I headed on through Clarendon past Kangarilla and Meadows, waving to the many father xmas’s along the way, taking in the country air and spirit, to Macclesfield I was bound. Once arrived after my exhilarating drive and parked in front of the historic Three Brothers Arms, I was welcomed by sound tech, Greg Button. I began unloading my drums as we chatted about his sleek line array system and other tech stuff, including where to place the kit (I was to provide the back-line kit for the day). Once set up a short walk through the large white Marquee, past those seated and shaded from the rather warm sun to the outside bar for my first well deserved ale … It was 2pm and already people had begun to arrive and seek a prime spot in front of the stage.
From the first beautiful note to the last, this fine band of Dark country,folk troubadours had the early crowd (now an easy 120) near spellbound as they settled into their seats and cold beers. I stood at the back in awe of the layered Hi-Fi sound, clear masterful vocals and complex harmonies. Every ping and sizzle of the cymbals expertly teased by Levon Helm-esk drummer Kyrie Anderson. Aaron Thomas and band dynamically taking us from subdued to on the edge with clever and at times complex yet perfectly executed, spacious roots rhythms. From 2/4 Through Memphis shuffles to the New Orleans groove interwoven and softened by mystic strings all underpinned by superb song writing.
This is when all the excited musical conversations began between friends and familiar faces and carried on between amazing band after amazing band the next on the program being great friends and super soulful players,
Kings & Associates. Again the Hi-Fi sound cut and punched, Ange’s voice piercing the solid full groove of this finely honed unit, and I must say my drums never sounded so good! Change overs were prompt, just enough time for some catching up over another cold beer, to check out the drumming troupe on the shaded lawns below or to order from the festival menu. The beef cheek pie was amazeballs!
Powerhouse vocalist Gail Page was in fine form backed by a solid funky unit. Gail will be back to the Three Brothers for their NYE show along with her Big Phat Groove Combo and The Black Diamond Blues Band, under the stars in the magnificent marquee. The very funky Gumbo Ya Ya finished the night to a pumping crowd of 200 satisfied souls as they danced and partied into the wee hours. To top the night off and close the show, the late and enthusiastic crowd were treated to impromptu guest vocalising from local identity Leo Beinke and Publican John Jagt.
At only $28 a ticket and such quality of performers in such a beautiful setting this annual mini festival would have to be one of the best valued in the state. Well run and co-ordinated by John, Julie and crew, it’s a must do on the calendar. Keep an eye and ear out for more great events at The Three Brothers Arms … and experience for yourself the quality entertainment, food and hospitality that this magical, historic hills location has to offer.
Review by Peter Allan
Photography ~ Greg Button