No performer I have ever seen can work a crowd like Michael Franti. He barely does any actual songs he just repeats a lyric, jumps up and down, goes out into the audience, hugs people – you could say he brings the party. It’s a unique performance, he does it all – he brings his beautiful pregnant wife out for a song, he has small children on stage singing a song, cute, then a couple walked out on stage, the man dropped to his knee, the cameras zoomed in and there on the big screen the guy holds out a wedding ring to the woman and asks if she will marry him – the crowd loved it. Don’t think about it too much – it’s all about peace,
lurve and humanity. Franti is also a big yoga advocate and sometimes uses the first part of his show to do a mass yoga class – but not last night, this BluesFest crowd is too well lubricated by 10.30pm for that.
On the other hand, there’s Jackson Browne, the serious songwriter. There’s a kind of sadness with so many American folk performers these days I feel, they are all quite obviously uncomfortable with their country at the moment – he touched on the subject, sounding quite weary and bewildered, ‘I guess soon we’ll have a commonsense government’.
He sings all those beautifully arranged songs with meaningful lyrics with an incredible band which includes a pedal steel to give that country sound. He’s a low energy performer – no rocker but his young lead guitarist is so tasteful. It was also a guitar parade, he and his guitarist changed guitar for every song. The Americans are very loyal to their Gibson J45s but they don’t really sound any good as a stage acoustic. I had my little binoculars and see all his guitars are vintage – well, he is Jackson Browne. He played Take It Easy which he co-wrote with Glen Frey from the Eagles, and ends on Running On Empty.
Some great T shirt slogans seen, here’s my pick.
You had me at vegan.
A DJ is not a musician.
Man flu survivor.
Free your mind and your arse will follow.
It’s a mugs game.
Who would tattoo this on their back, Such Is Life, ? – an Australian, of course.
I went into Byron Bay town to buy some provisions and the beach was beautiful and there’s always good surf there too, all along the beach. I wanted to go for a swim but didn’t have my togs. Later, an Australian guy I was chatting to said, “No worries, this is Byron mate, you can swim in anything or nothing, just go in your undies – nobody cares.”