Friday, July 17, 2009

Les and more

I may officially give up on weather forecasters after last night's predicted thunderstorms were replaced by some of Bluesfest's best weather (not that it had a lot of competition for the title). My main ambition for the evening was to see Sharon Jones and The Dap-Tones, but it also included an opportunity to see noted French electronica band M83 and a few pleasant chance encounters.

The first was with local electro-rockers Politique. Curiously enough I bumped into BushPilots frontman Rob Bennett at the show. As it happens, Politique singer Mallory is his niece. Her previous appearances on National Capital Rock have included a backup singing stint with The Loose Ties. Some may also recall drummer Etienne from a somewhat similar local combo, F!ghtF!ghtF!ght.

Politique, Black Sheep Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

The next thing on my to-do list was to go and see M83, but there was some time between the two shows so I wandered off to see Loudlove perform. A few days ago I was chatting with Both Kinds of Music host Dick Altavista about bands and he noted what a boost a good frontman gives a band - not just in whatever musical skills he or she brings to the table, but how they connect to the audience with banter and the like. Matthew Chaffey of The Brothers Chaffey was cited as one local example, and you'd have to add Peter MacKenzie Hammond to the list of ones who "get it." He's a pretty funny guy joshing with his bandmates and making light of his own low fly and taste in underwear. The band's reggae, ska and funk influenced rock also sounded pretty good, like a very muscular Joe Jackson.

Loudlove, Subway Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

There was still a few minutes to kill so I went over to see bluesman Zac Harmon and his band rip it up. The Dallas guitarman has a long resume bending the strings with various blues notaries and a decent singing voice. And he can make those blues guitar faces like nobody's business. Excellent band, too.

Zac Harmon, Hard Rock Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

Then it was off to see M83. The French electro band apparently morphs into a three-piece for live shows. They put on a really good set too and were about as engaging as two people facing each over keyboards (and whatever that sound-modulating thing is on top of mainman Anthony Gonzalez's rig) can be.

M83, Black Sheep Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

After that I cooled my heels and listened to (Smog)'s Rain On Lens waiting for Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings to take the stage. As always Ms. Jones was a forceful presence, and the band also have a raft of new and excellent songs to share with the audience. Jones had a succession of young men brought on stage for her to tease. My only question: Where's Binky Griptite?!? He wasn't on hand to lend his funky guitar-stylings or emcee talents.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Black Sheep Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

Unfortunately I was starting to feel a little under the weather, so I left a few minutes before the end of the show, pausing only briefly to snap a few photos of Les Claypool, or at least someone in a monkey-mask playing a single-string bass with a pitch-shifting bar on the top.

Les Claypool, Hard Rock Stage, Bluesfest, July 16, 2009

After that I wandered home, pausing only to listen to a snatch of the Alan Parsons Project and watch Styx explode their confetti bomb as they finished playing Sail Away. They were encoring with Eye of The Tiger as I walked up to Somerset. On the plus side, I ran into Ian Manhire outside the Rock'N'Roll Pizza Party and bought a Nobunny ticket from him - No. 99 of 150. Don't wait too long to get yours!

No comments: