Bluesfest Day #3 – The Wrap


Pics by @yayastemp

The rain starts to come down on Day 3 of Bluesfest as Eagles of Death Metal, The Decemberists, Hiatus Kaiyote and D’Angelo show off the eclectic mix of music genres represented at the festival.

The festival may still have two days left, but it’s pretty safe to award loudest band at Bluesfest to American rockers Eagles of Death Metal. They may also take home the prize for most energetic. Skipping out onto the stage with a cigarette in hand and sporting black skinny jeans, red suspenders and that signature moustache, frontman Jesse Hughes truly was a force to be reckoned with. Constantly asking how the “ladies and gentlemen” were feeling and dedicating songs to particular punters he noticed from the stage, Hughes had the audience in the palm of his hand.

Playing loud and heavy favourites like ‘Complexity’, ‘Cherry Cola’ and ‘I Only Want You’, Eagles of Death Metal quickly had the whole moshpit dancing and stomping along with them. ‘I Want You So Hard (Boys Bad News)’ got an especially rowdy response, with the crowd shouting “the boy’s bad news” at maximum volume. As to be expected in the aftermath of the tragedy at their Paris show last year, the set became incredibly emotional at times, especially during a performance of ‘I Love You All The Time’ which has been covered by bands like Florence + The Machine, Beck and Elton John to raise money for victims of the Paris attack. “It’s been a weird couple of months,” Jesse explained at one point, “but you motherfuckers make all that bad stuff go away.” The applause and cheer accompanying this sent shivers down many spines.

While some of us were lapping up the EoDM sound, the other half were having a chat with Melbournian Darren Harts. The singer, songwriter, producer and jack of all trades musician told us about his encounter with Prince, funk sound and newfound guitar driven focus. Stay tuned for the video interview.

After the loud, raucous and heavy rock of Eagles of Death Metal, The Decemberists couldn’t have sounded more different. This is far from a bad thing, and the beautiful indie-folk harmonies and stylings of the band were a welcome change. Colin Meloy’s soft and harmonious voice echoed through the main tent, serenading us all as the rain began to come down outside. A handful of songs performed on instruments like guitar, accordion and upright bass particularly allowed these vocals to shine.

‘Down By The Water’ was easily the set’s bluesiest moment and saw the entire crowd swaying back and forth in time with the song’s harmonica riff. Closing song ‘The Mariner’s Revenge Song’ was a highpoint for audience participation at the festival as the crowd bobbed up and down in unison before “screaming like you’re being swallowed by a whale”. This final moment was accompanied by a giant cardboard whale that was brought onto the stage to ‘eat’ the band;  no doubt a visual highlight for many punters.

Later in the night, a second performance from Kamasi Washington once again brought the house down and a trippy performance by Haitus Kaiyote showed off some of the best music that Australia has to offer.

The king of R&B, soul and seduction, D’Angelo come out guns blazing. Drenched in funk, adorned in black feathers (as well as a one-of-a-kind custom guitar to match), the Grammy Award winner tore through his classic and new material in style.

D’Angelo, and his straight up ‘cool’ lead guitarist, Jesse Johnson (best known for his work with Prince and as frontman of The Time) both blew the crowd away with mind-bending work on the fretboards. Johnson’s solos were some of the best we’ve seen so far at the festival, and his face-melting diamond-studded Fender Strat filled us with guitar envy from head to toe.

The highlight of the set was easily the title track off D’Angelo’s debut 1995 release, ‘Brown Sugar’. A true classic that oozes sexy soul and funk, each section of the much-loved song was extended in style, allowing for prolonged booty wobbling and shoulder-shrugging moves on the d-floor. Dishing out its core vocal parts to the ‘fellas’ and ‘ladies’, D’Angelo built up a 10,000-voice strong singalong which will no doubt be a top festival highlight when all is said and done.

Catch up on all the other days of the festival here…

DAY #1 featuring Harts, the Cold War Kids, Kendrick Lamar and more.

DAY #2 featuring Graham Nash, Steve EarleThe National and more.

DAY #4 featuring Noel Gallagher, Modest Mouse, The Cat Empire and more.

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