‘The Artist Behind the Musician’ set the tone for the Deep South Festival. The throng and chatter amongst the art adorned walls of The Gov lounge halted only by the clang of a beer bottle, announcing the opening of the Deep South Festival.
Peter Goers, an extraordinary man, began with a heartfelt and deserved tribute to the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel and the Tonkin family. Then, on to his Thrift shop clothes, he embodied the spirit of art and culture in all its titillating form and had us in stitches whilst warming our souls. Brandishing his right shoe aloft, he proclaimed the Deep South Festival open. The musicians’ artworks remain on the walls and those without red dots are available for purchase.
Thursday Night : ‘Exclusive Artist’
I was proclaimed ‘door king’ and held court just outside the Gumbo Room door for the event so my experience of the wonderful Fiona Boyes was limited. I did get some relief during the final set and caught glimpses of her impassioned mastery of voice and guitar through the crowded bar, backed by Adelaide’s royalty of Mario, Dennis, Snooks and Billy Bob.
Friday night : ‘Women Sing the Blues’
A near full-house dinner show with tables up to and around the stage a small space for dancers at stage right and a crowded bar.
I was blown away by these three powerful performers. For me, it was Ursula White, but who could truly choose a favourite?
Zkye, Ursula White, Jan Preston and accompanying band and guest artists were exceptional and commanded the beautifully set stage with their superb musician-ship,
a wonderful night.
The session kicked off with Shaun Kirk on the small stage then the Wasted Wanderers on the main stage - straight off the bat - a solid performance and amazing sound as the moderately large crowd filtered in .. despite AC/DC!
The high quality performances never let up. No sooner had Dusty Lee struck his last chord, MC Mick Young announced Blue Eyes Cry in the “Purple Pit” - a top room, normally The Gov’s dining area, beautifully transformed. Hopefully, we will see more of this charming room.
Blue Eyes Cry, with Iseula commanding front of stage, were a sensual powerhouse of blues soul and one of my highlights.
Too many great acts to mention - for my money, Mojo Web and Ray Beadle Band were standouts with their powerful, emotive, spine-tingling Blues.
Unfortunately, the good crowd began to thin a little before Psycho Zydeco got into their authentic cajun, hillbilly, feet-stomping, hand clappin’ mix. Those that left weary and satisfied after a long day of Roots and Blues, missed the best sax solo I’ve heard in a long time, along with masterful washboard and triangle solos and a brilliant accordion workout.
What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon! I was honoured to be MC for the day and had the best of times keeping things moving along and chatting with all the fine artists and patrons. I even got to do some stage lighting with the Backsliders, but that’s another story.
The day kicked off with Brenton Manser accompanied by Snooks on harp - together, they set the tone for the afternoon. The well-travelled, talented Ciaram Granger followed, joined by the tasteful Shannon on the skins.
Enrico Morena, head of the AMC, etc presented the trophy for the ARBA SA Roots Album Of 2014-2015 to a stunned Kelly Menhennett for her album ‘Small Dreams’ - well done Kelly!
Then it was Ray Beadle, a masterclass in blues guitar and song, just stunning. Equalled only by Mojo Webb, whose passion and personality dripped off the stage.
The people in the front rows were warned, prepare for a wall of sound! Hill-country-grunge-blues at its best with the mighty powerful Rob Hirst on his prized antique collection of drums, the wonderful Broderick Smith on harp and Backsliders’ originator Dom Turner on an assortment of guitars and with fine, dry story-laden vocals.
I was very proud, as was all of ARBA, to be associated with and to support this fine event, and if you weren’t there, you just weren’t THERE!
See you next year, same Blues time, same Blues channel?
Peter Allan Secretary ARBA
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