Blues On Broadbeach hit the Gold Coast last week and produced four stunning days of blues and rock & roll.
I was lucky enough to attend the first two days (19-20 May) to really get a taste of what Blues On Broadbeach had to offer.
As a Gold Coast local I caught the trusty light rail and landed myself right in the centre of Blues On Broadbeach. It was around midday on day one of the festival and it was off to a slow start. Stages were still being set-up and people were wandering curiously through the streets.
The only action happening was on the Broadbeach Mall Stage centred near many bars and cafes. I took the opportunity to have lunch in a café not 150 metres from the stage, so I could not only enjoy my meal, but also the live music.
While eating lunch I had the pleasure of listening to Lloyd Spiegel who lifted my expectations and carried high-energy tunes throughout the street. His strong, yet gritty voice captured the audience who watched from all areas of the mall including nearby cafes, like myself, but also from the playground, bars and shops. Despite playing conventional blues style music, Spiegel mixed it up with interesting percussion and improvised solos.
Adam Hole Band
Lead by Adam Hole, Adam Hole Band attracted a smaller audience but managed to get a few more of the fedora-clad grey nomads out of their chairs as they lapped up the fat guitar solos and Jimi Hendrix covers. Adam Hole Band played a set teetering on the edge of '70s rock and hillbilly blues with a whole lot of guitar changes in between. What they lacked in originality they made up for in charisma and built a great rapport with the audience.
Jan Preston’s Boogie Circus
Jan Preston is known as Australia’s Queen of piano and judging by her set at Blues On Broadbeach I could certainly see why. Her fingers effortlessly bounced across the keys while always maintaining a boogie-woogie bassline or syncopated chords. She even spiced up 'Für Elise' with a bluesy, boogie-woogie twist to showcase her classical-piano ability.
Jan Preston’s Boogie Circus was also joined by Juzzie Smith, who played harmonica for a few numbers while they brought out the washboard and had the crowd moving and shaking with them.
Upon returning to Blues On Broadbeach on day two I was greeted by a sea of people filling the closed off streets and music coming from at least four other stages. Many bars and other venues were also playing host to even more live music happening in and around the main streets of Broadbeach.Chase The Sun - image © Kate Atkinson
Chase The Sun
Chase The Sun were playing on Surf Parade with a big rock & roll sound and lots of big solos. The stage was situated at the end of the street with restaurants on either side making good use of the space. Chase The Sun produced a big sound for just three performers and mixed it up with some interesting guitar effects and slide guitar, but their songs often took on more similarities than differences.Lachy Doley Group - image © Kate Atkinson
The Lachy Doley Group
Despite being placed behind an organ, Lachy Doley definitely made himself seen in his velvet jacket as he head-banged and grooved his way through the set. He played a dynamic and soulful set with lots of energy, but it was a little too corny at times. His energy and charisma didn’t translate to the audience who preferred to sit on the lawn and relax after sundown. The Lachy Doley Group may have been received better had they played a later set time.West Texas Crude - image © Kate Atkinson
West Texas Crude
Filling up the Mall stage was West Texas Crude as they played a dynamic set full of rockabilly, rhythm and blues, rock & roll and roots all in one. They pulled a bigger crowd and their hillbilly AC/DC cover was definitely a favourite. West Texas Crude engaged in entertaining banter and kept up a great level of energy.
The next two days of the festival played host to The Bamboos, Blue Shaddy, 8 Ball Aitken, Back In Blue – A Blues Tribute to AC/DC, Eric Burdon And The Animals and Big Daddy Wilson.
The best thing about Blues On Broadbeach was that it was happening in every corner of Broadbeach with various stages and locations throughout the town. It was accessible and in a beautiful location giving you the opportunity to enjoy all the Gold Coast has to offer with a completely free event.