West Coast Blues & Roots Festival

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I had the good fortune to get along to this years West Coast Blues & Roots Festival in Fremantle Western Australia and what an awesome day of music it was. Forget all the bad memories of last years badly organised festival, this year with the help of the Byron Bay Bluesfest organisers, they got it right… No queues for drinks – walk straight up to the massive bars, no fenced off yard for drinkers & a much better lineup than last year. It was like being at the Byron Bay Bluesfest, but only just down the road.

“Old mate” blues legend Kev Mo showed us what real blues really is all about with awesome deep vocals & solo steel guitar performance. Mia Dyson apparently rocked the crowd with her amazing vocals & bluesy sound which we unfortunately missed. Pete Murray did his thing to a big crowd… if you like clean sanitised contemporary rock. Ex pro surfer Donovan Frankenrieter blew everyone away with a high energy set that had the whole crowd singing his hits like “Free” & “It Don’t Matter”… heaps better than his mellow mate Jack Johnson last year. Jackson Brown sang to a small devoted gathering of fans, and i aint one after nearly falling asleep… Bernard Fanning did his contemporary rocky roots thing to a huge adoring crowd…


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Then Michael Franti appeared on stage under the packed bigtop with nothing but his Spearhead bass player Carl Young, an acoustic guitar & a stomp box. This man is an incredible performer who gets the crowd in the palm of his hand & even though he was singing a lot of his new songs that no-one had heard before he somehow had the entire crowd singing every word. Like ive said before to many people, if your not a big fan of Franti before you see him live you will be after 5 mins.

We unfortunately had to tear ourselves away after 20 mins of Franti to see the other headline act… The awesome 2 piece grungey blues band The Black Keys. These two put out a sound so huge that if you close your eyes its hard to believe its only two guys up there. Ive seen them before, so knew what to expect but looking around at the gobsmacked faces in the crowd, they simply blew everyone away with their raw old school bluesy rock…

a memorable day indeed, cant wait for next year.

for photos & short reviews click here:
http://smh.com.au/ftimages/2006/04/10/1144521257356.html

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