Monday, July 16, 2007


There goes Bluesfest for another year. On the last day I camped out at the Black Sheep Stage. I was slightly tempted to go and see Detroit Women, but elected in the end to stick around. I saw three acts I've heard and enjoyed before, to varying degrees, and enjoyed them all once again. There were also three acts I hadn't seen before - I got a real kick out of of them too.

I was too much of a slowpoke getting down to LeBreton Flats to catch all of Danny Michel's rock set, but did catch a good chunk of it. Jim Bryson was invited to play keyboards on one song and ended up playing the whole set. The weather also took a turn for the better. "Now I can complain it's too hot!" jested Michel.

Next up was Papa Mali, my favourite surprise of the day. The dreadlocked guitarist hails from Louisiana and serves up a great swamp-soul-funk combination with cool reverbed vocals. His singing style and lyrics made me think of Baby Huey. He also played an instrumental cover of Neil Young - After the Goldrush, I think. If I were running Bluesfest, he'd top the list of performers I hadn't heard of before that I'd invite back.

With a name like King Sunshine, I expected a soca or calypso outfit. I wasn't far off - this Canadian nine-piece give a definite Caribbean inflection to their dancefloor friendly sounds.

I saw the Deadstring Brothers last year, and enjoyed their take on the countrified side of The Rolling Stones. They were even better this year - and, as singer Masha noted, "I'm embarrassed to say I'm still wearing the same stuff as last time." Heck, there are now some actual brothers in the band!

I know Steve Forbert mostly by reputation, but have never been fortunate enough to catch him live. Never mind that his first album is approaching its 30th anniversary, he still acts like a man with a hotfoot on stage.

Following Forbert's set, someone waved a magic wand, transforming a graying and sitting crowd into one 30 years younger and without lawn chairs. Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings ended things off with an equally energetic performance. A raised stage with a metal barrier isn't exactly an ideal situation for a Sharon Jones performance, but with some hopping and lugging a few folks from the crowd did make it up to dance on a couple of tunes.

A swell end to good festival. Further photos will appear in the days ahead.

No comments: