by Cormack O'Connor in New Events on Wednesday 26 February 2014

While Big Day Out is an institution and right of passage for any young Australian who lives close enough to a capital city, 2014′s instalment kind of had me wondering – why isn’t this sold out and where the hell is everyone? Perhaps it was that the day fell on Australia Day – a bogan excuse to get drunk and spit “national pride” into the faces of anyone who’ll come close enough to you, or perhaps it’s that the “big festival” is a dying breed in Australia. Whatever the cause – y’all missed out.

We began our day with the perfect amount of angst, catching Violent Soho tear up the red stage as the weather god’s decided it would be an opportune time to rain (thank the lord it stopped soon after). Of course, Hottest 100 favourite Covered in Chrome was the most well received tune (I actually think I have whiplash from that mosh), but other highlights included Muscle Junkie and Jesus Stole My Girlfriend.

Over on the main stage, The Naked and Famous proved why they’re making it big in America, before we moved back to the red stage to watch The Drones inject the day with some well needed doom, gloom and Gareth Liddiard.

The 1975 had girls swooning at the JBL stage as lead singer Matthew Healy strutted around in a trench coat, puffing on a cigarette. There’s no denying these boys have the absolute right formula – pop sensibility and good looks (but not enough of either to exclude males from being fans; myself included).

It had been quite a while since my last encounter with Sydney trio RÜFÜS and in that time they’ve solidified why they’re one of Australia’s most promising indie dance acts. As they got the Boiler Room bouncing along, Californian rockers Grouplove got the red stage crowd absolutely buzzing. The energy these guys (and gal) were throwing out was nearly unmatched – making them one of the big highlights of my day.

One band that did manage to match Grouplove’s energy was The Hives. Not being a massive fan, I was totally blown away by the sheer stage presence of frontman Pelle Almqvist who thrust himself onto the barrier, off the drum kit and on top of speakers.

Things got trappy in the Boiler Room as Flosstradamus unleashed some heavy beats and hoody boy swag, while Arcade Fire brought me to my knees – a religious experience I’m not likely to forget for a long time. The only thing that I can say about my love for the band is that I ended up at the front on the barrier, even after photographing them for 3 songs. Sorry to those I wriggled past. It was worth it.

Snoop Lion became Snoop Dogg once again as he spat a classic mixture of his back catalogue and covers, while Deftones reminded me of a time when Big Day Out’s focus was of a heavier nature.

The night finished with the biggest party set I have ever seen thanks to Major Lazer. Whistles, confetti, branded money, booty dancers and a whole hoard of noteworthy stage invaders (including Flume who was treated to what can only be described as a double lap dance) filled the night as shirt’s were lost, minds were blown and everybody got a little bit turnt up.

Thank you Big Day Out. As always you never fail to disappoint.