Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Big Day Out (Amusing Stories and Why Tool Sucked)

This is the Hand of God. Isn't that just cool?

Anyhow, this is my big post of the Big Day Out, complete with photos.

As everyone by now knows, the event got moved forward a day, to thus inspire less nationalism. Of course, the opposite happened, and the Australian cape was out in force, including people covered in stick on Australian tattoos. While all this seemed vaguely reasonable on Australia/Invasion Day, it came across as just an act of defiance this time, but what can you do. I began my day by taking photos of the amount of people in Australian capes, shirts, shorts, headbands, and whatever else they had, but had to stop after about ten minutes of that, since all I was doing was taking pictures of people, and not bands. And how can it be a blog post about bands without some dodgy photos by me, I ask you?

The bands this year weren't all what I wanted to see, and I think, in the end, I'm going to have to put a bit of a rule on going to festival things--however big--unless there's a few bands I really want to see. Last year there was Iggy and the Stooges and Beasts of Bourbon and some others, and this year, well, there was My Chemical Romance, and that was about it. Other bands I had seen, or I was curious about, or, as is the case of Tool, sucked as live acts with expensive light shows should not.

Anyhow, I began the day with the Devoted Few and Sick Puppies, which were okay. I just sort of drifted between the sets, before heading up for the Herd's set.

Me, I like the Herd, and before them, I got to hear some of the Digital Primate set, which I also liked. Dance stuff is a bit more hit and miss for me, like hip hop, but I'm always happy to hear cool, antagonist stuff. Which, really, covers both bands.

The Herd set included their cover of Redgum's 'I Was Only Nineteen', which I missed hearing last year.

After that was the Drones.

Since I'd seen the band back in September, I wanted to see something else, not because I didn't like them--far from it--but because I like to check out new things. But D, who I was with, wanted to see them again, and everything else on at the time didn't appeal, so I went along, and was treated to what can only be called a really strange and odd and borderline bad set.

This guy, for example, is a new member of the Drones. If the Drones myspace is correct, his name is Dan Luscombe, and he replaces Rui Pereira, who was the previous guitarist (Luscombe performed slide guitars on the latest album).

The set was just... strange. There was no talking, and near as D and I could tell, the band name wasn't even mentioned. Liddiard, the frontman, kept spitting behind him, and there was just this sense of being uninified and disorganised on stage that wasn't there when i saw them last year. There was a sense, in fact, that the band didn't want to be there, and that seeped into the audience. That their set ended early was not, in any way, surprising, though the part where Liddiard looked out, said, 'Yeah,' quietly to the audience and waved them away, before stalking off stage was.

Then it was time to get my emo on.

D, who was with me, had no idea who My Chemical Romance was, and he lasted exactly one song before he said, "Dude, I am not emo enough for this. You're on your own."

Which left me, of course, by myself in the centre to get my emo on. Which I did. My Chemical Romance is a fairly theatrical production, and it reminds me, in a small way, of Queen. So I sang and danced and had me a good time, in which thoughts of suicide appeared one or twice in each song. If I left with one impression from this, it would be that, yes, I would pay to go and see the band do a solo show, if only I could find friends emo enough to enjoy it with.

Anyhow, D had gone off to watch the Sleepy Jackson, who I saw years ago, and who didn't put on a good live set, and I've been soured on them since. Plus, their latest album just hasn't appealed to me. D also wanted to catch the Vines, because, and I say this in all seriousness, he just has no taste at times, and I left him to that and went and got myself a drink and took a photo of a guy pissing near a sleeping girl.

After that, D and I headed up to the Ground Components gig, which both of us liked. They've released an album called An Eye for a Brown, A Tooth for a Pick that I might check out.

After that, there was Snowman.

Quite clearly, no one knew who Snowman were--they had a small crowd--and I wasn't any different, but I was curious, and they turned out to be quite cool. It's hard to describe exactly what it was, but the little booklet tells me they make sounds that are 'strange, beautiful, jagged, swampy, hypnotic, abstract, punk rock, ambient, loud and quiet'. I also thought they had a bit of surfer like blues in there. Groovy, though.

While D and I were watching Snowman though, the singer from Ground Components passed us, and we watched as a cut girl ran up to him, and said, "Ohmygod, are you the guy from Ground Components," or something like that.

While watching it, D said to me, "I bet that doesn't happen to you."

"It could," I said, defensively.

"You lie."

"It's conceivable."

"It is so is not."

"Like, if I paid a girl before I went to a convention or something, it could happen."

"You think he paid her?"


After Snowman was a bit of Little Birdy, before we took off to hear the Red Riders, who weren't too bad, either, actually. I enjoyed their set, and I was feeling pretty good with the choices made, so far.

But then there was Tool.

Now, I don't mind a bit of Tool. I like the latest album, 10,000 Days, but if there is a complaint that can be made about tool is, really, they get a bit monotonous. Still, I was curious to see the Tool show, because I heard tickets for the solo shows were something like a hundred and twenty bucks, and surely, surely, that kind of money results in a pretty intense live show. Surely.


This is a really dodgy photo. The area around the stage was packed out, and it was a bit too much for me, so I moved to the side, where I could get a bit of space. D had, by this time, taken off. 'You're on your own for this,' he said, half way through the Muse set, but he always said he'd rather the Presets show to the Tool one, and I was cool with that. (Muse, for what it is worth, were okay, but I've never been into the band, and I was further away from that stage as I was the Tool one.)

In case you can't tell in that photo, Tool's frontman, Maynard Keenan, is not at the front of the stage. He was singing, but from the angle I was at, I could not tell from where, and neither could a lot of people.

"Dude,' some guy asked me, 'can you see Maynard."

"No. You?"

"No. Maybe he's not on stage."

I paused. Then, "Does that often."

"I saw A Perfect Circle, right, and he was behind a silk screen for an entire thing. You couldn't take photos or nothing."

"You're shitting me, right?"

"No, man. He's a weird fucking cunt, but he's a genius."


"Seriously." He turned to his buddy next to him, and said, "Maynard's a genius, isn't he? I'm trying to tell this guy about it. He's fucking genius, yeah?"

The other guy agreed, and the two of them moved off, trying to get a better look at the stage, and hoping that they would see the frontman of Tool. Me, I was thinking it was time to go. The band didn't sound bad--they sounded just like their albums, actually, but there was no interaction with the audience. Just music and a big light show. It was, frankly, getting kind of dull, and getting kind of dull real quick.

"Hey," another guy said beside me. "Can you see Maynard."

"Ah." It was an entirely different guy now. "No."

"Is that him, like, in the corner there? Sitting down."

I looked. There was a flash of light. I think it was a roadie, and said so.

"I saw Tool, like, three years ago," the guy next to me said. "Maynard was all blue in it. You couldn't make him out at all."

"Did you see him?"

"He came out for two songs at the end."

"That's kinda fucked up."

"Maybe he's shy, with his millions, you know?"

I laughed, and the guy made his way off, and me, I decided that I had had enough of Tool, so I went and saw the Crystal Method set. On the way out, however, I looked back at the stage, and I saw Maynard, standing at the back with his mike, singing. At least, I assumed it was him. Honestly, it could have been anyone.

I stayed at the Crystal Method set for a bit, but by this time in the day, I was just too fucked to dance for all of it. I found D, who had made his way here, and after a while, we both agreed that we'd take off and watch the Violent Femmes set that closed the night, before taking off. Which worked out well, actually, because the Femmes performed material from their first album, which is the only one I've ever liked, and I got to hear 'Blister in the Sun' and 'Add it Up', and that closed the night off well enough for me.

And I shall close the day on another image of the Hand of God, including it's silver clad operator.


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  • Leviathan’s Blood Film

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. The paperback release of Leviathan’s Blood is very soon and to…

  • A Bit of Bolano, Schafer, and Cooke.

    Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there. Here are a few more reviews of books I’ve read recently: 2666,…

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