When I arrived to Sydney, a friend who has been here since 2006 told me about this festival called Big Day Out he once attended in order to see Björk. Apparently it was full of drunk and/or stoned teenagers so I thought “I’ll never go there”. But then BDO 2011 lineup was released and guess who was the main act? Tool. One of the two bands that have been my greatest musical influences ever, which I had never seen live. When the news came out that they were not playing side shows in Sydney I had to decide whether to fly to Brisbane or Melbourne or attend the BDO here. The most sensible choice was to stay in Sydney, in part to avoid the cost of air tickets and accommodation, but also to save annual leave days. Deftones and Rammstein were in the lineup, too, so why not?
Australia Day was hot and humid. Thankfully, not as hot as last year’s. Alvaro and I arrived to the Olympic Park around 4 pm and walked around looking for the orange stage. I had brought my camera, supposedly to take some pics of the bands, but I couldn’t help myself and snapped a few food shots. There were more stalls than I thought, some of them selling stuff I hadn’t seen before in Sydney (only in food websites from the US like This Is Why You’re Fat). As usual, the majority of the food was junk food, exactly the kind of things you crave when you’re drinking. Refreshing stuff like ice cream, lemonade and frozen cocktails were big sellers, too.
I bought a beer right before going to see Deftones. I hadn’t listened to them for about 7 years, it was nice to hear old stuff from Around The Fur and White Pony, made me feel a bit younger. It was hot and humid so the first thing we ate when the show ended was gelato. Alvaro’s scoop of forest fruits was half melted because the cold display was facing the sun, but he liked it anyway. My scoop of choc mint was pretty average in flavour but refreshing.
Then we started to walk around looking for a shade to sit under, checking out bands in case we liked one (we didn’t), getting re-hydrated. Alvaro got hungry and bought a small “smoked meat delight” pizza at a The Wood Fired Oven. The topping, according to the menu, had deliciously tasty smoked ham, pepperoni, cabanossi, quality mince and cheese. The crust was thick (not my favourite) and not oily at all. It was quite expensive but surprisingly good.
Smoked meat delight pizza ($10)
There were a few things that grabbed my attention. There was a Spanthai stall: Spanish & Thai Food in one place (paella, pad Thai, pad see ew, chicken satay, spicy chicken wings with sweet chili sauce). Don’t know about you but I try to avoid eateries with such mixed identities.
There was a neon sign announcing “good food” on top of a hot display with footlong dagwood dogs (sausages on a stick, battered and fried) and other deep fried junk. Sarcastic, huh?
Alvaro wanted more ice cream so he got a caramel thickshake. Flavour-wise it was better than Peters but worse than proper gelato. But what would you expect from a pink ice cream caravan?
Caramel thickshake ($7)
I’m not a cocktail person but with that temperature frozen cocktails suddenly looked very attractive to me. Alvaro got a Vodka Pash (passion fruit flavour) and I a Lime Margarita. They were awful, especially the vodka one. They tasted like paint (or like what I imagine paint tastes like). But they did the job of cooling us down. We drank them while listening to Wolfmother (which Alvaro kinda liked and I didn’t).
Frozen cocktails ($12 each)
Then we headed to the orange stage to see Rammstein. We had the bad luck of having to wait while Iggy Pop finished his act. He sucks. Rammstein’s show was good. I liked some of the songs (mainly the music) and the fire/fireworks display was impressive. Before they finished we moved to the blue stage (which was next to the orange) hoping to find a spot in the front. Unfortunately it was packed, so we stayed in the middle. Tool started a few minutes late, but it didn’t matter to me. Many people have said they sucked, mainly because they compared their act on stage to Rammstein’s. I think those people know anything about Tool. Tool is about the music and Adam Jones’ artwork. Granted, Maynard James Keenan’s voice faded a few times but the music was flawless.