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My Big Day Out 2011

When the Raglan Chronicle asked me to cover one of New Zealand’s largest festivals – Auckland’s Big Day Out (BDO) 2011, I couldn’t resist. Along with thousands of music lovers, I was prepared for one of the most diverse line-ups ever in its 16-year history. With eight zones and over eighty different acts ranging from camp metal heads Rammstein to alternative rock band Primal Scream, the only problem I faced was choosing which bands to see. Here are the highlights of my BDO 2011…
FREAKIEST BAND — Coming straight out of Cape Town to BDO, South African three piece hip hop act Die Antwoord left me strangely surprised with their fresh and futuristic rap. Anyone who calls themselves a Ninja and raps about Ninja’s being big in Japan has to be completely off the Richter! The androgynous rapper Yo-Landi looked and sounded like she had just stepped off the set of The Exorcist bogling her way back to earth in a silk dressing gown. Their opening song Enter the Ninja has the most annoyingly catchy chorus.
BEST STAGE — If you like throwing shapes at a festival, the boiler room had the best dance atmosphere by far. Essentially a giant tent with open sides, it held some super-hot bands such as Kids of 88, Ratatat, Crystal Castles, CSS, LCD Soundsystem and M.I.A. The cheeky Lovefoxxx from Brazilian electro-pop band CSS got so hot she had to strip to her hot pants.
BEST BANDS — Despite the small crowd and the rain, Aussie soulful jazz-pop singer Sia gave a stunning performance on the outdoor Converse Essential Stage. Dressed in a life sized black and white cardboard box, this is a girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously and she was more than happy to interact with the intimate crowd. She sang a selection of crowd pleasers including Buttons and Soon We’ll Be Found.
Later on the same stage, American band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were upbeat and energetic. With nine band members sharing the same stage they ran a tight ship, saving their best for last, Home left everyone wanting more.
Aussie Jam band John Butler Trio is a live act not to be missed; playing the massive blue stage to a smaller crowd was one of my highlights especially John Butler’s solo instrumental Ocean.

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