Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: #BDOMemories

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    But the festival business has changed: there are more, smaller festivals.

    Quite - and I don't think "narrowcasting" is necessarily such a bad thing. Is it just me and are there a lot more acts nowadays who are touring here off their own bat who back in the day would never have even considered adding New Zealand dates to an Australian tour? I’m not a big gig goer, so serious question.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11859 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Quite, and is it just me and are there a lot more acts nowadays who are reaching New Zealand who back in the day, for whatever reason, would never have even considered adding New Zealand dates to an Australian tour? I’m not a big gig goer, so serious question.

    The out-of-town festivals around the new year break have become really attractive to both contemporary and retro acts, I think. They're pleasant places to play and it seems increasingly common for some artists to play more than one festival while they're here. It's a model that's working better than the big-bang of the Big Day Out now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18693 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    I'd *love* to see Soundgarden this year but I'm taking the kids up to Bloom at Matakana for the weekend instead. That probably says it all really! It does seem like the smaller festival market is looking reasonably healthy.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 183 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm looking forward to precisely nothing in the stadium on Friday

    And there is the problem in a nutshell. I think the BDO has lost its way in recent years.

    Through a poor choice of headliners this year, the BDO has been hoist by it's own petard. I mean, let's look at the "big names" on the line-up:

    Soundgarden - grunge has-beens that aren't terribly relevant these days. They headlined at the first NZ BDO in '94, but who the hell needs to see them these days ?

    Noel Gallagher - dull dad-rock, anyone ?

    Kasabian, My Chemical Romance, The Vaccines - spectacularly unimaginative indie-by-numbers, sheep-in-wolves clothing music.

    Six60, Kimbra, Midnight Youth and, Jesus wept, Gin Wigmore: music normally found on the Summer Winery tours. Go figure.

    Not terribly exciting is it ?

    Of the bands Russell mentioned he does want to see, well, why pay through the nose to see them when you can see most of them in a pub much cheaper ?

    The BDO was once a chance to check out fresh, innovative, cutting edge bands. Of late it's played it too safe and as a result Laneway has stolen it's thunder in that regard.

    Incidentally, on Feb 6 it'll 18 years since the first NZ BDO. I know this because I've just dug into the depths of my clothes drawer to look at the Breeders' t-shirt with their tour dates on the back, which I bought at it.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's a model that's working better than the big-bang of the Big Day Out now.

    That makes sense to me - as I said, "narrowcasting" - as opposed to trying to do a bit of everything - isn't always a bad thing. Bigger isn't always better, and while things like the Parachute Festival doesn't do a damn thing for me it seems to found a viable market in a "Christian" demographic that doesn't mean a lot to me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11859 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Soundgarden – grunge has-beens that aren’t terribly relevant these days. They headlined at the first NZ BDO in ’94, but who the hell needs to see them these days ?

    They're actually the big drawcard though. Personally, I get them no more than I did in 1994.

    Kasabian, My Chemical Romance, The Vaccines – spectacularly unimaginative indie-by-numbers, sheep-in-wolves clothing music.

    Does anybody actually really, really like Kasabian?

    Perhaps they're bigger in Australia. As are, no doubt, the Living End, one of the dullest rock bands I've ever seen.

    Six60, Kimbra, Midnight Youth and, Jesus wept, Gin Wigmore: music normally found on the Summer Winery tours. Go figure.

    Six60 are -- for some reason that utterly eludes me -- the biggest band in the country right now. Midnight Youth and Gin Wigmore are also quite popular. Bear in mind that the Feelers used to get good timeslots on the main stages.

    Not terribly exciting is it ?

    Of the bands Russell mentioned he does want to see, well, why pay through the nose to see them when you can see most of them in a pub much cheaper ?

    Without disagreeing that the lineup doesn't really work, I don't think that's valid. To see each of those bands separately would cost of a hell of a lot more than $160. And you'd really only see the likes of Nero as a DJ act.

    There are really only three acts I'm seriously looking forward to at Laneway: M83, SBTRKT and Shayne Carter, plus a few more who might be interesting. But that's still okay value for $127.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18693 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Attachment

    "No Crowd Surfing!"

    but Shihad were majestic in 2008

    You've stolen one of my prospective blog photos, but yes, they were.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2119 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Parachute Festival doesn’t do a damn thing for me it seems to found a viable market

    Isn't it subsidised by wealthy god-botherers, possibly using diverted tax money?

    (I'm told it's quite tolerable if you drop acid, that being the drug-of-choice as it's easy to smuggle and take discretely).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    BDO : only went once, for the sole purpose of seeing Arcade Fire live so I don't have any regrets about its demise. But if they had signed Bowie or Prince or P J Harvey or Deathcab For Cutie, I might have been tempted once more. I think the audience will just disperse across the myriad of smaller summer festivals.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm aware that Six60, Gin Wigmore, etc, are very popular at present. My point was that they appeal more to the Summer Winery tour crowd and More FM listeners and their ilk, than potential BDO punters.
    In other words, they've chosen the wrong bands for the wrong demographic.

    As for my comment on seeing said bands in a pub, of course it'd be more than $160, but I meant seeing these bands by themselves - $20 to see them (and a support) at the King's Arms, Refuel, SFBH or the like.

    Also, my original criticisms echo those of three or four music writers / critics interviewed on RNZ National a couple of Saturdays back. Such people and their friends are more the target demographic these days than I, so if they're not happy I think that's telling.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Ben McNicoll, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Six60 are -- for some reason that utterly eludes me -- the biggest band in the country right now.

    I just hope they don't forget their roots. Or their family, for that matter.

    ...

    I'll get my coat.

    Grey Lynn • Since May 2007 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    If you need your #BDOMemories refreshed...

    Big Day Out lineups by year

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Is it just me and are there a lot more acts nowadays who are touring here off their own bat who back in the day would never have even considered adding New Zealand dates to an Australian tour?

    Apart from BDO, Splore and Laneways, in the first three months of this year you could see;

    Bad Manners. (I did. Shuddup!)
    Beirut.
    Fleet Foxes.
    Damned.
    New Order.
    Sisters of Mercy.
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

    Who else?

    I think we are doing Ok, both in attracting the acts and catering for different tastes.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    I’m aware that Six60, Gin Wigmore, etc, are very popular at present. My point was that they appeal more to the Summer Winery tour crowd and More FM listeners and their ilk, than potential BDO punters.
    In other words, they’ve chosen the wrong bands for the wrong demographic.

    Gin, yeah. Six60, no. They're effing huge with the kids at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18693 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JacksonP,

    Apart from BDO, Splore and Laneways, in the first three months of this year you could see;

    Yeah, good point. That's a lot of scarce entertainment dollars right there. New Order alone are $95.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18693 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I think a friend of mine described the demise of the BDO beautifully:

    "...From the NZ promoter:
    "People are saying that they aren't appreciating this line-up - that strikes me as strange. I think it's strong. For whatever reason we're not selling tickets. We haven't got a roll on."

    For whatever reason???? THE LINE UP DOES SUCK! That's why people aren't giving a fuck. Don't forget as well as the Kanye thing, Odd Future debacle, and the downsizing, there was also the stupid way they launched this year, with the stupid social media drip feed of artists. How out of touch..!"

    And it doesn't help that New Zealand promoters (traditionally under capitalised) now simply can't afford the skyrocketing fees and up-front costs of artists seeking to replace lost revenue from illegal downloading with concert fees. Once musicians could afford to play just because they wanted to do the gig. Not anymore.

    The march to being a fully forgotten musical backwater continues. I've been to twice as many gigs in Sydney in the past year than I have in Auckland. Airfares are as cheap as chips.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1774 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Attachment

    My favourite BDO photo – Sam Scott doing the “IT’S A LIE!” bit in “Nest Egg”. I was up the front during the Phoenix Foundation’s set in 2008. I figured something amazing was going to happen, hit my shutter and hoped for the best.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1851 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Also, my original criticisms echo those of three or four music writers / critics interviewed on RNZ National a couple of Saturdays back. Such people and their friends are more the target demographic these days than I, so if they’re not happy I think that’s telling.

    If they're the target demographic then you're talking about a much, much smaller festival. About Laneway-size, in fact. And maybe that's just where things are heading.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18693 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Airfares are as cheap as chips

    truly a man of the people

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16470 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Memories? Neil Young played what I think was the greatest Auckland Big Day Out show, rivalled only by the magic of the Flaming Lips. LCD Soundsystem were blinding, twice, and Hot Chip were gorgeous. There was Lady Saw at the Lilypad, and The Stooges, with Ron Asheton peeling off licks of thunder, in the stadium. Lily Allen in the tent, Dizzee Rascal and the utter madness of 2ManyDJs. Not to mention getting up to mischief in and around the bFM broadcast room. There’s been a hell of a lot to like.

    Those chime in with my faves (apart from that last sentence). I'd also add that Underworld and Kraftwerk in 2003 were spectacular, Sleater-Kinney in 2006 were beyond fierce, PJ Harvey was sexy and classy, Girl Talk in the tent were hilarious, the Clean were gorgeously droning in 2008, and every time Shihad played, it was worth being there just for the sense of strange community that built up around their performance- the fact they seemed to have exactly the same timeslot and stage every year may have something to do with it. It was almost worth getting squashed among everyone else. Dimmer were always on fire at the BDO, and I think the Datsuns' performance in 2003 was

    What I've liked about the BDO is that it provided a "one stop shop" for people, like me, who couldn't necessarily afford to fly up to Auckland very often to go to big gigs (confession: most years, I didn't have to pay for my BDO ticket, due to family connections, and then due to media accreditation). Ironically, this year, although I could've easily got a free ticket, I decided to give it a miss, essentially because there wasn't anything in the lineup that truly excited me this time around. If I had known earlier it was likely to be their last, I may well have changed my mind.

    Actually, what I did like about it was the fact that even during years that held less appeal to me than others (it would've been my 10th in a row if I'd bothered to go this time), I just liked the fact you could all those people in a bloody cramped area and it didn't descend into total chaos. It was often surprisingly laid-back, all things considered. And I loved spotting trends amongst the BDO-goers: like the fact that in 2008 you couldn't move for fluro, while in 2007 (the year My Chemical Romance first played), it seemed to be infested with young goths whose blackeyeliner melted in the sun.

    Yeah, it could overly cramped and unhealthily sweaty (especially in the Boiler Room), yeah there were times when big acts probably didn't deliver as well as they could, but I will miss it. And I wonder whether we will see its like again, in the age of more niche events like Laneways.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Attachment

    My favourite BDO photo – Sam Scott doing the “IT’S A LIE!” bit in “Nest Egg”. I was up the front during the Phoenix Foundation’s set in 2008. I figured something amazing was going to happen, hit my shutter and hoped for the best.

    I love that song, and I always love it when they perform it live, but I admit I didn't see them at the BDO that year, because I ran into Luke Buddha and he told me to go see Bjork, who were playing at the same time. Which I did. And she was great, even if some of the people waiting for RATM weren't exactly fans.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    Airfares are as cheap as chips

    truly a man of the people

    Could you perhaps take the trouble to explain what you mean by this?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1774 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Another thing:

    Over the years, the Big Day Out essentially mapped itself onto the Mt Smart venue and its facilities, to the point where actually running it was a matter of following the handbook.

    Yeah, having seen how the guys worked backstage at the Boiler Room (fun anecdote: one year, the frontman for Hot Chip was accidentally mistaken for a lighting dude by security, who suggested he should help move some stuff for the next act- which was Hot Chip), I was impressed by how smoothly the operation ran. Thing was like clockwork, and they knew where and when things needed to go, and everyone was on point. It was a helluva slick operation.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    I take exception to Kimbra being lumped in there (to a lesser extent Gin Wigmore, but I understand the sentiment - Winery Tour material if ever there was). Despite her background, Kimbra's doing some really good and innovative stuff. Lady's a beast.

    In the last 10 years, complaints about BDO's lineup have seemed to me more correlated to a predilection to curmudgeonliness due to age, rather than the actual quality of the show. I think the problem BDO lineups suffer most is nostalgia. I didn't go to the earlier BDOs, but I'll bet there was plenty of filler between those era-defining acts everybody remembers so fondly.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    FWIW I’m skipping this year’s BDO because the ticket price triggered my “not-worth-it” mental block. I almost caved when I saw Regurgitator were playing. Then I discovered I could spend the same money on a trip to Wellington to see Gurge in their own show. Ace!

    Russell: not a Gotye fan? I thought *everyone* was a Gotye fan. I’m SO AMPING for Laneway.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

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