Lamontagne Triumphs at Bluesfest Debut
By Tex Miller
Ray Lamontagne is a bucket list experience. In his Bluesfest debut and return to Australian shores for the first time in ten years, Lamontagne brings with him a setlist that compliments each of his seven studio albums.
Widely known for being a private kinda guy, Lamontagne walks onto stage and launches into ‘There’s No Other Way’ of 2014’s Supernova. Standing in the crowd this opportunity feels a bit like finding a golden ticket and winning the opportunity to tour Willy Wonka’s factory.
With a small thank you to the audience and detuning his guitar to Drop D, the intro into ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ is greeted with hollers and wolf whistles from the crowd.
A simplistic setup with just John Stirratt from Wilco (accompanying LaMontagne) on bass, this stripped back version of the songs allows for Lamontagne’s vocals to shine brightly and fully.
A man of few words, Lamontagne after two songs addresses the audience briefly with “So nice to see you”. Soon enough we are greeted to the older track ‘Burn’,and 2010’s ‘Old Before Your Time’.
Lamontagne steps back up to the microphone for another brief thank you and to introduce John.
Lamontagne has a way of conveying emotions that says so much within his lyrics that it doesn’t matter the on stage interaction is at a minimum as the lyrics and pure strength of Lamontagne is a thrill to watch in full flight.
Having released ‘part of the light’ last year, in a set of 75 minutes, Lamontagne only features the opening cut ‘To The Sea’ in this set. Closing out the set is big singalong and fan favourite ‘Trouble’.
With a heavenly voice and a swagger to match, Hopefully it won’t be 14 years before we witness Lamontagne in Australia again. If you’ve got tickets to the sideshows, you are one of the lucky few. With a final thank you to the adoring audience, Lamontagne leaves us awestruck for more yet thankful for what we have just witnessed.