Sunday, 17 May 2015

Live Review: The Queenscliff Blues Train 16 May 2015

The Blues Train Engine
I've been meaning to get to the Queenscliff Blues Train for a little while now and yesterday I finally got around to taking the 2 hour drive from Melbourne to check it out.
I had seen/heard 2 out of the 4 Artists on the line up (Jimi Hocking and Andrea Marr) so I knew I was going to enjoy at least half of the acts that were playing, but I was hoping that I would learn some new names that I could also look out for around town.

Once again I needn't have worried as my (high) expectations were met in spades. I started off in carriage D which is known as the dancing carriage seeing as there is no seating. As the train took off for the journey Andrea Marr and her band kicked things off with their brand of funky soulful blues sou
nds which had the small Carriage D crowd shaking their booty's to the tunes. A pocket rocket who's sassy vocal stylings were are perfectly suited to what is expected of Carriage D riders. Special mention has to be made of the guitarist in the band (who's name I can't remember) who despite his amplifier playing up and cutting out halfway through a guitar solo managed to keep his cool get it sorted and then continue playing.
Andrea Marr

After the 1st stop and the opportunity to top up my drinks bucket it was onto carriage A where Brian Fraser and Wayne Jury were playing. After the boogie worthy performance that Andrea Marr delivered on Carriage D it was good to have the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the music. Performing a mix of well known Blues classics as well as some slightly lesser known numbers intermingled with some originals it was an absolute treat to see these guys up close in such an intimate setting. Being a big fan of the slide and resonator guitar sounds I was on cloud 9 watching these guys do their thing. The interplay between them was just brilliant and Wayne's singing was perfectly suited to the what they were delivering. As the train came to it's 2nd stop for the night I heard someone comment that it would have been worth the price of the ticket for Brian and Wanyne's performance alone and I couldn't agree more.

John McNamara
Onto carriage B to catch John McNamara another name I had not heard of before. John was the 2nd of the 4 performers on the night that I had not heard of before and once again I was keen to find out what he was all about. Performing solo with one acoustic guitar and a couple of effects pedals I was completely blown away by John's playing and singing. As everyone was boarding and taking their seats I was watching John noodling away and thought to my
self "this is definitely going to be good."
Just before the train took off again we were advised that for this part of the journey it was recommended we all remain seated as it's mostly a downhill ride and the train picks up quite a bit speed as it's travelling. Unfortunately not everyone heeded this advice and one woman who decided to stand up in the tiny empty space in front of John ended up losing her balance and falling on him and almost knocking him off his feet also. After picking herself up with a little assistance from security John managed to carry on unfazed (how's that for professionalism?). Highlights of this performance would have to have been his version of the Etta James classic Damn Your Eyes. I couldn't help but grab a copy of his CD as the train once again came to it's final stop for the night before the end of the ride.

Onto carriage C to catch the inimitable Jimi Hocking and his Blues Machine...
Jimi Hocking
Well what can I possibly say about Jimi that has not been said before? A veteran of the Australian music scene sinc
e the 80's a Jimi Hocking performance is something that is guaranteed to be entertaining. With a sense of humour to match the best stand up comedian and nimble fingers that are enough to make any budding guitarist seriously think twice about pursuing their chosen profession, Jimi is the ultimate rock 'n' roll nice guy. Quite simply if you are a fan of rock music and a fan of the blues and you have never caught a Jimi Hocking show then you are doing yourself a disservice and should waste no time in catching one of his gigs around town.
Overall the night has got to go down as one the highlights of my 2015 gig going experiences and there have been many already!

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