The Break and Castlecomer - Woodford Folk Festival 2013-14

Hard to believe that it has been twenty years since I soaked up my first Woodford experience. Spaghetti Junction is still in the same place and the best port of call for a Molinaro Coffee, food and to catch up or hang out. But most everything else has changed during that time.

It took an hour or two for Jo and I to get our bearings but then we both clicked in to that thing that is uniquely Woodford. Well it's more a sensibility than a thing, but if you've been there you'll know what I mean.

In between searching the gig page, drinking coffee, sweating and bumping into old friends, I am always waiting to find that new sound and experience to speed up the beating of my heart. Something to help me shake off the tired and dusty parts of the old year that were now fading away in iPhotos and to make me dance and sing like my Nan used to when she exceeded her sweet sherry quota on a Saturday night.


For me this year it came in two very different shapes and form. The first was Castlecomer ( A bunch of relative lads (+ a mate) from Sydney. They can all sing and play and punch the air with harmonic sounds and lyrics that drag in the punters and have them singing along and punching the air with them. There must be a reason that these guys are unsigned but it is definitely not because of a lack of talent. Mark Castlecomer down as a must see when they are doing a gig near you.

And the other band that did it for me were The Break ( Now these guys have been around for thirty years in the guise of Midnight Oil, Hunters and Collectors and Violet Femmes doing a lot of different stuff. But here they were all together on the Amphitheatre stage at Woodford, dressed in spacesuits,  doing their own brand of psychedelic surf rock with a light show thrown in for good measure.

Four years ago Jo and I were in Tasmania for a holiday. We went into a Japanese tea house in Hobart and there in the corner playing flute was Brian Ritchie, the bass player from the Violet Femmes. Now we knew it was him because we'd read about him a local newsheet. I actually went there with the ulterior motive of getting a couple of femmes CDs signed for my brother's fiftieth birthday present. And over a really interesting tea ceremony and an awesome pot of tea that managed to completely flush the coffee right out of my system, Brian told us about this surf band project he was doing with the Midnight Oil boys.

It was a real blast from the past for me. A cosmic mix of The Atlantics and Pink Floyd. A trancendant sound that managed to suck in the new with the old, and fill the dance floor dust pit with a whole lot of different ways to do The Stomp. Good musos never fade away. They just morph. My mate Pete Hollard was equally impressed. I could see him doing a sit down version of Angus Young playing guitar for the whole show,  swept back to his surfing roots of Adelaide in the mid sixties. After the gig Pete even asked me if I wanted to join his band and I felt that that was a big honour coming from the mouth of a visual artist. But Woodford does have that affect on people.

Until next year I'll just keep my signed vinyl copy of 'Church of The Open Sky' turning.

Happy New Year  my friends. Make it a fun one.

p.s The Break finished their set with the theme from The Magnificent Seven. Here's a reminder.


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