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16 sideshows in Melbourne to treat Bluesfest FOMO

All shook up because you can't make it to Byron Bay April 18-22? Shimmy over to these Melbourne sideshows

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Band jumps around on stage with instruments
Photograph: Kevin Bull

It’s Bluesfest’s 30th anniversary, and they’re spreading the love with these sideshows happening in Melbourne this year. Some shows have already sold out and others are selling fast, so be sure to grab your piece of international talent this April. Here is just a small taste of who you should see.


See these classic acts in Melbourne

Press shot of musician Fantastic Negrito
Photograph: Supplied

Fantastic Negrito

Two-time Grammy winner Fantastic Negrito (real name Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz) will be lighting up the Corner Hotel with his gritty, grungy blues-rock on Monday April 15. This man has had a life, and you can hear it in every lyric, every chord, every riff. Expect to have your heart of stone melted as Fantastic Negrito howls his way through his new album Please Don’t Be Dead.

Press shot of band Flogging Molly
Photograph: Supplied

Flogging Molly

Melbourne’s love for this Irish-American Celtic punk band is too much to contain to just one show. So having sold out their sideshow at the Croxton Bandroom on April 14, Flogging Molly have announced a second gig at 170 Russell on April 17. Like the Pogues or the Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly have the same dirty tin whistle sound that’s perfect for both jigging and headbanging to.

Press shot of Iggy Pop
Photograph: Supplied

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop is the sort of man you want to be with when the apocalypse comes because damn, this guy just can’t be stopped. The “grandfather of punk” is still rocking hard and getting up to all sorts of stage antics as he enters his 70s – in fact he’ll be celebrating his 72nd birthday with a gig at Festival Hall on Sunday April 21. Tickets have almost sold out but there are still a few available.

Press shot of musician Allen Stone
Photograph: Supplied

Allen Stone

Allen Stone might count the likes of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder as his influences but his deep, soulful voice is 100 per cent all him. Heard his new single ‘Naturally’ yet? It’s a smooth, considered feel-good amble – and probably best heard in the flesh. His last trip to Melbourne sold out so be quick if you want to see Stone live at the Corner Hotel on Sunday April 14.

Kevin Roosevelt Moore plays guitar and sings.
Photograph: Supplied

Keb’ Mo’

This Compton-born, postmodern bluesman has garnered a strong reputation among his American rock, country and folk brothers and sisters since he started strumming for the big time in 1994. Keb’ Mo’ will visit Melbourne on April 15 at the Melbourne Recital Centre for a solo performance before heading to Bluesfest for its 30th anniversary.

The band sits on stairs.
Photograph: Supplied

Nahko and Medicine for the People

These regular Bluesfest stars are returning to Byron Bay for the annual festival after touring the country in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Nahko and Medicine for the People will bring their high-energy performance to 170 Russell on April 21 before kicking on to the 2019 Bluesfest. Expect an amalgamation of rock, pop and alternative sounds.