London is arguably the world’s hub of international music and enjoys a year-round abundance of international touring groups, singers and electronic acts. But with the cooler months around us many of these acts are forced indoors as the winter chill puts the brakes on outdoor events.
While a brisk walk down the cold streets of Brixton to check out The Chemical Brothers or Faithless at the Academy remains an enticing prospect at any time of year, the thought of donning a singlet, shorts and sunglasses and checking out top notch acts in the summer sun makes Australia the place to be right now.
It is that time again and as the Big Day Out, Good Vibrations and Two Tribes festivals edge ever closer, Australian music fans have plenty to smile about in addition to the weather.
BIG DAY OUT
Now in its 13th year, the Big Day Out continues to receive acclaim as Australia’s premier outdoor festival. It is consistently praised by touring artists as one of the best organised and executed events in the world.
The 2006 BDO is shaping up to be massive. Starting in Auckland on January 20, the BDO will jump across the ditch and snake its way down the east coast of Australia, taking in sold out venues on the Gold Coast and in Sydney before working its way down to Melbourne and Adelaide, and finally wrapping up in Perth on February 5.
The 2006 line up is a decidedly rock-dominated affair. Headlining are Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand (left), who return to Australia for the first time since their mind-blowing appearance at 2004’s Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay. With their sophomore album, You Could Have It So Much Better, receiving rave reviews Franz Ferdinand are worthy headliners for BDO 2006.
They will be joined by the White Stripes, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Kings of Leon, The Mars Volta, London-based band of the minute The Magic Numbers, Sleater-Kinney and New Zealand rockers Shihad. The Living End will also appear, as will rising-stars Wolfmother, Mercury Music Prize nominated The Go! Team, Beasts of Bourbon, Magic Dirt and many others.
On the hip-hop and R&B tip, BDO punters can look forward to NZ rapper Dei Hamo. For those looking to sweat up a storm in the Boiler Room, BDO 2006 will feature upfront sets from DJ Ajax, Belgian remix extraordinaires 2ManyDJs, James Murphy, Sonic Animation, and Australia’s premier DJ Kid Kenobi and MC Sureshock.
While the BDO may be rocking this coming year, the same can not be said about Good Vibrations. The successor to the Vibes on a Summer’s Day festival, Good Vibrations is now in its third year and firmly established as Australia’s premier electronic and urban music festival. GV 2006 will be kicking off in Brisbane on February 11 before wowing crowds in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, where it concludes on February 19.
Headlining is none other than the ‘Godfather of Soul’ himself, James Brown, who will be accompanied on stage by a 20-piece band. He will be joined by San Francisco deep house producer Andy Caldwell, Brazilian drum n bass master DJ Marky, NZ breakbeat supremo Freq Nasty, Steve Lawler, Switch, Malente, Pacha London resident Dusted London and the man behind the Notting Hill Carnival’s famed Good Times Sound System, Norman Jay MBE.
Urban artists to appear at GV 2006 include Bahamadia, Talib Kweli, UK hip hop songbird Estelle, Stamina MC and eclectic showman Z-Trip. Also appearing will be the Cuban Brothers who, following their hilarious appearances at last year’s festival, will return in 2006 complete with eight-piece band.
More or less wrapping up the Australian 2006 summer festival will be the high-tempo Two Tribes Festival, to take place in Brisbane on February 24 and in Melbourne on the 25th. BPMs will be going off the scale as trance champion Armin Van Buuren is joined by US house maestro Erick Morillo, Markus Schulz, recently crowned DJ of the year David Guetta, Steve Angello, Max Graham, Lee Coombs, Kai Tracid, Tocadisco and a host of other high-energy acts.
Backed with extensive lighting, visuals and a sound system that will leave some punters hard of hearing, Two Tribes will be the fitting end to an Australian summer of outdoor musical madness.
Does the Big Day Out still rock it? How does it compare to the UK and European music festivals? To find out, keep an eye out for our BDO 2006 review in the coming weeks.