Monsters link events

Simon Wooldridge | Bendigo Weekly | 08-Feb-2018

Steph Bitter

Bendigo blues collective Swamp Monsters is the common link between two upcoming, contrasting local music events. 

Swamp Monsters play at WooldridgeFest, on Friday, February 16, and at the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival Showcase fundraiser on Sunday, February 25.

WooldridgeFest is in its second year; the 2018 edition taking place at the Golden Vine. Swamp Monsters are one of four very different acts playing. 

The heavy bluesy outfit is joined by indie-garage trio, Kerr’s Curr, rising folk singer Steph Bitter and, for Bendigo, an unknown quantity in the form of Eric and The Albuquerques.

Eric and The Albuquerques is a four-piece “frunge” outfit, formed in Bristol. They played regularly between 1998 and 2001 across England’s West Country, including at Bristol’s iconic Fleece. 

They re-emerged in 2005 in Melbourne after founding member K. Doyle relocated to Australia, experiencing a level of success with regular gigs at The Espy and Duke of Windsor, and the release of Which One’s Eric?

The band finished in 2009 when Doyle returned to the UK.

It will be the Albuquerques’ first gig in nine years; WooldridgeFest fortuitously coinciding with founding band member Doyle’s visit to Australia.

Punters will experience four very different styles of music on the night. 

The summer edition of the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival Showcase sees 16 bands and artists across two stages at the Rifle Brigade Hotel.

It’s a mix of acts well-known to Bendigo audiences (Grim Fawkner, Sherri Parry, Alawishus Jones and The Outright Lies) and less frequent visitors to Bendigo (Catfish Voodoo, Jess Parker, Harry Coulson’s Blues Dogs).

Now in its eighth year, the festival has really evolved into a series of events throughout the year in Bendigo, with that weekend in November its centrepiece. 

The festival now supports gigs every month, but it’s the regular, aptly-named “showcase” events that give punters their best taste of the broad range of talents, styles and genres the festival supports.

If it’s good old-fashioned Aussie blues-rock you’re after, The Flannos will meet that need with their brand of AC/DC-esque and Rose Tattoo-modelled pub rock. They’re on at 3pm. 

The hugely popular Sherri Parry will be doing her mellow, but gutsy stuff at lunchtime in the car park. 

Another of Bendigo’s talented crop of young musos, Rhyley McGrath, kicks off proceedings on the balcony at 11.30am.

Melbourne’s Jess Parker plays the balcony stage at 5.30pm. It will be her first Bendigo gig for a year.

She’s currently working on a debut EP – Goin’ Swimming – scheduled for release in mid-2018. A US tour, with fellow Victorian blues outfit, White Lightning, also beckons.

Grim Fawkner possibly holds some kind of Bendigo performances record. Including busking, he reckons he’s played to Bendigonians over 300 times. 

For those who haven’t seen him yet, or want to see him again, he’s on at 4.30pm on the balcony.

Catfish Voodoo (car park stage at 7pm) have been doing their distinctive thing since 2010 – very much 1950s Chicago school of blues. They mix their own material with reinvented versions of classics by the likes of John Lee Hooker. 

WooldridgeFest is at the Golden Vine Hotel on Friday, February, 9. Doors at 8pm, $5. 

Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival Showcase fundraiser is at the Rifle Brigade Hotel on Sunday, February, 25. Doors at 11.30am, adults $15, $5 for under 18s, under 12s free.


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