Live Review + Gallery: Bluesfest Byron Bay Day 2 (Friday, 07.04.2023)

Day 2 began with me excited to get back to Frank Sultana, who had played on Day 1, totally captivating me with his down and dirty Delta blues style, and who was first up at 11.30 a.m. What a great way to get the day off to a flying start.

My interest had been piqued by some research around Southern Avenue, the US soul sensations who have been nailing the world-wide festival circuit, so I went to check them out and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Next up was the frenzied energy of one of Australia’s finest independent blues-rock bands, 19-Twenty, who had the crowd from the Crossroads stage eating out of the palms of their hands. As a great surprise, Julz and Leesa from Hussy Hicks (another of Australia’s finest independent bands) joined them on stage for a couple of songs.

Melbourne soul rock outfit, Fools took to the stage on Crossroads to lay some of their fabulous grooves down, to be followed by the fabulous Gold Coast/Northern Rivers ladies, Hussy Hicks. I nearly always go to hear/see this band, as they were the band that got me so re-connected to attending live performances back in 2015 due to their infectious and joyous performances (as well as the incredible singing and musical abilities of each of the members).

Internet sensations, Steve ‘N’ Seagulls were my next port of call, and the hillbilly Finnish folk/bluegrass-rockers turned on a wonderful set covering many great songs from the 80’s as well as some of their own material, much to the delight of the crowd.

Marcus King and his band were next on my agenda, and I took great satisfaction from knowing I was watching one of the heirs apparent to the mantle of great guitarists of the world (and also a great singer with a voice which belies his youthful 27 years).

I then took a longish break to rest and have something to eat and catch up with friends (sometimes one has to replenish the batteries, as Bluesfest is a marathon event).

I then went to catch Matt Walker & Tex Perkins ply their trade, thankful that they had been added to the lineup at short notice after both Elvis Costello and The Black Sorrows had to withdraw due to illnesses in each of their bands.

One of the festival headliners, Scotsman Paolo Nutini was up shortly thereafter, and showed exactly why festival director, Peter Noble was so keen on getting him to Bluesfest, delivering a performance for the ages.

Legendary purveyor of Americana, Lucinda Williams continued her recovery from the stroke she suffered in 2020 by delivering a powerful performance ably backed by her band of over 10 years, Buick 6.

My final act to catch was the repeat performance from Larkin Poe, who didn’t pull any punches in their southern-tinged take on the blues.

Another 11 acts seen throughout Day 2 saw me trudge off tired, but contented, back to my tent to contemplate how I would approach Day 3…..

Frank Sultana Gallery:

Southern Avenue Gallery:

19-Twenty Gallery:

Fools Gallery:

Hussy Hicks Gallery:

Steve ‘N’ Seagulls Gallery:

Marcus King Gallery:

Tex Perkins & Matt Walker Gallery:

Paolo Nutini Gallery:

Lucinda Williams Gallery:

Larkin Poe Gallery:

All photos: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller

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