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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

SD re­turned a few days ago from the five-day ex­trav­a­ganza of Blues­fest in By­ron Bay, an event this year that did not re­quire gum­boots, pon­chos or an iron will to trudge through the mud to see one more blues vet­eran or roots rene­gade strut­ting their stuff. It was a weekend also, one is re­lieved to an­nounce, where that de­mon of the age­ing fes­ti­val cir­cuit, the fold-up chair, was con­signed by fes­ti­val pro­moter Peter No­ble to the back blocks of the main tents. One has writ­ten be­fore about the level of psy­chi­atric tor­ment the fold-up chair has brought to SD, so I won’t go on about it here, other than to say that there re­mains a small part of me that will miss be­ing told in no un­cer­tain terms to sit down by those able-bod­ied blues­fest reg­u­lars whose seden­tary bliss was spoiled by the view of my back­side in years gone by. WHILE much of one’s Blues­fest du­ties re­quired one to be out and about, flit­ting be­tween stages to catch at least a few songs from as many acts as pos­si­ble, there were some trea­sured mo­ments back­stage and side of stage as well. It was in­ter­est­ing to note, for in­stance, that dur­ing English up­start Jake Bugg’s re­ward­ing main-stage per­for­mance on the fes­ti­val’s last night an­other song­writer of note, Elvis Costello, was a keen ob­server from the wings. Per­haps he was en­cour­aged to do so by his band the Im­posters’ drum­mer Pete Thomas, who con­trib­uted a few per­cus­sive mo­ments to Bugg’s re­cent sec­ond al­bum Shangri La. BLUES­FEST favourite Jack John­son broke into song af­ter an in­ter­view for yours truly in the artists’ tent early on the weekend (you can view it on­line) and as he did so an­other per­former, English soul diva Joss Stone, wan­dered into view. Stone was coy at first about in­tro­duc­ing her­self to the Hawai­ian star, but did so and quickly started a duet with her new friend. Col­lab­o­ra­tions among artists are a main­stay at Blues­fest, but this im­promptu one was a high­light. BERNARD Fan­ning was an­other sur­prise guest at Blues­fest, al­though he was there more as a punter than as a per­former. The for­mer Pow­derfin­ger singer could be seen watch­ing at­ten­tively for the du­ra­tion of Amer­i­can singer Suzanne Vega’s first per­for­mance. He then joined coun­try star Kasey Cham­bers on stage for a duet on a new song that he per­forms also on Cham­bers’s new al­bum, which she has just recorded in By­ron with Pow­derfin­ger pro­ducer Nick DiDia. Fan­ning, mean­while, is about to up sticks with his wife and fam­ily to Spain for the fore­see­able fu­ture, where he plans to work on his next solo al­bum.

The Jez­abels are head­ing to By­ron

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