"The Blues are the roots everyhting else is the fruits" W.Dixon
HENDRIX REVOLUTION: May 18, 2016, Enmore Theatre.
The world lost one of its finest musicians when Jimi Hendrix died in 1970. There really is only one who match this incredible legacy: Mr Randy Hansen endorsed by the hendrix family, having played with Jimmy's former bandmates Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles & Noel Redding. ThisSeattle born firebrand has been stunning audiences worldwide with his explosive homage since the 1970's. When Francis Ford Coppla director of Apocalypse Now wanted the Hendrix sound score for the movie he turned to one man Randy Hansen.
And so Sydneysiders were treated to a very special performamnce & for the first time in Australia. Scintilating versions of "Machine Gun", "Voodoo Chile", "Stars that play with laughing Sams Dice" and of course "All Along the Watchtower" truly incredible so close in interpretation one could be forgiven we we not live at Monterey back in 1970 from playing the stratocaster through his teeth, his voice, his movement across the stage, dress, powerhouse Marshall sound, the band in Ufo Walterand Manni Von Bohr standout providing a knockout driving rhythm section hope you come back soon Randy *****
BLUESFEST 2016: Byron Bay
One of the most diverse line-ups Bluesfest has showcased to date from Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds to Kendrick Lamar's r n b urban assault, Noel Gallagher's rocking high flyin Birds to Shakey Graves gritty solo sound! Bluesfest really did have something for everyone. Blues purists were treated to sets from the Mick Fleetwood Blues band featuring Rick Vito, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Joe Bonamassa & Lucky Peterson. Roots flavours were served up in a big way from Hawaiian Mike Love, The Wailers, The Selector(Pictured). Great local talent in the form of up and coming Marshall Okell & Kim Churchill. Modest Mouse had everyone "Floating On...". Unique talents in the form of howling jazz and grinding juke joint blues from Mojo Juju she had the Juke joint swinging. Eagles of Death Metal kindly graced the stage with the great rock n roll swagger that has made them a worldwide sensation. Blackberry Smoke & Vintage Trouble reclaiming the mantle into the 2010's of gritty southern rock. The Residents quite surreal for those lucky enough to witness the experimental world of Randy Chuck & Bob. As always Bluesfest is a real reward to the senses old and new it gives the audience the freedom to enjoy a smorgasboard of talent from the world stage something which can never be for granted.
RICHARD BONA: May 2015 The Basement Sydney
No doubts the shortest review I have written in one simple word, I would not hesitate to describe the performance as "brilliant"!!! Using a loops pedal and layered vocal lines that mimicked- violin, bass, guitar and percussion on his own a one man orchestra. Both delicate and powerful a beautiful voice.
Bona's unique ability to cross and bridge both cultural and the vast music landscape through a vocal display that was awe inspiring the audience in rapture. Drawing influences from jazz, bossa nova, pop music, afro-beat, traditional song and funk. A spellbinding vocalist and wonderful storyteller. Grandson of a famous percussionist and singer Bona a native of Cameroon now based in New York a revalation. His European, American and cuban band including Adam Stoler on guitar and as Bona joked a"communist" on drums was simply outstanding. Highly recommended. www.bonamusic.com
26TH Annual Byron Bay BLUESFEST
2015 Bluesfest was always going to be in the words of Festival Director Peter Noble
"A huge one this year", blues isn't 12 bar anymore and so very much like the evolution of Jazz - trad Jazz to dixie to latin to acid to free jazz it forms a rich basis from which contemporary artists can put their own spin/interpretation on with the effect of being able to connect audiences young, old and in between. Bluesfest is the go to festival in the southern hemphisphere, a template for this very successful formula. The line-up and performances exceptional. Highlights this year the incredible Alabama Shakes- lead vocalist Brittany Howard incomparable soaring to amazing heights her vocal range astonishing. Nikki Hill- an infectious swagger and alt-blues/country sound that had audiences raving. John Mayall, it should be Sir grandaddy of English Blues his guitar work and grand vocal a privelage to see all at 80 years young. Beth Hart and Gary Clark Jr. just superb..... Clark's ravaging 12 minute solos had the crowd in awe and his ability to give light on stage to his accomplished backing guitatist really what Bluefest is all about this was also the case with Shaun Kirk joining Matt Anderson for one of the most entertaining improptu blues sets of the festival. The young members of the audience swelled to see the likes of :Band of Skulls, Hozier & British India- all showcasing a catalogue of music deserving a headline space on this bill with such a tradition(James Brown, Buddy Guy, Santana et al.) The Gypsy Kings and Rodrigo Y Gabriela together united crowds in a latin flavour of dance and no doubts whatsoever about it if you don't move or shake even a little booty to this you mustn't have a pulse "Bamboleo" majestic. On a local level the likes of Jeff Lang and Declan Kelly's inspired collaboration proving the musical talents on what really is the world's stage.
JJ Grey and Mofro, G. Love and Donovan Frankenreier providing a surf soulful swamp groove once again the musicanship offered a great way for seasoned audience dialogue between songs with each artist. Jimmy Cliff, Jon Cleary and new comer to Bluesfest Paolo Nutini inviting audiences to let go and embrace the reggae, new orleans, soul sounds and we certainly enjoyed every minute!!!! Stay tuned for first artist announcement for 2016.
15th March 2015, The Vanguard
In the words of Robert Plant "Gywn is the king of feel and tone". It is a rare thing to be treated to the blues guitar genius of Gwyn Ashton "One of the best blues guitarists since Stevie Ray Vaughan"- Krusher Joule Kerrang- , based predominately in the UK- an intimate performance
celebrating the release of his latest album "Radiogram" was enjoyed by all. Gwyn's ability to effortlessly switch between axes and from solo to group performance was a joy to watch.
Tune in to hear tracks from his latest release and from his critically acclaimed album prohibition. www.gwynashton.com
7th March 2015
Fronted by reggae master Ras Roni Sydney's own "The Strides"fuse together an intoxicating reggae and urban sound. Their album Reclaimation has rightly recieved much airplay on Bluesradio and the lauch of thier brand new LP The Youth The Rich & The Fake was eagerlry awaited. The band did not dissapoint, a great live interplay between frontman Ras and 2 MCs & backed by a dynamite horn and rhythm section. The crowd skanking from the outset. Latest tracks from the new album will feature here on Bluesradio.
THE BLACK SORROWS
25th October 2014
Tyrrells Vineyard Hunter Valley: Jo Camilleri surely has
to be one of Australia's greatest vocal exponents with a range from Van Morrisson to Elvis Costello like harmonies he led the group through cracking Jo Jo Zepp "Hit & Run" & "Shape I'm In", Van"s "Brown Eyed Girl"
as well as showcasing the bands latest material from The Black Sorrows latest LP
Certified Blue out on headrecords.com. Repeatedly spraying the crowd with water on a hot October afternoon a great band leader and much celebrated band. Catch new material from Certified Blue right here on BluesRadio.
THE CAT EMPIRE
18th October 2014
With their new album released "Steal the Light"the Cat Empire showcased a breadth of talent Felix and Harry leading the crowd in with many of their hits "Two shoes", "So Many Nights".
The introduction of Beat Box maestro Tom Thumb to the stage, brought the house down with incredible vocal -isation, going toe to toe v trombone v trumpet . The latin, jazz, ska, funk and rock making for an intoxicating mix. Not bad for band formed in 1999 & still alive and well in the wider Australian Roots landscape.
FENDER Roots to Rock 13th June 2014
A terrific night and a real Guitar journey through the origins of acoustic guitar
banjo, slide, hawaiian, rockabilly, blues, country and rock. The musicianship on display was first class as was the discourse led by Mr Mike Lewis who schooled us all on the emergence of the rise of the guitar in a historical context. Kevin Bennet from The Flood mad his prescence felt with powerful 2x Beatles tracks and Neil Youngs "Rockin' the free World". A lucky punter also took away a brand new Gretsch Acoustic Rancher Guitar signed by Chris Cheney.
Valerie June & Booker T.
Factory Theartre, Syd.
April 26, 2014.
Labelling her own unique style as "Moonshine Roots Music"- Valerie June' intimate solo performance was a rich and rewarding experience. Her highly emotive sound capturing everything in between from folk ,bluegrass to soul. Fittingly her last song with Booker T: "On My Way" was a real treat. Having recorded with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, lifetime Grammy achievement artist Booker T delivered. "Green Onions", "Hey Joe", "Born Under a Bad Sign", "Melting Pot" standouts. The band including son Ted Jones on lead guitar with "Father & Son Blues" in hot form. Booker T's new album- Sound the Alarm will certainly be receiving plenty of rotation here on Blues Radio.
The silver Anniversary of Bluesfest was always going to be big! A high quality mix of blues and roots artists- big name and lesser known gems the key. On the opening night Beth Hart was an artist I had heard much about particularly her recent collaboration with Joe Bonamassa. Those in the audience witnessed a a powerhouse performance her
versitality a voice range from Diana Kkrall to Janis Joplin and viberance movement around the stage and engagement with the audience resonating throughout the crowd certainly one of the many highlights! The Charlie Musselwhite band an institution at Bluesfest delivered a cracking set of Blues fused sounds- electrifying harmonica at its best. Dr John(pictured) too cool for school- "right place, wrong time" and "big chief" live sensational a wicked blend of rhythm & blues, funk, creole roots & voodoo mysticism. His latest release Locked Down getting plenty of rotation on "Blues Radio". The crowd swelled @ the Mojo stage to John Mayer begining slowly it was not long before Mayer began to blow us away with some incredible solos in a 90 minute set "say" and "I don't need a doctor" highlights. Friday Eric Bibb, Gregg Allman, Joss Stone, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Matt Corby and Jack Johnson were on my list. Sitting high up behind the Hammond B3
Gregg Allman band almost had a gospel feel to it but it was not long before blues/rock favourites "one way out" and "I'm no Angel" got the crowd moving. Joss Stone Wow! There is not much this girl cannot do- soul to blues to funk an infectious voice and talent she had us moving from the get go "you had me" was unbelieveable! Gary Clark Jr. was incredible w/ one cool ass band in tow they played a monumental set "don't owe you a thing" & "bright lights"
standouts. Buddy Guy seriously dam good his rapport with his killer band and the audience amazing true call and response cited as the main man in turning generation upon genaration onto the power of the blues amen! Clairy Browne and the bangin rackets had the delta house in awe the juke joint was jumping the rackets a superb all girl backing singers and awesome horn section tracks like "love letter"
with power and purpose great way to see out friday night.
Government Mule a truly solid outfit Warren Hayes leading from the front with 2x drummers the band allowing for an amazing interpaly between all band members, Hayes actually joined the Dave Mathews band for a killer "all along the watchtower- another Bluesfest rite of passage one hell of a blues jam! Jeff Beck- scintillating, he told us he had an ordinary back up rhythm section hahaha they blew us away. "hammerhead" an epic masterpiece in guitar playing.
Once again Bluesfest gave us more than we could have imagined, the music, weather and glorious food on offer, truly a music feast for music lovers!!!!
John Butler Trio
Horden Pavilion, Sydney, April 11, 2014
Touring on the back of their 2014 release: Flesh and Blood, JBT has cemented itself as if not the premier Australian roots outfit! For the loyal fans who know they will be rewarded each live set, to the new listener who is discovering their 16 years young back catalogue , the diversity on display for a 3 piece is outstanding! Old skool double bass, percussion and dub synth to the pop inspired pieces- Zebra and Betterman to the beautiful acoustic instrumental that is Ocean, JBT rewarded us with an encore including their own unique take on Pharrel Williams' Happy. Perhaps John Butler's performing origins as a busker have really enabled him this unique ongoing ability to connect with the audience. Headlining Bluesfest 2014.
:Merton Hotel, Rozelle Sydney, Feb 22, 2014
A true evolution in sound and performance the Stephanie Marchant Band
is testament to the power derived from strong vocal definition and steely musicanship
.From her strong following beginning with Bride King to the diversity expressed in Mavis & Her China Pigs and now in her own right teaming up with the supremely talented Illya Swec, the band is tight, vocals are strong and the result is a truly rewarding blues sound! "Gasoline & Matches", "Where did the Money go?" and "Use me Up"-Gig highlights.
Her next Gig: March 8th @ the Merton.
: Sydney Festival, Spiegeltent, Jan 10, 2014.
Reviewed by Guy Brookes:
Omara 'Bombino' Moctar desert bluesman extraordinaire put on a mind blowing display. Spiegletent patrons enjoyed 2 sets. The second showcasing Bomboinos new direction, Dan Auerbachs(Black Keys)production inluences resonating in the blues grooves and elongated rythym sections. Influenced by the likes of Ali Farka Toure and Jimi Hendrix Bombinos trance like desert blues had the crowd in awe, the band was in fine form. I was lucky enough to meet him after the performance a humble and an amazing talent. His latest album Nomad, Nonesuch Records, is a testament to the rich and diverse tapestry that is the African Tuareg region.
:Bridge Hotel Rozelle, 31 October 2013
Reviewed by Guy Brookes:
Those lucky enough to be in the audience were treated to a special night- 2 Acoustic sets starting out with a solo set than together with the very talented assistance of Roy Daniel and Ace Follington. Without the aid of his trademark Marshall stacks, Hole ripped through Spoonful, Short fuse Blues, Take me to Chicago and a cracking Demolition Man on the Dobro, no seat required. The slide sound was arguably just as powerful as the electric. For an artist that spends more time touring in the U.S and Europe I hope it is not another 8 years before we get to see one of the Great Blues Slidemen! In the mean time Hole will be releasing a new album early in the new year, his first since 2007's Rough Diamond, stay tuned for an album preview.....
24TH Annual: BYRON BAY BLUESFEST,2013
Reviewed by Guy Brookes:
Billed as the greatest line up since its inception, all Byron Bay needed to do was provide us with was beautiful weather. And so Byron did, sunshine and warm conditions greeted us for the opening Thursday night.
The trick with Bluesfest- is picking out the acts you want to see, but also being open to musical gems, which can be found as you go from stage to stage.Thursday began with Wanda Jackson. With 50 plus years in music business, having first toured with Elvis Presley and recently collaborating with Jack White, she literally had everybody “shakin’ all over”. Possessing a cracking band, including a father and son team, dad on bass and his 15yr. old son who ripped on lead guitar, this was a great way to open proceedings. Shuggie Otis was an act high on the Bill order, known for his chart topping hits in the 70’s- “Strawberry Letter 23”, supported by a 7 piece band, the show had many boogieing to his funky blues guitar. Looking forward to the re-issue of his album: Inspiration Information! (Ukulele sensation: Jake Shimabukuro)Having amassed cult like status on you tube with over 11.5 million hits for his “Ukulele weeps”, Jake Shimabukuro’s performance was eagerly awaited. The technical, complex finger work shown by Jake moving through both Jazz and rock amazed the audience, all glad we could see him on one of the smaller more intimate stages.
.Since the recent 2012 documentary film “Searching for Sugarman”, surrounding the artist: Rodriguez’s re-discovery, had recently won an Oscar, there was a real buzz about. Rodriguez’s piercing, sometimes haunting vocals were an amazing backdrop to the very talented folk, singer- songwriter delivering a powerful acoustic led set. His version of Dylan’s “Like a Rolling stone”, a real show highlight! The queue to wait and get his autograph in the signing tent after the show was easily in four to five hundred ranges!Having been blown away by the Tedeschi Trucks band in 2011 at Bluesfest, I knew they were not to be missed this time around. And so their set on Thursday night was truly mesmerizing. With their incredibly high standard of musicianship, depth of vocal talent and blazing horn section lighting up the stage, I would not hesitate to say they really are the epitome of a modern day supergroup.Local act the Snowdroppers delivered a rocking set. Front man Jonny Wishbone a force to be reckoned with, they had a sweaty crowd swinging wildly with their powerful stage presence.
Friday as the crowds had swelled, so to the quality of music on offer Jimmy Cliff, Steve Miller, Robert Cray, Santana, Trombone Shorty and The Break were on my list. This was Santana’s first ever appearance at Bluesfest and he had the crowd in raptures (Beasts of Bourbon) Saturday’s line-up was monumental, starting out with 2x Grammy award winning: Wilco at the Mojo stage. Playing a wide range of songs, these guys range from dark electro-rock to pop ballad to incredibly graceful pieces. Their latest album “The Whole love” featured on Singers and Songwriters. Next act was Michael Kiwanuka, impressed by his beautiful soul inspired sound, a real find. Touring together as part of the Bluesfest sideshows The Beasts of Bourbon and the Stooges were alt./rock powerhouses I could not wait to see! Tex Perkins aka The Man in Black (2010-12 toured Aust. performing the Johnny Cash story) and band including Kim Salmon on lead guitar and Spencer P. Jones on rhythm delivered a scintillating set. “ Hard for you”, “Cool Fire” and “Lets get Funky” truly rocked, the band in fine form. The Blind Boys of Alabama if not the festival highlight, amazing! The lead singer- Jimmy Carter during “Amazing Grace” came down off the stage high fiving lucky front row audience members. The Taj Mahal trio were in hot form, just so cool. Blending his trademark Afro-Caribbean world blues sound another festival hit.
Voted as the The Best Singer Of All Time by the Rolling Stone Readers Poll ,Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters was a truly surreal experience! Growing up being in absolute awe and still now being in awe of the body of work of Led Zeppelin and to finally see the legendary front man “live” with one hell of a band, incredible! We were treated to re-workings of: ”Going to California” and “What is and what never should be” unbelieveable! Soak it in, while you can, as playing at the same time at the Crossroads stage: Iggy Pop and the Stooges- in the words of Henry Rollins…”Iggy Pop is the heavy weight champion of Rock n Roll”, the set by the Stooges was mind blowing! “I wanna be your dog” explosive! Iggy all time, as he got down and dirty with everyone and those once again lucky enough to be in the front row! Sunday was time for some skanking: Nicky Bombas Bustamento, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Melbourne ska orchestra had the crowd bopping and moving to irresistable beats! Mavis Staples 4-piece band and 3 backing singers were dynamic, she had the crowd in her fingers especially with her cover of The Band’s: The weight. What a voice!
In Bluesfest tradition on the Monday those Blues lovers who caught Bonnie Rait were lucky enough to be treated to a duet with Mavis Staples! What a festival!
Peter Noble continues to inspire us with his direction and ever ongoing commitment to provide a musical feast for music lovers. In what is easily one of the best music festivals in the country! Cannot wait for the forthcoming announcements re: Bluesfest 2014 in its celebratory 25th year.Stay tuned!
Guy BrookesNorthside Radio FM 99.37-9pm Thursday “Singers and Songwriters”www.bluesradio.com.au, email: [email protected]