Live Review + Galleries: Bluesfest Byron Bay – Day 4, Sunday 31.03.2024

If the Saturday at Bluesfest Byron Bay had been fairly hectic with me getting to 11 artists, then Sunday would turn out to be even busier. With the crowds still buzzing, I tried to make sure that I captured as many artists as I could across this day.

I opened my day by catching the very first act of the day, The Pierce Brothers. The last time The Pierce Brothers had appeared at Bluesfest in 2022 saw them perform with only one of the brothers on stage (Jack having been struck down with Covid-19). However, there was to be no repeat, as both Jack and twin brother Patrick took to the stage to deliver their lively brand of independent folk/blues & roots to an ever-adoring crowd.

Pierce Brothers Gallery:

Little Quirks were the next artist up, as they kicked off proceedings on the Mojo stage. One of those “discovery” bands that I had not heard of before their announcement at Bluesfest, they certainly grabbed my attention in a big way with their highly energetic, polished stage performance and presence. Hailing from the Central New South Wales coast, Little Quirks are a tight-knit, family-based band who reminded me of the likes of Stonefield, albeit their music is distinctly indie folk-pop oriented.

Little Quirks Gallery:

Always happy to catch a repeat performance of artists I like, I couldn’t help but get back to see Devon Allman and Duane Betts teaming up with their Allman Betts Family Revival show. This time, however, I was able to see their special guests, Ally Venable and Larry McCray, who joined the band to show of their skills as vocalists and guitarists and to pay tribute to the legacy of The Allman Brothers music.

Allman Betts Family Revival (with guests, Ally Venable and Larry McCray) Gallery:

Although they were slated to appear at Bluesfest back in 2020 (the ill-fated, cancelled-due-to-Covid festival), Dirty Honey finally got to make their Bluesfest debut playing their hard-driving blues-based rock. Taking their influences from such bands as Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses, this Los Angeles band certainly rocked their way into the minds and hearts of the crowd at the Mojo stage (and a number of the photographers who had been unaware of them previously)

Dirty Honey Gallery:

Melbourne’s Shannon Busch, aka WILSN was next artist on my hit-list, bringing her powerful, yet soulful voice to the Jambalaya stage. Along with her band, she worked her way through a set of superb songs which highlighted her incredible talent (including her iconic number, Those Days Are Over).

WILSN Gallery:

19-Twenty began their Bluesfest journey back in 2022, and have been firm festival favourites ever since. Ever the entertainers, the lads brought the girls from Little Quirks up on stage with them to do a superb version of their now-classic live duet number, What A Night, which was quickly followed by a rousing rendition of The Cranberries’ Zombie, further propelling the large crowd into raucous, sing-along mode.

19-Twenty Gallery:

Following on from his debut 2023 appearance, folk-troubadour and zany jester, Steve Poltz was welcomed back to the stages of Bluesfest, and once again he amazed the crowd with his off-kilter stories and frenetic stage presence.

Steve Poltz Gallery:

All photography for Jimmy Barnes was limited to ‘Front Of House’ (ie – shooting from the crowd) unfortunately. It is often difficult shooting in these situations, but I decided to brave the huge crowd that had gathered to see Jimmy play his first gig since his heart surgery. He played with a large number of special guests throughout his set, with Tommy Emmanuel being the one I caught after worming my way through arguably the largest crowd for any artist throughout the festival.

Jimmy Barnes Gallery:

From the hugely popular, to the sublimely talented, Bluesfest had secured the appearance of The Tedeschi Trucks Band for not just one, but two seperate headline spots. This was the second performance, and the set was comprised of an entirely different set-list from the previous night’s appearance. Surrounded by a large ensemble of gifted musicians, Derek Trucks (widely regarded as the world’s finest slide-guitar player) and Susan Tedeschi (one of the finest female vocalists on the planet) brought their magic to life with a polish that only comes from years of constant touring.

Tedeschi Trucks Gallery:

Next up was Erja Lyytinen, a Finnish blues-rock guitarist who played with her band. Relatively unknown in this country, she gained a lot of new fans with her powerhouse performance.

Erja Lyytinen Gallery:

Australia’s own soul superstars, The Teskey Brothers, headlined on the Mojo stage in their only appearance at Bluesfest for 2024. Sam and Josh Teskey have become international superstars since their beginnings back in 2008 and their rise to prominence in 2016 on the back of their Half Mile Harvest album, and their performance showed that they will continue to have a long future at the highest level.

The Teskey Brothers Gallery:

Beginning their set with an acapella version of Below Sea Level, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals showed why they are one of Bluesfest Byron Bay’s absolute festival favourites with renditions of Diamonds On The Inside and Burn To Shine following in quick succession to kick off their set in style, all the while ensuring the crowd were whipped into a musical frenzy to see out Day 4.

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Gallery:

All Images: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller

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