12 Years a Slave - Chiwetel Ejiofor picking cotton

On Festivals

Today heralded the end of a great Australian festival that has lasted over two decades. I’m not referring to the Big Day Out, whose cultural capital was irrevocably eroded by the influx of teenage, Australian-flag-wearing bogans a decade ago and has limped its way to extinction ever since. No, I’m talking about the Brisbane International…

Big Day Out Lineup 2014

My thought process upon hearing the BDO lineup announcement: 1) Blur! Blur! Ever since their reunion in 2008, I’ve been desperately hoping for these guys to come to our shores. Their name alone has me buying a ticket. 2) The Herald Sun “leak” that wasn’t …actually was! Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam and Snoop Dogg/Lion all…

Against Me!, Big Day Out (20 January 2013)

Against Me! played on the same main stage that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would eventually close at the end of the night. But where the Chili Peppers’ sound was sketchy and inconsistent, Against Me! sounded bold and perfectly mixed, with heavy percussion, boisterous guitars and precisely mixed vocal levels.

Childish Gambino, Big Day Out (20 January 2013)

I got into Childish Gambino thanks to Donald Glover’s acting and stand-up, and was impressed at the quality of his major label debut Camp. It was unexpectedly good, catchy stuff from someone primarily known for being funny. His live show was equally unexpected, with Glover possessing a furious energy and command of the stage. He…

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Big Day Out (20 January 2013)

This was supposed to be the highlight of my Big Day Out. I’m not exactly across the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ entire discography, but with a back catalogue featuring modern classics like “Zero,” “Date with the Night” and the achingly melancholic “Maps” (one of the best songs of the past decade), I had high expectations.

Sleigh Bells, Big Day Out (20 January 2013)

Sleigh Bells’ stage was sparsely attended, due to coinciding with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bloody Beetroots and Animal Collective. Their stage, with darkness swathed in atmospheric smoke pierced with spot- and strobe lights, created an enclosed atmosphere that intensified the proximity; it was like being a nightclub (with enough space to dance!). It didn’t…