Fairbridge Wrap Up Part 2
Another Fairbridge Festival has wrapped up for the year and this year the acts were of a very high standard. I saw about 25 different acts over the two days and three nights and I have 19 names here on my list that I want to tell you about. Obviously I can’t tell you heaps about all of them because otherwise I would be here for about 6 years. I will go into detail about 8 of my tops picks, and I’ll briefly mention the rest. Okay? Good. Let’s do this!
So first up I’ll do the honourable mentions. These are artists who I loved and just don’t have the time to write all about all of them. I’ll start with David Hyams and Bernard Carney. These two gentlemen are part of the furniture at the festival. If they weren’t there, Fairbridge wouldn’t feel the same. Both exceptionally talented with a heart of gold- I saw David and Bernard play together and they really were just delightful to watch as usual. So much fun in one place, Bernard just has a way with an audience. I also caught David Hyams and The Miles to Go Band, a traditionally big band which this year comprised of 8 musicians who can all play a myriad of instruments. This creates a really interesting sound experience for the audience. Brilliant as always!
I stumbled across Coolgrass as I was trying to escape from the rain on the very last day of the festival. A four piece comedy music group with an affinity for wearing an array of funny hats, these guys were a breath of fresh air and I feel very lucky to have come across them. If you get the chance, see them, you won’t be disappointed. Nadis were also really fun, traditional northern and southern Indian music delivered in a way that was accessible to the audience, just fantastic.
Young gun David Lazarus was also a surprise favourite of mine. This young songwriter showed his considerable song writing chops, as well as having just about every girl under the age of 18 eating out of the palm of his hand. Calling it now- this young man is one to watch, I’m expecting great things.
We were also lucky enough to have music legend Nick Charles preform for us this year. The talent emanating from this man is wonderful to see, and he was charming and likeable as well as blowing us away with his lighting fast playing. He was joined by another very talented man- Lucky Oceans. The two of them together had a comfortable relaxed style that was really a pleasure to watch.
Last of the honourable mentions is a UK based group called The Chipolatas. (http://www.chipolatas.com/flash/) These Gentlemen of the Road are a mix of circus, music, and good old fashioned fun and they’re one of my favourite acts whenever they come to Fairbridge. The addition of a new member this year changed up their stage show a bit- but Pablo Chipolata is an asset to this already very strong act. I also loved seeing a third generation Chipolina, honestly was too cute for words- and it looks like she’s god a good ear for timing already which was adorable. Thanks guys- you were great.
Now onto my favourites. Lots of them are from Perth- as you know; Isolated Nation prides itself on supporting Perth music. I didn’t deliberately pick Perth acts- it just so happened that some of my favourites are from here anyway, which is kind of awesome. Here we go!
The Seals; these guys are a Perth based bluegrass band- and man, can they play! A foot tapping hoe-down throwdown, these guys have you hooked from the moment they walked onstage to the moment they walked off. All wonderful musicians who have great chemistry onstage, these guys had women throwing lingerie at them as they played their catchy songs to a full house. I’m a sucker for a good fiddle player, and Charlie is that and much more. I’m lucky to know one of the members, who introduced me to the rest of the band, and they’re all great blokes as well as impressive musicians. These young up and comers are definitely worth going to see. You can check out their gigs here: www.facebook.com/theseals Tell them Emma sent you!
Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds- all I can say is WOW. These guys played punk favourites in the style of folk music. I was not sure what to expect and they were only playing one show, so I went, figuring it would either be really good, or really bad. Luckily it was the former and I walked away smiling for at least another two hours. Songs like ‘London Calling’ and ‘I Fought the Law’ were used in this unique show- a very talented trio; these guys got a very well deserved standing ovation. I was very disappointed that we didn’t get another show out of them this time around. If you get the chance to see them, do it! Find their gigs here: www.facebook.com/thebadshepherds.
Jonathan Brain is a Perth solo artist who has a beard to rival all beards and two adorable little boys who like to fidget and occasionally run onstage. Jonathan was endearing, humble, and oh-so-good at what he does. The song of his I enjoyed the most was actually one he had never played live before, ‘Little Fence’, just a beautiful little melody and lyrics. He masterfully used a loop pedal to achieve some really great sounds and the way he commanded the stage was very impressive and something I have seen solo acts struggle to do. Jonathan is playing at The Ellington on the 19th of May, I highly recommend you go and see him, you will not be disappointed. Other gigs and appearances can be found here: www.facebook.com/jonathanbrainsings
One of the main highlights this year was another Perth band called China Doll. They self-describe as ‘Folk-Roots-Pop’ and that was pretty much exactly what they were. A few members of this band are WAAPA students so it’s really good to see such a fantastic group of musicians doing so well. Front woman Karin Page kicked some major ass, she is one of the best fronts to a band I have seen in a while. This 5 piece exuded confidence and energy and they were well received on all the timeslots and stages they played on. I especially liked their song ‘Jump’, and the clever use of a little glockenspiel added a little more texture and interest to their style. This band appears to be on hiatus for a little while but I sincerely hope they come back soon as I think there is definitely a future here for this band, just so much fun to watch. Check them out here: www.chinadollmusic.com/
Himmerland were a band that totally snuck up on my and surprised me. They’re a Danish band, from all over Europe, with the exception of energetic and excitable Ghanaian percussionist, Ayi Solomon. All members are very talented and you would be very hard pressed to pick the strongest member, because they were all just wonderful. Bass player Andrzej Krejniuk was absolutely fantastic, one of the best bass players I have ever seen, and sax player Eskil Romme made me smile by being one of the tallest people I have ever seen with the tiniest saxophone ever. Not to mention how well he played said tiny sax! I didn’t understand any of the lyrics to these songs as they were sung in the bands Native tongue, but that didn’t matter. The entire audience was captivated from the beginning until the very last note... I can’t wait for Himmerland to return to Australia! Check them out here: www.facebook.com/himmerlandband
One of my old friends suggested I see The Ballpoint Penguins. I knew nothing about them and managed to squeeze them into my already very full schedule and was so glad I did. They are a Capella group consisting of singers Colleen Dixon, Kerry Egan and Tim Fisher. They sing original comedy songs ranging in topics from Atheism to Crème Brule to Ikea. From their identical outfits to the obvious onstage chemistry, this three piece hit all the right notes, pun intended. It’s worth noting that Colleen is the president of Fairbridge Festival- I have no idea how she finds the time to do all of these things but I’m certainly very impressed. Tim is President of Nanga Bush Festival in October which is a lot smaller but I’m hoping to make it this year so I’ll tell you all about it. These guys were a festival highlight and I was sorry I left early to catch one of the myriad of other bands I squeezed into this weekend. These are yet another local act, have a look at their upcoming events here: www.facebook.com/ballpointpenguins
Rushad Eggleston is really someone that needs to be experienced first-hand. I will certainly try to explain the insane amount of crazy and wacky that is his show, but I don’t think there are enough words in our language. Hailing from the US, Rushad called himself ‘The Wild Cello Goblin’ and plays the cello like you’ve never seen before. Half wizard, half man, he throws more energy into his show than I thought it was possible for one man to possess. The audience, myself included, were torn between being amazed, incredulous, and in hysterics with the antics witnessed onstage. I almost wished he would actually just sit down for a minute and just play the cello, but then he wouldn’t be Rushad! He has lighting quick fingers and a brilliant drawl that just makes you want to listen to him forever. Perfect for Fairbridge, he was witty and weird and wonderful. Have a look at his comings and goings on Facebook. www.facebook.com/rushad.eggleston
Last- but certainly not least, I can’t not mention The Perch Creek Family Jug Band. I had the pleasure of meeting three of the five members of this incredibly young and talented group, and I was blown away by two of their preformances. They were on the Main Stage which surprised me,, but I soon found out why this was…. Tell you what, this is one very talented family. It’s made up of two sisters, Camilla and Eileen Hodgkins, who are both lovely girls, their brothers Lear and Christi Hodgkins, as well as Camilla’s partner James/Jimmy Chandler. They’re all multi talented, with absolutely amazing hair and there are so many things happening onstage you can’t help but be swept up in it all. Eileen even smashes out an amazing tap dancing routine if you clap loud enough. They’re all wonderful but the person that really blew me away was Christi. At just 19, he played the Saw better than anyone I have ever seen, and the sound he made with the BluesHarp was absolutely sensational, as well as having a beautifully haunting voice. They’re from over East and are currently doing a West Aussie tour, I hope they come back really soon because they were just brilliant. Their track ‘Where You Been’ was my favourite and that’s on their brand new album ‘Jumping on the Hirewire’. Do yourself a massive favour and check these guys out, I hope we see a lot more of them.
That’s all from me this year, let me know if you saw any acts you liked or even if you disagree with who I picked from this year. I’m already counting down until next years festival, but until then I will be listening to ‘Hey Jude’ on repeat and trying not to cry that there’s a whole year to wait until the best weekend of the year. Until then, tweet me @perthsoundchic or @isolatednation.