melted goths - obviously not Day Walkers. Lots of people - all sorts of people. We also passed one of the coolest things I saw - the Silent Disco - I think it would only have been better if they were on roller skates. It looked like an old bumper car rink, and inside people were dancing with wireless headphones on. How cool is that? I couldn't hear any music but they were grooving away and having a good time under the disco lights and balls.
Eventually we found the two entrances to the Green / Essentials stages (not that anything was hard to find: it was well organised) Getting into and out of that area was slow and bottlenecked though - but I decided to become Michelle the Intrepid and went through the garden - agapanthus are hardly little plants! The space there was relaxed and warm and people were sitting on the grass and it was really nice. Making my way to the stages, I saw the lead singer from Good Shirt was setting up with Breaks Co-Op so thought I would stop a while.
The Magic Numbers were playing on the Essential Stage next-door, meanwhile. I've seen them on C4 and they're cute enough but hadn't really stood out or anything. Well the did for me at the BDO. They were completely delightful. They were my Surprise Highlight of the Day. Beautiful, melodic, fun and so much HAIR!
Breaks Co-Op was good too once they got their sound sorted though, the deck never did get any juice so that was annoying. But here comes my second "girl gripe" of the day: Chicks Who Talk Through Stuff.
Why the HELL do women have to talk through stuff? movies, music, church. Just shut_up_! This girl talked honestly NON STOP through 80% of Breaks Co-Op - and it was all utter _crap_ and although I moved she seemed to move too (unless it was just another girl talking through stuff) - possibly due to the really drunk sweaty leaning-tower-of-GUY to our right who kept impersonating Cartman and pushing us to the left. But he wasn't as annoying as this chick who wouldn't shut the fuck up.
That's totally the lesson I learned in 2005: If i'm ever in a relationship ever again, one of my main goals is to not talk through stuff. So, prospective future partner - you can watch Sharapova, and TopGear and A Walk to Remember in peace!
Making my way back out of the Green / Essential Stages and back down to hear the tail-end of Elemeno P's Verona I got into the crowd for the Kings of Leon. Lots of fun there but I was waiting for Shihad.
Now, I'm old - and I know Shihad is really loud - so I did what any self respecting old lady does in such situations - I sat in the stands. I know I know but I don't really like "jump[ing] right now" as much as I used to. Of course they were fantastic - the Shihad Faithful rewarded in spades. Brett had been told by his little bopper friends at school that Shihad was disappointing live - he can now go back and assure his mates they are just dead wrong.
Franz Ferdinand were up next and they did their bit. I must admit I find their music same-ish - I mostly only really go for "Take Me Out" but then, who doesn't - everyone went off on that one. But they were fair live - skinny-legged little Scots they are.
Brett found me in the stands after moshing his way through the last few bands: he was soaked to the skin and having a blast - I had quite a good possie, actually, so I told him I was gonna stay there for the duration and he could leave his backpack with me. He did just that and went up to the Essentials Stage for the main reason he'd wanted to come to the Big Day Out: The Mars Volta. I stayed in the main stadium and watched Iggy and the Stooges "I know where I am and I'm fucking glad to be here" Iggy started. God he's frenetic - sooo skinny - and just plain mental, I reckon: the sea of people surged up and back and "jump you motherfuckers" and Iggy threw himself into the security pit and into the crowd and they just loved it. I don't know anything about Mr Pop other than Lust for Life and if he played it, I missed it - I needed to pee.
Third annoying thing about girls/but it's not really their fault: always a queue for the toilets. There are *never* enough toilets for women. We're not mucking around in there either. We are totally efficient and not talking and getting in and doing what we're sposed to be doing and getting out again. Trouble is, we have a bunch of extra steps compared to a guy's visit to the bathroom and that means a queue forms at every women's toilet at every event and / or venue and it sucks! I'd done my queuing earlier in the day - I'd played by the rules and it took a huge chunk of time - and considering how much water is getting sprayed / hosed around the BDO and how that plays tricks on a rapidly expanding bladder, it's really easy to understand the idea of "bursting" to go.
So I left Iggy for the trip to the bathroom and yes, the queue was long - really long. So I did what any red blooded kiwi woman with no shame does: I went to the Mens' Toilet.
I wasn't the only one, so there was a bit of a queue but it was far shorter than the official Ladies' Loo one. And bless: the looks on the guys' faces - they weren't sure to be worried or pleased there were women in their bathroom watching them pee - and yes, we did glance - but they all seemed too cool / chuffed to protest much. A few questioned our presence but most just had this quizical, bewildered smile on their faces as they left.
That done and dusted, I secured a pottle of hot chips (damn they were good) and made my way back to the grandstand seating, sitting next to a wee White Stripes fan and fed him - he looked a bit hungry so I shared. I'd met a few interesting new people sitting in the stands. They come and they go, and the really neat thing is lots talked while they were there. One sweet-looking dreadlocked young man from Wellington chatted for a while. The Big Day Out is his favourite day of the year and he travels up to Auckland especially for it. Though, he told me, Aucklanders are a bunch of jumped-up weirdos and he's probably right. He also had huge issues with the beer-buying process. That you could only buy one at a time was hopeless, he said, because the queues were so long. Probably a good thing it took monumental effort to get your hands on booze considering the heat.
Iggy finished up and the White Stripes stage looked ready - black and red with white palms. There was a bit of a performance thing going on down the other end of the field with two guys and some plasma arcs which was kinda cool.
Then the White Stripes came out and did their thing. And their thing was good. Really good - when they let us into their little clique which, they didn't always do.
I stayed put for a while, and Brett came back from The Mars Volta a very happy chappy. He said they'd blown him away - were his absolute highlight of the day. We talked about the different things we'd seen while most of the crowd squished out the exits and eventually thinned out enough for us to be bothered moving.
We both agreed we'd had a mighty fine day. I really wished I'd been able to take the SLR because I'd seen photo opportunities all day - but without the better lens (my camera phone isn't good for such things) I just ended up with blurry crap.