Chuganaut's Big Day Out
Photographer: Patricia from PJ-Artforms Ltd
It's been a helluva summer for Hamilton band Chuganaut. In November they reigned supreme in the first World Battle of the Bands contest, earning themselves a single recording and some new music kit. Then in December they won the public-voted Jack Daniel's Live N' Local contest, which meant that come January Chuganaut were the opening band of the Big Day Out in Auckland. NZM asked the lucky four to share their first BDO experience with our readers...
Our Big Day Out began on Thursday really. We gathered all that were coming with us into Sweet Tooth (our bus) and drove up to the Auckland. After checking in to our hotel, we headed to Ericsson Stadium where we got our backstage and guest passes. We found the appropriate gate and just happened to bump into Mike from Jack Daniels. He showed us around the grounds, then to the Green Stage where we proceeded to unload our gear.
Back at the hotel we met people who had travelled to the event from all over the country. One group had driven up from Dunedin and that's no short trip. Munro represented us, heading to Studio on K Rd to The Big Night Out and catching Regurgitator's show.
The day finally here, it was a early rockin' start. Our equipment was already on stage for us, thanks to the awesome stage crew. We started setting up, tuned up, prepared for sound check and all went pretty smoothly. The gates were still closed, only crew, bands and market stall people were scattered around. Munro's panic at discovering he had no wireless battery was soon remedied by the massive crew - thanks Blair! Our time slot was 10.15 - 10.45am, the opening act of the day, so we prepared ourselves in the wings of the stage - Nail getting a six spike Mohawk and Stu getting his custom head paint. Lil taped up her hands and stretched up, while Munro vomited!
When we walked out on to stage to play, the gates had only been open for 15 minutes, but there were about 2000 people up front waiting for us to come on - lots of familiar faces shouting "Chuganaut". It's a pretty wicked feeling seeing a sea of people in front of you when you're used to a pub crowd. We roared into Flow and heaps of people got into it. Individual heads became a greater mass, a wave of pulsing people. We had a wicked response, and by the end there was about a 6000-strong crowd with hoses going on the mosh-pit! The stage was huge and we utilised every inch. We felt we rose to the occasion, playing a tight, energetic half hour set. Apart from the hairy moment when Nail rolled on some cables and landed on his ass, it was a kick-ass set for all of us. Stu thought that was part of the show.
Time really does fly when you're having fun. We'd like to thank our fans for getting there early and rocking out hard in the killer sun. It was great to be involved in an event that was run so professionally with stage manager and crew who knew exactly what they were doing.
After the set we were a tad parched, so we took advantage of our rider and set out to take in the BDO experience. We cruised down to Tent City, which is where all the bands have their own dressing rooms and gourmet catering. We hung out and did some interviews with newspapers and magazines before we headed off to catch some bands.
We made our way around the crowd exploring all over the place, separating at times, but meeting up wherever possible and hanging out with bands backstage. Many times during the day we were asked for autographs and photos with fans, it was cool to see we had gained quite a lot of new fans and that our oldest fans still are.
We met Slipknot and System of a Down, which was awesome because they are gods and definite favourite performers of the day. We also met Rise Against, Hatebreed, and of course hung out with the boys from 8 Foot Sativa, 48May and Steriogram. Every act we saw was amazing. It was a wicked day and an experience we'll never forget. Thanks heaps for this amazing opportunity.