Nirvana: a state of perfect peace and happiness, or, any place of pure bliss and delight. I can’t tell you exactly when I hit nirvana, but I know it was somewhere between Lior and The California Honeydrops.
You’ll probably be expecting me to wax lyrical about the sleepy seaside town, with its charming cafes and country town regulation number of pubs, that suddenly bursts into a colourful sea of serious music devotees and the music curious. But for me, it began, when I was leaning against the barrier and Lior, without fanfare, stepped onto the main Lighthouse stage, and began This Old Love. From the first bars, the capacity crowd on the opening night, was his. Pressed against the barrier at the front of the stage, the first melancholy notes, had me completely.
Autumn Flow, the album that 10 years ago kick started an enduring and varied career, has an air of wonder, expectation and innocence and with each song the crowd was carried along as one, each lost in their own memories. Listening to favorites; My Grandfather and Autumn Flow, I can only describe the feeling for me as comfortable, like coming home. But it was the final song, a cover of Jeff Buckley’s Satisfied Mind, with it’s slow, soulful guitar and vocals that just blew me and the crowd away. I wanted more, already feeling that this, only my second act would be difficult to top.
The night finished, with a sea of brass, with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra who had the capacity crowd on their feet dancing from the first beats. Reminiscent of 80’s ska giants, Madness, I was expecting a rendition of One Step Beyond at any moment! Each member brought their own individuality and personality to the performance both musically and through their on stage antics, whilst expertly conducted with endless energy by the multi talented Nicky Bomba. These guys know how to put on a show. The Orchestra commands you to leave your cares behind, dance and have fun, which is exactly what I did. An hour later, with tired feet, as we waited for the bus, with the songs still swirling in my head, I believed Nicky, that, The Best Things in Life are Free!
The organisers had surpassed expectations with the smorgasbord of musical delights scheduled for day 2, yes these were my thoughts whilst contemplating my egg and bacon toastie, necessary fuel for the anticipated 16 hr onslaught ahead. I was ready!
Attracted to unique musical experiences, and for me, uniqueness comes in many different forms, we headed for the QMF Express, a vintage train commonly known as “The Blues Train” which has featured the likes of Claude Hay & Geoff Achison. Three different acts in three different carriages we began with Alister Turrill & The Vagabond Brothers who transported me to the deep south with gravelly vocals and trance like bass. Half way mark, to the back of the train and the impressive blues vocals of Blue Eyes Cry.
Next up, Robert Forster could still command a stage, taking me back to a night where in a tiny club, I drank Vodka and danced to The Go Betweens in a completely white dress under strobe lights! Memories. By then the band had disbanded so it was my first chance to experience his distinctive vocal style live. Besides, not only was Cattle and Cane, classic, their drummer was female and the only other person I’d seen with my name. After all, in your teens it is, all about you!
I then couldn’t help but groove in the Ozone Tent with the ever growing crowd of chai lovers to the sweet soul sounds of DJ Vince Peach. I want him at my next party!
So that was how the first half played out, so grab a drink and get ready for the back to back awesomeness of Saturday night and the more relaxed morning after!