Smokey Fields is the alter ego of musician Chris Mallory, and to celebrate the infamous Woodstock Music Festival 50 years on, he’s gathered a hip group of local musos to perform stripped-back acoustic versions of their favourite Woodstock songs. He spoke with The Echo about this momentous concert to commemorate a momentous concert!
You’re back from a sojourn at Woodstock, 1969, and getting the band back together for your free love-filled show Woodstock Reimagined here in Byron Shire’s Brunswick Picture House. Can you tell us where the concept for the show came from?
After I astrally projected myself back to 1969, Obe Wan Kanobi style, I realised that it wasn’t just the mud, drugs, and random nudity that make Woodstock resonate with us in 2019. It’s the music (man). So I thought to myself, Smokey, why not get a bunch of like-minded of fellow flash backers to dust off their acoustic instruments and let the songs speak through us. Let the music tell us why it still means something to us. No costumes, no wigs, just our voices and instruments (and a bit of over-the-top flair!).
Who else is on tour with you for your show on Saturday? You have a band of equally Woodstock-esque musicians coming together for this incredible event.
After an exhaustive search in the back alleys of Upper Main Arm I found fellow fake Russian cowboys Matt Gulliford (Gully the Kid) and James Dods (Jim Bob Dodsy) to sing magnificent harmonies and wail on their uke and banjo like lost humpback calves. Then the ghost of Joe Cocker himself whispered three names to me in my sleep: Rebecca Ireland, Áine Tyrrell, and Josh Shelton.
Is your show at the Brunswick Picture house actually exactly 50 years to the day of the original Woodstock on Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY, back in 1969?
The 17th of August 2019 coincides exactly with day three of the 1969 festival! There’s bound to be some cosmic mojo in the air.
Can you tell us how you picked your way through all that 1969 psych-music epic-ness to decide on your playlist for the night? Was it mostly personal preference, divine intervention, or were the song names brought to you buy an angel who came down from heaven yesterday?
I went to the RSL and invited the punters to throw darts at the original Woodstock setlist. Someone got Richie Havens right in the eye.
Woodstock Re-Imagined: An Acoustic Celebration is at the Brunswick Picture House on Saturday at 7pm. Tix are $20/25 at brunswickpicturehouse.com.
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