Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bluesfest Day Two Review

The day kicked off with an early set from Sydney 5 piece Chase the Sun that really didn’t do much for me. Leaving after 3 songs I headed over to the artist area for interviews with 4 members of Ozomatli and Glen from The Swell Season.
Following the interviews came one of the most anticipated acts of the festival – Matisyahu supported by Dub Trio.

(Ozomatli. Photo: Stereodan)

Influenced and inspired by Jewish teachings, Matisyahu writes with a strong desire for his music reach out to people and make them think. His songs fuse elements of reggae, rock, hip-hop and dub. Think dance hall yet imagine a skinny white guy! The performance was a cultural mash up that I never expected to witness.

The imagery of a man wearing a traditional Yamukah and beat boxing on stage was compelling to watch.
(Matisyahu. Photo: Reebajeeb)

The beats produced Brooklyn’s famous Dub Trio were just as much of exhibition on their own. For many, the trio were the only reason to remain, with legitimate fans of Matisyahu disappointed with his performance. Having never seen either I enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend you check out this act next chance you get. 

Although I missed both, through out the day and into the night I continued to hear rave reviews about The Avett Brothers and Hat Fitz.

At every festival there will be clashes and the debate over who to see can be excruciating. At Bluesfest I chose the international over the local, the legends over the big names and the oldies over the youngsters. I hate to say it but for a majority of the acts chances are they won’t be around for another tour. At age 73 Buddy Guy was someone I just had to see, if not for the fact that I probably ever see him again then for his sheer talent as a blues guitarist

(Buddy Guy. Photo: Reebajeeb)
Since starting out as a busker on Chicago’s street corners at only 21 the man had become a legend and inspired the like of Hendrix, Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Although most recognised for his masterful guitar playing the man has one hell of a set of pipes. Claiming “I can make an old woman young”, Guy still has that sexy swagger of his younger years. Between emotional gospel howls and powerful guitar riffs Guy kept the audience entertained with suggestive lyrics. Guy was amazing to watch and damn right, he’s got the blues!

The Crossroads stage was mostly filled with Baby Boomers waiting patiently awaiting this rock icon Jeff Beck to take the stage. Decked out in an 80’s rock ensemble and holding famous cream Stratocaster, the ex Yardbird was introduced to a wall of applause. His performance was stunning and the man’s technical skill is like no other. Not being overly familiar with the works of either Beck or Guy, I apologise for not being able to recount the songs played.

(Jeff Beack. Photo: Reebajeeb) 
 While Beck was phenomenal we didn’t hang around for the entire set. Without an overwhelming appreciation for guitar instrumentals or drum solos, I found myself nearing boredom after about 40 minutes and battled my way out of the dense crowd.

We reluctantly headed over to the Crossroads stage for John Butler Trio. Sorry to any big fans out there but I didn’t take in much of this set, although I have to admit I did have a bit of a dance to his main hits. Better Than and Used to get High had the masses singing along while Zebra etched it self into my head and didn’t leave until the next morning. SO frustrating – that song seriously sticks!

(Photo: Stereodan)
Finally we headed over to the APRA stage to catch Sydney 4 piece The Snowdroppers. Listed in the most recent Rolling Stone as something to keep your eyes on these guys were a high energy, boot-stomping blues act that will make you feel as though you have just drunk half a bottle of whiskey. Taking their name from Sydney 1920’s slang for cocaine addicts these lads have been on the scene since 2007 and are about to set off on their Do the Stomp Tour.

Drawing inspiration from blues and country acts of the American South, Snowdroppers had a very unique look that conveyed their muse.


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