As living, breathing human beings we all get the blues.
Blues music is a way of escaping our troubles, yet coming to terms with them. It’s a way to let our souls breathe, and get our feet tapping simultaneously. That is why blues festivals are both the wildest form of festival, and the most soothing.
They’re therapeutic, a chance to dive into your emotions, and witness them being expressed through a range of artists who know how to get the wrath of their guitars, and harmonicas penetrating right to the core of you.
When it comes to blues festivals, Mitchell Creek is the place to be. This year they’re hosting a delectable range of more than 150 blues and rock bands over what is bound to be three massive days, and nights. Here’s our list of the ten must-see acts from the line-up!
Mitchell Creek Rock n’ Blues Fest 2016 is going to absolutely massive. With the biggest lineup ever this year, it’s going to be hard to catch everything, but these are the 10 artists you can’t afford to miss.
10. Claude Hay
With the release of his latest LP, I Love Hate You, Blue Mountains-dwelling Claude Hay has taken a step away from his bluesman sensibilities, and has instead been ravaging through the sounds of rock n roll, both psychy, and classic, forging a sound that’s as gut-busting on stage as it is on record. Playing live with the assistance of looping technology that helps him forge the sound of a full band, minus the band, he’s forged a unique live presence and is a must-see for those with a taste for 80s cock rock.
9. The Free Loves
Since late 2014, three best mates Greg McHugh, Athol Birnie and Rob Hawley have been giving crowds a fuzz-saturated rock ‘n roll show that’s driven by strong beats and deep vocals. Asked to play by the festival owner himself, The Free Loves will be whipping out the good stuff at Mitchell Creek this September, and with their rustic overtones, and relaxed aura, seeing them live is both chilled, and worthy of giving you chills. All round talented blokes who know how to work a crowd.
8. Collard Greens and Gravy
Since ’95, Ian Collard, James Bridges, and Anthony Shortte have been producing dark, organic, Mississippi-style blues. They’ve won a tonne of awards worldwide for their efforts and are known for their knack of duplicating the sounds of the Delta blues greats and twisting them together to create a sound of their own. A throwback to the early days of the Mississippi blues, with a modern overtone, they are enrapturing to see live
7. Chase The Sun
Chase the Sun are Aussie blues veterans. Having played around the country for years, the threesome featuring Jan Rynsaardt, Ryan Van Gennip, and Jon Howell have mastered the art of tight, gritty, guitar soaked blues. They’ve been praised by old and young blues bands alike who admire their ability to move a crowd into a state of wah-heavy reverie. A must see band who are sure to impress any blues lover whether it’s their first time seeing them or the tenth.
6. Lachy Doley Group
Well establishing themselves on the Aussie festival circuit this blues, soul, and rock n’ roll power trio have played over 100 shows and festivals since their first release in 2011. With Doley considered one of the best organists in the world, he’s a surefire live performer. Each show is filled with passion and experimentation, feeding off the energy of the crowd and drawing it into his playing. A serious group of musician with a musical connection as tight as a pair of skinny jeans.
5. Frank Sultana and The Sinister Kids
With sensual backing vocals, raw blues drenched harp, and Allman-esque slide playing, Frank Sultana and his sinister ‘kids’ are a vintage dream. Their mammoth vibrations explode onto the stage, and draw the audience into a time, and space completely of its own. Ranging from a sound reminiscent of Dylan and tones that scream Nick Cave or Skip James, you never know whether you’ll be getting a nine piece bonanza, or a slice of four piece pie. Either way this a group of musicians who add some real retro warmth to any line-up, and will surely keep your mind a swayin’ at Mitchell Creek.
4. The Hipshooters
For those fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble who never had the chance to witness the guys in all their sweat-soaked Texas Blues glory, The Hipshooters are the next best thing. Forming in New Zealand in ’92, Anton Elkington, Billy Williams and Grant Bedford have won numerous awards and moved many a festival crowd. Having recently released their new LP, Broken Man, they’re sure to have some new originals and covers to blow some brains into a blues ridden state of intoxication.
Stonefield are Aussie rock ‘n roll favourites. Making a serious impression on the charts with their sophomore release, As Above So Below, they’ve managed to keep psych, stoner and blues rock alive and in the mainstream without compromising a thing, and that is one hell of an achievement in 2016. The band of sisters have a powerful live presence, an incredible knowledge of both the genre and their instruments, and vibrations that echo the 1970s. They’re some seriously kick-ass women, and they’re not to be missed.
2. Jesse Redwing
Like many young players, Jesse Redwing and co. have drawn heavy influence from the Chicago blues’ fines, and British blues heroes. But it is with a laid-back, garage feel that they’ve uncovered a barely touched side of the genre. Raw, rowdy and alluring in a range of ways, they’re a contemporary blues group who let their roots seep through and influence each live show to flow in a different direction from the last. An intriguing bunch of cats who have a powerful grasp on their instruments and an almost punkish undertone.
1. Ana Popovic
As the headliner of this year’s line-up it feels almost too obvious to place Ana Popovic as our #1 must see act, but for those who have witnessed this fierce being in one of her guitar driven trances, it would be obvious why. Popovic has shown that if you give a woman a Strat she can do exactly what the revered bluesmen are doing, if not better and with a stack more passion. Having played with many blues greats around the globe, she’s proven herself as one of the best modern players, keeping the genre alive, and doing so with an on-stage presence that fills any venue with the sweetest vibrations a music lover could hope for. A fiery performer who is not to be missed!