There’s a spot in Rosalind Park where I stopped briefly on a warm Saturday evening last November. It was day three of the festival. At that spot I could hear music from four venues: ROCKS on Rosalind, The Exchange, Lansell Gardens and Shamrock Hotel balcony. “This is music town,” I thought to myself, absorbing the different sounds. 2014 was the year the festival came of age.
100s of artists, 30-odd venues… I reckon I caught 25-30 hours of music over the weekend, which included seeing Pete Cornelius three times, Alister Turrill twice (the intimate Gold Dust Lounge at night the perfect setting for him) and Benny Walker twice. There were many other highlights.
“Quirky” is one way to describe Lily and King. Any singer who introduces what you’re about to hear with “this is a song about falling in love with someone you think is going to kill you” is always worth a listen. A couple of friends are big fans of Rattlin’ Bones Blackwood but I’d never got around to seeing him before the Sunday night. I wasn’t disappointed – that’s a hell of a big, blistering sound from just one man!
Friday night at the Exchange was the Magic 8 Balls’ launch gig followed by the Lachy Doley Group. Dukesy and the Hazzards (with Liz Violi guesting) at the Golden Vine were great fun later that Friday. Greg Dodd and the Hoodoo Men hadn’t come up on my radar before, but I’ve given their 3am Blues Live album a good airing regularly since.
Genevieve Chadwick closed my festival on the Sunday night at ROCKS with a gutsy, energetic and positively ‘Joplinesque’ set.