Live Review + Photos: Byron Bay Bluesfest – Monday 01 April 2024

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Ant Ritz

Byron Bay Bluesfest

A vigorous end to the 35th Bluesfest was had with Californian band Infectious Grooves powering up the Mojo with unprecedented levels of exhilaration and raw energy. Front man Mike Muir (also from Suicidal Tendencies) spoke between songs, espousing living life your own way and the benefits of abstaining from alcohol. Hardcore motivational speaking between funk/metal masterpieces that are a rare treat stylistically for Bluesfest. Festival director Peter Noble was down the front enjoying the final night’s headline act. Clearly his passion for music across a diverse range of genres is what makes his musical curation such a success year after year.  Bassist extraordinaire Rob Trujillo (current Metallica and former Suicidal Tendencies) brought his signature heavy yet deeply funky basslines to the show, and towards the end of the set his son Tye Trujillo (current Suicidal Tendencies) also a bass player of phenomenal skill, joined the band on stage for double delivery of bass brilliance.

Three very fortunate young people who had spent up big at the merch tent were plucked from the audience to sit on stage in front of the drum kit for half the show. Their faces full of excitement for the spectacle around them. A prominent security presence over reaction was unwarranted considering the crowd was filled with dedicated fans that would not wreck the night for themselves or others. Mike Muir finished the night by exiting the stage into the audience where he hugged and greeted his fans, stopping to chat and pose for photo opportunities.

Glam rock band Dirty Honey, also from California warmed up the Mojo for Infectious Grooves with their stadium worthy tracks following in the footsteps of their touring partners Guns N’ Roses. Always nice to have some slick looking rock stars floating about the festival especially when they back up their well-crafted image with a high impact set list.  

Rickie Lee Jones performed a moving set earlier in the day at the Crossroads. Providing a gentle experience for those looking for a classy theatre style offering. Singing across her extensive years of song writing, switching between guitar and grand piano for accompaniment. Her sublime band supported her catalogue with violin, keys, piano accordion, and percussion including a beautiful concert xylophone. Also in the gentle realm was Harry Manx (Guitars and vocals) performing with Clayton Doley (organ) and Genevieve Jodoin (keys and vocals) over at the Jambalaya. A perfect way to relax into the last day of the festival, listening to a stunning fusion of western and eastern sounds encapsulating harmonics and semi tones made possible by the sympathetic strings of the Mohan vina, the iconic Hammond Organ and melodic singing.

May next year’s festival be as eclectic and inspiring as this year’s. Live long and prosper Byron Bay Bluesfest!