Wednesday 5th October 2016 - Tour Blog: Melbourne, Caloundra Music Festival w/Tower Of Power

w/ Tower Of Power bass and drums Francis Rocco Prestia and David Garibaldi ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

Well what a start to a tour! Australia is a VERY long way from home (left Monday afternoon, arrived Wednesday afternoon!) but our first show in Melbourne in 9 years was sold out, the audience was incredible and we got to run this fantastic line up of Vanessa Haynes, Deborah Bond and Chris Ballin on vocals for the first time. We were joined by Australia's own Nina Ferro on a couple of songs too, last time I saw her was in London last year I think, I can't keep up with her! Maybe we should've done two nights... but anyway, after the show at Alumbra we were able to spend some time talking to fans (and friends), many who had never seen us live and some who had travelled a long way to see us. We'd love to come back without such a big gap as 9 years (and it would be QUITE nice to play Sydney again!!)

Chris Ballin, Vanessa Haynes, Deborah Bond backstage at Caloundra Music Festival first night of three

Sold out show at Alumbra, Melbourne

We took a flight the next day to the Caloundra Music Festival, a big festival in a small town with excellent weather and some amazing music. I'll admit that many of the bands on the line up I'd never heard of before, but just wandering around the four day festival I heard some great music of all styles played by some terrific musicians (I spoke with festival director Richie Eyles who said that it was important to him that all the bands could play to a high level and it showed). There were a few names on the bill I recognised including Michael Franti and Spearhead, the amazing vocalist Erica Falls performing as a solo artist for the first time and the legendary Oakland R'n'B band Tower Of Power. When I first joined Incognito back in 2005, we used to run into Tower Of Power quite often at festivals that we were both billed on, for maybe two or three years, but then it stopped. No reason, we just didn't cross paths. We worked it out to be at least seven years since we hooked up (the last time being original guitarist Bruce Conte's last gig before moving permanently to the Philippines) so it was great to see them healthy and well and sounding as incredible as ever. There is so much to take in in that band, everyone is so on it, everyone is so in tune and in sync with each other - and they are the nicest people, incredibly humble and giving with their time. We got to hang out for four days, three concerts each, two of those back to back and we're all still buzzing!

On this tour we're joined by keys wizard Tom O'Grady from Resolution 88 in a rather fetching hat

A pleasure to meet Tower Of Power's guitarist Jerry Cortez for the first time, lovely guy

A true pioneer of the Funk groove, at nearly 70 still nailing it, drummer David Garibaldi

Such a strong presence and pulse, a master at holding down the groove in a large band, bassist Francis Rocco Prestia (day three above and day two)

Having fun and rocking the house, Tower Of Power (day 2)

Late night hang with ToP trumpeter Adolfo Acosta

Late night man hug with birthday boy, ToP trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo

Lo res iPhone selfie with ToP organist Roger Smith

A pleasure to meet outstanding US vocalist Erica Falls

I also managed to fit in an interview with Scottish-born Melbourne-resident Craig Strain (below), founder, composer and bassist of the band Pickpocket. He also did an interview with Tower Of Power's Francis Rocco Prestia and both will appear on YouTube eventually via his excellent website:

Craig Strain of Pickpocket


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