BluesFest day 2

Day 2 was a whole lot better than at the end of Day 1, I wasn’t quite sold on the whole BluesFest yet as I kept thinking back to the magic that was Woodford, that however started to change on Day 2. Day 2 was the start of a fantastic four days.

1. Bluezone at the Crossroads Stage
Nice group to start the day off. I know I enjoyed their set but I can’t really remember much else about it.

2. Dallas Frasca at Crossroads
Dallas Frasca Dallas Frasca 2
Wow. This duo were rocking my socks. Loved the vibe they had and the atmosphere they got going inside the tent with some great folk rock.

3. Paolo Nutini at Mojo
I only heard a couple of Paolo’s songs as I was passing through to get a Byron Bay Doughnut and from what I heard I was impressed, really great voice.

4. Rodriguez at Crossroads
I got to the Crossroads tent nice and early as I wanted to get a good spot for Bo Diddley and I actually ended up dozing off for most Rodriguez’s set, I really needed the sleep.

5. Bo Diddley at Crossroads
Bo Diddley
Hey Bo Diddley!
Loved this guy, Loved his band (male drummer and 2 middle aged women on bass and keys), loved his talking to the crowd and most of all loved the rap he did where he had the video cameras turned off as he didn’t want it recorded. At the end he got up and did a call and response session with the drummer which was great to see. He is very obviously getting old though. He is 80 though, I guess.

6. The McClymonts at Jambalaya
The McClymonts
I listen to two FM stations in the car, the first is JJJ, the other is 98.9FM (for the best country). My tastes are diverse lol. This meant that I had heard The McClymonts a few times before the festival as they get pretty good airplay on 98.9. Seeing them live was a 100 times better than listening to the radio. They were a lot more country than most of the other artists but really put on a great show.

7. Joss Stone at Mojo
Joss Stone
Joss was good, she really does have an amazing voice. I felt that whilst the songs were great, her showmanship was a bit lacking with the nervous schoolgirl giggle that she kept on doing between songs. Amazing voice though, way better than on the CD.
Had a great backing band and backing singers.

8. ALO with Jack Johnson at Mojo
Jack Johnson 1 Jack Johnson & ukulele

ahh sweet love. ALO or Animal Liberation Orchestra. We all knew going into the day that Jack Johnson would be there for a few songs with ALO. Byron and the fest were awash with rumours about JJ, “saw him out in the surf this morning”, “a mate mowed his lawn the other day” or the message that the festival director posted saying “ALO will give that sound that only Jack Johnson’s musicians – who comprise quite a large part of this band can do. An absolute special for JJ fans- trust me on this. ”

ALO were pretty great but they sort of faded into the background as people were eager for JJ to come out and then when he did the tent errupted with cheering and clapping. The setlist was pretty great as well.

ALO set list.
01 Wavy Gravy Intro
02 Maria
03 Try
04 The Gardener
05 BBQ
Jack Johnson comes on and sings the following with ALO.
06 Inaudible Melodies
07 What’s Gone Wrong
08 Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down
09 Breakdown
10 Wasting Time (IV Song)
11 Mud Football
12 Walls of Jericho
13 Good People
14 I Shall be Released

If you press the play button you can listen to Jack doing I Shall be Released off a The Band tribute album called Endless Highway
[audio:Jack Johnson – I Shall Be Released.mp3]

Finishing off with The Band’s I Shall be Released was so special. I turned to the girl beside me who I had been chatting to through the night and squealed. She didn’t know the song though. Her boyfriend however was Will off Home and Away, which is my brush with fame for the w/end. I was standing there chatting and dancing, the entire time thinking man, you look really familiar but not saying anything and then when we were leaving some people started going, “It’s Will off Home and Away”. Then it all clicked.

After ALO and Jack Johnson I headed back to camp. I had planned to stay to see The Magic Numbers and Bela Fleck and The Flecktones but JJ had blown me away that the others would have had a pretty hard act to follow.

Bluesfest day 1

The drive down to Byron was not the most enjoyable due to all the roadworks that is going on to upgrade the road capacity and the sheer mass of people heading south for the Bluesfest or making an early start on their Easter weekend away. I arrived safely and in one piece. More importantly I managed to find a really great campsite, only a short walk to the toilets and the bus stop as well as having trees on the western side to keep my tent cool in the afternoon sun πŸ™‚

I was quite impressed with how I set up my tent and fly but I didn’t remember to take a photo till I was breaking camp on the last day which meant that the photo wouldn’t have shown much. Funny thing happened when I made it out to the festival site as in front of me in the line was my little brother’s former girlfriend with her best friend, both of whom I proceeded to see quite a bit round the festival. I thought that was funny.

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (myspace) (movie site):
These guys rocked, but alas I don’t have any decent photos so you. You should check them out as soon as you can, the fusion of western popular music with African percussion lines is incredible. The music also is full of meaning and stories about life as a refugee in West Africa. I could take of taken this band home and placed them in the living room and listened to them all day long. This is the music of life. They are pretty heavy tourers so you should check their website for dates and head out to see them.

Ben Kweller
ahh. Mr Ben Kweller is currently supporting John Mayer on his tour at the moment and I must admit that they are two artists that I have known about for a long time but never really gotten round to checking out their music to any great extent. Both put on a really good show. Ben seamlessly moved from guitar to keyboard from sweet sugar coated indie pop to something a little deeper.

Ben Kweller

John Mayer
Before and during his set, the crowd would occasionally break into chants of “Jessica, Jessica” in reference to his girlfriend Jessica Simpson, we all knew she was back there somewhere but we also all knew that if he did bring her out his cred would have gone down with the crowd. He certainly is great with his guitar but towards the end for me all his songs were sort of merging into one sound. Listening to a couple of his songs now though I am really digging it, so who knows.

John Mayer

Wolfmother were up after John Mayer and whilst many people love Wolfmother, they and The Grates are the two much hyped Australian bands at the moment that I just can’t get into at all. So I left the Mojo Tent and wondered over to Crossroads to take in some Ziggy Marley. I didn’t stay for long as my bed was calling me but I enjoyed what I heard. Luckily for me since I left before either Ziggy or Wolfmother I missed the chaos that was the buses on the first night. Which gradually became more organised towards the end of the 5 nights when we all knew where to go.


I got back from Byron round midday today and unpacked a bit, had a quick look at my photos before going to work.

I have had the most amazing weekend, the last three days especially. WOW. Great music, fantastic people, incredible music.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and guests (Bonnie Raitt (2 songs) + John Butler (1 song) + Jack Johnson and Piers Faccini (1 song)) were the closing act of the festival and did an incredible job. It was an utterly amazing, jaw dropping, heat wrenching show. Seriously wow!

This is just a quick post to say I’m home, had a great time and here is a photo. I have about 350 photos to go through from the 32 sets that I took photos at and things to say about the other sets I saw but didn’t take photos. I hope you like your music because for the next little while expect a lot of posts about the BluesFest.

This guy is amazing, this guy is the real deal. This is Ben Harper.
Ben Harper