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News Archives - January 2009

: (B)Rostered Day Off 2009

January 30 2009

Today was a good day to take off work.
In addition to being the day where everyone I work with will be packing up and organising an office relocation, today is the day when the Big Day Out train rolls into town for the annual music festival. This year marks the eighth time I've been, and it's always interesting to see how the experience changes from year to year.

For the past few years, I've found myself cringing at some of the band selections as they get announced before the event — either the lineups were comprised mostly of bands I've never heard of or worse yet, I'd be making mental notes to avoid certain stages at certain times of the day, etc. This year's announcement was different in that there wasn't a cringe; more of a confused shrug... I hadn't heard of most of the artists announced for the 2009 BDO, and the couple that I did (vaguely) know, I wasn't particularly enthused about seeing live anyway.

In some weird way, that actually turned out to be better in the end though. Rather than go to the BDO being pumped to see Your Favourite Band Live™, I just went there with an open mind and absolutely no expectations whatsoever. "Make your own fun" was sorta my motto for previous years when the lineups were a bit questionable, and I was going to test that motto to the fullest this time around. And the tactic worked.

A few elements of the event were organised differently this year, and the changes were for the best — for starters, the ticket check/security/ID check/alcohol token process was so much better this year. Something that used to take 20+ minutes was condensed down to less than 5.

Another thing that changed was the location of some of the stages, with the Boiler Room moving outside to a giant tent and a couple of the other stages moving indoors into the various pavillions. Considering Adelaide is in the middle of a stinking hot heat wave (averaging 40°C+ every day for the last two weeks), moving stages inside was a very smart move and no doubt one that would've prevented some people dying from heat stroke or dehydration.

As for the music itself, here's a quick play-by-play review of the BDO 2009 acts I witnessed:

  • Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! — Very good
    The lads & I got this year's BDO off to a good start with a set from this Adelaide act. I'm not too sure how to describe them, sort of indie rock with a little electronica, topped with some pleasant female vocals. Very enjoyable.
  • Children Collide — Average
    I think I stayed around for one song, didn't like it so I moved to one of the other stages.
  • No Through Road — Average
    Pretty much the same experience as Children Collide above...
  • The Transatlantics — Very good
    Another local band, this nine-piece jazz/big-band setup played a very entertaining set. It had a very old-school vibe to it, and they've obviously taken a lot of inspiration from the soul & funk era of the 70's. I was thoroughly impressed.
  • Lipton Peach Iced Tea — Very good
    Ever since that one year where I nearly overdosed on antioxidants after drinking over 10 litres of (free) Lipton Mango Iced Tea at the BDO festival one night, my friends have always made it a task to scout out the Lipton stall as if changes location from year to year. Although Mango didn't appear this year (so I had to make do with Peach instead), it was refreshingly awesome as always... :)
  • Youth Group — I can't remember
    I believe I had a similar experience to the Children Collide and No Through Road sets (as described above), the only difference being that there is not a single thing I remember about the Youth Group set. The Pants research team assure me that I was there though.
  • The Grates — OK
    Didn't see much of these guys this time around, but I enjoyed their 2006 BDO set from back when they weren't famous enough to play the big stages. Good on them.
  • Eddy Current Suppression Ring — Good
    Although they get points for ripping off King Missile's Cheesecake Truck song, the only thing that prevented me from labelling their set as "average" instead of "good" is the fact that one of the (few) regular Pants readers is really into this band, to the point where he was doing the chicken dance during their set. Don't ask...
  • The Ting Tings — Good
    I only caught the last few songs of their set but what I saw was good. Huge crowd, too.
  • Chilli Dog — Very good
    A favourite drawcard to many BDO punters, this was not the first time I've checked out the Dogs and it certainly won't be the last. Compared to previous shows, service was quicker this year and they improved deliciousness by approximately 10%. Parts of the crowd were not happy with the decision to go with a tomato relish-y bean sauce, but those people were mostly music snobs who refuse to embrace change.
  • TV On The Radio — Good
    I've only recently started listening to these guys but for some reason I didn't think that their live performance did the studio albums much justice.
  • Pendulum — Very good
    This one was very surprising for me because I'm not a fan of the drum & bass genre. Before the BDO I didn't really know any specific Pendulum songs but I knew of their seemingly "trademark" sound with their synthesized leads and low buzzing basslines. They played on the main stage to a massive crowd in the middle of 40°C+ heat and everyone was having a fun time, myself included.
  • Serj Tankian — Average
    The Armenian-American lead singer of System Of A Down makes his second BDO appearance, this time going solo (well, with these guys...). What I saw of his set was OK, but I think the mixing/volumes were not set up right which detracted a bit.
  • Simian Mobile Disco — Good
    SMD provided a nice drinks break intermission for me & the lads under the Boiler Room tent. While I would've preferred to hear Simian instead of the Mobile Disco splinter group, they were good nonetheless.
  • Bronco Burger — Lacklustre
    Although the Firecracker Burger was on my original shortlist for this timeslot, a lack of jalapeņos on-hand meant I had to settle for the Bronco Burger set instead. While fairly nutritious, I found the Bronco to be lacking in quality salad and the bun was a bit dry.
  • The Living End — Good
    These guys often get a bad rap for putting out "bogan music", but I must admit they did put on a good show and the big hot crowd did get into it.
  • Arctic Monkeys — Average
    Despite headlining on one of the main stages in a somewhat primetime timeslot, I wasn't overly impressed with the Arctic Monkeys set. The lead singer did sound a lot like drummer Beatle and ex-Thomas The Tank Engine narrator Ringo Starr, however...
  • Neil Young — Very good
    Proof that 63 year-old cargo-short-wearing Canadians know how to rock. Young being picked to headline the festival made a lot of people uneasy but he put on an amazing show. The 90-minute set was varied with a mix between his acoustic work and the harder electric-guitar rock and it was a very cool performance to witness.
  • Dropkick Murphys — Meh
    After the Neil Young set finished we made our way to the Boiler Room but we made a detour to check out the Dropkick Murphys on a different stage first. Wikipedia classifies this band as "American Celtic punk". I just classify them as shit.
  • The Prodigy — Good
    I've seen The Prodigy at a previous BDO so I didn't stick around for as long this time. The Boiler Room tent was packed though and what I heard sounded as expected.

: Photo Update: Tour Down Under 2009

January 18 2009

Although it may seem entirely out of character for the Pants visitors who know even a little about me, in an unsual twist of fate I've actually been using my shiny new camera gear recently. Well, technically my camera isn't "new" seeing as I bought it in August last year, but this week was the first time in four months since I've actually taken photos with it. (Shock!)

Similar to the Pants update in December where I posted a few photos from each of my August shoots, I will do the same here. The eventual plan is to post proper photo galleries for each event, but I'm thinking of changing how my photo galleries are set up so I've been holding off on doing any major photo uploads for the moment so these mini updates should suffice...

Today's update is from the "Classic" stage of the 2009 Tour Down Under cycling event.
This stage was a 51km circuit looping around Adelaide's Rymill Park.

Although Lance Armstrong was being touted as one of the super special hotshot® participants in this year's event, I didn't actually see him in this race. I'm not too sure if that was because I showed up late to the race (or that I was concentrating on trying to take photos), or possibly I didn't see him because he was busy flying through space. Or quite possibly, he didn't even participate in the race because he is a dick. If anyone had a Lance sighting, let me know...

: Photo Update: SLAM Beach Volleyball

January 17 2009

For today's shoot I headed down to Glenelg to check out the SLAM Beach Volleyball Festival. The festival travels around the country and today was SA's turn. Rather than a professional volleyball tournament, this event was set up so everyday people could get a group together as a team. Although there was a somewhat competitive atmosphere, it was a very non-serious event so most people were there just to have fun.

This shoot represents the first time I've ever shot with my EOS 1D mkIII in daylight — all the previous shoots I'd done were in low light or indoor conditions. At the end of it I was covered in sand (and so was my camera gear) but it was a lot of fun to shoot.

Adding to the non-seriousness of the event, teams were encouraged to show up in "team uniforms". This resulted in a lot of themed costumes such as the Baywatch team (above) or the superhero team (below). Also on show were yobbos, army dudes and some beached whales.

There's more where that came from...: Return to the News Archives index.