Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Wooden Music Festival - Melbourne hipster hoedown

Yesterday started and finished with music.  Technically, this morning also started with music as the night before was still going.  What a great way to spend the weekend!

My vocal group had its first rehearsal of the year on Saturday morning.  We've been on a recruitment drive to expand our numbers a little and so hosted an open rehearsal.  This was a great way to see who's interested and allow them to come along and see how we work as well as allowing us to hear them and get a sense of fit.  We were overwhelmed with the response and it was thrilling to hear - and feel - the sound created.  I'm always pleased by seeing new singers experience the bliss of singing in harmony with other human beings.

I planned to have a nanna nap to make sure I had the stamina for a night of music at the Northcote Social Club.  I'm very pleased I did!

I was keen to see the Perch Creek Family Jug Band after discovering them busking at Tamworth a couple of years ago.  They played the Tamworth Country Music Festival this year, but I missed them there so was pleased to find their gigs this weekend in Melbourne.  They are playing as part of the Wooden Music Festival with an incredible line up:  soloist Max Savage, The Bearded Gypsy Band and the Quarry Mountain Dead Rats.

The energy from every performer was electric; from Max Savage with his heartrending lyrics and gravelly vocals commanding attention, to the Bearded Gypsy Band with high energy violin and unusual time signatures, to the Perch Creek Family Jug Band with their sibling shtick and wild joy to the Quarry Mountain Dead Rats with their bluegrass tempo set to kick-you-in-the-face-flat-out.  It was infectious and impossible to stand still.

The crowd was eclectic and at one point I marveled at finding myself in the middle of a hoedown in Melbourne with such a wild crowd ranging from hippies to hipsters and one man who I referred to the as the Black Wiggle of Death.  He was an unhappy looking older man with a black skivvy stretched over his paunch.  His hair was grey and styled like Krusty the Clown.  I couldn't decide if he had stepped out of a French psychodrama, thought he was meant to be at a jazz improvisation night or was the violin teacher of one of the players on stage.  His happiness level did not increase over the course of the night.  There was also the bearded man who accessorised his track pants and t-shirt ensemble with a key on a lanyard around his neck.  His dance style was demonstrated non-stop for the duration of the show - running on the spot and smiling maniacally.  Two girls dressed in daggy nanna dresses, with matching bobbed hair cuts, thick tights and sandshoes, topped their look with a beanie and a beret were all elbows and knees as they Charlestoned the night away.  The Bearded Gypsy Band showed only a hint of chin hair compared to the array showing in the crowd - everything from thick Ned Kelly beards (with the corresponding hair cut) to artfully constructed goatees.

All of this for $18 made for a great night out with friends and a dose of dancing.  The musicianship was incredible and it's great to see bands like these playing for an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. And the audience made for a great show in themselves.

If you're in Melbourne, the Wooden Music Festival is playing again at 2pm today, Sunday at the Northcote Social Club.  If you're not in Melbourne, they are going to be in Sydney soon.  (And probably other places.)

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