20 janvier 2008

Big Day Out Festival

Gold Coast, Australie
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Still full of Rage
An eclectic line-up—including Icelandic pop pixie Björk and reformed rock/punk trio Rage Against the Machine—thrills the Big Day Out’s Gold Coast fans.
Unlike last year’s Big Day Out bill, which culminated in a metal-fest from Tool and Muse, 2008’s line-up was chock-full of X-factor, esoteria and unanswered questions. Organisers had their fingers on the pulse with four of the headliners—Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Björk and Silverchair—releasing some of the most intriguing albums of 2007.
But would Arcade Fire, one of the most exciting bands in the world at the moment, produce a masterpiece or a mess on stage ? Fortunately, the Canadian cult band lived up to the hype. It was often shambolic and overblown—the septet combine horns, strings,marching band percussion and full-throttled singing—but when it all coalesced in surging, anthemic songs such as Wake Up and No Cars Go, it was a euphoric experience.
And would Rage Against the Machine still have the magic a decade after calling it a day ? Would their moshpit top the one from their Big Day Out appearance a decade ago ? If not, would the fresher punk-funk stylings of LCD Soundsystem reign supreme at the same time on the Boiler Room stage ?
And what of quirky Icelandic performer Björk ? What would she wear ? And would she attack the photographers again ? How would her set segue into the political firestorm of Rage Against the Machine ? Would she suffer the same fate as Crowded House at California’s Coachella Festival last year, when over- enthusiastic Rage fans pelted them with cups and abuse ?
Fortunately not. Björk mesmerised the audience with her otherworldly collage of electro pop, off-kilter rhythms, chamber music and techno. Backed by a 10-piece Icelandic women’s choir and horn section in DayGlo robes, she danced and whirled about like a pixie performing samurai moves, letting loose her powerful, at times shrieking voice that belies her tiny frame, before the show peaked in a shower of confetti and an explosion of strobe lights.
It was a strange shift from the haunting, ethereal charms of Björk into the gnarly political rap metal of Rage Against the Machine, but it was aided by the celestial interlude of Lords of Lightning. For 10 minutes, New Zealand electrical engineer Carlos Van Camp conducted lightning bolts from his metallic suit in a truly astounding performance that recalled actor Christopher Lee’s wizard in The Lord of the Rings.
Needless to say, the crowd were pretty charged up when Rage hit the stage.
The band, which recently reformed after a decade apart, had lost little of their power as they whipped the crowd into a frenzy of moshing and headbanging with songs such as Killing in the Name.
The strong political tone of the day began with a powerful set by punk band Anti-Flag, who flew an American flag at half mast to signal the current state of their country. A few hours later, one of Anti- Flag’s strongest supporters, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, hit the stage in solo acoustic mode with his side project The Night Watchman. His politically charged folk songs were interspersed with tirades against the Bush Government. The Queensland crowd included some who didn’t want the mood dampened on their funniest day of the year (“Settle down mate,” yelled one), yet there was also plenty of enthusiastic cheering. Morello’s hero, Billy Bragg performed next, and continued the theme of dissent with a new song, O Freedom, in which he asked “what liberties are taken in thy name”.
But it was the newer bands such as LCD Soundsystem and Battles—who innovatively mix up dance music and punk rock—that impressed most on the day.
Battles, led by powerhouse drummer John Stainer, had the crowd transfixed with their danceable fusion of prog rock, samples, jazz and hard rock. And while Rage Against the Machine were delivering the sound of 1997 on the main stage, New York’s LCD Soundsystem were blasting out their unique brand of propulsive punk funk in the Boiler Room.
“Are you guys having a beach paradise week,” asked LCD’s frontman James Murphy of a smallish Boiler Room crowd, evoking the spirits of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and Talking Heads’ David Byrne, before launching into one of the songs of last year, North American Scum.
This was intelligent dance music for grown-ups but—most of all—it was the sound of now.

Patrick Donovan - The Age


01. Brennið Þið Vitar
02. Earth Intruders
03. Unravel
04. Hunter
05. Jóga
06. Pagan Poetry
07. The Pleasure Is All Mine
08. Immature
09. Army Of Me
10. Five Years
11. Bachelorette
12. I Miss You
13. Wanderlust
14. Cover Me
15. Hyperballad
16. Pluto
17. Declare Independence

sur scène

  • Chris Corsano
  • Damian Taylor
  • Jónas Sen
  • Mark Bell
  • Wonderbrass (Icelandic Brass Section)

habillée par

  • Bernhard Willhelm