MSO is everything it claims to be on its website.
Fronted by Nicky Bomba (Bomba, John Butler Trio) in his ad-hoc conducting style, the 26-piece Melbourne Ska Orchestra (MSO) is a fun-loving big band experience with music from the golden ska period of 1963 through to modern day classics. A massive hit at festivals everywhere, the MSO is fast becoming a must- see institution with members hailing from some of the best ska and reggae bands in Australia. Founded in 2003 as a way of celebrating this uplifting music, the MSO is dedicated to educating and entertaining audiences with the sweet sounds of ska – and dancing is compulsory.
The video clip on the official website is rather gentle but live Dallas is loud, hard and edgy – and very good, if that’s where your tastes lie.
The official festival guide describes The Cooked Fiddle Band’s sound as being “14th century Romanian metal”. The couple of tunes I caught from their set seemed Celtic with a dollop of Klezmer. Having now listened to a bit more of their music, it’s more Klezmer, with a dash of Celtic and maybe a soupçon of psydecho. In any case, it’s pretty frenetic, great live but possibly not the sort of thing you would listen to in your lounge room on a rainy Anzac Day afternoon.