Ash Grunwald 's set is a low-key affair at Boardmasters

Relentless Boardmasters 2009 review

published: Wed 12th Aug 2009

Ash Grunwald

Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th August 2009
Watergate Bay, nr Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4AN, England MAP
£54.99 adult ticket for both days, £14.99 per beach session
daily capacity: 12500
last updated: Wed 5th Aug 2009

Melbourne's dreadlocked blues/roots singer Ash Grunwald looks a little lonely, sat centre stage, flanked only by a sole MPC player, and much of the crowd present at the end of Master Shortie's set half an hour earlier has drifted away from the Main Stage.

Ash Grunwald
Hammering away at the top string of his guitar and churning out distorted, bass-heavy riffs, the Australian growls away in a well-worn blues howl, but with the MPC largely inaudible and seeming to add little to the mix, his performance falls a little flat and fails to draw much of a response from the Boardmasters crowd.

Grunwald introduces 'Serious' as "a great hillbilly song" and with its frantic, driving take on duelling banjos played out via growling overdrive and slide guitar supporting his Tom Waits-tinged vocal, it's a pretty fair label.

'Fish Out Of Water' opens with another chunky riff and Grunwald's delivery has airs of Robert Plant about it. The song is washed with frustration, charting his alienation at living in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a big city and wanting to take to the road.

Ash Grunwald
'Breakout' is similarly laced with angst and the desire to move on from his present surroundings. In terms of subject matter, guitar stylings and that lived-in, rough blues voice, Ash Grunwald is reminiscent of Seasick Steve, but interaction with his audience is minimal and you don't feel the warm empathy that Steve's incredible story evokes.

Grunwald has achieved a fair degree of success and critical acclaim in his native Australia but, all but alone on stage, today's set fails to hold the attention and is a pretty low-key affair.
review by: Gary Walker

photos by: Steve Palmer

Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th August 2009
Watergate Bay, nr Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4AN, England MAP
£54.99 adult ticket for both days, £14.99 per beach session
daily capacity: 12500
last updated: Wed 5th Aug 2009


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