Again and again the cresecendos were built up and layered, riding the audience into a wave of ecstatic dance.
From the east coast to the west, the sandy summer of love came in early at Mojos for the sold out show of Cronulla beach Sydney band Caravana Sun.
Starting things off with 'warm sunshine and the ocean whistling songs that I know' was Rockingham surfer and finger-picking guitarist Michael Triscari. Favouring a folk roots style with his barefoot stomping, Triscari mostly held back on his vocals but sounded better when he matched the rising swell of his guitar and let out some big wave euphoria. Surprising the punters in the courtyard, east coast busker Jesse Witney then set up shop with his harmonica and guitar, entertaining the happy good folk of Mojos while the next band set up.
Up next and getting ready to rip in tribal face paint, feathers and namesake barefeet, were six piece Freo band Barefeet Sojourns, fronted by the effervescent Sari Bednarska (vocals, afro shaking dancer, occasional melodica and mini accordian player). With new band member, Ghanian percussionist Odai Affotey on congas adding richness to the hurried beats of drummer Hardy Perrine, it was no wonder the dancefloor filled in a hurry even if half of it was taken up by their mates. Their messed-up world fusion sound of gypsy, afro, reggae/ska and funk is a pretty fun whirlwind. Bednarska's vocals have a get-real scratchy tone, and can follow the rising wail of Simone Monaco's sax playing to the peak. Moments of funk spilled out too as the wah pedal went into overdrive on Nagi Aozora's guitarwork and Balinese bass man Eka Suryawan kept presence, notably on the opening track Daydreamer.
Frequent travellers to the west and everywhere else (including three European summer tours and the apt named 'Bitter and Twisted' boutique beer, err, festival, trumpet-blasting ska-rockers Caravana Sun let it loose with their energy packed sound, helped admirably by bassist Ant Beard grinning and prancing non-stop. Ken Allars' trumpet playing is stellar, at times he sirens out like a bugle calling the troops into action before all hell breaks loose into a ska-infused gypsy mayhem, with an irish jig thrown in for good measure. At other times, Allars brings a shakuhachi flute breath work to some Miles Davis inspired solos, oneness with sublime clarity. Rocking along for the most part thanks to the timbre tones and Spanish guitar flurries of Luke Caruana (vocals/guitar) and tight drumming from Alex Dumbrell, some instrumentals such as Toulouse added variety, with Caruana confessing that he prefers to put a feeling into sound rather than words. Their track Aya, influenced by 'the letting go and rolling with it' feel of Amazonian plant substance ayahuasca, had the entire audience crouching low before raising the roof as the band hit boiling point into a Mexican fiesta of unabashed joy. Again and again the crescendos were built up and layered, riding the audience into a wave of ecstatic dance. With two encores, the love for these guys just kept on giving.
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