Big Day Diary

By Megan Gibb, reporter CATHY ARONSON keep up with the revelry at the annual Big Day Out music festival at Auckland's Ericsson Stadium. Click refresh for the latest update, Online entertainment editor MEGAN GIBB

Megan, 11.30pm: Ahh...after a long day of quality music entertainment I can finally put my feet up. And need a rest they do after 40 minutes of dancing to finish out the night. After an extended soundcheck which left me feeling a little antsy, Hatebreed thundered into the brutal hardcore classics they do so well. Jamey Jasta psychs the crowd into a frenzy which only abates after the last notes ring out. Definitely a highlight for me.

Megan, 9.30pm: Well I must say the Beastie Boys have still got it. After an extended Mix Master Mike intro the trio burst onto the stage and into an updated verision of 'Root Down'. Much to my delight they continue in the same vein with several oldies including 'No Sleep till Brooklyn'. Unfortunately I have to leave after 25 minutes in order to make it up to the top field to catch US hardcore band Hatebreed.

Megan, 8.45pm: Mike Skinner is a legend. The Streets' performer put on a low key set, in his usual conversational rap style. But where was 'Fit but you know it'? Gave up standing as he isn't an overly expressive performer and took a seat on the grass despite the lack of a view. Im starving now, and ponder the likelihood of finding some vegetarian food. Someone tells me Fatimas have run out of felafel, so there goes that idea. Greasy oily hot chips may be the last resort.

Cathy, 8.32pm: Shihad walked on stage to an expectant crowd as frontman Jon Toogood exclaimed "it’s really nice to be back playing at Big Day Out".

They delivered a buffet of treats old and new, but came across as preaching to the already converted.

Cathy, 7.01pm: Slipknot have got the main stadium packed - finally - with at least the first half of the crowd die-hard faithfuls. The 'maggots' proved their allegiance when Slipknot demanded the crowd "get down on the ground now" to old favourite Spit it Out. The faithful obliged, only to jump up in a mad frenzy when told to "jump the f*** up". The Kiss-inspired mask-wearing Slipknot fully delivered their hard metal expectations with complete precision. My friend Lisa, normally a dance chick, said "how could anyone not like that?" Slipknot left the crowd with the song Surfacing, telling them "you will not wait long New Zealand until we come back."

Shihad are on next, I'm hoping to see that they play their new stuff heavier live.

Megan, 5.00pm: With snazzy hot pink and blue lycra outfits Le Tigre are eyecatching, pity about the music.

There really is something for everyone at the BDO. I move to the hip-hop stage where fast crew perform to a large crowd. They impress with how polished they are. Bex, the lone girl of the crew, gives a smooth and stylish edge to the boys' boisterous rhymes.

I scoot round huge queues for the bathrooms and head for a good vantage point as P. Money and Scribe take to the main stage. The single "Stop the music" gets thousands of hands in the air. Members of Blind Spott joined Scribe on stage to close out the set. Finally NZ hip-hop gets a deserved spot on the main stage.

Cathy, 4.45pm: I scored an impromptu interview with Slipknot's percussionist Chris Fehn (the mask with the long nose) as they were signing autographs for fans.

First in line to get an autograph was Brendon Lusby. He had travelled up from Tauaranga to see his favourite band "because they are Slipknot". Expecting Chris to grunt, instead he politely co-operated with me answering questions in his strong US accent as he continued to sign autographs - including at one point a girl's chest.

He told me he wasn’t surprised by the long queues. "We know we have legions of faithful fans," he said, and added Slipknot were going to "throw it down tonight - we are really excited". To New Zealand fans he said: 'Thank you for our welcome, it's amazing. We are ready to rock."

I am ready to sit down in the stands and watch them play and then watch the Beastie Boys.

Cathy, 4.00pm: I'm waiting in the autograph tent for Slipknot. People have been lining up for an hour and the queue now stretches across the field. Apparently organisers are worried the maggots might stampede.

Megan, 3.35pm: There's a swift trade in t-shirts and hats at the illicit clothing HQ. Some brave soul is getting a permanent reminder of his BDO '05 experience in the form of a tattoo from an illicit artist. Well why wouldn't you want to remember this day for the rest of your life? Body piercing is on offer here too.

The crowd swells in front of the main stage as Swedish retrorockers The Hives launch into 'Main Offender'. They look quite dashing in their white suits and spats, a change from the t-shirt and jeans most other performers are wearing.

Cathy, 3.30pm: Just bumped into some mates outside the Boiler Room. Greg told me he came to the rescue of two young girls, one looking semi-comatose and rather pasty, sitting on the middle of the throughfare on the conrete. He gave them some water spray and told them to head for the shade.

Cathy, 2.55pm: The Melbourne-based NZ drum'n'bass/jungle outfit Shapeshifter put the mercury through the roof in the aptly named Boiler Room. With live drumming MC-ing and saxophone player, they were the stand out act so far. Heavier than I expected, the build up was huge -  frantic breaks on huge synchs - equals lots of hands in the air.

Megan, 2.20pm: I'm trying to heed the voice in my head telling me to take a seat and get out of the sun - but there's too much to see and too little time!

Political angst is the order of the day for American melodic hardcore band Rise Against. Mentioning their unhappiness with the current US inauguration celebrations, which took place yesterday in Washington, singer Tim McIlrath gets a huge cheer as he urges the crowd to shout "f*** George Bush".

Cathy, 1.45pm: Heavy garage rock girl and The Donnas have helped fill up the main stage and got the crowd moving. They sound pretty cool, or maybe it's just because they're a girl band. There's something really cool about seeing a chick smash the snot out of the drums.

The crowd seems to like them and about ten people have just been pulled out of the mosh pit by security. The water being sprayed on the crowd from hoses is helping.

The big screen is projecting the Donnas to the back rows with rolling subtitles repeating the day's mantra to 'avoid too much sun'.

I'm going to take their advice and head to the Boiler Room for NZ drum'n'bass outfit Shapeshifter.

Megan, 1.25pm: Breakin Wreckwordz didn't get the crowd they deserved on the hip-hop stage but still put on an inspired performance including showcasing the best use of a Britney Spears song I have ever heard.

Into the Boiler Room where DJ Roger Perry is finishing out a set, it's far too hot to stay long. Escaping the blistering hot sun I head for the Immortals lounge at the top of the West Stand.

Unanswerable questions: Why is it that every year I get older but the age of everyone else attending stays the same? Why is it that many teenage girls think it is a good idea to wear a bikini in the mosh pit?

Cathy 12.45pm: The bag check-in was easy although apparently my lipgloss felt suspicious and needed closer inspection. I'm not sure what they thought it was.

It's already really packed, though the foot traffic is moving. It's really hot. Those lovely ladies squirting water are a godsend.

I've just bumped into Herald music reviewer Scott Kara. His hot picks for the day are The Donnas, The Hives, Mint Chicks, Freestylers, Concord Dawn, Polyphonic Spree, Slipknot and Beastie Boys. He also has his last ever interview with Trinity Roots at 5pm. Today is their third to last gig. 'It will be a tribute,' he says.

Megan, 12.10pm: It's amazing. It only took us 15 minutes to get here, thanks to a helpful taxi driver with the inside word. Hint - take the Green Lane off ramp and go down Great South Road. Through the gates and I'm relieved to see some devices such as huge Keep Left signs have been put in place to avoid the gridlock that annoyed me so much last year.

Seems to be working so far as I push past a sea of black Slipknot t-shirts to the main stage where Auckland punk band The Bleeders are rocking out. The crowd has a lot of energy but I wonder how long it will last given how hot the sun is. Recent single 'So Lonely' had much of the crowd singing along and closed out an energetic set.

Megan, 10am: Sunscreen? Check. Hat? Check. Water? Check. There are a few things you learn after attending Big Day Out year after year. No matter what the weather you will get sunburnt. Don't rely on Ericsson Stadium's water supply. Don't take anything you can't afford to lose. (So long Gucci sunglasses!) Wear clothing to accommodate four seasons in one day. It's not a good idea to stand anywhere near that longhaired bogan who has just sculled three beers and been in the mosh pit.

With that in mind I pack my bag and get ready to fight the inevitable traffic nightmare on my way to the stadium.

Highlighted on my band schedule for today are: Rise Against, The Bleeders, Le Tigre, The Streets, Beastie Boys, Breakin Wreckwordz, Misfits of Science and Hatebreed. Unlike previous years it doesn’t look like there are too many clashes in timeslots of the acts I want to see, lucky me.

Cathy, 10am: I just caught the train into town which is doubling as Big Day Out-mobile today. You could spot the festival goers a mile-away. Little Paris Hilton clones, short skirts, boob tubes, caps and big sunnies. Most of the guys on my train were wearing jeans and metal t-shirts. Maybe they were maggots - heading in for heavy band Slipknot.

I really don't have a fav band to see this year so I'm gonna try and get around and see a mixture of stuff. Might check out young North Shore rockers The Checks, girl garage rock band The Donnas (I liked that bumper sticker in the BDO annual), I've been told The Hives and Phoenix Foundation will be good but they are my only clash so haven't decided which, Scribe and P Money will go-off, and Slipknot will go down well for the freak factor. Am interested to see if Shihad's songs sound heavier live and Beastie Boys just for their legendary hip-hop rap talent.

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