Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bluesfest 2011: Day 10

I made it my goal Friday to catch a big chunk of Blue Rodeo's headlining set. I'm a fan of the band, and they are of course frequent - some might say inevitable - Bluesfest headliners. However, until yesterday there was always another band on the bill I was more interested in for their timeslot. Not so yesterday - it was a case of either people I'd seen before - Paul Thorn, Danny Michel - or someone I didn't really want to check out (I already had more than enough of Mac Miller's audience watching Big Sam's Funky Nation).

But first, a stop at the Hard Rock Stage for Jamie McLean. Like the aforementioned Big Sam, he's a veteran of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I went to check him out on the strength of news he'd toured with the Drive-By Truckers. He plays some tough-sounding, bluesy roots-rock.

Jamie McLean Band at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Jamie McLean at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

When he was done I went over to the National Bank Stage to check out Hannah Georgas. Georgas had already attracted a big crowd for her folky indie pop. She sounded fine but didn't intrigue me.

Hannah Georgas at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Hannah Georgas at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

I went back to see harmonica man James Harman perform on the Hard Rock Stage. He was backed by Monkeyjunk, and David Maxwell and The Texas Horns also put in an appearance - definitely a set for the blues hardcore. I have to say, I appreciated his dismissal of the rock-jock's introduction: "Whatever." A little black-and-white action for you ...

James Harman and Monkeyjunk at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
James Harman and Monkeyjunk at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

I popped over to see some of Big Sam's Funky Nation. The crowd seemed quite young, but judging from the profusion of Mac Miller T-shirts in evidence it was clear they were mostly folks grabbing an early spot for the dancefest to come - not that they didn't appreciate Big Sam's stuff (which also featured Jamie McLean on guitar).

Big Sam's Funky Nation at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Big Sam's Funky Nation at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

I stopped for a bit to eat while Big Sam and Co. played in the background, then went over to see a bit of Danny Michel Y Los Hombre Malos. Like Georgas he attracted a big crowd - being a former native and popular favourite - but didn't seize my attention.

Danny Michel Y Los Hombres Malos at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Danny Michel Y Los Hombre Malos at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

Finally, off to see Blue Rodeo. The crowd was huge and more than ready to sing along. The bunch I was next to were more enthusiastic than in tune, so I moved back a bit to where the audience was more musically inclined (or at least less stoned). They had Wayne Petti from Cuff The Duke with them, as well as Junkhouse, Crash Vegas and Jim Cuddy Band axeman Colin Cripps.

Blue Rodeo at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Blue Rodeo at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 15, 2011

Now, on to the weekend!
  • Show reminder: Auto Racing, The Consonance and Professor LeStrange are at Zaphod's; The Creeps, Old Wives, The Weekend Kids and Male Nurse Band will rock Cafe Dekcuf; Streat Meat will be performing with Rockalilly Burlesque at Babylon; The Hammerheads play their regular Rainbow gig; Wide Mouth Mason perform at Mavericks; Go Long! and Open Sky will be at Irene's; The Elmdale hosts Mubarak Farah and the Airliner Blues Band, Still Native and The Ticket. The Cody Allen Band, Yanis Khamsi and The Streets of Hastings are on the bill at the Avant-Garde Bar.

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