Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne.
Good Friday, day two of Bluesfest generated a larger crowd and also a significant downpour of rain. What may have been problematic for the punters became a bonus for the artists as every undercover performance space was packed.
Bundjalung country’s own Indigenous Arts & Culture Festival, Boomerang Festival is back at Bluesfest for 2019 and offered up the Bunyarra Dance Group as a stellar way to begin your day two. Also presented in the morning were the Saltwater Dubai Weaers Group’s Dandi Weaving workshop and Rako dance workshop for those seeking some cultural activity.
Early birds to the event also got to experience the funky Electrik Lemonade, winners of this year’s 2019 Busking competition. The band has just released their debut album. You can check them out at www.electriklemonade.com.
Australian Musician was keen to experience Mama Mihirangi & The Mareikura. Having seen Mihirangi more than decade ago at a music trade show playing solo with just a loop pedal, today’s extravaganza was a revelation. Gorgeous harmonies and a visually stunning performance.
Chicago’s Melody Angel was back on the Bluesfest stage, enjoying one of her favourite festivals and participating in signings and a community radio live to air interview sessions. Melody’s sound packs more and more punch with every performance.
Soon after an interview with Australian Musician (Watch it HERE), Hussy Hicks played the Juke Joint stage, their 6th time on the bill for Bluesfest. As usual Leesa and Julz put in a fabulous set full of passion and fun, playing material from their current album On The Boundaries and the new single Get Ready. Even Julz’ dad Greg got the chance to get up for a little harmonica blowin’.
Direct from an impromptu private performance in the Byron Music tent for the Fender guitar folks, Bluesfest regular Ruthie Foster took to the Juke Joint stage to feed us some of her enticing roots music.
Anderson East might look like he belongs in a cool indie alt rock band but the Alabama-native presents a potent brand of southern style blues rock and soul.
The Marcus King Band’s variety of blues is fierce, an Allman Brothers vibe on steroids. Clearly the South Carolina blues act was delighted with their Bluesfest welcome.
When we spoke to St Paul and the Broken Bones frontman Paul Janeway in a phone interview prior to this year’s event, the amiable vocalist told us how taken aback the band was with their reception the first time they played this festival. It seems today they were simply continuing on from where they left us as a deafening roar greeted their arrival to the stage. Janeway is the ultimate showman, passionate and intense yet cheeky and entertaining too. Concentrating on material from their new album Young Sick Camellia, the band has added a dance edge to their heart-melting brassy soul sound, making their music even more infectious.
Bluesfest attendees are always spoiled for choices and tonight you could witness Imelda May, Norah Jones, Hozier and Gary Clark JR, all offering exceptional and memorable performances but there was one artist that was on everyone’s mind tonight … the godfather of punk Iggy Pop.
Iggy and The Stooges took to the stage and opened with the classic I Wanna Be Your Dog and the crowd went nuts! Gimme Danger, The Passenger and Lust for Life followed, taking us to punk rock heaven. The larger than life, leather-bodied Iggy Pop gave us the classic dances and stances, cursed often and smiled, he was having as much fun as everyone else. Search and Destroy, TV Eye, the iconic punk anthems kept rolling off the stage and into our hearts. The Jean Genie, a tribute to his lost buddy was punchy and dynamic. No Fun, Real Wild Child, the ‘hits’ didn’t stop. The audience was diverse, made up of those who have worshipped at the church of Iggy Pop punk forever and those who just wanted to be there to tell their friends and family that they saw one of the most iconic performers in rock history. They can now all proudly tell their grandkids they saw Iggy Pop.