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Gaol Blues Festival 2016 - Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
The band was jumpin' and the place was swingin'

Congratulations to the organisers and the performers for such a well organised blues program which ran smoothly to schedule with each group keeping to the time allotted. Between each performance recorded music was played which allowed the audience time to stretch their legs, get refreshment and wander around to sight-see around the gaol or simply enjoy the performances of The Brouhaha and AP D'Antonio playing in a smaller outer area. What was amazing, was despite how loud the bands played their music did not intrude into the other areas of the gaol. Word has it that the next Gaol Blues Festival will possibly be conducted over 2 days and may be organised so bands may be performing in 2 different areas at the same time; along the lines of how other folk and blues festivals conduct multiple acts at the same time.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Adelaide Gaol

The program consisted of the following performances:

ISAIAH B BRUNT a great opening artist playing some Mississippi blues songs. His strong and smooth vocals accompanied his fine accoustic picking. He switched to his electric guitar and promptly got some of the audience dancing.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Isaiah Brunt. Photo: Haydn Radford

HOUND DOG TAILOR and ONE MORE MILE went over well with the audience with their playing some gutsy blues songs like Cash to Splash. This was followed with some brilliant sharing on lead guitar with some Chicago instrumental blues, followed by some fine bass guitar playing on Funny habit

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Blind Dog Taylor. Photo: Haydn Radford

LAZY EYE - an Adelaide based trio Evan Whetter (vocals & songwriter), Mario Marino (Drums) and Erica Gaff (Guitar) featured tracks from their new album Single Malt Blues which debuted at no 1 on the Australian Blues & Roots Airplay chart. They performed some gutsy blues and rock 'n' roll music with some smooth guitar licks, honky tonk piano and solid drum accompaniment.
Gaol Blues Festival: Review
It only takes one dancer, to start a riot...Photo: Haydn Radford

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Before you know it, everybody is dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock. Photo: Haydn Radford

The crowd loved them. Especially their songs Disagreeable Woman, their new song It Ain't Right and the rocker Don't Call the Doctor with Eric Graff playing some great slide guitar on Hole in My Pocket.

It was easy to see why Lazy Eye won their place to perform this year in Memphis USA at the International Blues Challenge.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Lazy Eye Photo: Haydn Radford

CHRIS FINNEN with TRAPPER on Drums and MICHAEL WINTER on bass guitar they gave a powerhouse performance. Chris as always, knows how to reach his audience, "It's a blues festival, so we'll play blues for you!" So he played Muddy Waters' Hoochie Coochie Man with its recognisable rift on slide guitar and some funky bass from Michael Winter. During the traditional blues song Trouble Makin' Woman, Chris displayed some superb blues delivery. The crowd loved his dry humour as he invited us to open our hymn books to Hymn 46as he played with some guitar playing reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. We enjoyed more of Chris' humour with his own version of Balkan Blues and its lyrics "I'm a boa constrictor an anaconda too" went over well. Then he got the place jumping and the audience up dancing with his lively reggae instrumental number Goin' to Capetown.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Chris Finnen. Photo: Haydn Radford

As is Chris' way, he shared the stage by inviting guitarist SAM BUCKLEY of DREAMBOOGIE to join him and together they were a fantastic duo, both complimenting one another with slippery slide guitar with shades of Jimi Hendrix.

It was fantastic to see Chris playing and performing with no signs of slowing down. As always he left the stage with the crowd wanting more.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Chris Finnen & Sam Buckley. Photo: Haydn Radford

DREAMBOOGIE from Melbourne is SAM BUCKLEY (Guitar), CONNOR O'NEILL (Bass), ROBERT B. DILLON (Drums) and REBECCA DAVEY (Vocals) a gutsy, lively artist who is dynamite on stage as she engages with her audience in her stunning outfit and vocals reminiscent of Bessie Smith as she paid tribute to blues singers of the 20's and 30's.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Rebecca and Sam of DreamBoogie. Photo: Haydn Radford

Their set included powerhouse performances of CC Rider, Ain't No Body's Business, Black Mountain Blues and My Baby Caught the Train with traces of Wllie Dixon and Howlin' Wolf. During one song Rebecca left the stage and continued singing as she moved down and around the audience. The audience loved this and showed their appreciation with ecstatic applause.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Rebecca stirring up a riot in the gaol house. Photo: Haydn Radford

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Rebecca was jumpin' and the joint began to really swing. Filmed by Cinematographer: Jethro Heller. Photo: Haydn Radford

GUMBO YA! YA! An 8 piece group playing an exciting combination of blues and jazz numbers Yellow Moon, Aint That Lovin' You Baby and a very lively Sick and Tired. Overall a fantastic presentation, but the highlight for me was the big brass sound and organ as they pounded out the rocker The Shape I'm in. Then a change to calypso and a touch of soul with You Don't Miss Your Water Until Your Well Runs Dry.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Gumbo Ya! Ya! Photo: Haydn Radford

ZKYE BLUE Adelaide performer, ZKYE COMPSON-HARRIS and her band, always know how to get an audience excited and dancing wildly as they present a variety of R & B, blues, soul and rock songs.

Zkye Blue: her soulful and suggestive, sensual style has touches of Etta James. Photo : Haydn Radford

With her upbeat, joyful presentation combined with her booming soulful and suggestive, sensual style with touches of Etta James, she had the audience in the palm of her hands with The Cat Walks In (with driving lead guitar from NICK PAN), Love Thing, All Present and Accounted For, He Thinks I Still Care and the raunchy Take It Like A Man, then her sexy ode to female pleasure Lick It Before You Stick It which the audience joined her in singing the chorus. The audience rose enthusiastically in unison to give her and her band a standing ovation.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Blues Brothers & Sister of Soul Show. Photo: Haydn Radford

BLUES BROTHERS and SISTER of SOUL SHOW Featuring MIKE and STEVE FOENDANDER and URSZLA R. WHITE - What an impressive and energetic climax to a fantastic Blues Festival as most of the music loving audience got up dancing and rockin' to this incredible line-up of numbers or as Blues Brothers described it, "Twenty three years of doin' this shit!"- Peter Gun, So Glad You Made It, Soul Man, Freedom, Willie The Moocher, True Love, Flip Flop & Fly Shake a Tail Feather and the Chicago blues classic Baby Don't You Want To Go to Chicago, followed by Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas and a powerful treatment of Turn Me Loose.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Sister of Soul shakin' her tail feather. Photo: Haydn Radford

The Blues Brothers and Sister of Soul Show provided an impressive climax to the Gaol Blues Festival, featuring a world class gathering of musicians ensuring this first Gaol Blues Festival was an awesome success and is bound to be a very popular annual event.

Gaol Blues Festival: Review
Adelaide music Pioneer and Blues Promoter, Alex Innocenti Photo: Haydn Radford

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*Haydn Radford was invited as a guest
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Why? Unique opportunity to see local and interstate artists over eight hours provided incredible authentic blues music festival at the Adelaide Gaol.
When: Sunday, 20 March 2016
Where: Adelaide Gaol, 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton. SA 5031
Cost: Adult: $30 early-bird, $40 regular. Child: $20 early-bird, $30 regular
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