Thursday, July 07, 2011

Bluesfest 2011: Day 2

My second day of Bluesfest involved a lot of wandering about, a consequence of not having any particular act I was dying to see. The only two I'd heard or seen before - apart from ubiquitous headliner Ben Harper - were Mark Kozelek and Monkeyjunk.

First up was Alberta Cross; I was intrigued by the snippet of country-rock I heard online, but in person found them much more reminiscent of Britpop, in particular Oasis (a brief web search turns up the fact they opened for Oasis on one of their tours - I am unsurprised). They've got a pretty accomplished show.

Alberta Cross at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Alberta Cross at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011

I split a bit early to get a good spot to see Bedouin Soundclash; though I only know them by reputation, it's a pretty good one and they seem to attract a healthy crowd whenever they come through town. Entertaining in a post-Clash sort of way, I had to step back a fair distance to get away from the humongous bass noise. Their DJ introducer also went to some lengths to dress up, which I guess is worth something.

Introductions at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Introducing Bedouin Soundclash at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011

They've certainly got a healthy volume for a trio.

Bedouin Soundclash at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Bedouin Soundclash at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011 

I didn't hang around too long ... I wanted to see Whale Tooth, another unknown, but since they hadn't quite started when I got to the Hard Rock Stage, I went over the hill to see Monkeyjunk - quite rocking as usual.

Monkeyjunk at Ottawa Bluesfest
Monkeyjunk at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011 

Anyway, back to Whale Tooth, who put on a great show - having an animated singer is always a big boost, and Elise LeGrow is definitely A+ in that department. Nice punchy guitar sounds from the band as well.

Whale Tooth at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Whale Tooth at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011

I would have stayed for their whole set, but left about the time they were starting a cover of Blondie's Heart of Glass to go and listen to Mark Kozelek. Last time I saw him play at Bluesfest, I wrote:
"He was certainly displeased with the sound from the Blues Til Dusk stage bleeding through. He seemed bemused by the number of Caucasians at the performance as well."
Seems nothing's changed, except that he was afflicted by soundbleed from more than one stage (and it really was too much - in his place I'd have said screw it and left) but he stuck around to rib the crowd about the lack of Asians in the audience and work his way through some of his trademark melancholic folk, including a cover of AC/DC's Rock'n'Roll Singer

Mark Kozelek at Ottawa Bluesfest
Mark Kozelek at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011 

After a quick trip to buy myself dinner, I returned to the Hard Rock Stage to watch The Gentlemen Husbands. I have never heard of this country-rock band, and judging from the size of the crowd as they begun their set , I've got plenty of company. They're pretty good though; I liked their cover of Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down.

Gentlemen Husbands at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Gentlemen Husbands at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011

After some of that, I popped over to see what Jose Conde was on about. He's a Miami-born Cuban-American who's made a foray into a wide range of Latin American and world music. Good, but it didn't hold me.

Jose Conde at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Jose Conde at Bluesfest, July 6, 2011 

Then I went for one last look and listen to both Skrillex (very, very briefly) and Ben Harper (a couple of songs ... I can only really tolerate his full-on electric stuff) at distances to great for a photo and went home.

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