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Riverstock 2014

by Peter Vawser, November 2014

What was the weather doing? Hot, cold, dry, wet? We’ve had them all and the forecast couldn’t make up its mind but with the experiences learned from 6 successful Riverstocks we can take on anything!

From Wednesday, site preparations at Riverfront Park Moorook got underway and continuing through the 38⁰ of Thursday and Friday, Lance and the crew from Stageright Solutions laboured to ensure stage, sound and lights would be ready when the power was turned on and Riverstock 2014 kicked off.

Riverstock 2014 – Day 1, Friday

First up, Riverstock new-comers “Racket Science” debuted with an all Aussie Rock set. Continuing the tried and tested formulae twin stages were set up, but this year operating side by side, to allow non-stop live music throughout and saving the crowd from having to switch attention from one end of the arena to the other. So then Stage 2 came to life with local Terrill (The Squirrel) Marais (celebrating her birthday!).

“Brompton Blues Band” got back to basics with their brand of the blues, local Craig Smart rocked out with his acoustic guitar on Stage 2, before “The Cocker Train” unleashed the spirit of Joe Cocker getting by with a little help and feeling all right! The colourful D’ukes took their ‘coustic ‘ukes to Stage 2 then, back on Stage 1, “Tusk!FM” summoned the magic of Fleetwood Mac rocking with Rhiannon because love is dangerous!

To Stage 2, “Strange Brew” offered a set of originals, mixing classic melody and story-telling to captivate all present! Hotting up on Stage 1, “SideFX” blistered through a tribute to the grunge sound of Seattle, rekindling the sparks from Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Silver Chair and others. Then, like the calm in the eye of a hurricane, “Mellows” chilled for a moment on Stage 2 until “The Common Good” erupted on Stage1 with a steamy set from Free and Bad Company to end the outdoor program for day 1.

But, as they say in the classics, the night was still young and arrangements had been made for festivities to continue in the Moorook Club. In another new feature for Riverstock 2014, the Club hosted an acoustic “Open Mic” session, kicked off with a return sets from Craig Smart, Terrill The Squirrel and lots more…

Time for bed… big day tomorrow. Bring it on!

Riverstock 2014 – Day 2, Saturday

It was a beautiful morning in Moorook, with the majestic Murray meandering along as it had done for millennia. Perhaps it was too beautiful. Riverfront Park was green and fresh and a gentle breeze brushed the leaves of the trees as it thought about which way to go and what to do, a picture of peace.

Lance and crew with Weekend Warrior stage hands were up and about, resetting the stages, re-assembling the back-line, checking cables, adjusting lights and balancing the PA in preparation for another great day of live music for Riverstock Rockfest day 2. And at noon, all was ready to kick off once again.

“Racket Science” was back with a fun selection of party rock to set the tone for a lively day. Tirrell embraced Stage 2 again and offered up another silky smooth set. “Off the Rails” were next and, with over 250 years of musical playing experience between them, poured out an abundance of easy going bluesy numbers to transition us into the afternoon. Peter Jarvis took command of Stage 2 and wowed the growing crowd with his energetic acoustic action. “Mellows” took on Stage 1 with their full electric line up and rendered up a nostalgic set of one-hit-wonders from the 60’s, 70’s 80’s. Local stalwarts “Krome Plated Yabbies” continued the fun on Stage 2 with an inimitable but refined collection of happy tunes and then the boys from Brompton (BBB to their friends) bounced back onto on Stage 1. The colourful D’ukes did their thing again with the buzzing sound of their plugged in ‘ukes cavorting with the still subtle but present breeze.

4 o’clock and time for country rock so it was “Crossfire” on Stage 1 rockin’ through the mountain way and not at all jacked up! First time for the weekend, “Trilogy” made an easygoing time of it on Stage 2, followed by “Stonehenge” on Stage 1 with their tribute to the man who made it hurt so good, American roots rocker, John Mellencamp.

Then local young psychedelic blues trio Rat Ta’Mango rocked Stage 1 and as they played, Subtle Breeze started to mosh about and summoned its friends Black Cloud and Thunder, and as the 3 boys came to the end of their set Torrential Rain gate crashed and hung around to see what mischief it could wreak! And mischief it did bring with the arena soon awash and the marquees bursting at the seams trying to accommodate the becoming saturated crowd! Ultimately Lance had to make the responsible call to shut all power to ensure the personal safety of all. Wow, what to do now… deliberations ensued. Do we wait it out? Was there another front coming through? Should we adjourn to the Club for the rest of the program? But the Club was in trouble too as Torrential Rain inundated it too causing a gutter to burst and threatening to bring the flood inside! But we were ultimately blessed as the front passed, the ground water flowed off and, when deemed safe, power was restored!

So with a short delay, “Tusk!FM” took to Stage 1 with another set of Mac favourites including a salute to Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green with the classic “Oh Well (part1)”.

Unfortunately, Stage 2 became a casualty of the rascally weather and sadly had to remain powered off for the rest of the night.

So we progressed straight on to the “Common Good” this time rockin’ and rollin’ with a tribute to the Zep’ and banishing Black Cloud and Thunder. And although Subtle Breeze hung around became a bit cold and stroppy, Torrential Rain went off to annoy somewhere else! “SideFX” up next raising the atmospheric pressure, and getting down and dirty with their grungy take on the sounds of Seattle, announced that this would be the last time they would grace the big stage at Riverstock as, after tonight, they were calling it a day to pursue other opportunities! All the best “SideFX”!

Then, now running just a whisker behind scheduled time, special guest John “Swanee” Swan and his band really raised the roof with a blistering hour-and-a-bit long set, giving us a taste of his new album “One day at a time”, together with a trip back to past hits “Lady what’s your name”, “If I was a carpenter”, He’s gonna step on you again” and “Hold your head up”! Phew!

Finishing the outdoor program was “The Cocker Train” with Joe Cocker classics complete with screaming vocals from Ronny B and dulcet harmonies from the 3 Delta Ladies!

And with emotions and energy still high, the Moolight Club kicked on after midnight with a capacity crowd relishing encore performances from “SideFX” and “Stonehenge”, this time pumping out rocking party pub rock until 2.00am closing time!

Then, a bit soggy and a bit tired, it was time again to retire, rest and revive in time for the start of day 3 in few hours time…

Riverstock 2014 – Day 3, Sunday

Have you seen those pics and videos of Saturday’s storm? Good Golly, we were really a proverbial bee’s appendage from calling stumps at the outdoor arena and adjourning to the sanctuary of the Club for the remainder of the session. But can you imagine (and those of you who have had anything to do with a Riverstock probably can) how much effort would have had to be expended to achieve that? Needless to say, everyone present drew a sigh of relief when we were able to roll on through the night mostly as planned!

So, to day 3! Sunday, and we awoke to blue skies and sunshine. Perfect! In keeping with tradition the action kicked off about 11.00am with an open jam on Stage 1, where old friends reacquainted and new friends were made, trading chords and strings and beats and vocals without pretence or ego, just as it should be. But, with due respect to the timetable, the jammers vacated the stage at about 11.45 allowing “Off the Rails” to set up and get ready for the start of formal proceedings at high noon. What a way to start the day!

Stage 2 was now back to full functionality and hosted the D’Ukes for another session as special guest Kelly Menhennett and her band prepared for her first Riverstock set on Stage 1. And a delight she was, with some songs from her latest album “Small Dreams” and a mixture of classics rendered in her country-bluesy-jazzy-soulfull style.

“Mellows” continued the laid back mood and as the day eased through to mid afternoon, “Infusion”, some talented young people from Loxton Primary School, assembled on Stage 1 under the careful instruction of Mr Gum. The kids had a great experience giving family and friends the opportunity to see and hear them performing on the big stage!

“Strange Brew” kept things simmering on Stage 2 while another young group “Embrace” set up on Stage 1. It was great to see “Embrace” again, having performed at a number of Riverstocks , and watch how their musicianship and stage presentation has developed and blossomed. “Trilogy” next on Stage 2 redefined more fine classics with great acoustic interpretations and then “Crossfire” returned to Stage 1 for another bracket of modern-country spiced with a twist of jazz and blues for fun.

And as the afternoon rolled on, popular local duo Kylie and Jarrod took their “Shorts all winter” show onto Stage 2 to the delight of all before the final act of the festival, an encore performance by Kelly Menhennett and her band with more of her velvety originals and cheerful covers, brought the weekend to a close.

Special thanks go to all involved in the running of Riverstock 2014, especially the members of the organizing committee, the Weekend Warriors Music Club, the volunteers from the Moorook District Club, Stageright Solutions and all the sponsors, without whose physical and financial support the event simply could not happen.

And so we said our farewells to old friends and new with the promise to return again for Riverstock 2015 next November! Plans are already underway… watch this space for news!

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