As the third day of the Festival came and went, the esoteric faithful spent another pristine Adelaide day in the sun drenched Botanic Park to inhale the essence of WOMADelaide.
As it started to slowly transition to the beginning of the end, it was noticeably so with the FREE giveaway Coopers hats (after purchasing a couple of Session Ales at the Coopers Bar) being sold out before day had even become night.
Among the note worthy first acts observed and heard for the day was the incredible “Hana & Jessie Lee’s Bad Habits” at the Moreton Bay stage all the way over from Adelaide. These home-grown locals really amazed us with their combined country sound, amazing guitar solos and impressive cultured sounds of violin which had just as impressive solo parts as the guitar. They also featured mandolin played by a man who looked strikingly similar to Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, he shredded a couple of boasting solos. I wonder if it might have been the legend who was mistaken as the big guy himself and rocked up in a limo at their recent Adelaide show.
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band took to the main stage with constant upbeat rhythms. Eight percussionist multi instrumentalists make for a highly textured and dynamic sound and that’s what you get. That’s before you focus on the smooth mid high register African vocals and the occasional brass elements. With innumerable sets of percussion, including some non drum based instruments over conventional drum kit, bass and keys the rich sound was perfect for main stage.
Mama Kin Spender caught our attention once again with a vocal training workshop also at the Moreton Bay Stage that was absolutely energetic and managed to bring strangers together. The crowd was fully involved, separated, yet combined and categorised from bass, alto, tenor and soprano sections that interacted and performed well together. Everyone there happily played their part even in the most difficult of vocal exercises. Everbody in the crowd was smiling and it was very impressive to hear the result, a powerful remix of the duos current hit off their new album “Golden Magnetic” titled “Air Between Us”. We managed to have a chat with Danielle Caruana of Mama Kin Spender last week and learned that she will be embarking on a new regional tour soon, with a big emphasis on a stop over in Mullumbimby to perform.(Here)
Australian Latin band San Lazaro had another super tight set. With two vocalists, complex rhythm section proving Latin grooves, the brass section brought the edge to the show, with guitars and keys filling out the sound. The additional percussive elements added some flavour to the rhythm, giving it a more unique, but at the same time, very Latin vibe.
Before night fell, Aussie alternative rocker Dan Sultan took to the Foundation stage to perform to an absolute sea of people, the crowd size was huge, and moving between people to get to a better spot was somewhat difficult. Surprisingly this was one of the acts that seemed to actually experience minor technical difficulties and sound issues. At the same time as Dan was on, another local act intrigued us which we simply couldn’t miss, Adelaidean / Ukranian cultural ensemble “Yellow Blue Bus” at the Zoo stage, punctuated by the rich sounds coming from the combination of two banduras, a sixty seven lute based string instrument and an electric violin. The guitar, keys and an electric double bass filled out the sound. The band’s camaraderie and on stage banter was a highlight of their performance and they are definitely worth checking out in Adelaide some time.
The subtly syncopated Tinawurren only used one traditional drum but the tabla style percussion sounds it brought really shaped the music. The finger plucked acoustic and the soft electric guitar chords filled out the rest of the sound, forming a bed layer for the three singers. The traditional Mali musicians’ costumes also looked fantastic.
After sampling some of the many tasty foods on offer such as the somewhat savoury fruit ‘Jackfruit Putin,’ which tasted more like a loaded fries from McDonalds, there were also some wicked curries on offer by the Yalumba wine stall. After some sustenance, it was time to prepare for the next lot of music to be heard.
As things grew dark, REMI x SAMPA took to the stage greeted by an absolutely captivated crowd. It was nice to see N’fa Jones up there who had been showing fans a thing or two in the kitchen and sharing stories of his lunch time meals growing up as a school kid during a Taste The World session, this time he was back to his natural habitat on stage and he was supporting the dynamic duo on harmonies and getting the crowd pumped up. Every word that came from REMI X SAMPAs mouths was absolutely powerful. The queen; Sampa was small in appearance but huge in vocal deliverance and with an even bigger stage presence.
Now covered in shadows, the next act we couldn’t miss was the incredibly talented American Jazz Saxophonist Kamasi Washington, backed by some incredibly talented souls on stage. His bass player Romeo was absolutely amazing, and at one point was directed to perform a bass solo which went for well over 5 minutes on its own.
The Avalanches, from Melbourne were the main act to see for many taking to the stage at about 9.30pm and the ground shook beneath as they played. They were amazing, and their unique twist on electronic music is really something to be heard for yourself.
Unfortunately Peanut Butter Wolf were not able to perform this night much to the disappointment of many fans and their slot was instead replaced with DJ Marky who we had witnessed earlier.
There was plenty of shade in all spots and by all stages, as well as seated sections for those getting tired, plenty of cool down stations, and an arsenal of helpful volunteers and friendly staff on deck to see the steady execution of all aspects of the day. Re-useable cups at the bars seemed to be a great idea, and supported a cleaner, healthier environment too.
Don’t skip out on the last day of WOMADELAIDE!
By Gav De Almeida & Jonathan Matthews
Pics: John Koh www.jkfoto.net