Culture

Rocktober 2006 Ends

Zeitgeisters,

Rocktober is almost done, so now is the time to complete the celebrations. It has been a pleasure sharing with you the vibes, the grooves and the love that is Rocktober – the most Rockin’ of seasons.

A number of you pinged back a Rock T-shirt photo and you can find the link to these just below. You all looked magnificent. There were many reasons why you chose a particular shirt, but one of you, wrote in some detail the history of his shirt. Read this below – after the links.

ROCKTOBER LINKS

Wear A Rock T-Shirt:
The 2006 photos are sitting here on Flickr.

Ask Mr Trivia:
A reader with a pressing Rock question writes here.

Mr Trivia’s Budget Webcomic:
Low Rez Accomodation responds to Rocktober

Rocktober Poetry:
Lep Loney attempts a poem for the Rockin’ tenth month.

Rocktober Report:
Consultants, Kane and Kane explain the Rocktober rollout.

MARK’S ROCK SAGA

 

In Honor of Rocktober – a true tale of Rock and Roll.

“The crowd got angry, and this one man, He was gonna throw a bottle, he was gonna chuck-a can, chuck-a can, chuck-a, chuck-a, chuck-a…”

Stutter Rap
Morris Minor and the Majors

When it was announced in 1996 that the ’97 Big Day Out would be the last, my high school friends and I couldn’t help feel a little cheated. The ’96 Big Day Out was the first year we’d been old enough to attend and despite falling into the same traps of many first timers – including getting extremely sunburnt and catching throat infections from making out with strange girls – we were all very keen to go back and do it all again.

Alas, it seemed our second Big Day Out would also be our last.

Now, by this stage the Big Day Out had achieved a certain notoriety amongst the youth of Australia as the ‘thing to do’ over the summer. And although we realise that we were pretty late to the game when attending in ’96, it was still hard not to be disappointed when the ’97 Big Day Out came around, and the crowd seemed to be filled with people who where there just so they could say they’d been to the last Big Day Out.

At the risk of sounding like one of those old, crusty rock and roll folk, it used to be about the music. That year it seemed to be more about getting drunk in the sun and starting fights.

But as any festival go-er would know, festivals aren’t really about the music. They’re about the money. Where else besides an airport would you pay up to $10 for a dodgy chicken roll and a bottle of water that may not even be refrigerated? So when it was announced in ’98 that the Big Day Out would be returning in ’99, no one was really that surpised.

What was surprising however was the line-up. In particular, the three main headline acts. The promoters, in their infinite wisdom, chose three bands who not only had very different fan bases, but also seemed to have some sort of personal grudge against each other. It was as if Lees and West were almost trying to start some shit, Jerry Springer style.

So the stage – if you will – was set. Take one year off from the Big Day Out, couple it with a volatile crowd, all waiting to see their favorite band. Add a full day in the sun and copious amounts of alcohol, and queue the first of the last three main stage acts.

Now, although I wouldn’t call myself the world biggest Korn fan, I did at one time appreciate their contribution to the genre of ‘Nu Metal’. Contribution in this case meaning their dynamic and aggressive guitar sound, and not the introducing of Fred Durst and his Limp Bizkit posse to the world. And to the casual observer it seemed that this year, Korn were the crowd favorite. Thousands crowded to the main stage to dance violently to violent music written about the big kids picking on the little kids. Which in fairness pretty much made up the content of their first four albums.

And if you were to look out over the crowd, and see how many people were enjoying the violent dancing to Korn, you would probably think that the band had made some sort of connection with these people. And that by singing along to what was essentially music about wanting to be accepted and to belong, perhaps this crowd got it. Perhaps they understood.

Alas, what came next went to prove otherwise. Queue headlining act number two, Marilyn Manson.

At the time Manson was touring on what was probably his most contentious album – the follow-up to Antichrist Superstar – Mechanical Animals. Without trying to sound too much like a Pitchfork Media review, the album managed to polarise fans and critics alike. While some were taken with the homage-to-David-Bowie direction, others rejected the new Manson, preferring his former, more violent, Antichrist persona. For the record, I placed myself in the former camp. Although I loved Antichrist, Mechanical Animals had become my favorite album of their’s. And if there was a band I was here to see, it was Marilyn Manson.

At close to sundown, Manson took the stage. Opening with The Reflecting God from Antichrist, things got off to a good start. Playing the androgynous angle, Manson wore a large feather boa, sequined top, and I’m pretty sure at that stage, pants. Then came Great Big White World, from Mechanical Animals.

Where the set-list goes from here, I can’t really remember. What I do remember is they played probably two more songs, and at some point Manson’s pants came off to reveal a sequined g-string. And then things went horribly wrong.

It’s one of those unfortunate festival facts. In a crowd of thousands watching a band, there’s a high chance that not everyone watching is a fan of the band. There are some who are just waiting for the next band, and some who are curious to check out a band they only know by reputation. There are some however, who feel that it’s their right, or perhaps their duty, to make their dislike of a band known to all. They might do this by heckling. Or perhaps just yelling non-sensical abuse. Or the even less intelligent just throw bottles.

The rest of the story is Big Day Out history. A few members of the crowd started throwing plastic bottles and cans. Then, despite a blanket ban on glass bottles, one happened to make its way into the crowd, and then the air, to then collide with the head of one of the band’s guitar techs. In my mind, I can’t help but picture that scene from
The Two Towers, where the Uruk-Hai solider with the torch to light the bomb is running through the battle, and from the parapet our heros try to stop him before he reaches the wall.

Alas, I don’t think anyone was trying to stop this guy.

The band stopped playing pretty quickly. Manson tried to weed the culprit out from the crowd, who by that stage had turned already turned – apparently Perth people react badly to skinny pale men in sequined g-strings – and after some embarrassing scuffling with security guards, they left the stage and the between-set music started playing. Shortly after, Courtney Love and Hole took the second stage to begin the final set of the day, not before announcing that “If anyone throws anything, we’re fuckin’ leaving too.”

And that was that. After it became clear Manson wouldn’t be returning to the stage, my friends and I fought our way back through the crowd, and I took myself, and my new – now wet with Big Day Out sweat – Marilyn Manson t-shirt home, having now witnessed another important Rock and Roll tradition.

The dummy spit.

Thanks for that, Mark, You have brought us the Beating Heart of Rock and laid it at our feet for our disgusted, yet fascinated, perusal. You stride this plane like a Rock Colussus,

Let’s do it all again in Rocktober 2007.

Rock and Roll will never die,

Mr Trivia

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