Monday, February 07, 2011

Big Day Out - Auckland

Getting around to posting my review of 'Big Day Out' in Auckland, on Friday, January 20. BDO is a summer concert festival,  which tours around NZ and Aus, and features some big names and local bands, as well as DJs & other performers, and vendors and activists. Here's how my weekend went :
Got in Thursday night, taxi'd to Auckland Airport to Waipuna Hotel (which is a bloody long ways to go, $70 cab ride). Waipuna is a pretty posh digs/events centre, a bit far from Mt. Smart Stadium, but they had a great special on for BDO attendees, and most of the closer hotels were booked. So, just chilled in the room and bar, walked around the Panmure Basin.
Friday morning, cab'd down to the Stadium, dropped off at 10am. No line to get through the gates, the longest line was for drink ID wristband (lines were super long all day, in fact). Got in, wandered around to get stages layout & flow - 2 areas had a double stage setup, so bands' sets would bounce between them. Then a large tent for electronic acts, a smaller stage for folksy/acoustic pop acts, then an even smaller stage for the freakshow, "Lillyworld").
So, here's the lineup & approximate times. Most of these I didn't catch their whole show, some I only caught one or two songs, but I had quite a full day:
  • 11am hour - Stereogram; Die!Die!Die!
  • 12 The Greenhornes; Birds of Tokyo
  • 1-2 Ratatat; Wunmi; body painting; Andrew WK
  • 3-4 Lupe Fiasco; Die Antwoord (one of my favorite acts, watched most of the whole show)
  • 5 Andrew WK (one of the more unusual sets - he played solo keyboard, and invited a bunch of peeps to dance onstage with him); Balloonatic

Around this time the weather was sinking, and I'd had hours of walking around, so I camped out in the upper deck near the big stage & video screen.
  • 6 Shihad
  • 7 Iggy Pop
  • 8 Rammstein; Red Bacteria Vacuum (Japanese chick punk)
  • 9 Tool

As Tool was wrapping, there were still a couple shows I wanted to see : Grinderman and M.I.A. However, it ended with a fizzle - Grinderman was delayed due to equipment problems, didn't see M.I.A. starting any time soon, so I took off. Thought I was prepared - the info booth told me earlier in the day where to go for a taxi. I walked down the 3 blocks to where that should've been... but, no taxis, just a couple chartered buses and cops directing traffic. I walked down another half-km to the train station - hundreds of people were crammed onto the platform, but no taxi stand. The traffic cop told me to try the other side of the station, on a busy main street. I went over there, after a few minutes, I did see a cab coming, I waved at it, it slowed down, but kept going, then stopped about 50 metres away to pick up some other people waving it down. Well, I was determined not to let that happen again, so when another taxi came down the street a few minutes later, I walked down the middle of the lane toward it. This one stopped, but as soon as it did, two blokes ran from the sidewalk and piled in. We discussed, fortunately they were going the same direction, so we agreed to split it & I made it back to the hotel about 15 minutes later.
Was spending the weekend in Auckland, so the next morning took a cab over to Jucy Hotel. Much more demure accommodations - single bed in a room, one table, no TV or radio, shared bathroom for the floor. But, about half the price, and I was only in there one night. Dropped my stuff off, and walked around the Harbour Quay, Maritime Museum, then walked down Queen Street, through Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery, to K-Road, hit a few places along the way, made a visit to the Minus 5 Ice Bar, and had dinner at Mexican Cafe.
Sunday headed to Kelly Tarlton's, but it was flooded out a few minutes after getting there. The shuttle bus was still waiting, so we headed back to town (traversing some dicey flooded bridges along the way). I walked back to one spot that was flooded, and took some pics. Then walked to the Auckland Domain & Memorial Museum, which proved to be a lot farther than I thought... But got back into downtown, then realized that just off of K-Rd was the Symonds Street Cemetery. I had about 90 minutes before I needed to catch a shuttle to the airport, it was about a half-hour walk down to Queen & K, so I hoofed it down there again, (realizing that I missed finding it the day before by about 30 meters...). and made it back to the shuttle & airport in plenty of time.