Monday, July 11, 2011

Bluesfest 2011: Day 6

I managed to roll out of bed and get on my way to Bluesfest a little earlier on Sunday - early enough to catch Jolie Holland performing on the Claridge Homes Stage. For the most part she played solo, but she did have a violinist from one of her bands, the Grand Chandeliers on hand to help round out a few tunes.

Jolie Holland at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Jolie Holland at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

After that I went off to the National Bank Stage to see Paramedics, which is composed of various members of The Property Line, Relief Maps, Love Machine and other bands. They've got a percussion heavy electro-rock sound with raucous indie music thrown into the mix. Frontman Jordan Allen is heading off to the halls of academe this summer, so this was one of their final shows.

Paramedics at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Paramedics at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I'm gonna throw in a bonus Jamie Kronick photo, just because.

Paramedics at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Paramedics at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I didn't have any particular place to go after they finished so I followed the sound of Autumn's Canon to the MBNA Stage in time for their last couple of tunes. They've got a few familiar faces, including Marty Sobb and Silver Creek bassist Mark Laforest.

Autumn's Canon at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Autumn's Canon at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

Diamond Rings was on hand for some one man 1980s dance action. For a single guy he did a good job of filling up the stage with his running about and posing.

Diamond Rings at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Diamond Rings at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I had been intrigued by the sounds coming from the Hard Rock Stage as I passed by on my way to see Diamond Rings, and I confess they lured me back to catch some of their funky worldbeat stuff. Don't see conch shells played much on stage these days ...

Spam Allstars at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011

Spam Allstars at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I also popped by the Claridge Homes Stage to check out some of The Dropkick Murphys. They seemed to be having a good time, but there's just something wroing about seeing a hardcore band playing on a festival stage ... As an aside, is it just my aging ears, or are the bass levels on the two big stages way too high this year?

Dropkick Murphys at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Dropkick Murphys at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

With more free time on my hand, I went off to see some actual blues music in the form of Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat, who mine from the same vein as Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

There seems to be a lot of dance-oriented music at Bluesfest this year - witness the next act on my radar, Neon Indian. A fun bunch.

Neon Indian at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Neon Indians at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

Speaking of fun bunches, the next band I saw was The Library Voices, who were the same crazy lot I saw at Mavericks on June 17, 2010. A year later and there's still plenty of running about and even more saxophone tossing. They also sounded really great, a big improvement to my ears over their Mavericks show.

Library Voices at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Library Voices at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I returned to the Hard Rock Stage to see veteran funk combo The Funky Meters put on a hot set (I did split for a few songs to see Yukon Blonde, but then returned). Rusell Batiste drummed with such vigour I fear he almost demolished his kit ... his riser was vibrating crazily for much of the set. The band was also joined by Spam Allstars saxophonist A.J. Hill and Ivan Neville, who was playing later on the Subway Stage with his own band Dumpstaphunk.

Funky Meters at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
The Funky Meters at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

And now for a Yukon Blonde photo, taken in a quick dash over the hill to see what was up.

Yukon Blonde at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Yukon Blonde at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

After that, it was time for the show (so far) of the festival: Leon Russell on The Hard Rock Stage. He has a killer band with him and they tore through a fabulous set of classics, given that inimitable Russell twist, such as Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, his well known medley of Jumping Jack Flash, Papa Was a Rolling Stone and Paint It Black, as well as his own A Song For You. By coincidence, he ended with the song M. Ward had wrapped things up with last night, Roll Over Beethoven, in a medley with Great Balls of Fire. His ace guitarist Chris Simmons also turned in a fine version of Walking Blues. Unfortunately my wee Fujifilm EXR 550 is not really up to the task of taking photos in such low light ...

Leon Russell at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Leon Russell at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 10, 2011

I would have enjoyed a bit more original material, but regardless of that an incredible set.
  • Show reminder: The Polymorphines, Alex Bien Band and Jon Travis play Zaphod's. Delta Moon is at The Rainbow.

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