Fiercely fighting festival fatigue, we trudged out to the site by about 1 pm, expecting to make an early exit.
Thirty minutes of Melbourne roots band The Wilson Pickers was a fun way to start the day, then I rushed over to the far end of the site to catch the last few songs of another Australian performer, Kim Churchill. I was keen to see Current Swell, not knowing much about them at all. They hail from Victoria, British Columbia and have an earthy blues and roots chord-based feel, with prominent strokes of the surf rock sound with which they originally hit the scene. The group comprises Scott Stanton (vocals/guitar), David Lang (vocals/guitar), Ghosty Boy (bass) and Chris Petersen (drums). They bought an incredible energy to stage and I particularly liked the bluesy “The Dirty Man Jam” which was written in Margaret River (where they lived for five months), the rustic “For The Land” and the moving “Brad’s Song”. Their latest album is called Long Time Ago (2012).
Then I had a quick peek at Kitty, Daisy & Lewis before bumping into the aforementioned Ghosty Boy who will in Melbourne next weekend – we may catch up.
Back to the Rhythms Q&A tent for a quick session with Allen Stone then, deciding that the Bonnie Raitt crowd was excessive, caught a good proportion of a favourite young British singer-songwriter Ben Howard (see previous mentions on this site). I was not disappointed – “Only Love” from his Every Kingdom was magnificent. His brooding, soulful delivery and heartfelt lyrics continue to impress me.
I sat down at the back of the Mojo Stage for Paul Simon but the remoteness and the low volume had me moving to have another look at The Music Maker Blues Revue. There I was, resting on the edge of a planter box listening to The Revue when I heard JD McPherson start up, only 50 paces away. I managed to catch almost the entire set and that was a treat again, with his performance from the previous evening still resonating.
We had agreed to meet for an early departure when we noticed hordes of people leaving – this must be the Paul Simon crowd exiting. So the car park would be clogged and, most importantly, it meant that the crowd for Wilco’s second appearance would not be very large. We willed ourselved to walk across to the other end of the site (again!) and so it turned out – a small crowd and we had the enormous pleasure of seeing Wilco’s entire ninety minute from close up set to close the festival. The band is in career-best form on stage and I was thrilled that there were only a handful of songs repeated from the show I saw two days ago.
And so it was over, we hobbled to the car, got home to our rented accommodation by about one am and had a vibrant and passionate debrief on the day’s events.
A day of rest and then on the plane to Melbourne.
It’s been fun.
Photos below of Ben Howard and JD McPherson by Jim Jacob.