Live Review: Dogapalooza

8 March 2016 | 11:46 am | Lucy Regter

"A rich landscape of soulful acoustic guitar seeped beyond the stage, and created a true Australian backyard vibe."

Battling temperatures redolent of a mid-summer afternoon, the organisers of Adelaide's annual Fringe event Dogapalooza bravely pushed on with an earlier starting time and guaranteed dog pools, transforming Orphanage Park into Australia's first dog-friendly music festival. This year, not only was there a major focus on animal beneficiaries, but a line-up of local music talent was rallied to perform throughout the day.

Opening the event to a surprising number of guests for 9.30 in the morning, The Wisps had their glowing folk sound roll over the event, sometimes taking a dark turn with a feature of strings, but picking right back up again. The Wisps treated us to a particularly brooding cover of Under The Milky Way (The Church), before welcoming on stage Cal Williams Jr.

Being one of the key organisers of the event (along with Renae Eden), Cal Williams Jr was humble and engaged, obviously very proud of everyone's efforts to pull the day off. Belting out some humbling folk tunes and showing off some impressive mastery on the guitar, Williams Jr suited the honest Australian storyteller personality.

Next up Kelly Menhennett graced the stage for the first solo act of the day. Despite struggling with an overworked voice due to a number of Fringe performances, the huskiness in her vocals was pleasant and matched the indie guitar sound well. Largely inspired by her love for Americana music, a roots undertone was present in tracks played from her second album, Small Dreams.

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Nigel Wearne was welcomed on next, and although enduring a possibly broken acoustic guitar situation, brought a healthy dose of country music to the festival with the both his harmonica and banjo. Singing of seasons and identity, Wearne's narrative was intimate and poignant.

By this stage of the festival, the heat was taking its toll on instruments and quality of sound feedback. However The Yearlings were as graceful and composed as ever, bringing an effortless harmony both vocally and instrumentally. A rich landscape of soulful acoustic guitar seeped beyond the stage, and created a true Australian backyard vibe.

The last performer for the day was the highly anticipated blues guitarist Chris Finnen. With an impressive career as one of Adelaide's finest musicians, Finnen proceeded to the stage with ease, taking listeners on a journey ranging from his childhood in Adelaide to his experiences in Cape Town. Along with these cultural influences, Finnen added cheeky twists and commentaries to his music, making the audience laugh and engage with his stories, thus bringing a particularly delightful end to a day of dog-friendly live music.