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October 6, 2008 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Big Day Out Announcement

Let us reflect for a moment: The 2008 Big Day Out first announcement was branded as one of the most unexciting in the festival’s history. This is really something considering three of the headlining acts were revealed in one overexcited giggle, as though the organisers predicted that the very thought of these bands was going to make peoples fucking minds explode and just couldn’t hold it in. They thought wrong as (in my opinion incendiary) acts such as Bjork and the Arcade Fire were greeted with a resounding “… huh bah wah?!”

Perhaps this has provided a lesson well learnt since this years first announcement has offered acts that are perhaps no-more-exciting than last, but certainly ones that are more accessible. So then, for those of you who pretend you didn’t stay up till 3am on Tuesday morning refreshing your browser every 20 seconds, here’s the Auckland list thus far:

Neil Young
Arctic Monkeys
The Living End
The Prodigy
Sneaky Sound System
My Morning Jacket
Bullet For My Valentine
TV On the Radio
Simian Mobile Disco
The Ting Tings
Tiki Taane
Headless Chickens (wtf OMIGOD no way!!!)
Elemeno P (hotness)
Luger Boa
The Black Seeds
The Datsuns
Cobra Khan
Nesian Mystik
Ladi 6
The Naked and Famous

As far as local content goes, it’s good to see Luger Boa and the Naked and Famous on there as well as a Headless Chickens reunion (I guess) but the line-up still contains those reliable old kiwi work-horses The Datsuns, Elemeno P, and The Black Seeds who, once productive, are now making people wish they would just leave us alone.

The Arctic Monkeys and Pendulum, although not my cup of earl grey, can’t be denied their popularity. Putting on my seer hat for a moment, the Arctic Monkeys will probably fill last years Arcade Fire slot of 7pm on the main stage, while Pendulum will no doubt crank the boiler room. TV On the Radio are probably the other most exciting name on the bill, but it’s difficult to judge the level of importance they’ll be gifted when it comes to the timetable, considering Spoon performed last year while their audience was still getting sunburnt.

The Prodigy is really one out of the box. I think most people will greet their inclusion with a ‘meh’ followed by a ‘… oh hold on, I remember them. Am I that old?’ With an album due out next February they’re still a dark horse in the line-up; a band who I believe will initially be overlooked, but will deliver and be a standout act when it comes to the big day. And oh, yeah, The Living End … meh.

Unsurprisingly Neil Young’s announcement hasn’t been greeted with a wave of euphoria but I hope it has been with at least the respect he deserves. Although not part of our generation (musically, or any other way) Young’s music is as important in today’s political climate as it ever was and I think it is hard for even the most musically educated of us to fathom what a mind-blowing announcement this is. Neil fucking Young! He is the most important musician to visit BDO since Iggy and the Stooges in 2006, and is motivation alone for going – even if you don’t like his music – no matter what other bands are announced. And can I just say, rumours of Neil Young travelling to New Zealand to do a DJ set are ridiculous.

So in the wake of first announcement I believe – with the exclusion of Young and possibly the Arctic Monkeys – we are still to see headliners for next year’s festival. If the organisers really have learned their lesson from last years announcements there is little doubt they will be saving one or two more special surprises for the next or potential third announcement. This first one contains all the bands needed to get those early ticket sales pumping without letting some cats out of the bag. Maybe this is just a continuation of my personal delusion featuring a duo Sigur Ros- Radiohead announcement (oh my Gandhi-grapes how amazing would that be!?!) but if the organisers are keeping some tricks up their sleeve then Big Day Out 2009 is poised to become one of the best. If not, well, there’s always Neil Young.

Big Day Out is at Mt. Smart Stadium, Friday 16th January 2009, tickets on sale from cool places Friday 10th October, yadda yadda yadda…


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