Moorook Riverstock Rock Fest 14-16 November 2008
(Charlie Hunter and Peter Vawser)
The largest rock concert ever conceived was coming to town….. Three days, not hours, of Music….. Camping out under the stars….. This was going to be a “serious” party!! Months to plan the trip….. Save some money….. Create believable lies for parents, bosses, loved and unloved ones….. Round up your travel buddies or lover and hit the road. Gathered that weekend in 1969 were liars and lovers, prophets and profiteers. They made love, they made money and they made a little history. Arnold Skolnick, the artist who designed Woodstock’s dove-and-guitar symbol, described it this way: “Something was tapped, a nerve, in this country. And everybody just came” How Woodstock Happened … Part 1 By Elliot Tiber – The Times Herald-Record and Mr. Tiber Woodstock Commemorative Edition
Gathered that weekend on the banks of the River Murray at Moorook in November 2008 were lovers and families, prophets, musicians, artists, drinkers and dancers, the old and the young, …. a generation from Woodstock combining with all generations – people who wanted to create their own stock …. A Riverstock … a moment in time – a place to remember – an event to remember with music, love and peace wrapping the atmosphere like a virtual blanket that seeped into us all and kept us warm. Charlie Hunter, the artist who designed Riverstock’s pelican-and-bass guitar symbol, described it this way: “Something was tapped, a nerve, in this community. And everybody just came”. … And in saying that she thought it had been said before …..
This is the Riverstock Story
The dust was settling, a cool shadow settled over a sun drenched ground, the barbeques firing up, the beer was cold, the houseboats started queuing and the river was moving along as it had done for years.
Musicians and audience alike arrived at Moorook, on the banks of the River Murray, and then drifted in droves through the Riverstock’s venue gates on that balmy Friday afternoon. They had travelled from all around the country – they had seen the promotion, they had heard it on radio, they had read the papers ….. It was on, the excitement had built and expectations were high …..
Stage Right Solutions were ready –Stage 1 was fit for an outdoor event of the magnitude of Woodstock itself … the amps were set loud with 8000 watts out front and a stage foldback system large enough for the Town Hall, the speakers were preparing to pump. Stage Two was on its way, ready to kick in with acoustic performances that aimed to tic tack continually throughout the entire weekend to provide a nonstop music experience.
And so, the scene was set. After months of planning, led by Al the bass man, the WMA vision that would be Riverstock was forming in front of our eyes. And then it began.
King Biscuit Time started the whole weekend with a thumping, deep down and dirty blues set that set the scene. Their guitars were whining and tugging at their straps as their sound was released with a gutsy growly voice. “Empire State Express” by Eddie ‘Son’ House, had a soulful slide guitar in perfect pitch in a playoff with the blues harp – this was just spine tingling and the sound emanated down the bank and seemed to call people in ….. a bit like a Riverstock Pied Piper really.
A quick change over, masterminded by the quick thinking and footed WMA stage crew led by our very own smiley Kev Neeson, did not let the growing crowd any opportunity to rest. The Moss Rocks came out pumping and one actually thought the river had surf, created by the pulsating waves of rock sound. Covering some classic rock, old and new, the Moss Rocks reached out to the audience and grabbed their attention, young and old …
And then, it was like a magnetic force was applied, the whole crowd turned around …. Stage Two was set up and ready to take on the task. Lys and Josh commenced the acoustic program and set up what was to be the precedence for a high quality, soulful, sweet ‘unplugged’ sound that was so totally plugged …. this young duo was setting themselves up to blow everyone away later in the weekend …. we weren’t to know that the next generation would set the standard …. and they did it in style.
AND THEN, entered Joe Cocccccckkkkkker ….. Rock the Casbah, with a pounding rhythmic piano, driving guitars and magnificent backing singers to boot, the ‘President’ screamed out the Cocker classics into the dusk, (and even did it without a bottle of scotch). One of the songs of the night would have to be ‘With a little help from my friends’, everyone knows this song, people were singing and dancing and this band got the audience pumping
Then we all turned back to Stage Two … (who needs drugs?!), special guest Susan Lily, from the Victorian Warriors Music Association captured the crowd’s imagination with her humour and insightful original music of everyday life experiences. Her acoustic guitar was played with heart and rung out with the spirit of Woodstock.
As if the grounds were set on a lazy Susan, they all turned around again the crowd lifted their heads and turned their attention. SIDE FX blasted out into the full moon, attacking each song with such energy, covering many Woodstock hits and music from the era … with just three guys, jumping around like “Eveready” batteries, they pumped out such a full sound, the audience started to dance and revel – beer cans held high as they saluted in simultaneous rocking motion.
M’Naah rang out across the night, capturing everyone with some Woodstock classics with such a strong soulful voice and beautiful guitar…. and then the people started to sing along ….. The crowds were promised that M’Naah will feature again …
And if the crowd hadn’t had enough, Sultana Bunch entered the arena on Stage 1. And there they were – young and old alike being sucked into the mesmerizing sound that is Carlos Santana. With three drummers spread across the stage, a virtuoso lead guitar player…(who must have been playing Santana from birth), 2 fantastic singers, a big beautiful bass player, bodies started to collectively sway with the rhythmic and persuading percussion and the crowd were dancing and jiving. ‘Black Magic Woman’ set the scene, this classic Santana hit known by all; it was just sublime, Sultana Bunch rocked.
Then more magic occurred on Stage 2, as Moorook’s own Kylie Loxton sang out into the night with such a sweet, sweet voice that would feature again throughout the weekend …
The Jackets just walked on Stage 1 and opened with a nuclear explosion of sound with the iconic Woodstock theme song “My Generation” and the crowd, now completely pumped danced the night away. In keeping with the Woodstock theme, The Jackets covered the super rock group ‘The Who’ and closed the show Friday night. And out the hits came such as “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Pinball Wizard” as well as the 8 minute rock anthem masterpiece “Won’t be fooled again” …… and the crowd wanted more …and the Jackets gave it. These guys (and girl) were electric, so energetic, pumping out some classic rock anthems.
And then, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, like a tsunami, the crowd washed out of the arena.
Saturday, 8.00 am – and Trevor Philby’s Stage Two rig was already powered up. Acoustic duos and ensembles engaged with the morning sounds of the Riverland. The crowd began to re-group over bacon and egg sandwiches, coffees and other caffeine laced beverages. There was calm, but also anticipation. Last night set the bar high. Today the crowd has high expectations. It will be a big day, and they will not be disappointed…
Karl and Co opened on Stage 1. Mr Zander has recovered well after a late night at the caravan park and his collective eased the gathering into growing awareness of the great things to come.
Next, Ratatat Revival on Stage 1. Great fun, rockin’ the river with classics. Back to Stage 2, and the youthful tones of Lys and Josh giving a hint of what is to come later… Then, back and forth like clockwork – 2 stage crews working in perfect symmetry for the rest of the afternoon and night:
Stage 1 – Swyndal – a class act laying down more favorites from the 60’s and 70’s
Stage 2 – Susan Lily –after a big night Susan did it all again. And there seems to be a special rapport developing between our Sue (we claim her as ours now) and a particular local lad…
Stage 1 – Lost in Bass – One of the newer additions to the Warriors Music Association. These gals and guys brought the sophistication of sax to the festival whilst raising the heat.
Stage 2 – Kylie Loxton – After last night, up to do it again! Ah Kylie, you belong to the Riverland, but we’ll take you as one of our own as well.
Stage 1 – Black Kryptonite – first appearance at Riverstock for these kids. The WMA “Junior” band included several Woodstock style classics in their set and really embraced the concept of the festival.
Stage 2 – M’Naah – Their second appearance for the weekend. Class acoustic guitar and vocal.
Stage 1 – Chisel It – Another debut at the festival and the first appearance for this hot outfit did not disappoint. All the great Cold Chisel hits were there including personal favorites “Flame Trees” and “Conversations”. Really authentic “Chisel” feel.
Stage 2 – Wayfaring Strangers – No strangers to the acoustic stage, the “Wafers” kept the crowd mesmerised for their set. No mean feat seeing how the Stage 2 was located right next to the beer tent!
Stage 1 – Jam’n’Cream – “Cream” didn’t play Woodstock, but Riverstock got the next best thing with this tribute band. Having played at the Moorook Blues festival, J’n’C were crowd favorites and the power trio gave it their all!
Stage 2 – Lys & Josh – simply a joy to listen to.
Stage 1 – King Biscuit Time – Back to basics again with the sound of the blues. The “Buscuits” brought it on home.
Stage 2 – Tonia & Susie – two voices blending as one. The perfect compliment to the hard hitting acts at the other end of the arena.
Stage 1 – The Jackets – With the afternoon coming to an end the big stage is really hotting as evening approaches. Continuing the theme, “The Jackets” started the set with Woodstock classic “The Weight” and finished with the Beatles classic “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” like you’ve never heard it before.
Stage 2 – M’Naah – Another joy.
Stage 1 – Hard Impact – It’s 7 o’clock and we wanna rock! These guys came together specifically for Riverstock and when they say “Hard Impact”, that’s what they mean! 3 lead guitars (including the keyboard sound effect pedal), killer bass, and vocals they really put in.
Stage 2 – Kylie Loxton – doing it again with Peter Nicholls on guitar.
Stage 1 – Rock the Casbah – getting down to what it’s all about.
Stage 2 – Susan Lily – Our interstate import has become one of the family by now.
Stage 1 – The Moss Rocks – The twilight has faded and the night sky teases coloured stage lights into an optical frenzy! The Moss Rocks, pulsing with energy, pump out more of their blend of classic and new.
Stage 2 – Wayfaring Strangers – With the widest variety of instrumentation for the whole festival, the “Wafers” incorporate effortlessly guitars, violin, mandolin, bass and percussion with multi-vocal harmonies.
Stage 1 – Side FX – The trio of men is now joined by their new lead singer Tracey Wenn, and she rocks! We said they were good last night as 3, but tonight they blew us away!
Stage 2 – River Rats – These guys looked so much at home we could have put them on a riverboat and sailed to Louisiana
Stage 1 – Sultana Bunch – Last act for Saturday night and the crowd was pumped as high as the 1956 flood! As it surged back to the big stage, the “Sultanas” recreated the Santana experience again with timbales, congas and drum kit weaving together against the omnipotent bass, voluptuous organ and commanding guitar providing the foundation for the complimentary vocals of Rick and Sara. Smooth!
And so Saturday night came to a close, but not before many adjourned to the nearby Moorook Club for a quiet wind-down refreshment. And of-course, there was another PA set and ready to accommodate the inevitable impromptu semi-acoustic open-mike session! This could have become the party that never ended. And for some it was! At least for the weekend…
Sunday opened with a few sore heads, sore dirty feet, sun kissed faces and if you expected a mellow quiet lazy Sunday afternoon picnic by the river, then how WRONG were you!
Black Kryptonite opened on Stage 1 … The likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Living End blasted out into the Sunday morning …. and from there it did not stop …. Rock the Casbah featuring Kylie Loxton covered some rock classics, Hard Impact were just that and for a Sunday … where did it come from? ….The Jackets spun everyone out with the likes of Pink Floyd’s “Money”, The Moss Rocks reveled with some old ones and new ones, Side FX did it all again and just rocked, Chisel It got all the working class men in a frenzy and Sultana Bunch got up and did it all again …. Befitting that Santana closes the Riverstock Weekend.
And in between all of that, Stage 2 was relentless with ongoing mesmerizing acoustic experiences echoing into the sunshine and so just for the day after …. Kylie Loxton, Tonia and Suzie, Karl and Co, M’Naah, River Rats, Wayfaring Strangers and Susan Lily entertained us all. And who could forget the magic, the sweet and beautiful music from Lys and Josh; they had the crowd eating out the palms of their hands, jaws dropped and you could have heard the pelican drop a pin in the river as everyone took it in …. oh, so young, so talented.
One of the most memorable performances that will stay in the hearts and minds for everyone in the Association for a long time was the announcement of and the final performance of ‘Jam’n’Cream. This group has been the epitome of the Association with cover renditions of the super group “Cream’. A well loved and respected Warriors band whose music will be well and truly missed.
And so this is the Riverstock 2008 story, the inaugural Riverstock story that belongs to every member of the Warriors Music Association, their families, loved ones and friends. It exhausted us, it moved us, it rocked us, some fantastic friendships were formed and many rekindled over our common denominator that is, ‘having fun playing live music’. And so we wait in anticipation for Riverstock 2009, love and peace to you all.