Finalists Announced @ Bluesfest Busking Competition
Despite the breathtaking performances from the headliners, something else went on at the festival that was just a tad more low key. In the midst of the festival on a small stage, the 2016 Bluesfest busking competition went on, where some brilliant local talent expressed everything they could, adhering to the festival vibe and only hoping get the chance to play on the official Bluesfest lineup for 2017. It was only a year ago where we experienced Eddie Boyd and the Phatapillers and Grizzlee Train, busking winners of 2014 and 2015 respectively, draw in such a vast crowd to the Delta Stage as they experienced what it was like to play on the same stage that people they admire have played on in the past.
This year the busking stage attracted the old to the very young, the bold and quirky to the mellow yellow, and throughout that mix the winners were finally announced yesterday afternoon! The over 18’s finalists that took the stage included The Settlement, Morgan Bain, Jimmy Davis, Nick and Sam, Harry Nichols, Roshani and IVY, whilst the grommet finalists were Luis J, Maple and Indigo.
All musicians showed some insane talent, but by the end of the day, Central Coast dudes IVY stole the over 18’s busking winners of 2016 with their Black Keys/Wolfmother infused sound that obviously had the judges on their knees in tears of joy. The Grommet winners of 2016 went to the beautiful duo Maple! The two young singer/songwriters and rock champions will be showing us what they’ve got as they open the Delta Stage on Monday the 28th of March.
City and Colour – Mojo Stage
I’ve built an immense connection with the music of City And Colour for a few years now, through the stories, melting harmonies and constant passion radiating from Dallas and the band, so to say I was excited to catch this set is an understatement. After building his career with Alexisonfire, a hard core metal band formed back in 2001, the contrast to the warm melancholic sound behind City and Colour is incredible, it really just shows how diverse dallas is as an artist. People had always told me how amazing city and colours live sets were, and I don’t think you really grasp the brilliance until you witness it, and did we ever. I honestly felt like my heart was just yanked out of and soaring in the sky, yeah that sounds lame and horrible poetic but I can’t describe it any other way.
The harmonies, the composition of all the instruments and how the meld together is something I would describe as a cheese toastie, goodness oozing. The start of the set consisted of new material from the album ‘The Hurry And The Harm’, which captivated the entire mojo crowd. As soon as the classics from albums ‘Bring Me Your Love’ and ‘Little Hell’ came into the set, an immense amount of love and release filled me up. I really connected with both albums on an emotional level and I feel a lot of other people have too, it was such a beautiful moment when he took stage with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica and played ‘Bring Me Your Love’. I left the set feeling so fulfilled and warm, you know when you feel that way you’ve just witnessed something great.
The National @ Mojo Stage
The National captured the audience in a way that I’ve never seen before. The Ohio band joined only a few years after I was born, and the amount of energy they brought to the stage was phenomenal. I’m not talking split jumps and head banging, Matt Berninger was bringing everything he could to the show. With flying microphones and crowd surfing, you could tell that nothing was going to stop him, no matter how many times the chords on stage got tangled.
Despite the amount of energy the band could project into the crowd, they still managed to create a sense of carelessness, as if they were still just jamming out in their garage. Even with this, it’s been a while since I’ve seen such an extensive crowd go absolutely berserk. You could tell the amount of number one fans he had standing before him.
Berninger opened their latest song by telling the crowd about an instance he had when he was in Australia that went something like, “I was sitting besides a beautiful pool in my resort, and I had just ordered this amazing, amazing Thai Beef Salad. I started typing on my computer then looked over to my salad, and a big exotic white bird was just picking up the remainder of my salad that it had just devoured. This song’s called ‘Thai Beef Salad’”. Whether that was the real name of the song or not, the sound that came out of the band was unreal, the reverb of the guitars echoed around the whole of the Mojo stage, creating such a euphoric feeling.
The National ended their incredible set with their beautiful tune Vanderlyle, where the band removed themselves from most of their instruments creating an acoustic vibe. In the end, it didn’t matter how many instruments they used. The crowd was roaring the lyrics louder than anything where Berninger ended up facing the microphone towards the crowd in jest of ‘You’re doing a better job than I am at this’.