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February 7, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Big Day Out

It’s a soul-searching moment when you walk through the gates of Mt. Smart Stadium into yet another Big Day Out as you wonder why the hell you still go to this festival. The line-up is 80% hype, the water is more expensive than V, you get covered in dirty bogan sweat as you try to squeeze your way through the crowd, and the bands playing the main stages progressively evolve into the “Clash Covers Band” category more every year. Thank god 2008 was an exception. This year was the year of Bjork, LCD Soundsystem and The Arcade Fire. Beautiful, intelligent music reigned.

After watching the end of an all-too-familiar Die Die Die set, New York two-piece Shy Child enriched my day by flooding the boiler room with the sweetness of Keytar and Percussion. Their sporadic rhythms and fun dance riffs enlightened my life for forty-five minutes.

It was a choice between Battles and The Arcade Fire and I decided to go with my first love and got the best view in the house, right up the front of the D Barricade to see the acclaimed “Best Band in the World” in action. The Arcade Fire lived up to their reputation. It was incredibly refreshing to see all ten members of the extended band giving the performance everything they had, and totally loving every note of their music. They played their set with passion (Will Butler being passionate enough to climb half way up the stage and bang his drum while dangling 15 feet above the audience) and the result was an epic set that will be remembered as arguably the best since Muse blasted BDO last year.

Bjork is renowned for being an amazing – if somewhat bizarre – musician, and I will admit her sound might not be the most suitable for entertaining a crowd of fans thirsty to see Rage Against the Machine for the first time in fifteen years. Thus the wonder that was her set, featuring a laser show and a shower of confetti, was somewhat lost with the retreating sun. Yet I was practically at the festival this year just for her, and she did not disappoint at all. She ranged from the quiet brass lines of Anchor Song to the heavier electronics of Army of Me and Hyperballad. It was a show of hits and favourites, and although she went largely unappreciated Bjork was magnificent. And god I love that accent.

LCD Soundsystem should close every Big Day Out. I will put this as simply as I can: they fucking rock. I was so happy to hear the incredible new single All My Friends live and danced myself silly. The epic anthem that is Tribulations also featured in the setlist as did North American Scum and Daft Punk is Playing at My House. It is impossible to exaggerate on how overdue and how good this set was. LCD have to be one of the most under-credited bands on the planet.

They were the tasty frosting on my musical cake. For the first time in Big Day Out history I went home completely satisfied.

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