West Coast Blues 'n'Roots Festival 2015 Photo Gallery & Review
Perfect weather to start the day at the Main Stage and Welcome to Country ceremony.
Reviews & Pix
BYO SHADE - staying cool
Hard At Work In The Pit
Charles Bradley bringing on The Love.
Morgan Bain and The Swoop, Main Stage
Following the Welcome to Country greeting by the traditional Elders of the Land, like an eagle landing Morgan Bain and The Swoop touched down akin to an elegant bird of prey.
Under blue skies the driving beat of the sophisticated musical magic started pumping out. Almost in a similar vein to earlier Charlie Sexton the opening song pumped along with grooving bass, interlaced with keyboards that add layers of smoothness without making the sound too complex and inaccessible.
From my hastily scribed notes the opening was “Somebody Else”.
The dancing beat didn’t let up with the groovy getting deeper and the melody taking you higher. The title of “In the Middle” was a suitable representation of where the Faithful had already claimed their spots for the set, centre stage.
“I Think I’ve Got You” with it’s grooving, up tempo beat and sing along bridge line got the building crowd grooving, moving and dancing in the sun.
Bringing the tempo down slightly a song that lets Morgan’s soulful vocals fly. Was it “She Got Me This Way” that soared and glided?
“Master of Minds” was up next to growing crowd who responded well to the Main Man’s request to make more noise and dance.
Last song of the opening set was the new single, “Why Don’t You Stay?” with it’s tempo slowly building up. In parallel, majestic vocals that tear at the emotional heartstrings rose up, to come down and then rise up again into crescendo that somehow hung in air, filling the air with passionate energy.
Unfortunately the smooth running timetable of the West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots answered the question that had been asked by the previous title.
The answer being the seven remaining Main Stage acts that were waiting in the wings.
Kim Churchill, Main Stage
Unable to move from under a blue sky and beaming sun at the Main Stage we waited for the next act. And it was Kim Churchill’s magnetic, energised folk rock, beaming smile, and stories of finding oneself while following The Dream that held me at the Main Stage for hisentire set.
What was to be the trade mark of the all day event, essentially exceptional music talent on display, was demonstrated by Kim’s upbeat mystic rhythms, bass drumming, harmonica playing, percussion and gutsy vocals.
At various interludes he shared tales of living his dream of musical tours of Australia, Europe, UK and Canada. A van in every county indeed. On one of this trips Kim came to the realisation he had become a ”dickhead”, so engulfed by “his self” that the enjoyment had stopped.
Spiritual restitution had been made by writing a song about the realisation. The ballad was then shared during the entertaining set.
Kim was also aided and abetted by a compadre who joined in on violin and percussive drumming. At one stage he also went off stage to fetch an “A” when a technical hitch with a harmonica held up “Canopy”. However the Universe smiled and the situation was saved allowing Kim to continue the song festivities.
With a new album coming out keep an eye out for Kim Churchill and his musical meanderings.
Beth Hart, Big Top
I wandered to over to the Big Top to catch my first act of the day under cover. Although I had heard “Breakthrough To Blues” cooking it up when I first walked my sights were set on the Main Stage.
Beth Hart and her four piece band were well into their set by the time I got there. It was raw, hard edged, rock based cutting blues. Beth’s vocals were powerful, make that POWERFULL, slicing through any thoughts that had you wavering on the edge. The magnetic power pulling you in.
An excellent backing outfit with the guitars swapping taking the lead breaks from song to song. Once again masterful musicianship spinning you around.
Hard edged, and it was only after the day in retrospect that I released this was into a theme for the day. The sharper, rocky edge being found in the Big Top, under cover, as opposed to under the sun & stars.
Some of the song lines that Beth roared out so resonated within me that I they had me etching them onto paper to record them. One such master piece was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide, Meet You on the Other Side”. It left me breathless and panting, my mind in over drive, conjuring up the scenes behind such an outpouring. From my notes the song may have been called “Bang, Bang”.
Another lyrical line that also caused the same reaction was “Goodbye White Trash Beauty Queen, I Love You”. Not just line but the way it was delivered, with such emotion and hard edged backing from the Boys at the Back had emotions in overdrive.
Beth and the band finished off the set but we were fortunate as there was still time for another. Beth dedicated the last song, with only her on keyboards, to her husband manger from California.
A fantastic way to bring us down nice and gently to continue on with the show!!
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Main Stage
And so it was back to the Main Stage arriving to a stage full of swinging cats getting the groove on. Trumpet, sax, keys, drums, guitar, bass, guitar. Yes seven in all. Somehow I had the feeling that this a Sunday morning revival band backing the Good Lord and Jesus Christ and our souls were about to be saved.
And our Souls were to be Set Free but not along the afore mentioned lines. For swinging Sunday mass soon changed when the King of Sexy Swing, The Man with the Moves, The Shaker and Grover who Got So Low There Was No Where To Go. Yes The Love Gun walked on, Took Aim and Fired at the West Coast Blues ‘n’ ROOTS Festival !!
Nothing had me prepared for Charles Bradley. Nothing !! Not having come across Charles before, from the short studied game plan before arriving I anticipated some stock standard funk and groove.
But what we got was a One Hell of a Cool Cat who expounded nothing but love, make that LOVE, and moved to the groove with some bump and slow, slow grind that guaranteed nothing else but Sweet Satisfaction Itself.
The Soul Man, shining in a one piece purple leather jumpsuit had the West Coast crowd busting into spontaneous hugs, kisses and embraces.
Man it was Hot out there !!
Early on Charles introduced us to ”His Son’s” on stage, they weren’t his band but his Sons. “Don’t Look At Creed and Color” but look at the soul.
James Brown style of funk but that was so shinny you could just slide right on over.
Wow ! What a Set. After that you couldn’t help feel anything but Sooooo, Soooo Good
Xavier Rudd and the United Nations, Main Stage
The United Nations strolled on and looked indeed an interesting conglomeration of nations. Xavier floated on with them and the fired up into some slick reggie vibes.
Xavier leading the United Nations to wooed the expanding crowd in some moving and grooving in time. However after being entertained for about four song it was time to bounce over to the food stalls for some much needed refreshments.
Keb Mo, Big Top
After a kebab, drink and five minute snooze I was ready to get back into it. It was the enticing smooth sounds of Keb Mo that drew me back into the Big Top.
Having seen Keb a couple of time before at festivals the smooth boogie sounds were more polished as ever. Again what makes the sound so polished is the extreme talent of all the individuals playing. And when they play as a unit the immaculate sounds do tend to make it seem all unreal as it seems so pure and appears so easy.
I stayed back in the Big Top , relaxing and watching Keb play out. So no photos for this set. Later in the day I did reach out to one photographer who’s style did impress me. However Ausland181 is waiting for a reply so the wait goes on ……
Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Big Top
To tumultuous applause the Mexican musical duo, and couple, walked on stage clutching guitars and the elfin like Gabriela waving as if just arriving home.
Standing toe to toe, facing each other, they started tapping out rhythmical, flamingo style beats as if conjuring up spirits and aligning their emotions for the next 60 minutes of amazing guitar work. Then seeming satisfied they erupted into the flamingo-metal fusion that they are renown the world over for the remaining hour.
As being an instrumental band the song titles don’t stick in my head but suffice to say numbers from the latest release “9 Dead Alive” and previous four release were in the mix. This was high energy with the crowd joining into at every opportunity and clapping to the rhythms at times encouraged by both virtuoso players. In fact I don’t think I ever had such sore hands after a gig.
Their breath-taking genius on the fret board is nothing short of astonishing and shows that mixing styles musical styles can produce dazzling results. The guitar God and Goddess received a deafening response from the crowd.
Rodrigo appeared deeply serious as he paced the stage throwing guitar poses benefiting any rock star with an occasional smile. While Gabriela’s energy was uncontrollable, jumping around raising her guitar in praise.
As the set finished to deafening applause and shouts they remained for some time waving it the crowd. Gabriela Thanked Perth and that they were looking forward to Byron Bay. If only to see these rambunctious duo it would be worth the out lay.
Some would contend this was the set of the Day !!
Paolo Nutini, Main Stage
After the energy outburst of Rodrigo Y Gabriela had to chill for a while and David Gray was the musical backdrop. Chilin but upbeat acoustic rhythms were my recollection. It also allowed a chance to catch up with a friend for a coffee chat.
I wandered over Paolo Nutini as he took to the stage. As this name was new to me I’m not sure if this similarity has been made. But Rod Steward, Camouflage era or there bouts. Then in between song dialogues he turns out to have a Scottish accent (unlike Rod !).
The pop rock was very accessible and with an excellent band to support the Main Stage audience got what they wanted. More Paolo !!
Jurassic 5, Big Top
Crossing over to the Big Top is was going off!! With Jurassic 5 rapping to the crowd Los Angles style they had them in their control. High energy rap ‘n’ roll for the younger element of the festival day.
John Butler Trio, Main Stage
The Main Stage crowd never really seemed to disperse but just grew larger prior to the arrival of the phenomenal John Butler Trio. The flocking erupted as the JBT walked on stage. Political vocal as ever John Butler stated “The JBT are against the forced encloses of Indigenous communities in WA and racist policies of Colin Barnett” and dedicated tonight’s performance for that cause.
You would be hard sought to find someone who would try to argue that point.
With their funk up the JBT then started to groove into their set. Having dropped from my radar for a few years for extraneous reasons I was not au fait with the set list so the ordering, or titles, may be a bit off.
However “Used to Get High” was in there as was ”Don’t Wanna See Your Face” with it’s almost jazz like pulse changes intertwined with the dancing rhythm.
About third song in John introduced the next song as being written at Fremantle Markets and being a continuous work in progress. Of course it was the wonderfully complex and intricate “Ocean”. This was the first John Butler number I ever heard on a Sunday arvo in the sadly long gone “Punters Club”, Brunswick St, Fitzroy on his first sojourn to Melbourne. My jaw hit the floor then and it still does. Played at breakneck speed the fret board dexterity staggered and astonished then and still does to this day.
Following that the grooving and moving generated by the following numbers moved in a lower gear for the remainder of the set.
Changing guitars at several points the banjo came out for “Better Than”. The electric came out for “Treat Yo Mama” and demonstrated the JBT trio are a tight unit with newish Grant Gerathy (drums and percussion) and Byron Luiters (bass) not missing a beat. It also demonstrated John Butler is a master of all modes of guitar.
The audience lapped it up and was indeed an honour to have the JBT healing the Main Stage of this year’s West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival.
Leaving before the end of the set I slipped off to catch the Big Top sign-off.
George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic, Big Top
Walking into the Big Top was like a different world. Compared to the chilled out good time vibes of the Main Stage here was wailing guitars, rappers strutting in fur coats and a cacophony of good time the rebel rock way!!
A minor misjudgement of the running times meant I only got tem minutes of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. And here lies the oxymoron of festivals running with multiply stages. At one point you will have to miss something that will be regrettable. And so it was with last acts of the Main Stage and Big Top.
The crowd were roaring and this appeared to be an out pouring of outrageous fun.
A fitting way to end yet another fantastic day featuring outrageously talented and gifted individuals, units and collectives. A superbly run event show casing the skills and talents required to stage a music festival in the music heart and soul of West Australia.
No matter who is in the line up you know it’s going to be Great in 2016 , see ya there.