Big Day Out Winds Up

Elastica delivered brilliant set at final Big Day Out show. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

After more than two weeks on the road,

Australia's

original traveling alterna-rock music festival Big Day Out pulled into its

final stop for '96 on Sun (Feb. 4). ATN Australian correspondent Alex Jackson

attended the show at the Perth Oval in Perth, Australia and filed this

report:

It was hot, it was dusty, it was loud. It was the final installment of Big Day

Out '96 and it pulled almost 16,000 fans to Perth Oval . Little did they know

that this would be their second to last chance to enjoy Big Day Out, organizers

having decided recently that 1997 will be the final time they take the show on

the road.

Perth Oval proved to be a near ideal venue for the event, which

for the previous three years had been held in the port city of Fremantle.

International food vans, market stalls, side shows, a 3D cinema and plenty of

hair raising rides all contributed to this year's BDO having more of a relaxed

carnival atmosphere than a straight bandfest. The only drawback was the

thinning grass, which by early evening had turned parts of the grounds into a

sand pit or dust bowl.

The two main stages were the most dazzling BDO has

used yet, giant twin domes which were reportedly very similar to those seen

last year at Glastonbury However, the majority of the local bands and dance

acts scored a raw deal - they were crammed on to a tiny stage near one of the

entrances, meaning the viewing area was subject to constant people

traffic.

Having been an Elastica fan since they first appeared on a

Volume compilation back in 1994, it was brilliant to finally see them

live. Minus the problems that plagued some of their earlier shows, they were a

definite highlight. Justine Frischmann, Donna Matthews and Abby Travis were the

epitome of cool, proving you don't have to be a screaming multiple body-pierced

banshee to have credibility. The trio oozed sex appeal (Matthews in short black

skirt and T-shirt, Frischmann in a short zip up velvet dress and Travis in an

ultra tight and white mini) and blitzed through their set despite most of their

lighting and effects being diminished by the glaring sun. "Vaseline" was

introduced as the last song of the set and the band's current tour and

Frischmann tossed her guitar to the floor at the end as if to reinforce the

point.

Masked techno terrorists TISM, despite being one member down,

delivered the obligatory dose of silliness, mock violence and insults, all the

while having giant red phallic inflatables tied to their masked heads. You had

to see it to believe it, but then again, anything's possible from a band who

had a national top 10 hit with the ode to River Phoenix "(He'll Never Be An)

Ol' Man River."

Rage Against The Machine were loud, in yer face and a sure

fire hit with the crowd as they pummeled their way through tracks such as

"Bombtrack," "Killing In The Name" and "Know Your Enemy." Zack de la Rocha was

like a tightly coiled spring, bouncing from side to side as he let the anger in

his belly fuel his performance.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds looked most at

home on stage one with dramatic red drapes proving a fitting setting for the

delivery of songs from their gruesome new record Murder Ballads. Old

favourites like "The Weeping Song" and "From Her To Eternity" also scored a

spot in an intense set which included some rather stomach churning

growling-screaming at the end. Incidentally, rumours that Cave had a coffin and

bats in his dressing room seemed partially founded when a coffin appeared later

in the evening while he was doing a TV interview. And no, pop diva Kylie

Minogue wasn't in the coffin either - it seems her guest spots with Cave were

confined to Australia's east coast.

Behind the main oval on stage three,

punk flag wavers Rancid were giving Cave and Co a good run for their money,

pulling in a huge crowd that danced, shouted, threw sparklers and climbed on to

every vantage point possible, including dump bins.

Porno For Pyros had

without a doubt the most impressive stage set. Fresh flowers were apparently a

Perry Farrell prerequisite for every show and these were accompanied by potted

palms, unusual cut out figures (perhaps inspired by Farrell's recent travels in

Indonesia?), fairy lights and mood enhancing lighting. Plus, the lead guitarist

was wearing a rather fetching bright pink dress. Mike Watt seemed right at home

on bass, though he is apparently leaving Pornos after a show in Hawaii this

weekend. Tricky's vocalist Martine was a surprise guest - especially

considering Tricky wasn't even on the Perth leg of Big Day Out.

Back on the

non stage, Australian ambient pop perfectionists Single Gun Theory delivered a

set faithful to their two most recent albums Flow, River of My Soul and

Like Stars In My Hands - lush samples and keyboards all topped by Jacqui

Hunt's seductive vocals.

Then it was over to the UK's techno chart toppers

The Prodigy, who had everyone dancing and stomping till closing time with their

mix of hardcore beats, chanting, infectious guitar riffs and general on-stage

craziness.

With 34 bands, four stages and just 12 hours it certainly was a

big day out and a big night out too for that matter. No doubt organizers are

already working on a star studded line-up for the grand finale next year.