Gui­tar’s big day to rock

Feast on the re­vival of loud gui­tar rock’n’roll, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

HE crowd sur­round­ing the am­phithe­atre for Gary Clark Jr’s set at Lol­la­palooza in the US in Au­gust stretched fur­ther and fur­ther out of its do­main and into the sur­round­ing gar­dens.

This gifted gui­tarist from the self-pro­claimed live mu­sic cap­i­tal of the world – Austin, Texas – has been one of the most talked-about mu­si­cians to emerge in the past few years. Clark has per­formed along­side A-lis­ters from Mick Jag­ger to Eric Clap­ton, Jeff Beck and BB King and his ma­jor la­bel de­but record, Blak And Blu, has had the crit­ics froth­ing with praise.

The 28-year-old ax­e­man and singer spear­heads an im­pres­sive con­tin­gent of artists on the 2013 Big Day Out bill whose mu­sic is steeped in the roots of rock’n’roll.

‘‘Is the blues coming back into style? I don’t know,’’ Clark says.

‘‘Peo­ple say things come back around and I think it’s just about that time that peo­ple are re­dis­cov­er­ing the foun­da­tions of rock’n’roll, where did it all come from? Folks have been more cu­ri­ous about the blues and rock’n’roll. There’ll al­ways be kids strap­ping on gui­tars.’’

Clark’s big­gest fans next to the ladies are gui­tar nerds. The Texan mu­si­cian can spot them in­stantly.

‘‘I can al­ways tell when they are in the crowd be­cause they are watch­ing the hands. So I’ll turn around a bit just to mess with them – ‘you don’t need to see that, let me have it for my­self for a minute’,’’ Clark jokes.

An­other Big Day Out band chan­nelling the spirit of rock’n’roll are Cal­i­for­nian in­die rock­ers Delta Spirit.

They be­lieve the 20th an­niver­sary of Nir­vana’s sem­i­nal Nev­er­mind al­bum has in­spired an­other gen­er­a­tion of kids to pick up gui­tars and also credit the en­dur­ing grass­roots success and ac­claim for Wilco and My Morn­ing Jacket for keep­ing the rock flag fly­ing.

Front­man Matthew Vasquez be­lieves loud gui­tar mu­sic has to be made by loud peo­ple.

‘‘Rock has been this really su­per-pas­sive crea­ture as a genre and peo­ple don’t know how to com­mit to bands. Bands like Wilco and My Morn­ing Jacket are unashamed of get­ting peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate and lis­ten to loud rock’n’roll mu­sic,’’ he says.

‘‘We’re an ex­tro­verted band and we want peo­ple to get in­volved. Rock’n’roll should have con­fi­dence be­cause it’s the best genre, dam­mit.

‘‘I think the Nir­vana fac­tor is also coming into play now. That mu­sic is in our DNA, es­pe­cially our gen­er­a­tion where your older brother fed it to you as ‘im­por­tant mu­sic’ that was loud and very in­tense. You can be heavy and heart­felt at the same time and not be a jerk.’’

Delta Spirit also ap­pear to be em­brac­ing rock’s party spirit. Their fans may want to take plas­tic pon­chos to their gigs be­cause th­ese guys love a gi­ant food fight.

‘‘I tried to start a food fight the other night and was throw­ing ta­cos and bur­ri­tos at ev­ery­one and scream­ing at them. It went great. Taco Bell spon­sored a show we played and I fig­ured out what to do with all of those ta­cos,’’ Vasquez says.

Nashville brothers Jake and Jamin Or­rall will in­tro­duce the garage rock of their duo Jeff The Brother­hood to Big Day Out crowds. With a sound that cap­tures the raw vibe of early Kings of Leon, they are likely to make an im­pres­sion on Aus­tralian mu­sic fans who have yet to dis­cover their sev­enth record, Hyp­notic Nights.

Re­lent­less tour­ing in the US – some of it in a con­verted school bus – has helped spread the word about this tal­ented pair.

‘‘It’s funny be­cause tour­ing at our level has a thresh­old – you could do it all year for years and not get past a cer­tain point un­til peo­ple start talk­ing about you,’’ Jamin says.

‘‘I think hopefully that point will come soon for us. We might be this close but we might also be this far. Is it time for rock mu­sic to come back? I think so. Why not?’’ Gui­tar star Gary Clark Jr and (be­low) fel­low Big Day Out stars Jeff The Brother­hood

Gary Clark Jr, Jeff The Brother­hood, Delta Spirit and more play the Big Day Out, at Park­lands Show­grounds, on Jan­uary 20.

Delta Spirit are steeped in the roots of rock’n’roll

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