By the time I'd got in, familiarised myself with my surroundings and headed straight to the free water in the media lounge, I got out to catch the 2nd half of Bundaberg, Queensland's DZ Deathrays, a "thrash pop" duo who I'd heard of, but wouldn't have been able to name a song of theirs for the life of me. It's often the way for me at these festivals, but once they cranked out Dollar Chills off their most recent LP, I was in familiar territory, due to JJJ airplay. I think I recognised local band Horror My Friend's lead singer Tom Gordon enjoying their work in the pre-midday sun and they certainly rocked out first up on the Orange Stage. I kinda wished I was there in time for their entire set!
Straight over then to the neighbouring Blue Stage where Bluejuice's stage backdrop left the largish crowd gathered in no doubt of their stance on the gay rights issue and the band themselves were decked out in mankini-type get-up, but with full leggings, all bright, tight, golden and spandex! It was hilarious! The sort of thing you really don't want to look at, but you can't help yourself, especially when they're energetically belting out too-cool up-beat tunes, as they were. Once the keyboard started up for Vitriol their set really lit up, and they kept it going the whole way through. Inevitably, for Act Yr Age the leggings went, and jocks (still bright gold) were costume of choice for the rest of the set. Stav and Jake really know how to have a good time, and it wasn't only the roadie who was cracking a smile as Jake crowd-surfed to S.O.S., and sent us all right off with their massive hit of a few years back, Broken Leg. Guaranteed to put a smile on your dial!
I had wanted to see these guys live for some time, and as the sun started to get really cruel I made my way to the barriers for a close-up of the hard-rockers from Melbourne. Getting hosed down and accepting numerous cups of water from security was all part of the experience as they thrilled the big crowd with crackers from their Change of Heart EP and single Sucker Punch from their upcoming album. Fergus' scream at the start of Medusa gave me goose bumps (it was either that or an early symptom of heat stroke), and their Like a Version of First Aid Kit's Wolf was well-received. When they finished up with Hottest 100 entry Ohio, for a brief moment you didn't give a shit about the heat! Very brief moment it was though, with Grouplove and re-hydration my next mission.
Much needed R&R followed (I was knackered!), and then back to the main stages to check out Swedish lads The Hives. Not really knowing what to expect is the best way to approach a gig a lot of the time, and I was enthralled by these guys. Massive extrovert Pelle (perfect character trait for a front-man) had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and denied us the opportunity to try and take it easy during their set, which was exactly what was needed as the punters started to flag. Go Right Ahead became "Go Adelaide" (SA Tourism could do worse??), ninja roadies added to the spectacle and an extended finish with Tick Tick Boom was brilliant. "Polar bears in the Sahara" they might have been, but I was stoked they were one of Blur's replacements nonetheless.
I had basically nothing left after that brilliance, and knew I couldn’t give Pearl Jam my utmost attention for the full 2½ hours of their set, so I wandered around aimlessly for a while before sitting down in time to see a super, extended version of Better Man before the first encore, and then made my way a bit closer for the rest of their set, which was pretty good timing as I got to see Jeremy, Alive and a cool version of Throw Your Arms Around Me. Ten was a pretty important cassette (remember them!) for me in my early years, so it was good to hear a few off that. I’d seen them before, and they were no less energetic this time around, notwithstanding a few songs short of what Sydney got, apparently. Did I mention it was hot??!! And so, after a not-so-rocking finish with Yellow Ledbetter (I really wanted Rearviewmirror!), I dragged my sorry arse out the door. The last band of the night is always a struggle for me at BDO, I can only be so high for so long!
Certainly for me, another great BDO, I had an amazing time and hope it keeps coming to Adelaide for many years to come. Every act I saw made special mention of how amazed and humbled they were with the Adelaide crowd’s passion for their music in the most unfavourable conditions, so big-ups to us! Bring on Laneway in 38˚C this Friday!!!
Review by Paul Chivell