By Bob Gordon
There’s something infectious about the music and the performance ethic of the Bambuseae Rhythm Section that is sure to take flight at this year’s Blues at Bridgetown.
It’s music that seems purposefully and spiritually built for a festival atmosphere.
“The vibe of festivals is the best thing for sure!” vocalist/guitarist, Cameron Charles, enthuses. “People are there to enjoy themselves and celebrate life. The dancing, freedom of expression and joy that is shared at festivals is really what keeps musicians like us alive.
“Celebration is a very strong and positive force. It’s what drives us to always perform at our est and inspires us to keep creating great music for everybody to enjoy.
“This will be Bambuseae’s first ever performance at the festival and it will also be my first personal visit. I’ve heard so many good stories from friends and family. Playing Blues at Bridgetown is a bit of a bucket list moment for me and the band and we are so excited to be a part of it all this year.”
At blues (and roots) festivals what we often need is a great big melting pot. And it would appear that we’ll certainly get that at Blues at Bridgetown as musically that’s what the Bambuseae Rhythm Section are all about. Charles and co. have a deep respect for all musical genres having studied and – equally as importantly – felt them where it matters.
What’s on offer is ‘rambunctious trumpet lines, deep pulsating grooves, ecstatic rhythms and a rock’n’roll perspective on life in general’.
“Each member brings their own musical flavour to the Bambuseae Hot-Pot and we love to colour outside the lines of conventional styles,” Charles explains. “I feel ours is quite unique and it’s always a point of interesting conversation within the band. I find it difficult to pin down exactly, but I suppose you could call the majority of our music Blues-Funk. It’s upbeat and groovy with a working blues musician’s attitude towards performance and songwriting. You can hear it in our tone, or a lick here and there. It pulses through our rhythms and sings to you through our riffs and melodies.
“We hold the spirit of the blues in very high regard because it is the progenitor of most popular music today and lyrically speaking it’s deeply ingrained in my songwriting, for sure. We do have another side to our music though, and we have a lot of musical influences between the six of us. I could say that we are influenced by world music, rock’n’roll, jazz, house music, psychedelic rock or pop music but at the end of the day it comes down to this…
“The people must dance. It’s in our blood to boogie, we as humans need to dance, to release, to celebrate life and to fall so deeply into the groove that our worries evaporate into the sweaty air around us as we beat our feet into the earth below.”
That infectious, friendly tribality has earned the Bambuseae Rhythm Section many friends and an increasing number of fans along the way. Acclaim has been accepted with good grace and achievements have been ticked off as they move forwards, but like many artists on our Blues at Bridgetown line-up, the true highlights come from the experience of making, performing and sharing their music.
“My list of career highlights so far?” Charles considers. “The friends I’ve made along the way. Getting to play with some of WA’s best musicians. Supporting the likes of The Cat Empire and Dan Sultan. Travelling with my best friends. Playing shows at Rodney’s Bait & Tackle in Mosman Park. Making Dr. Karl dance at the Margaret River Writers Festival. Last year’s gig at Wave Rock Weekender. Getting nominated for WAM’s ‘Best Blues N’ Roots’ act of 2018. Getting 1300 people to sing and dance along to our music at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
“Creating music at 3am with my mates after a heart-warming house concert at my place. Getting flown up to Karratha to play gigs in a ghost town. Having the honour of being interviewed by Bob Gordon (Naww, shucks! – BG). Supporting the WASO Big Band at Murdoch Uni. Learning something new about music every day. Hearing our songs randomly on RTRFM.
“But I think, most importantly, the inspiration, creativity and zest for life I have found by having music in my life.”
Looking back, Charles describes 2019 as “a big incubating year.” The band released a warmly-received single, Slinky Begonia, and played a truckload of gigs along the way all around WA.
“We’ve fortified our structure and vision as a band and have mostly been concentrating on writing new songs and adding new and exciting elements to our musical performance,” Charles explains. “We all have a very focussed motivation right now. The iron is very hot, and we are so ready to strike.”
BRS will be recording a new single at Rada Studios in December for release early in the New Year and a debut album to follow later in 2020. The call of festivals in the Eastern States is also strong, but for now Blues at Bridgetown is at the front of the queue.
“Folks can expect a wild night out that’s for sure,” Charles says, “but if you have a fetish for the unexpected then you should definitely come check us out. We have a few performances over the weekend and each set is a little bit different to the other. Audience members can expect to sweat and dance like never before and we look forward to creating a very memorable experience with our performance for everyone.”
Bambuseae Rhythm Section perform at the Bridgetown Hotel on Friday, November 8, from 11pm-12.30am, and at the Geegelup Stage at 3.15pm, Saturday, November 9, and 2.15pm on Sunday, November 10.