“Legend” gets over-used in popular music. Eric Clapton though, is one of a handful of stars who genuinely carries that label.

Tomorrow night, Saturday, February, 25, a group of Bendigo musicians will come together for a special Eric Clapton and Allman Brothers Band tribute show at the Golden Vine.

Chris DeAraugo, a fixture on the Bendigo music scene for many years, is a huge Clapton fan.
“He was my first guitar hero. I have every record he’s ever made,” DeAraugo said.

“I’ve seen him live many times. I was lucky to see him at the Hollywood Bowl in 2004. I like the emotion and melody he brings to his music. His technique is quite simple, but it is his choice of notes and feel that, to me, sets him apart. His sound is basically guitar and amp. No pedals or extra tricks.”
Harlem plays the Clapton part of the night. Harlem comprises DeAraugo, his son Josh, drummer Andrew McHardy and bass player Trevor Daly. The DeAraugos share guitar and vocal duties.
Ken Richie is driving the Allmans part of the night.

“I first heard them when I was about 12, on TV. They played Ramblin’ Man – the first time I saw two drummers playing together. That blew a young boy’s mind away,” said Richie.

DeAraugo senior, McHardy and Daly join Richie, Marc Leon and second drummer Barry Gray in the Allman Brothers Band tribute.

“We’ve played the Allman Brothers Band set once before, last November. We received a warm response, with people curious to see what we could do with their songs. Seeing two drummers working together is a rare treat. We were a bit nervous attempting the Allmans music. It’s got such intricate parts one second, and then you have to stop thinking, and be completely free form for the jamming parts,” Richie said.

There is no shortage of experience on display tomorrow night. “I feel we have the cream of Bendigo musicians all in one package,” Richie added.

DeAraugo: “It was Ken’s idea to ask Marc and myself to create the three-guitar front line. Of course, being an Allmans act, we needed two drummers.”

The connection between Eric Clapton and the Allmans goes back nearly 50 years to the classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album.

“I discovered the Allmans through Clapton’s partnership with Duane Allman on the Layla album,” said DeAraugo. “One of the best things about doing these shows is revisiting and learning their music. I now have a much better appreciation of their skills, general approach and clever jamming.”
Allmans fans won’t hear the mammoth 30-odd minutes of Mountain Jam, but favourites like Whipping Post, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and Ramblin’ Man are all in the set.

Harlem will play tracks spanning Clapton’s career, including Let it Rain, I Shot the Sheriff, White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, and of course Layla. Aficionados will be pleased that their rendition of Layla features the extended playout with harmony guitars.

The Bendigo music scene is entering a bright new era. Richie, a relative newcomer, is effusive in his praise. “The local talent stands up against any big Melbourne acts. There’s music on at several venues every Friday through to Sunday. More people should get out and have a look at what a vibrant music scene we have. Roy Webb and Colin Thompson have been influential in bringing the music scene here back to life.”

DeAraugo: “We are currently enjoying one of the best periods of local music I can remember. The younger musicians coming through are at the best level I’ve seen.”

It will be a special night at the Golden Vine with some of the most enduring music of the 1960s and 1970s being brought to life. Doors at 8pm.

Also on Saturday night, just across town at the Handle Bar in Mitchell Street, Sons of the Blues and Messin’ ‘Round get together for a blues double header. It’s a gig that came about in an unusual way.
Sons of the Blues’ Patrick Byrne: “For about ten years I had been going to the same great accountant, Julius Porlai. At our meetings we would swap news. And of course the workings of the ATO. Then Julius told me he was to retire. I asked what he intended to do. He said he would spend more time on his life-long passion of playing the blues in the band he was in.”
“Surprised, I suggested we do some shows together as I too was in a blues band – something neither of us had mentioned during the previous ten years. So, we’re playing this show, and can truly say it was years in the making.”
Messin’ ‘Round and Sons of the Blues – a cool double header. Doors at 7.30pm.