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Infectious Grooves

Report and photos by Jason Rosewarne

Day 5 might have been the quietest of the festival in terms of crowd numbers, but certainly not in terms of the music presented.

We arrived early today in time to catch the fabulous Hussy Hicks on the big Crossroads Stage to kick off the final days’ entertainment. They also invited a few special guests up to play, including their buddy, guitar slinger Minnie Marks. It’s been a pleasure to watch the development of Hussy Hicks over many years and many Bluesfest events into this internationally acclaimed live outfit.

Next door at Mojo we caught Bluesfest debutants Little Quirks from the Central Coast of NSW, who put on two fabulous shows across the weekend. Their maturity of songcraft and performance, complete with their top shelf harmonies will ensure that we’ll be seeing more and more of this band on bigger stages around the country.

Getting the party started over at Delta was multi-talented guitarist, singer, rapper and songwriter Jerome Williams. It has to be seen to be believed what he can do with a guitar and a microphone. While the crowds in general lapped up his brand of soul, funk and RnB, lucky VIP patrons got to experience the man up close and personal over the weekend too.

We headed over to Jambalaya to check out the local area High School showcase and there’s certainly no shortage of up-and-coming talent that we’ll be seeing play their own shows in years to come. A nice touch by Bluesfest organisers.

Playing her third show for the festival was Katie Melua, one of Britain’s most successful artists who tells us that it was a difficult decision to put her music career on hold to start a family which she’s successfully managed to do. Opening with the glorious ‘A Love Like That’ Katie displayed her flawless vocal prowess and continued to impress with her dramatic ballads and command of the audience. Ending her set with a steamy, spirited version of Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues, I’m sure Katie left the stage with a host of new converts that might not have existed prior to her successful Bluesfest shows.

Canadian Folk Blues artist Harry Manx played his usual mesmerising, chilled mix of Eastern and Western blues on his Mohan Veena, placing his audience into a relaxed, trance-like state of mind, with local keyboard wiz Clayton Doley added his magic to the mix.

Longtime Bluesfest faves The Waifs eased into their set with the gentle Bridal Train, before getting a little more rustic with ‘Fisherman’s Daughter’ from their Up All Night album. As the night went on, the energy intensified, courtesy of Waifs’ staples such as Lighthouse, London Still and the uplifting Crazy Train. Following The Waifs we just had to get ourselves another dose of Nashville based storytelling funny man Steve Poltz. It’s impossible to leave his set without smile on your dial.

Highlight of the festival artists (in our humble opinion), Here Come The Mummies drew a huge crowd for their fourth set of the weekend under the Mojo Big Top. Who knew a heavily bandaged, ancient group of Mesopotamians could inflict so much soulful joy upon us.

While Playing For Change Band closed out the Delta tent and The Turner Brown Band finished up proceedings at Jambalaya, we chose to end our festival under the Mojo Big Top with funkmeisters Infectious Grooves.

Infectious Grooves made it plain and clear why they were here at Bluesfest, opening with an energetic ’These Freaks Are Here to Party’. Think Parliament-Funkadelic and add a little extra attitude and punk ethos and you’re part of the way there. With such a menacing rhythm section of Metallica’s Robert Trujillo on bass and Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg on drums, they were always sure to deliver a deep bottom end to power the band’s funky rhythms, as evident on Bowie’s ‘Fame’ and the chaotic ‘Violent & Funky’. The band was originally conceived as a side project for Suicidal Tendencies’ singer Mike Muir. It was apt that they left the Bluesfest throng battered and bruised with three intoxicating Suicidal Tendencies tracks, finishing us off with ‘Pledge your Allegiance’.

As Kevin Costner famously said in the classic film Field of Dreams … ‘Build it and they will come!’ Congratulations to Peter Noble and the Bluesfest team for going the distance, having faith in Australia’s music loving fans and delivering yet another world class event. “Bluesfest will be 125 million per-cent back in 2025,” Noble told us in a press release today. “I have booked many, many editions of Bluesfest in the past, but I have not had one come together as well as this one did in so many ways … Tickets for the four-day Bluesfest 2025 are on sale now.

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