Category Archives: Wanda Hill

Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 – Day Five

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 - Day Five Photographer: Stuart Blythe
Five consecutive days in the sunshine was a rare treat for Bluesfest regulars who have endured years of mud to listen to the incredible artists invited to perform at this world class festival. Day five felt very relaxed as the big crowds had thinned and lining up for a bite to eat or something to drink seemed almost instant in comparison to previous days. Weary stall holders still served customers with smiles and delicious concoctions but understandably they were looking forward to the event drawing to a close.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 – Day Four

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe + Ant Ritz
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 - Day Four Photographer: Stuart Blythe
Everybody loves Santana. I hope the other bands with a 7.30pm time slot had an audience because it felt like the entire festival population was trying to get as close as possible to Carlos Santana and the incredible line up of singers and musicians on tour with him at the moment. It is amazing what we can put up with if the music is sooo brilliant that being pushed, crushed and having a variety of drinks spilled on you is all taken with good nature and shared understanding of I just need to be as close as possible to this magnificence.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 – Day Two

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe + Ant Ritz
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 - Day Two Photographer: Stuart Blythe
The festival site was cranking with a huge crowd enjoying everything the festival has to offer. Moving from A to B involved weaving in and out of human traffic going in every direction and careful navigation through seas of chairs arranged to take advantage of screens outside the main tents. Colourfully adding to this complexity were a series of roving street acts including stilt walkers who amazingly manage to move forward with grace amidst the whirl of chaos beneath them.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 – Day One

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2017 - Day One Photographer: Stuart Blythe

Recent major flooding of the Northern Rivers area is barely perceptible at the Bluesfest site, with only a small puddle here and there as a giveaway. Instead, the site is flooded with musicians from around the globe bringing the world of music and culture to our doorstep. As always the lineup is a mix of old and new talent, attracting a broad cross-section of society, of all ages, to the festival.
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Live Review : Falls Festival, Byron Bay 2017 – Day 3 (2 January 2017)

By Wanda Hill
Photo (Bernard Fanning playing at Falls Festival 2016 – Lorne) by Ruby Boland
Bernard Fanning playing at Falls Festival - Lorne 2016 Photographer: Ruby Boland

Falls Festival Byron Bay – Day 3

Searing heat and a dry dusty walk into the festival site felt like a pilgrimage to a holy land where hardship must first be endured to prepare the mind for revelation. Seeing people with various states of epic sunburn prepared me for what would be my skins fate at the end of this 3rd and final day of Falls festival.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Five

Review By Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Five - March 28, 2016 Photographer:  Stuart Blythe
It was an emotional end to Bluesfest last night witnessing Brian Wilson perform Pet Sounds with original Beach Boys member Al Jardine and long term member Blondie Chaplin accompanied by a mini orchestra including string, woodwind and brass sections as well as drums, percussion, guitars, bass and support singer. This was part of a world tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone’s declared second greatest album of all time and will most likely be Brian Wilson’s last trip to Australia. Hearing the historically important songs of the Beach Boys, live from the creators mouth was a surprisingly special experience considering that I have never particularly been a Beach Boys fan. Realising the place in history of these songs and the way they continue to influence several generations was deeply moving. The world the Beach Boys were singing about in the 60’s seems so innocent compared to the world we live in today. Brian Wilson was not looking his best but still managed to sing songs including Fun Fun Fun, Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda and Wouldn’t it be Nice with a bit of support from Matt Jardine for the sections that were no longer in his vocal range. They created a joyous atmosphere that was so infectious… maybe I’m a Beach Boys fan now just in time before this era sadly comes to and end.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Four

Review By Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Four
Shooglenifty were a great fresh way to start Bluesfest 2016 Day 4. Their celtic flavours are not often heard at Bluesfest. A great contrast and way to refresh the ears, kind of like sniffing a coffee bean in between wine tasting. With a fiddle, banjo, mandolin, drums, guitar and bass these guys from Scotland had the audience experimenting with their best River Dance impersonations and moving in energetic ways that are not your usual Bluesfest hip swinging standard. With beautiful tunes, jigs and reels that branched out to sound almost middle eastern and esoteric at times, this band can really get you dancing. Violinist Angus Grant kept the focus sharply on the music declaring ‘we only have an hour, so we are going to dispense with the hysterical banter that goes on between songs’. See Shooglenifty perform today at the Juke Joint 4:15pm.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Three

Review By Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Three - March 26, 2016 Photographer:  Stuart Blythe
Day three was all about soaking up epic saxophonist Kamasi Washington with his band from Los Angeles during their last Australian show for 2016. To see a jazz/funk band of this quality and diversity in Australia is a real treat and must be embraced if you like this genre. Each incredible musician on tour with Kamasi was given plenty of stage time to showcase their unique contribution and own original material with respectful introductions from Kamasi explaining how they met. It was a real neighbourhood affair with childhood friends and Kamasi’s father all on stage. Some have been friends before they had even picked up an instrument. The arrangements were intricate, full of detail, embracing difficult time signatures, highlighting the fine pedigree of these musicians who mix with jazz royalty back in their homeland.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Two

Review By Wanda Hill
Photos by Stuart Blythe
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day Two - March 25, 2016 Photographer:  Stuart Blythe
Wondering around the Bluesfest site during the early afternoon on day 2, I could hear a beautiful familiar voice rising over the cacophony of sounds emanating from multiple tents. Following the voice lead me to the Crossroads stage to find Djakapurra from Bangarra singing with East Journey, an amazing band from North East Arnhem Land carrying on the tradition of Yothu Yindi. They performed new original songs that are bound to end up in the charts as well as performing Yothu Yindi favourites such as Treaty. Lead singer Rrawun Maymuru’s versatility was showcased with vocal styles ranging form traditional ceremonial song poetry, to ballads and full on rock. His song writing is appreciated world wide through songs he has written for Gurrumul. The band and dancers were truly exceptional and will be appearing at the Boomerang Dance Grounds over the next 3 evenings.
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Live Review + Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day One

By Wanda Hill
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2016 – Day One - March 24, 2016 Photographer: Stuart Blythe
Day one and there is already too many choices. Who to see and where to be? The answer… a bit of everything and everywhere. Entering the festival site was made sweet with the sounds of Lord Huron paving the way for a relaxing night at Bluesfest 2016. The opportunity to leave the world of commitments behind and bathe in sweet music for five days is a pleasure that I am always grateful for and being spoilt for choice of which brilliant set of musicians to cast my ears and eyes upon, never gets old. I guess thats why Bluesfest has been going strong for 27 years and still finds new audiences by stepping out of the mould and bringing artists like Kendrick Lamar into the fold.
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Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015 – Day 5

By Wanda Hill
Gary Clark Jr at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015
Bluesfest Day 5

After nights of heavy rain it was stunning to have a beautiful sun shining day for the Bluesfest 2015 finale. The crowds had thinned, the earth underfoot had dried up a bit, and the feeling in the air was relaxed and easy. People were united in the agreement – its our last day here, let’s just chill and enjoy.
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Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015 – Day 3

Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015 – Day 3

Bluesfest Day 3

By Wanda Hill

The rain came down as spirits soared lifted by music unfazed by the weather or mud underfoot. Day three was a bit wet but who really cares when your safe and dry listening to The Gypsy Kings surrounded by warm bodies all captivated by sounds that make you feel like you’re thousands of miles away in the warm Spanish countryside having a religious experience. Being transported by Spanish Romini elder Nicholas Reyes’s vocals in combination with the magical flamenco guitar of Tonino Baliardo, supported by younger cousins on vocals and guitars is a cultural experience everyone should have in this lifetime.
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Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015 – Day 1

Bluesfest2015

Bluesfest 2015 Day 1

Review by Wanda Hill

It’s that time of year again when thousands of music lovers make their way to Arakwal Country in the Byron Shire for the annual Easter celebration of all things blues, roots and beyond. It is such a lovely feeling to walk onto the extremely well prepared festival site knowing that there are five days of incredible artists from around the world to be enjoyed amidst a friendly crowd and delicious food.
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Live Review : Macy Gray at Lismore City Hall – March 13, 2015

Review by Wanda De Verelle-Hill
Macy Gray
Macy Gray is on a bus and travelling around Australia bringing her world class show to major cities and a few very lucky regional towns such as Lismore. Last night Lismore City Hall was packed with thoroughly pumped people having a wild party with the funked up Macy Gray and her very stylin’ band.

Don’t know how I got it so wrong – I was expecting something mellow and jazz club like, so made my way early into the theatre to get a good seat thinking it will be all about having a good view. Turns out I should have rocked in late, charged to the front and spent the night dancing with all the sensible people that had staked out the limited space on the dance floor.
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Live Review : Anathema at The Hi-Fi, Brisbane – 21 August 2014

Review by Wanda Hill
Anathema_3084-L
Anathema played their first ever Australian show to a welcoming and receptive audience at the HiFi Bar in Brisbane’s West End on Thursday night. Any doubts about their Australian fan base would have been quickly swept away as the crowd soaked up the power and intensity of their music and joined them in singing along with songs recently released as well as from albums produced many years ago. Yes Anathema, you have many fans here, and we hope you won’t wait so long to visit us again.
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