Big Day Out : Sydney Olympic Park

Big Day Out : Sydney Olympic Park’s a nigh-on euphoric trip...

“We are The Hives from Sweden!” shouts a sweaty Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, having just disposed of his dinner jacket to the side of the main stage at Sydney’s Big Day Out. “It’s a COLD country. And THIS,” he motions to the hot sun that’s turning the 50,000 people in front of him into pink human glo-sticks, “THIS is like putting a polar bear in a desert!”

Welcome to BDO 2005, always guaranteed to be known as the festival where Corey Slipknot once sat out in the sun for so long his face melted. Like every BDO there’s the regulation ‘zany punters’, such as three fellows dressed as local amphibian hunter Steve Irwin (complete with giant blow-up crocodiles), and a man carrying an inflatable penis. Just like an average day at the NME office, then.

Once The Hives have finished a 14-song set, there’s little to keep us going until early evening: even The Music fail to excite in the heat today. It’s left to Le Tigre to save things with their power-pop, which ends in the vital ‘Deceptacon’.

On the other side of the site, The Streets’ Mike Skinner is regaling the crowd with tales of getting squiffy on Sydney’s beaches and a cover of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’. His pogo-frenzied climax with ‘Fit But You Know It’ makes us even sweatier than we were already.

Over in the Boiler Room The Polyphonic Spree are melting our minds. At least 1,000 punters suddenly wonder what the fuck was in the tab they bought off that bloke down the pub, but for the rest of us it’s a nigh-on euphoric trip. While headliners the Beastie Boys will later dedicate ‘Sabotage’ to George W Bush, today the Big Day Out belongs to the Texans.

Oh yeah and at the moment in Australia, it is summer festival time. In Britain, it is not. Not that I want to rub it in or anything.

Alicia Brodersen