In Australia right now for the world-first Soulfest are a long list of some of the most talented and influential contemporary soul, r&b and hip hop artists on the planet.
Angie Stone, D’Angelo, Leela James, Anthony Hamilton, Maxwell, Aloe Blacc, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild and Common. Each artist came with with their own band and back-up singers. All of them are gracing the same Soulfest stages in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, one after the other over 10+ hours. It’s an absolute dream for soul music lovers – with an added hip hop bonus.
If you were at Melbourne’s Soulfest on Sunday you probably found that the actual experience was in fact a musical dream come true.
If you were at the first-ever Soulfest in Sydney the day before, you mightn’t be feeling so satisfied right? Bad sound quality at a music festival is indeed a devastating thing, for artists and listeners alike. Disappointing too that Mos Def couldn’t make it into the country in time to perform for y’all.
Melbourne was a different experience. Mos Def had arrived and proceeded to perform at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in fine form.
Sound quality had improved. The super-smooth and heavenly sounding, all-powerful vocals of the lead artists could be heard and appreciated.
What Melbourne’s festival gained over Sydney in sound though, it lost in the last minute removal of the 2nd Soulfest stage – and all Australian-based artists billed to perform on it. That meant no shows by NGAIIRE, Miracle, Nathaniel, Ms Murphy, Carmen Hendricks, Natasha and EMRSN. Hugely disappointing for artists and listeners alike yes?
The best I can offer in consolation for local artists missed in Melbourne is a glimpse of NGAIIRE and the guest artist she had lined up for the show (Nai Palm from Hiatus Kaiyote) on this mp3 only track from NGAIIRE’s most recent album Lamentations…
‘Dirty Hercules’ – NGAIIRE (featuring Nai Palm)
Putting aside the festival’s “logistical and operational issues”, which I can only guess at, I know this from the Melbourne Soulfest experience.
Every artist who performed on stage absolutely killed it. Folks who went are ridiculously blessed and spoiled to have experienced one day and night of their life listening to nothing but soul, r&b and hip hop music played and sung live by a bunch of incredibly talented, pioneering artists from the past 20+ years of the soul music chapter of our world music history.
My messages to Melbourne’s good Soulfest folk are these…
To the local artists we missed on the Spotify stage…we know to find your next show.
To Melbourne’s Dru Chen…congratulations on winning Soul Search and playing first up on the main stage with the incredible calibre of international soul artists that followed.
To Angie Stone and Leela James – the only two lead female artists on the main Soulfest stage (with sets way too early in the day)…Queens you truly are!
To the leading men of Soulfest…with your threads and your moves and more, you remain silky smooth on the eyes – but especially and more importantly to the ears.
From me and my bass-playing friends to D’Angelo…thanks for bringing Pino with you.
To every artist who played an instrument on the Melbourne stage…hearing your super-fine chops was a priceless musical experience.
To all back-up singers…your voices and rhymes were an indispensable goodness in the whole musical experience…
To the wonderfully diverse Melbourne Soulfest crowd, all at the festival for their deep love of great soul and hip hop music – thanks for creating a day of fun, friendly vibes.
Finally to Soulfest…thanks for making it happen!
Brisbane gets their Soulfest 2014 at Riverstage this Saturday, and Auckland on Sunday at Western Springs Stadium. If you can possibly get yourself there, definitely get yourself there. Your soul will be so much richer for the experience.
Folks at Melbourne’s Soulfest what say you? Was the festival a silky-smooth soul musical dream come true for you?