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Drumfest Canberra

Drumfest Canberra @ The Turner Bowls. 25th Jan 2014
by Jeremy Woodhill 

The tribute to Matty Sykes – Drumfest Canberra @ The Turner Bowling Club had a fantastic turn out evinced by a packed car park full of cars and revelers both. There were friendly faces at every turn with the usual CMC suspects amongst the crowd. My personal endeavor to get there at the beginning of the gig was fraught with domestic administrivial and logistical shenanigans and so alas I didn’t quite make it to the first few on the bill i.e. Bef Jolly, Alice Cottee and the Brass Knuckle Brass Band. I have heard Alice and Brass knuckles play a dozen times and can thoroughly vouch for their great sounding music but alas I have not heard Bef (I’m thinking this is Aussie for Beth) so I missed out there.

Brass Knuckle Brass Band

Brass Knuckle Brass Band

Dub Dub Goose, our much loved Fat 8 piece band with 4 piece brass ensemble, guitar/vox, base, lead guitar, drums was cracking as usual. Soulful melodic lines from the horns and Beth Monzo’s beautiful ‘Macy Grey-esk” female vox with ska sounding rhythms certainly got the peeps on their feet. Next up was Nyash. The Fela Kuti inspired African dub was a nice progression. The 10 piece squeezed on to the stage with a 4 PC brass ensemble, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, drums, percussion and keys. Band leader Simon on the bass was keeping the crew in check landing some soulful Afro-dub that kept the peeps dancing. The jazzy nord electro-piano added a great touch of ‘ultra-cool’ to the upbeat lounge-bar 10 piece-to-12 piece with guest conga players Jim and Dan!

The drinks lines by now were crazy – quite big and quite slowww, but I managed to get an actual pint (they ran out of glasses) while playing pool with a few too many balls on the table (they obviously didn’t run out of those!).

Next up was Southerly Change, with again horns galore (mostly on stage) and big fat groove. I lost count of how many people were onstage and how many drinks I had had by this stage! I made 12 at my last count with keys, bass, drums, guitars but throw in a blues harp and two backup vocals including Alice Cottee and others – sporting a fine blend of hand percussion, you can imagine how truly schweet this line up sounded. Blasting tenor sax solos, fat ska groove with male vox/guitar truly added another big number to the bill. The groove train steamed along sometimes not all in the same direction! But with a few more shovelfuls of dancing and persistence, the tour chuffed on its merry way like dominos down the rails of a sometimes bluesy sometimes funky groove.