Tuesday, January 7, 2014

6 Reasons why the Auckland Big Day Out timetable sucks

I'm generally not inclined to use this blog to whinge, because a) I don't like whinging and b) There's far too much of that on the internet anyway.

However, the Big Day Out timetable for Auckland next Friday, announced today, has given me sufficient cause to indulge in a good old rant.

I've been to 10 or 11 BDO's and generally clashes aren't an issue.  Because BDO tries to appeal to everyone and has a fairly wide breadth of acts (this has basically been its downfall, in my opinion), they've generally been able to run a schedule whereby they can avoid having clashes between bands from similar genres or with similar fans.  In fact, the biggest problem with BDO has traditionally been figuring out how to kill the swathes of time in between the handful of bands I actually wanted to see.

Anyway I missed the last BDO (for the record, I was overseas but would've gone to catch Soundgarden), and had basically concluded the whole thing would die an inevitable and timely death due to its failure to pick a specific genre/audience and go hard to provide something great for that audience like most successful music festivals (Soundwave, Laneways, Parachute, Rhythm and Vines, and so on).

Despite my cynicism when BDO's return to Auckland was announced, I was actually enthused about it solely for the fact that they signed Pearl Jam as one of the headliners, plus Ghost who were probably worth a look too.  They later added some more bands to the bill that I was genuinely keen to check out - Deftones and Primus.

However, the timetable demonstrates that once again, the BDO organisers (AJ Maddah excepted, although I'm not sure he has anything to do with the Auckland show) do not have a clue who their audience is, or how to appeal to that audience.  So here we are, 6 reasons why I think the BDO timetable sucks:

  1. Pearl Jam and Deftones clash.  Of all the bands on the bill, they've picked the two bands with arguably the largest number of common fans AND PUT THEM ON AT THE SAME TIME AS EACH OTHER.  Essentially two 90's alternative bands, and they're on at the same time.  Now, Pearl Jam were always going to headline the main stage, so this one should've been avoidable - give Deftones a slot on the main stage earlier on before Arcade Fire, or an early evening slot on the side stage before Pearl Jam on the basis that the Deftones crowd would probably then head over to catch Pearl Jam.  
  2. Pearl Jam and Snoop Lion/Dogg clash.  OK, maybe not immediately obvious, but those are two of the three headliners.  I'm not a big Snoop fan, but I'm sure there were probably quite a few punters (including some of my friends) who would've been keen to see both on the basis that those are two of the biggest names at BDO this year.
  3. Arcade Fire and Ghost clash (also a small Ghost / Pearl Jam clash).  Look, I can't stand Arcade Fire and I think they're hideously over-rated, but I also know that there will be a significant number of hipsters who would want to see both Arcade Fire and Ghost on the basis that they've both got significant hipster appeal - Arcade Fire being the perennially popular indie band and Ghost being an on-trend metal band that has a lot of people talking (no disrespect to Ghost).
  4. Beastwars and Villainy clash.  Let's put two decent local rock bands against each other - that seems like a great idea.
  5. Beastwars are at the start of the day.  Give these guys some credit, they've produced a couple of great albums and have gotten some serious international appreciation, and they would've killed a late night or evening slot).
  6. The Hives get an hour.  Honestly, they didn't even get an hour when they played BDO in their prime in 2005.  Give Deftones that slot on the main stage.  
I get that there will inevitably be clashes.  But I've had less issues with 4 years of Soundwave timetables where the potential for clashes is rampant and unavoidable than I've got with this year's Big Day Out timetable where there should be enough scope to basically avoid big obvious clashes, and the general prevalence of Dumb Stuff.  

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