Chris Isaak at Byron Bay Bluesfest last night. This picture by Joseph Mayer Photography via the Bluesfest Facebook page.
Chris Isaak at Byron Bay Bluesfest last night. This picture by Joseph Mayer Photography via the Bluesfest Facebook page.

Wicked Chris bedazzles fans

PHOTO GALLERY: Bluesfest: First night

WHAT a wicked thing Chris Isaak did to thousands of punters on the first night of Bluesfest.

Making his festival debut wearing a red velvet, bedazzled suit, the American singer weaved his way through a swooning crowd to We've Got Tomorrow from his 2009 album, Mr Lucky.

Pretty Girls Don't Cry and Blue Hotel were met with cheers as Isaak swivelled his pelvis to rapturous applause.

Isaak wasn't the only one dancing. Bass player Roly Salley and Hershel Yatovitz on guitar had some choreographed moves of their own including the 'dance of love'.

The queen of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson joined Isaak and his band Silvertone on stage for the Elvis Presley original Trying To Get To You.

We've got half an hour until you all f*** off to see Chris Isaak, so let's make it a good one

- Snowdroppers frontman Johnny Wishbone

The banter between drummer Kenney Dale Johnson and Isaak was, as always, fit for a comedy show. Isaak closed the Crossroads stage last night, giving punters everything they needed - including his hits Somebody's Crying and Wicked Game.

Bluesfest veteran Ben Harper capped off opening night with Charlie Musselwhite at the Mojo tent, once again proving why he's asked back year after year.

Earlier in the evening, The Snowdroppers' flamboyant frontman Johnny Wishbone was in no doubt of his place on the line-up as they kicked into their first set at the Cavanbah tent.

"We've got half an hour until you all f*** off to see Chris Isaak, so let's make it a good one," he demanded.

Best described as a rollicking ride through punk, rockabilly and blues, The Snowdroppers' set may have given punters their first heading-banging opportunity for the festival.

Ben Harper at Bluesfest last night. This picture by Joseph Mayer Photography via the Bluesfest Facebook page.
Ben Harper at Bluesfest last night. This picture by Joseph Mayer Photography via the Bluesfest Facebook page. Contributed

While it may have been a hard decision for some, others were locked solid on where to spend the 8.30pm time-slot. "What about the Tedeschi Trucks Band?" was the sharp response from another punter. "What about Jason Mraz? Rodriguez is on!"

With the swollen crowd at the Jambalaya tent for the Sugar Man himself, it would appear this was a common train of thought.

Led on stage, Rodriguez made himself comfortable, putting on his sunglasses and wide-brimmed hat before starting his set with I Wonder.

The subject of the Academy Award winning documentary, Searching For Sugar Man held the audience captive with his '70s folk sound.

At 70 years, the singer's voice held well - although many streamed out after hearing Sugar Man, five songs into his set. It wasn't only his set that proved popular, the line-up for his signing session divided one tent to the next.

All up, organisers said 17,249 people walked through the gates at the Tyagerah Tea Tree Farm yesterday afternoon and evening, with a total 85,000 expected to turn up by the time Bluesfest winds up on Monday night.



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