CW Stoneking - Back to Boogaloo at Fremantle Arts Centre
I’d never been to Fremantle Arts Centre before, but Saturday I ventured out to see Australia’s favourite ramblin’ jungle blues man CW Stoneking’s sold out show in the tree-filled front courtyard. Unfortunately nature literally decided to rain on his parade (with the greatest lightning I’ve ever been terrified of), but very conveniently only during the interval. I only wish I was more appropriately dressed for rain on a 37C day.
Supporting CW was local song writing aficionado Peter Bibby. I’d never seen/heard ol’ Petey before but was impressed by his honest, almost autobiographical lyrics and catchy riffs. His music is very Australiana; songs about drinking from goon bags and living in Perth. After a sneaky thunderstorm and brief power loss, CW Stoneking made an appearance with his two-piece band and two swingin’ backup singers. CW has a very soulful voice, with a mockingly American twang that shines through in the rambling sections prior to and during songs where he spouts ‘wisdom’ to the audience. His music sounds like a fusion of 1930s calypso and blues, prominent in songs such as The Zombie, and Jungle Lullaby. He played a healthy smattering from his latest record Gon’ Boogaloo (2014), before getting rid of his band and backing singers and breaking out the steel guitar and treating us to a smattering of songs from his earlier albums King Hokum (2006) and Jungle Blues (2008). Unusual weather patterns and poor clothing choices aside, CW Stoneking’s live show is a cracker; I wouldn’t recommend missing him when he next makes an appearance.