Live Review + Gallery: Bluesfest Byron Bay Day 1 (Thursday, 06.04.2023)

Following on from the unexpected evening’s entertainment on the day prior to the official opening of the world-famous festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest turned on the weather to see in their first day of acts.

I am not going to tell you about all of the acts, just those that I had the privilege to see, hear and photograph.

I chose to get to see Daniel Champagne and Nikki Hill again, so started my ‘fresh’ artists with Australia’s own International Blues Challenge winner, Frank Sultana. Frank (with his band) is the type of music that the festival has long built its’ reputation on…..gritty and authentic Delta blues. This was Frank’s first appearance, and I severely doubt it will be anywhere near his last, for he enthralled the crowd who had gathered to see him.

Next up was Alabama soul sensations, St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Now a festival favourite (who first appeared in 2017), Paul Janeway and the band have evolved their sound and gather new fans with every experience.

As we headed into the evening, I took the time to go and see Michigan pickers, Greensky Bluegrass, a band who have built a solid international following and who play an exciting blend of modern bluegrass and rock.

Shortly after, I headed over to the Mojo Stage to catch the sensation that LP has become around the world (albeit that she had been relatively unknown here in Australia). The unique vocal styling and stage presence of LP saw many people amazed by her outstanding performance.

Blues legend, and Bluesfest favourite, Keb’ Mo’ was next, and lit up the Juke Joint stage. Happy to be there, I am sure he would have played all night if allowed to.

KALEO, the Icelandic band first unearthed to Australian audiences at Bluesfest in 2016, returned to the Bluesfest stage to thrill the gathered audience, with Jökull Júlíusson’s rich baritone vocals taking centre stage.

Aussie rock legends, The Angels were up next after proving themselves on the Bluesfest stage for the first time last year. Dave Gleeson, who has been with the band for 12 years now, transfixed the audience with his dynamic performance, and I must admit to singing out loud along to the band while taking photos and riding a huge crest of nostalgia with hit after hit being played.

…..and to ensure I finished off the day off on a high note, I made my way over to former internet sensations, and now touring juggernaut, Larkin Poe, with the fabulously talented sisters, Rebecca and Megan Lovell rocking their way through a mighty blues-rock set.

A huge 10 acts on the shortest day of the festival proper, it would be interesting to see how the second day would pan out…..

Daniel Champagne Gallery:

Nikki Hill Gallery:

Frank Sultana Gallery:

St. Paul & The Broken Bones Gallery:

Greensky Bluegrass Gallery:

LP Gallery:

Keb’ Mo’ Gallery:

Kaleo Gallery:

The Angels Gallery:

Larkin Poe Gallery:

All images: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller

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