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Who Will Replace The Black Keys At Bluesfest?

Written by Tom Williams on March 24, 2015

Now that American rock duo The Black Keys have cancelled their entire Australian tour, including their headline spot at Bluesfest, it’s time to begin the depressing task of attempting to find a replacement headliner for the Byron Bay festival.

Bluesfest 2015 Festival Director Peter Noble has revealed that a handful of Aussie acts are in the running to replace Dan Auerbach and his injured drummer Patrick Carney, and said he’s listening intently to what punters are telling him.

Chatting with Sarah Howells on triple j‘s Roots ‘N All program last night, Noble said he and his team are going to have a very busy week finding a replacement, and may end up calling on local artists to fill in.

“We’ve got just about a week to get somebody else and get them announced, but it’s so hard because you can’t get a visa in that time. Maybe we should have a competition,” Noble said, before mentioning some of the acts his team has in mind.

“British India’s on the shortlist. Spiderbait’s on the shortlist. Kingswood’s on the shortlist. Because they need to be bands that are a bit like that has cancelled.

“Matt Corby was interested but I thought ‘I love you Matt and I know the audience loves you, but I wonder if it needs to rock out a bit more’. That’s all the stuff that I have to do in my job now, and trying to come up with the impossible replacement, because you can’t really replace The Black Keys.”

When asked about when the public will know who’s replacing the duo, Noble said, “As soon as we know. Right now I’m looking at what’s available and then going ‘Who’s the best one to pick?’

“There’s so many suggestions on our Facebook, and people just going ‘well get Ben Harper to do another show’ or ‘get Michael Franti to come’ or ‘get Sticky Fingers to play twice’. We evaluate all of that, and it’s just something that if you’re going to be a good Festival Director you’ve got to be constantly listening to the people who are coming.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Noble said he has seen Carney’s medical reports, and only learnt of the seriousness of his injuries late last week. Carney dislocated and broke his shoulder while bodysurfing in the Caribbean earlier this year, but his recovery appears to have hit a major roadblock.

“Up until the 10 week phase he was healing, but then there was a complication of infection, and it’s called adhesive capsulitis — known as “frozen shoulder” — occurred really only a week and a half ago, and I think that put the kibosh on it. There’s just no way that he could come after that happened. So it was all looking good until a week and a half ago,” Noble said.

“They’re not even saying when they could come back. I personally feel it could be a long road for Patrick Carney… I think it could be prolonged, and hopefully it isn’t… This sort of stuff can be very very serious, it’s a real complication. And it’s real — I’ve seen the medical reports.”

Noble also mentioned that he is trying to add an extra Bluesfest performance for Band Of Skulls, who were set to tour in support of The Black Keys. Band Of Skulls are still set to visit Australia for Bluesfest, as well as their two sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.

Despite losing The Black Keys plus Lenny Kravitz and Ben Howard earlier in the year, Noble said Bluesfest is close to a sell out on its Friday and Saturday nights. Hear his full interview over at the triple j website.

UPDATE 01/04/15: Bluesfest organisers have announced that Melbourne band British India will replace The Black Keys at Bluesfest 2015.

Photos: The Black Keys – Sydney, Entertainment Centre 22/10/2012 / Photos: Ed Watson

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