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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 23, 2019

Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne

The final day of Bluesfest always comes with mixed blessings. One one hand you never want it to end, on the other … five days of flitting between stages can take its toll on you physically. Day 5 is also chance to catch up on those acts you’ve heard so much about from other festival-goers but haven’t had the opportunity to see for yourself.

Mama Mihirangi and The Mareikura were back again and were definitely one of the most talked about bands at the event. Visually stunning and beautiful sounding, ur photographer Jason Rosewarne had a ball shooting them. Thando has been gaining much attention in Melbourne with her huge voice and infectious smile, it was Bluesfest’s turn to enjoy this great entertainer. Caiti Baker was sounding mighty melodic and soulful too under the Delta tent.

Samantha Fish and band used their final performance to confirm that they were one of the most popular bands at the festival this year, with their powerful rock, soul and blues favours. As Samantha told Australian Musician, she’s begging to come back again.

St Paul and The Broken Bones are eternally a Bluesfest favourite and a large crowd had come to see their farewell Australian performance for 2019. While early in the set, frontman Paul Janeway’s energy seemed a tad low, little by little he ramped it up and ended up out in the crowd by the mixing desk to a huge ovation.

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats play a soulful brand of alt-country rock, part Springsteen, part Mellencamp but certainly no copycats, they’ve got a dynamic look and sound of their own.

Over at the Mojo tent Lukas Nelson and The Promise of The Real were joined by members of Yothu Yindi and blew the crowd away, particularly with their piping hot version of Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World.

Just as I thought I’d seen everything and felt all the feels available from the amazing line up at this year’s festival, then came Vintage Trouble’s final show. From the get-go the band were determined to deliver a memorable set but what they gave us was one of the most extraordinary rock n roll shows I’ve ever witnessed. Frontman Ty Taylor is relentless, he prods, nudges and urges the crowd constantly to get involved. He dances like James Brown, sings like an angel and plays trombone like a muthafather! As St Paul’s Paul Janeaway did earlier, Ty took to the crowd but unlike Janeway, he didn’t walk, he crowd surfed there … and back … doing hand stands over the crowd along the way. The energy in the room was tangible, this was rock n soul at it’s most electric. By the set’s end he was exhausted .. but weren’t we all.

Jack White and The Saboteurs followed, almost running to the stage they were so keen to get stuck into it. The band committed to a good time and the audience did too, everyone was on the same rocking’ page. Across the road in the Mojo tent Paul Kelly and friends were preaching to the converted, offering one Australian classic after another.

No matter how hard you plan, it’s impossible to see everyone at Bluesfest that you want to but as sure as hell, you’re going to experience world class entertainment of the highest quality and you’re going to discover one or two artists who will become your new favourite act. Peter Noble’s festival delivers year in, year out and and nobody that attended this year can say they weren’t at the best 30th birthday party they’ve ever been to. Happy 30th Bluesfest and thanks for the memories.


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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 22, 2019

Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne.

For many punters on a  3 day pass, Easter Sunday was their last chance to soak up the Bluesfest fare. Those on a 5 day bender still had an amazing array of choice in front of them over the next couple of days.

Alt country act Little Georgia featuring Justin Carter and Ashleigh Mannix, have built quite a large Bluesfest following after their many dynamic performances here over the years. Since releasing their acclaimed debut album All The While late last year, they’ve gained even more attention. Due to their rise, this year Little Georgia made it to the larger Crossroads stage and didn’t disappoint.

Down at the Juke Joint Archie Roach played to a  packed house, relating his life stories and strumming those beautiful songs which have become a part of Australian music’s DNA. Also part of the Boomerang Festival were Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project, who not only produced a huge sound but were also visually stunning. As expected their  live version of the song Treaty had the Juke Joint area jumping.

Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real were back at the Mojo tent and have become one of the festival’s main attractions since they first appeared and impressed here a couple of years ago. Today’s set featured a joyous version of Paul Simon’s Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes and a touching guitar solo delivery of Amazing Grace in recognition of Easter Sunday. Hussy Hicks’ Leesa Gentz was invited up to duet on a poignant and powerful ballad too. It was also a great opportunity for Lukas and band to give us a taste of their next album with a heart warming performance of the title track Turn Off The News and Build a Garden.

The Marcus King Band have been one of the biggest surprises of the festival. With a huge sound coming from an incredibly accomplished band, their audiences have grown substantially with each new Bluesfest show.

Allen Stone had the Delta crowd dancing with his melodic roots and soul music. Gary Clark Jr packed out the Mojo tent with his moody brand of blues, and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra was having lot of fun with their huge Crossroads tent crowd. One minute they’re cranking out infectious ska tunes, the next the theme from the Austin Powers movie.

Tonight’s headliner menu specials consisted of either Jack Johnson or George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Day 4 and 5 of Bluesfest are some of the last opportunities to see the amazing Funkadelic collective in Australia, as Clinton intends to retire the band soon. Jack of course played to one of the festival’s largest crowds, who soaked up his famous folk rock anthems. Four days down and one to go in one of finest 30th birthday parties I’ve ever been to.

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Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 21, 2019

The ever-popular Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker aka Hussy Hicks are back at Bluesfest this year for their 6th appearance at the event. Playing now as an all-female 4 piece band Hussy Hicks have been travelling the globe increasing their fanbase along the way off the back of their brilliant…

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 21, 2019

Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne

Easter Saturday saw a steady stream of punters through the gates, eager to see what Bluesfest day 3 had to offer. Sister act Larkin Poe (Rebecca and Megan Lovell) on their first trip to Australia were playing to a packed Delta tent, where the audience was getting off on the raw blues and roots sounds coming off the stage. The girls were clearly thrilled to be at the festival and told the crowd how much they appreciated being in a place that supports live music with such passion.

Next door in the Juke Joint tent, Double J’s Zan Rowe was presenting a Best of Bluesfest session, which involved interviews with artists and short acoustic performances. We caught Fantastic Negrito, who told us he was the 8th of 14 children. There were tales of his rough upbringing and the loss of his brother and so many other close friends to gun violence. On a lighter note, Lukas Nelson followed discussing his role of ‘authenticity consultant’ on the Hollywood movie A Star is Born.

Making some rocking’ noise to a lot of people inside the Mojo tent was Kurt Vile and The Violators, pumping out their brand of laconic rock. The former The War On Drugs guitarist is almost as laid back as Dinosaur Jr but with a fraction of the distortion.

Colin Hay proved to be a popular attraction with a crowd stretching way beyond the bounds of the Crossroads tent. Starting mellow, Hay gradually built the atmosphere as he played the Men At Work classics the audience wanted to hear. Be Good Johnny was particularly epic.

While there was much activity within the performance tents, unbeknown to the public there was also much happening backstage. Byron Music have a tent set up for musicians to check out instruments and jam as they please on gear supplied by Yamaha Music, Fender and Maton. Going through for a look and jam were members of Allen Stone and Marcus King’s band as well as Jon Deas, the keyboard player from Gary Clark Jr’s band. Later on Colin Hay’s band dropped by for a play too.

Jon Deas pic Greg Phillips

Also backstage, a press conference was held featuring Bluesfest boss Peter Noble, artists Jack Johnson, Lukas Nelson, and Nicky Bomba, as well as representatives of the initiative byo bottle. The byo bottle campaign is aimed at music industry personnel, encouraging them to encourage their fanbases to promote reusable drink vessels in order to reduce the overall plastic footprint of their shows. More on this from us soon, including footage from the press conference. In the meantime you can find out more at

Back at the Crossroads tent Kasey Chambers was putting on one of the most inspiring performances ever witnessed at Bluesfest. Featuring special guests Ben Harper, The War And Treaty, and The Veronicas, Kasey belted out her soul-stirring brand of alt-country rock and had the audience cheering long after she’d finished. Peter Noble came to the stage to present Kasey with a special ‘star’ award in recognition of her long-standing service to Bluesfest and the Australian music scene in general.

Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real made their first Bluesfest appearance for 2019 and took no time in delivering a blistering set to an adoring crowd. Our ace photographer Jason Rosewarne had rare side stage access, so check out the photos below. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals followed, another Bluesfest fave, invited along to help in the 30th anniversary celebrations. Ben and band always deliver something special and tonight was no exception. Elsewhere Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul were blowing minds, Melbourne Ska Orchestra were creating fun and Flogging Molly were gettin’ jiggy!



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Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 21, 2019

With two current albums ‘Belle of the West’ and ‘Chills & Fever’ attracting rave reviews and a new one in the can awaiting an August release, Samantha Fish’s star is well and truly on the rise. At Bluesfest this year, Samantha and her dynamic band of musicians have been winning…

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 20, 2019

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

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, 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 blown’.

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.




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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 19, 2019

Samantha Fish

Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne

The 30th anniversary of Peter Noble’s Bluesfest was cause to bring old friends together with festival debutantes to celebrate one of the world’s most loved and respected music events. Weather predictions suggested rain throughout the five days yet day one proved that the forecasts can’t be trusted. Conditions for the opening day were near perfect.

With 5 stages of quality entertainment to choose from, the dilemma is always who to see. Thankfully many of the acts play multiple days, so it’s important for punters to do a little pre-festival planning. Australian musician’s first port of call was the Crossroads stage to catch the global music collective Playing For Change who are no strangers to Bluesfest. Making their Byron Bay debut was The War and Treaty featuring the inspirational voices of Michael and Tanya Trotter, performing tunes from their latest album Healing Tide.

Famed for his appearance at Woodstock, pioneering singer songwriter Arlo Guthrie enthralled the Jambalaya stage crowd with his quirky life tales and tunes.

Following Arlo, Mavis Staples always commands attention and she effortlessly won the crowd over with her legendary songs and material from her soon to be released album We Get By, which was produced by Fellow Bluesfest regular Ben Harper.

Dallas Woods won lot of hearts with his passionate performance. Representing The Kimberleys, Dallas gave the audience as much to think about as he did to dance to. Nahko and Medicine For The People have developed their sound over the years and now output a much fatter sound than I recall the first time I witnessed them many moons ago. With their strong social messages and vibrant and uplifting rhythms, it’s no wonder they continue to build their tribal following.

Snarky Puppy always enjoy playing to the Bluesfest crowd, an audience which still appreciates a fine extended drum and percussion solo and are willing to participate and indulge the band with complex clapping patterns.

Kansas City’s Samantha Fish told crowd she was excited to be here and the feeling was mutual. Featuring a two piece brass section and accomplished band, the powerful soul, blues and rock sounds coming off stage, made this performance something special. Playing tracks from her two most recent albums, Chills & Fever and Belle of the West, Fish has been concentrating more and more on her song craft of late and it’s paying off. However it hasn’t stopped Samantha from breaking out in dynamic licks and hazy shreds often and to great effect. I can see Samantha’s audience growing with each show over the duration of the festival.

As we got into headliner territory, the crowd headed to the Crossroads stage to experience the huge sounds of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul. Opening with Sam and Dave’s Sweet Soul Music, there was never any turning back, a party was to be had. The iconic E Street Band member learned much from The Boss and held this congregation in the palm of his hand. Steven suggested that he used to be much more political on stage but there is now so much of that in your face, that music is everyone’s salvation. The band was made all the more exciting due to the frantic dancing and extraordinary backing vocals of Jessie Wagner (Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Chic), Sara Devine (Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige) and Tania Jones. The Disciples of Soul play again on Saturday and you don’t want to miss them.

Over on the Jambalaya stage Richard Clapton was putting in a particularly powerful, hit-laden show in front of a packed tent. Mention must be made of the sound personnel on all stages too, the PA systems are pumping out gorgeously low bottom ends and sweet, sweet mids. Returning to Bluesfest, Elephant Sessions create a moody blend of neo-trad, folk rock with appeal on so many levels, another act you need to make time for over the next few days of the festival. It’s Bluesiest’s 30th birthday and the party has well and truly begun.






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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 16, 2019

Globally adored for her commanding voice, virtuosic guitar work and uncompromising bravery, English singer-songwriter Anna Calvi will be showcasing her latest masterpiece Hunter for Australian audiences this June as she pairs a performance at Tasmania’s beguiling Dark Mofo festival along with intimate shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Exploring freedom, identity and gender with an approach that has become uniquely her own, Hunter arrived in mid-2018 to rapturous critical acclaim.

Pitchfork fawned over it’s “remarkable evolution” which “pushes her artistry to another level” while the Guardian could only sit back and pronounce it as “glorious and triumphant”.

Calvi’s signature vocals, so bold and striking, permeate the record as they dart and weave around her dazzling guitar playing and synchronize perfectly with world class accompaniment supplied by Portishead’s Adrian Utley (keys) and The Bad Seeds’ Martyn Casey (bass).

The third chapter of Calvi’s sparkling career to date, Hunter, joins 2011’s Anna Calvi and 2013’s One Breath as evidence of a generational talent.

A student of the guitar and violin, Calvi first came to prominence after catching the attention of legendary UK label Domino Records at an early gig. Her debut album followed, with the arresting first single Desire providing the perfect bedrock for an ascending career.

Legends like Brian Eno and David Byrne started taking note and it wasn’t long before she could start calling herself a multiple Mercury Prize nominated artist.

Hunter, with it’s singles ‘Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy’, ‘Hunter’ and’ ‘As A Man’ truly allows Calvi the opportunity to explore her myriad gifts. Working with famed producer Nick Launay (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Midnight Oil), Calvi lets loose something wild and passionate that brings the listener closer to her renowned on-stage energy than ever before.

“Being on stage is the one time I feel permitted to be the person I can’t be in my everyday life”, she says. “Onstage I want to test how far I can take the extremes of strength and vulnerability.”







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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 11, 2019

Photo: Peter Kaminski © Copyright 2017 All rights protected.

Joy Division’s legendary bass player Peter Hook is set to tour Australia with The Metropolitan Orchestra this August for a string of five concerts which will see him, special guests and a full orchestra perform the band’s seminal post punk repertoire with classical elements.

Having sold out the debut concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in July 2019, the Australian dates are the first outside England to be announced and follow on from Hooky’s many successful tours of Australia with both The Light and New Order.

“Peter Hook & The Metropolitan Orchestra present Joy Division Orchestrated” celebrates one of the most influential bands ever and put that group’s most famous works in an immersive show that recognises their role in shaping popular culture and the influence they continue to hold.

The show is curated by Peter Hook acting as Executive Producer with Musical Director Tim Crooks taking care of the orchestration. The concerts are the first time that an original member of the group has taken part in such a project to remember its decisive back catalogue.

One of Australia’s most versatile and independent orchestras, well established for over a decade now, The Metropolitan Orchestra is joining the tour for all dates, having previously worked with the cream of the world’s vocalists and musicians and concert tours with Basement Jaxx and the BBC (Dr Who / Blue Planet).

“Orchestrated” pairs up musically the elements of post punk that characterised Joy Division’s ground-breaking sound with the orchestra, paying homage to the spirit which defines their heritage.

Given the band’s iconic legacy, the arrangements of classic Joy Division are to be presented in a state-of-the-art concert setting with the highest standards of production.

As the band tragically ended on the eve of their first American tour in May 1980, Joy Division’s influence round the world has grown remarkably since and remains now ever present, with fans of all generations complimented by the many contemporary groups who have taken on the template of the band’s sound in the modern era.

Across their two LPs and singles, all produced by Martin Hannett for Factory Records, the band’s landmark tracks are to be featured in “Orchestrated”, including from the band’s debut album considered by many the finest debut release by any group.  Meanwhile the follow up, is described as a “start to finish masterpiece” (Pitchfork). Their singles are regularly lauded as some of the greatest ever to hit vinyl.

About bringing the Orchestrated concert to Australia, Peter Hook commented;
“When we began to celebrate Joy Division with The Light in 2010, Australia was one of our first international visits. Our seventh gig came in Melbourne and as always down under, the reactions were amazing. Over the years I’ve come to love visiting Australia more and more, the people are wonderfully hospitable and to be able to bring the show here, straight from the Royal Albert Hall, is a tremendous honour.

“In my recent work with orchestras, I realised that my first group could also lend itself to this treatment. Post punk is already dramatic, this will accentuate and take it to another performing and emotional level. “

“I’ve been very impressed with how our arranger Tim Crooks works and I know the band’s canon will be treated with great reverence and care, enthusiasm and passion as the originals were. I know everyone involved will be adding something very special.”

Tim Crooks added “To be given the opportunity to present the music of Joy Division with Hooky is a great privilege. The process for me involves peering through the veil of history to create an immersive experience that retains the anarchic, raw spirit of the originals. Modern life is rubbish. This is analogue, unfettered and live.”

Ticket Details

Friday 2nd August 2019        Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Saturday 3rd August 2019    AEC Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday 6th August 2019      BCEC, Brisbane
Friday 9th August 2019         Perth Concert Hall, Perth
Sunday 11th August 2019      Plenary Theatre, Melbourne

Tickets On Sale Thursday 18th April, 10am local time.

General public tickets on-sale date:
10am local time on Thursday 18 April from

Do not buy from unauthorised resale scalper websites. You risk buying invalid or fraudulent tickets.

Peter Hook – Joy Division Orchestrated Links

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Posted in Blog, Gear, Keyboards (digital & acoustic)    //    Post Date - April 11, 2019

Playing the piano is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, whether teaching yourself or watching your family discover a passion for music. Roland’s all-new HP700 series supports your ambitions with gorgeous piano sound, sophisticated styling, and helpful features that’ll keep you coming back for more. And with the flexibility and expression to suit any genre or playing standard, you’ll have an instrument that grows with you for years to come.

An HP700 piano can be the centerpiece of a room—or so discreet you hardly know it’s there. For silent practice day or night, connect headphones and enjoy immersive sound that won’t disturb your family or neighbours. For interactive study, wirelessly connect the piano with your smartphone via Bluetooth® and play along with your favourite tunes or sharpen your skills with online tutorials. For performance, adjust the volume-controllable internal speakers to fill the room with music. And when you’re not playing, you can use the HP700 piano as your home entertainment system, streaming music with clear, detailed highs and rich, powerful lows.

The HP704 has a tall, elegant cabinet, a powerful four-speaker audio system and the highly-expressive PHA-50 keyboard. Available in polished ebony, charcoal, dark rosewood, light oak, and white finishes.

Compact, simple and stylish, the HP702 delivers a superior piano experience—for less than you’d think. Available in charcoal, dark rosewood, light oak, and white finishes.

Check out an overview of the series HERE

And also check out Piano Every Day, a free iOS/Android smartphone app that encourages you to play more often. Browse and purchase from Sheet Music Direct’s online library of over 70,000 music scores. Try the One Week Master option to track and display your progress as you learn a new piece, complete with exercises if required. If you love the piano, learn something new and play more often with Piano Every Day.

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