35. Rawa Blues Festival
October 3rd 2015
Elvin Bishop, Bettye LaVette, Irek Dudek, Jarekus Singleton, Selwyn Birchwood, Sławek Wierzcholski & Nocna Zmiana, Boogie Boys, Romek Puchowski, Wielka Łódź, Blues Junkers, Wes Gałczyński & Power Train
Acustic, Droga Ewakuacyjna, Joanna Knitter Blues & Folk Connection, Manfredi & Johnson, Sex Machine Band
35th edition of Rawa Blues Festival lasted one day only, due to the fact that NOSPR venue was occupied for the previously planned concert of the world famous pianist Martha Argerich.
The attractive prelude to the Festival was a press conference and a meeting with the head of Alligator Records, Bruce Iglauer, connected with the promotion of the special publication – the anniversary album "Rawa Blues Festival 35 years”.
This time, the festival took place only in „Spodek”. It started with a competition scene. Joanna Knitter Blues And Folk Connection band won recognition of the international jury.
One more Festival contest, the online one (blues fans voted via special site), selected Wes Gałczyński Trio as the winner. These two bands performed on the Main Stage, opening the concerts of the following Polish bands: the quartet Blues Junkers and the veteran of the Polish blues - Wielka Łódź, that have not been seen at this festival for a long time. After them, Boogie Boys and Sławek Wierzcholski & Nocna Zmiana Bluesa appeared on the stage – both are the bands of European class, combining blues music and entertainment, presented at a high pace with a rich display of instrumental shows. This chapter was completed by Romek Puchowski, supported by German drummer Michael Maass.
The foreign part of the Festival was opened by a young American guitarist and vocalist Selwyn Birchwood with his band, whose dynamic performance ended with encores. The other young artist of the American blues scene, Jarekus Singleton turned out to be a very skilful guitarist and a bravura vocalist. His music blurs the lines between blues, hip hop and funk. He was then besieged by fans asking for autographs and common pics.
The head of Rawa Blues, Irek Dudek performed with an impressive big band, including an eleven-piece brass section. Without a guitar in the line-up, the whole weight of the music was taken over by brass. Sometimes the dizzying pace of the songs, other times the devilish breakdowns of the brass were winging Dudek's harmonica playing. It was probably the most jazzy concert of Irek Dudek's entire career.
Bettye LaVette took the audience to a completely different dimension during her concert. She is not only a singer, but an actress and a rare phenomenon in music. The artist's performance, full of soulful power, consisted of ten songs. The last one, performed a capella, left no doubt that we were dealing with art of the highest order. Her team performed superbly. It has rarely happened in the 35-year history of Rawa Blues that the audience was so engrossed in the music, devoid of imposing rhythmic and playful elements.
For many blues fans, Elvin Bishop's performance with his band became the main reason for their participation in the anniversary edition of Rawa Blues Festival. As far as the music is concerned, it turned out to be a stylistic mélange: apart from blues, there appeared songs harking back to zydeco, country, soul and even jazz. Bishop revealed his love of jamming at the end, inviting Bettye LaVette, Selwyn Birchwood, Jarekus Singleton and Irek Dudek on stage.
Never before, Rawa Blues spectators have listened to blues so much encased in jazz feeling. The after party was also spectacular: all night long musicians jammed together in the hotel club.