Evan: It’s been a great start to the weekend, but the grounds are now all mushy and smelly. They were so nice when we got in, but now you kind of have to hold your breath when you’re near the really bad bits. All part of the experience though.
Nathan: My boots are absolutely rooted. I don’t think they’ll recover. If they do, I’m definitely going to start saying I’m after the ‘worn’ look. Even some grassy looking areas have gone all swampy and when you stand on them they just sink.
E: The awesome food is one thing which more than makes up for that though. There’s so. Many. Option. Sucks we weren’t given a food allowance for the trip. I’ve already spent way too much.
N: The chocolate donuts you mentioned the other day…Well I finally managed to have one. The 20 something people in front of me were no deterrent. With things like this it’s hard to tell if people even know what they’re lining up for, or whether they’re doing it because everyone else is and it must just be good.
E: That line though….How long was the wait?
N: Once I’d bitten into the giant block of sugary, doughy goodness, all that matters is I would be happy to wait twice as long as I did. For $5 – and considering the size of the treat – it’s arguably the best value food item at the festival. I mean, I genuinely struggled to finish it and I am pretty much a vacuum with my food consumption. The dark chocolate filling I think is what did it, I never thought I’d say this but there might have even been a little too much chocolate.
E: Yeah, it was a bit much. Like three days’ worth of calories in one delicious hit.
N: So good though. Please tell me you caught Rodrigo y Gabriela?
E: They play their guitars like percussion and live it looked as if they were halfway between beating and making love to them. Their technical ability is insane too -I’ve never seen so much headbanging to flamenco guitar. Walking off to AC/DC was a nice touch and I’m pretty sure they covered a Metallica song.
N: Admittedly, I’d watched a few of their tracks on YouTube and knew what they were about. I also know the novelty of tapping and whacking the guitar always goes down pretty well. I kind of went through a phase years ago with John Butler and Newton Faulkner where I was really into percussive guitar, so I thought it would be cool but, my god….. I was not prepared for what they threw at me. In the pits taking photos of them, it was near impossible to stay focused on the task and not to just move. They were that good.
E: Speaking of being that good, [Alabama Shakes’ frontwoman] Brittany Howard was amazing and she also seems like such a humble performer. She manages to draw every possible bit of soul from her vocal chords and guitar. As soon as she opened her mouth to sing I nearly dropped my corn on the cob. The rest of the band just sit back, perfectly complimentary, to let her do her thing. My act of the festival so far – even better than Jurassic 5.
N: I decided to go watch Paulo Nutini again even though I saw him Friday. I didn’t bother having a camera out and had my bag out of the way. Had an amazing time. There were a couple of girls next to me who were super into it and appeared to adore Paolo almost as much as me, so we all just had the best boogie. And for Brittany Howard, she really does make Alabama Shakes. I kind of imagine she epitomises that southern-bluesy-soul sound. It is a tiny bit strange how still the rest of the band are but she does need the space for all her energy. It’s cool how she just seems to smash it out every performance, she stretches her voice to the absolute screeching limits – so damn soulful.
E: They didn’t play their most popular song (“Hold On”) though. I think a lot of people were a bit disappointed, but obviously still super psyched by the whole show.
N: Yeah. I caught the first half of their set on Friday and loved it but didn’t hear that song I wanted, so I caught the second half of the set last night thinking they would play it last and they just didn’t. Pretty sure I’ve heard a good portion of their first album now, but not the song we all wanted.
E: It was good to have some old school stuff too with John Mayall. He was a pretty funny – a perfect gentleman between songs. But when he’s playing he transforms into a madman. Like when he’s introducing songs he sounds like he’s about to offer up a cup of tea, not a blistering harmonica solo. He was great. He was rocking the dad ponytail which was also super cute.
N: You’re probably the first person to ever call the dad ponytail ‘super cute’. He was pretty damn cool. I just feel like I was watching a glimpse of an era I wasn’t a part of. As in, I feel lucky to be catching the tail end of a period my dad worshipped. Seeing how he moves now, all I can think about is how nuts it would have been seeing him 30 years ago. It’s strange to realise this guy on stage is probably someone’s grandad.
E: Watching Rockwiz being taped was also really cool. The special guests are the musicians here at the festival and there were heaps of other surprise drop-in performances throughout. I really want to try out as one of the audience panel members. How do you think I’d go?
N: I’ll be honest, watching Rockwiz at home I’m lucky if I can answer two of the questions the entire night. So you telling me you were wanting to go on, well I’m a bit sceptical as to how you’d stack up to the forty year olds who don’t seem to do anything other than Wikisearch bands all day long. For the comic relief I’m definitely good for you trying out, I encourage it. Follow your heart Evan.
E: Thanks man. Overall I think yesterday [Saturday] was my favourite day yet.
N: I’m going to have to agree. Nikki Hill blew me away first up. I’d never heard of her, but I went over and she delivered. I’d decided not to see Trombone Shorty the day before so I could catch someone else, but wow, all the way from New Orleans and she brought with her a real American groove. I think it was the acts I didn’t really know about today that made it the best. The ones I knew, I was already going to enjoy.
E: Did you know much Donavon Frankenreiter before today? Everyone seemed to really like him. Like, really like him.
N: I watched a bit of Donavon Frankenreiter just earlier on. He was a cutie. Some of the acts have the attractive rugged, rock star vibe. Donovan was different. He’s what I’m now going to call a triple threat. A massive ass beard, super long scraggly hair, and a nice ol’ felt hat. Swooning for days. Oh, and it doesn’t help he has the voice of an angel. I was really having a ‘feels’ trip when he performed his third track about his children, you could just see it on his face.
E: He was one of the guest musicians on the episode of Rockwiz earlier. He got heaps of questions right and performed a couple of tunes. I wish I looked and played guitar like him. What a dreamboat.
N: You’re beautiful in your own way Evan, and you do have a felt hat and long hair; it’s just you’re lacking the last part of the holy trifecta: a long beard.
E: Give me a couple of months Nathan and I’ll see what I can do.
Photos by Nathan Brown
You can read more of Nathan and Evan’s Bluesfest coverage here.