Has Generation X found its new Big Day Out?
The Big Day Out was built on the support of its core audience in the 90s. It evolved into something far bigger and far different than its humble beginnings, but it was that early crowd that gave promoters the confidence to grow the event.
The need for that one big live music experience every year hasn't gone anywhere.
That kind of event is no longer the right fit for that core audience. Jobs, kids and everything that comes with creeping into middle age gets in the way.
Plus, trudging around an enormous multi-stage festival site loses its appeal after a while.
But the need for that one big live music experience every year hasn't gone anywhere.
This was perfectly evident when the latest run of A Day On The Green shows was announced, and promptly sold out, last year.
There was barely a bad song between the bands on the rock solid line up. And at the Brisbane leg this weekend, they didn't let us down.
Ratcat sounded massive on the huge stage as they reminded everyone just how good their early-'90s output was. Song like 'Don't Go In The Water', Getting Away (From This World), 'That Ain't Bad' and 'Don't Go Now' are enough to attract the attention of the often fickle and overly excited early audience.
Ron Peno thrives on a big stage, so he and his Died Pretty cronies fit in just perfectly here. He bounded around, belting out gems like 'DC', 'Harness Up (Souls On Fire)', 'Sweetheart' and 'Godbless'. To see them playing to so many people was inspiring; old fans were more than satisfied and hopefully the band won some new fans while they were at it.
It was hard to feel joy as the Sunnyboys set started, as Peter Oxley announces before they begin that their drummer Bill Bilson is unwell. Thankfully The Clouds' Raphael Whittingham was more than up to the challenge of filling his large shoes and the band delivered in the scintillating fashion we've come to expect since their return.
Doubts about Jeremy Oxley's ability to perform were blown out of the water long ago, but that doesn't make us any less thankful to have the experience of seeing these amazing songs performed live again.
They dedicate 'Show Me Some Discipline' to Bill, 'Tomorrow Will Be Fine' to Jeremy's wife Mary and, finally, Peter Oxley dedicates 'Happy Man' to his brother Jeremy. Every song is a gem, but it's 'Alone With You' that rouses the crowd most. And that's fine, sometimes it just takes one great song for the whole day to feel magical.
We're just the cherry on the cake.Dave Faulkner
The best moment of the entire day comes when Violent Femmes walk on stage and immediately launch into 'Blister In The Sun'. It's such a simple move, getting their biggest hit (and what a hit it was) out of the way early. But it didn't seem like any of the 12,000 people assembled were expecting it.
The band, who play as a five piece, absolutely slay tonight. They deliver a bevy of hits with a few new tunes interlaced in there for good measure.
'Kiss Off', 'American Music', 'Country Death Song', 'Prove My Love', 'Please Do Not Go', 'Freak Magnet', 'Gone Daddy Gone' – none of these songs have lost an ounce of potency in the years since Gordon Gano wrote them. Seeing them live again just reaffirms what an incredible outfit they are.
Let's be honest, the Hoodoo Gurus are a sure bet. "We're just the cherry on the cake," frontman Dave Faulkner said as the band launched into 'Bittersweet'. They remain one of the great Australian live bands and the consistency with which they perform is staggering.
Every song feels like an anthem by this stage of the night, 'Tojo', 'Come Anytime', 'The Right Time', 'Death Defying' and 'What's My Scene' all elicit monstrous sing-alongs.
By now, the idea of A Day on the Green winery shows being associated purely with the baby boomer set should be cast aside. With it should go any delusion that Gen X will again attend a typical music festival, like a Big Day Out, in droves.
An event on a single stage, featuring a perfectly programmed bill and, perhaps most importantly, a place to sit down, is a more appealing prospect these days. It's a more comfortable way to experience music, yet retains the benefit of packing plenty of bands in at one comparitively lower price point.
There's no end to the possibilities a show like this could deliver on a yearly basis. There are so many bands from the '80s and '90s who are still at the top of their game on the live stage like the five acts we saw at this event.
Who wouldn't love to see a Nick Cave, Patti Smith, The Cure, Morrissey, New Order or Björk headline one of these shows, flanked by a solid undercard? You could name hundreds of ideal bills; hopefully one or two of them will come together in coming years.
It might not ever be the same as those heady festival days in the early-'90s, but the music still sounds as good as ever.