Mr Brunswick does Brunswick Music Festival – Day 1

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By R.P.G.

 

I attacked dinner (and a few wines), hit the shower, then darted off to Brunswick Town Hall to catch Lou Bennett and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s respective performances. I had seen Sainte-Marie perform years earlier at Bluesfest 2011 and wasn’t particularly keen on seeing her again. However I knew nothing of Bennett; who she was/who she is… I had never even heard of Tiddas, the 90s all-female folk act she was once a member of.

 

The crowd was… well… old-er. I had intended heading over to the Spotted Mallard later on in the evening to catch Delaney Davidson’s gig and after seeing the audience at Town Hall, I considered cutting my losses and heading over to the Mallard immediately… I decided to stick it out and headed to the bar to find comfort in a cold beer.

 

It was a fortunate decision. Bennett was, at the risk of sounding cliche, refreshing. She was charismatic, funny, and her performance had a comforting element. Her between song banter brought the crowd in and had them laughing, smiling, listening. Watching her felt like education. I was learning something… and I enjoyed having it taught to me. At one stage, I remember feeling somewhat emotional. I remember feeling as though I was witnessing something that I was supposed to witness, it all felt like some cosmic s**t.

I headed back to the bar during interval.

Once everyone was again seated, a man took the stage – I didn’t catch his name – and he played the didgeridoo. His performance was brief, and then he was gone, giving way to the main act.

 

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Sainte-Marie is an admirable artist. She has the ability to execute both traditional and experimental music exceptionally. Her voice is as unique as her approach to performance and she’s definitely a talented lyricist… so I don’t know what it is about her gigs that is so unappealing to me. Why can’t I just like her? Everyone else seems to. Her show had sold out. I was lucky to be there… and all I could think was: ‘I wonder what that Delaney dude’s gonna be like.’ Sainte-Marie isn’t bad, she’s far from it, and yet she gives me nothing that makes me want to stay and see her set through. After five or six songs I wondered off to the Spotted Mallard wanting nothing more than to be entertained.

 

The mood at the Mallard was relaxed, inviting. Delaney Davidson hadn’t started his set yet and I didn’t know what to expect. He had obviously garnered some sort of social spark, made evident by the number of patrons eagerly awaiting. I picked a pint up from the bar and then I sat in a corner and waited.

 

 

His was a set I could sit and drink to… I couldn’t stop smiling and wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else…”

 

The program has Davidson billed as “country noir”, “alt-country” and even “gothic Americana”. But to me, this bloke was straight-up blues. With his guitar, harmonica and looper pedal, Delaney was hypnotising. He seemed shy, even somewhat embarrassed at times, and had very little interaction with the crowd between songs – except for the constant reminder encouraging the crowd to feel free to ask questions about the inspirations and origins for his lyrics and music.

 

Delany’s performance well and truly sufficed. His was a set I could sit and drink to… I couldn’t stop smiling and wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. If the Brunswick Festival has anymore of these sorts of surprises in store, the next two weeks are definitely worth looking forward to.

 

 

R.P.G is a Brunswick local with a passion for cartoons, comedy and culture. His drinks of preference are Balieys and whichever cider is currently cheapest. In his downtime he watches Doctor Who with his mother. He likes salads. Don’t judge him.

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