We got dem Byron Bay Blues

Punters didn't even notice the rain begin to fall as the then Patti watched over the now Patti Smith rage for peace on the Mojo stage during day one of Bluesfest. Photo David Lowe.

Punters didn’t even notice the rain begin to fall as the then Patti Smith watched over the now Patti Smith as she raged for peace on the Mojo stage during day one of Bluesfest. Photo David Lowe.

Eve Jeffery

Rain? It must be Bluesfest…

It felt like first-day Bluesfest numbers were up as the carpark bulged and punters “tapped-on” their new wristbands at high speed, no doubt many had come to see Patti Smith in all her rage and glory as she closed out opening night.

But before the defiant goddess of punk stepped into the 2017 Bluesfest spotlight, there was a whole evening of great music to be had.

NAS and The Soul Rebels went totally off as did Miles Electric Band, Snarky Puppy and of course Vintage Trouble, with Ty Taylor who has more energy than a nuclear power plant.

The Strumbellas, Max Dury and Mavis Staples also held up their end of the bargain on day one.

Then the moment of rapture began.

Smith knows how to channel the chi and the audience were mesmerised from her first step on to the stage until the last E string was torn from it’s bridge.

People have the power and Patti proved she still does too as she and her band brought an updated, reenergised Horses to Bluesfest. Raging against all that has gone wrong with the world, she urged everyone to use their power to make a world ruled by love, but it was an angry love, from a punk priestess whose power seems undimmed despite her seventy years.

At times she looked like a Sunday school teacher, at times like the Delphi oracle, at times like that angry young woman who encouraged so many people to pick up a guitar or a microphone – then there were tears from heaven.

Day one was the tip of the Bluesfest iceberg.

Day two promises more of the same and so much more – fortunately some acts will play more than once and if you missed the unmissable St. Paul and The Broken Bones and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, you’ll get another chance. Mavis Staples will also play again and if you didn’t get enough of Patti, she will play an acoustic set today as well.


More stories from Bluesfest 2017

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