AUSTRALIAN GUITAR’S BLUESFEST SIDESHOW PICKS
THERE’S MORE THAN A LITTLE ON THE SIDE THIS YEAR, AS PETER HODGSON DISCOVERS.
Bluesfest itself is always a must-see event with a near endless parade of great acts to sample, but the Bluesfest sideshow experience is its own, equally special thing. Whereas festival sets are generally tailored to be broadly enjoyable for a big crowd who may not be familiar with every track, the sideshows are where you’ll find your favourites stretching out and playing solely for the fans. That can be especially true of Bluesfest sideshows when you’re talking about acts with an improvisational spirit: you never know what’s going to happen when an artist is given the stage time to stretch out in, and an audience who are receptive to them taking chances. Here are our three picks for must-see sideshows.
For proof of Walter Trout’s standing in the blues community, look no further than the crowdfunding drive that raised $240,000 to save his life when he was in need of a liver transplant in 2014. Trout has now well and truly bounced back, and his most recent studio album, the 14-track We’reAllInThisTogether, is jam-packed with friends: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Sonny Landreth, Charlie Musselwhite, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, Edgar Winter, Warren Haynes, Joe Louis Walker, John Mayall, Joe Bonamassa Randy Bachman and plenty more.
Trout’s career began in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, and he’s played with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Joe Tex. His playing is heavily informed by the blues greats but with his own undeniable voice. You can see him at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on March 29th and the Factory Theatre in Sydney on March 31st, in addition to his Bluesfest appearances on April 1st and 2nd.
Read an exclusive interview with Walter Trout on our website at australianguitarmag.com.au
GOV’T MULE + LUKAS NELSON & PROMISE OF THE REAL
Warren Haynes is no stranger to Bluesfest. Their 2018 return celebrates the recent release of TheTel
StarSessions, a new archival album featuring the band’s very first, never-before-released demos from 1994 featuring late bass great Allen Woody.
“Having listened to them recently, for the first time in decades, a big smile came over my face,” Haynes says. “These recordings capture the rawness and excitement of the earliest stage of Gov’t Mule.” The Mule will be joined by Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real, featuring the son of Willy Nelson and no slouch on the guitar himself. The band backed Neil Young on his MonsantoYears album and tour.
You can see Gov’t Mule with Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real at the Metro Theatre in Sydney on Monday, March 26th and The Corner Hotel in Melbourne on March 27th, as well as their Bluesfest appearances (Gov’t Mule on Thursday, March 29th and Friday, March 30th, and Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real every day from Thursday, March 29th to Monday, April 2nd).
Newton first came onto music lovers’ radars in 2007 with his acclaimed debut, HandbuiltBy Robots, which hit platinum in Australia and the UK. He’s since released four celebrated studio albums: RebuiltByHumans, WriteItOnYour
Skin, StudioZoo and HumanLove. The latter is full of racing drums, African percussion, chanted choruses, ambient interludes and the most gripping hooks of his career to date, and is packed with great guitar playing.
“One of my main aims was to assemble a set of songs that really work for the later slots at festivals,” he says. “I wanted to make a record that tapped into the idea of a festival, where you hear all these different strands of music floating in and out of your head. I want to be up there as the sun is setting, and people are starting to let their hair down.”
You can catch Newton at the Factory Theatre in Sydney on April 1st, lunch and dinner shows at Lizottes in Newcastle on April 2nd, the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on April 4th, The Gov in Adelaide on April 6th and Jack Rabbit Slims in Perth on April 8th.