BLUES LEGEND: John Lee Hooker Junior played the blues to an appreciative audience on Saturday night.
BLUES LEGEND: John Lee Hooker Junior played the blues to an appreciative audience on Saturday night.

Enjoying a fiddle, mud and a fiery hot Hooker



THE first act I saw at this, my fourth blues fest, involved a lone man in tweed playing the fiddle to a crowd of waltzing baby boomers.

The fiddler was Michael Jerome Browne at the Crossroads stage, and it was all very lovely ? similar to what you would imagine an old-time country hall dance to be like (except for the fact it was under a giant marquee).

But this wasn't the blues fest I remembered ? something was missing.

Then came the rain.

The pungent mix of mud, cigarettes and rum filled the air as hoardes of people ran for cover.

Now that is what the blues fest is all about. It just ain't Easter in the Bay without a few heavy downpours to make things a bit tricky for those like myself wearing rubber thongs.

I left the gentlemanly, old-school Browne to fix my eyes on the dirty big spunk Ash Grunwald at the Jambalaya stage. Thousands of screaming fans had the same idea, squeezing in to catch a glimpse of the dreadlocked wonder with his impossibly shiny guitar.

On a Grunwald high, I eagerly waited for the angelic slide guitar maestro Anne McCue. But, of course, just as the divine Miss McCue was about to take the stage, Cath the photographer and I were called out of the festival to another job (curse the reality of this journalism business!).

By 6pm the babies in prams and grandparents in deck chairs seemed to have disappeared.

Floods of twenty-something generally gorgeous people spilled through the gates and made a beeline to where Angelique Kidjo was about to perform.

John Lee Hooker Junior had me scared when he warned his audience to move away from the stage because of a fire hazard. But then the suave, suited sex bomb explained it was because of the masses of hot grease he was about to ooze out.

Cath eventually had to drag me away from the smooth-as-a-gravy-sandwich singer, so we could get back to the office. As I was shoved into the car, all I could manage to utter in my tantrum were the words 'but I wanted to cook with the hook'... that might not be a bad name for his next album.



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