Friday, July 11, 2008

As the bird flies

It's getting late, so I'm going to keep this short: My musical Thursday began with a trip to the River Stage where Sadie Hell was performing.

Sadie Hell, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

They sounded great, but my true destination was the Black Sheep Stage, so I only stayed for a couple of songs.

Plants and Animals, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

The only band I was really interested in seeing was Plants and Animals. The Polaris Prize-nominated combo had already attracted a hefty crowd. They sounded pretty sweet, but they didn't grip me live to the same degree as their debut EP.

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

There was no one else I was particularly hankering to see that evening, just a few promising acts, the first of which was Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, and unabashedly retro performer from Boston. He's influenced by the soul and R&B music of the 1960s and has a mighty voice which he uses to good effect.

Remesha Drummers, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

After catching Reed I went back to the Black Sheep Stage to see The Mighty Popo. When I got there a huge crowd was covering the entire paved area in front of the stage. For a moment I was wondering if Popo had attained amazing new heights of popularity, but in fact it turned out that a good chunk of the space was occupied by Burundi's Remesha Drummers, who were knocking the crowd dead with some bouncy polyrhythms and lots of enthusiastic jumping.

The Mighty Popo, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

As for The Mighty Popo, he's played around town for what seems like ages, but I'm embarrassed to say this is the first time I caught his act. On another night I would have stuck around, but I was feeling a bit footloose so I walked over to the Roots Stage to see Michael Jerome Brown.

Michael Jerome Brown, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

I watched Brown - a short fellow in a snappy suit - run through a capable set of folk and blues accompanied by Steve Marriner and a couple of ringers from the Steve Barry band. He played covers by Bo Diddley and Tommy Johnson and a few solid originals. I wandered off again as he was rounding things up to see what was happening on other stages. I watched the kids going wild for Three Days Grace and less wild for Kid Beyond - young people these days! - then went back to the Black Sheep Stage to see Sean Kuti. But hark, what sound beckons from o'er yonder hill?

The Dynamites, featuring Charles Walker, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

As it turns, out, the funky rhythm was being produced by the Dynamites (and the Dynamite Horns). The funky band has brought former Chess, Decca and Champion veteran Charles Walker aboard, and they make a soulful sound much in the vein of early James Brown. It was pretty rocking, and I stuck around for half an hour or so before going back to see what Sean Kuti was up to.

Sean Kuti and Egypt 80, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

Young Kuti has inherited his dad Fela's band, but they didn't grab my attention like his brother Fema's outfit did last year, so I headed off.

Black Crowes, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2008

On the way out, I stopped to watch a song or two by The Black Crowes, but I can't dig the big concert scene. Small clubs are my style: The Bytown Tavern for example, about which more later. I will grant that the Crowes were making a swell psychedelic racket as I bicycled off into the night ...

1 comment:

starlagurl said...

Oh man, I wish I got there in time for more of Plants and Animals, but I was misguided...I was glad I got to hear the song about the bear waking up though...I like that one. I also hate...HATE... Eli "Paperboy" Reed...*eyeroll* He should seriously get a life...And also! The Black Crowes were AWESOME, but I'm a little biased. They could've defecated on stage, and I would've loved it. However, they didn't do that, so it was good tunes all night long...ohhhhh yeah.