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DaveyBoy's Big Day Out 2010

A fine & sunny Australia Day in Melbourne... What could be better than watching 10 bands over 11 hours? The day started off well since the public transport & gate entry was a breeze. Even had time to buy merchandise before anyone had started playing. Crowd was ok for the most part, and we had no problems with food, water or the toilets. The smaller than expected D barrier for the main stages did change our plans a little (skipped Ladyhawke for The Mars Volta, and had to see 2 bands from outside it), but it was a great day all up & definitely value for money. The following is a list of the bands we saw in the order they played:
1Sugar Army

Always tough to kick off the day's proceedings and I thought these guys did well. Fairly similar to their album really; A couple of great songs, a couple of good ones & the rest was just ok. They sounded really good though, with the guitar-work better than I expected, and the lead singer working the crowd well.

As expected, these guys are sooooo much better live than on record. From the yellow jump-suits to the inflatable lizard & lobster, this was just a super fun set. They're definitely not the tightest or most talented group going around, but the highlight tracks (especially the closing Vitriol.) went off. And man, was I surprised about the large & extremely enthusiastic audience they were playing to.

Mixing/sound problems ruined their opener Simple Boy, but it thankfully got better from there. A really mixed bag of a set, with three tracks in the middle - Set Fire To The Hive, All I Know & New Day - being absolutely amazing... The latter was actually one of the individual song highlights of the day. But the remainder was only just ok. Can't really put my finger on why since Ian Kenny's vocals sounded great & I was really impressed with one of the guitarists.

Couldn't get back into the D barrier after a quick bite to eat as an amazingly large crowd waited for the Brits to get on stage. A sensational set & I can now see why these guys are touted as a great live band. They perfectly spread out the songs they played over their 3 albums and my only concern was playing The Doberman over a 50 minute set. Empire, Club Foot, Where Did All The Love Go & Fire were sensational & the crowd sing-along factor was higher than anybody could have imagined... So much so, that lead singer Meighan seemed far too appreciative to do his usual messiah act. Equal 3rd best act of the day.
5Passion Pit

(Heard 1 song from Eskimo Joe on the way to Passion Pit) I didn't really know what to expect from these guys live due to their lack of experience & the outdoor setting. But it was pretty darn good since the synths & keys worked really well to get the crowd dancing, while the lead singer's falsetto was sufficiently controlled apart from 1 or 2 little hiccups. Sleepyhead satisfied most, while the sing-along during Little Secrets was awesome. Things should only get better when they have more tracks to work with.
6Hilltop Hoods

This may sound silly, but these guys were the surprise of the day for me. Not only did they bring a fun, crowd-involving atmosphere to proceedings, but they also sounded just as clear as on record, which is not always the case with rappers. Furthermore, they showed off their rapping talent, especially MC Pressure who occasionally sped up his delivery to add some variety. They played all the crowd favorites to a huge audience and it just seemed right for the occasion. I know the music isn't live, but the DJ's couldn't be faltered either. 2nd best act of the day.
7Rise Against

(On the way to Rise Against, it was hilarious to see the crowd react to Dizzee Rascal's opener as I think they thought his new album was his debut). It's always a pleasure to see Tim & the boys belt out some songs & this was no exception. Full throttle energy & passion from start to finish, with Tim actually sounding better here than he did earlier in the year. The usual scream-along highlights were all there - The Good Left Undone, Ready To Fall, Swing Life Away and the absolutely phenomenal Prayer of the Refugee - while it was also great to finally hear Savior played live. Tim forgetting the words to the 2nd verse of Hero of War was more funny than disappointing, while the crowd was as hot & sweaty as expected. Equal 3rd best act of the day.
8The Mars Volta

Wanted to see Ladyhawke, but thought we wouldn't get into the D for Muse if we didn't act this quickly. Heard 3 or 4 songs at the end of Lily Allen's set as we waited to get in and she sounded quite good. It's probably a bit unfair to comment since I don't know their music well, but The Mars Volta only sporadically kept me interested. Long songs & lack of catchiness isn't exactly my thing, while it took at least 40 minutes for the ever-dancing Cedric to acknowledge the crowd. Were they mugs of tea that a roadie kept bringing out to him? On the plus side, the music was pretty groovy, while the drummer was an absolute beast of a player.

I can see why people feel they're boring live, but I thought they played some real solid stuff. There was probably one too many tracks from their new album that went down like a lead balloon, but that's to be expected. The old favorites were all adored by the crowd and were an easy sing-along, while a quick rendition of Mumford and Sons' Little Lion Man was pretty cool.

Clearly the highlight of the day and not just because they had the best light show & an extra 20 minutes of playing time on everyone else. Muse were right at the top of their game here and almost as good as when I saw them in early '07. The new songs sounded better than I expected, while their set was pretty spot on apart from excluding Stockholm Syndrome. It was great to get right up near the front and the crowd surge just before they came on almost swept me off my feet. Better was the sight of practically everyone in the D bouncing along to the chorus of Time Is Running Out, which was the highlight of the set. That song, along with Starlight & Uprising were the sing-along stand-outs, prior to the sensational encore which included Jet's Nic Cester coming out to sing Back In Black, before Muse finished it off in grand style with Plug In Baby & crowd favorite Knights of Cydonia. This is going to be a tough one to knock off for DaveyBoy's gig of the year.
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