Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bluesfest 2011: Day 8

Wednesday was a bit of an anomaly at this year's Bluesfest, at least for me - I actually stayed to the end of most of the acts I saw, instead of wandering about, looking for something else to listen to.

First on the list was the Oli Brown Band. Between the hair, the outfit and the high-energy blues rock it's fair to say this British youngster has a serious jones for the music of his homeland circa early Fleetwood Mac and Groundhogs. Being of more recent vintage, however, he took No Diggity - which in its not-quite-original version by Blackstreet contained a sample of Bill Withers' Grandma's Hands - and turned it back into a blues tune. He is also quite skilled at stage banter. I'd be stunned if he isn't invited back soon.

Oli Brown Band at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Oli Brown Band at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 13, 2011

From there I bounced over to the National Bank Stage to see a bit of Imaginary Cities. I enjoyed their upbeat indie rock and would have stayed around, but they were really just a place to park my carcass while waiting for my real "band of the day."

Imaginary Cities at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
Imaginary Cities at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 13, 2011

That band would be The Dirtbombs, I've seen them a bunch of times; this was the first time I have to say I didn't dig them 100%. They played some longer stuff from Party Store, their most recent album. I dig their takes on Detroit techno hits, but mostly as headphone music. Live it doesn't hold a candle to their early stuff. Fortunately they returned to their popular favourites for the latter half of the set. They also have a first-rate new bassist in Chris Sutton.

The Dirtbombs at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
The Dirtbombs at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 13, 2011

Finally I went off to see My Morning Jacket at the MBNA Stage. I bought and enjoyed their early albums but haven't really followed them as avidly of late. I thought it was pretty funny that they were headlining Wednesday when you consider they were playing the Metropolis in Montreal the night before and it wasn't even full. Anyway, they cranked out one of the best main stage shows of this or any other Bluesfest. I particularly enjoyed their punishing version of Holding On To Black Metal.

My Morning Jacket at Ottawa Bluesfest 2011
My Morning Jacket at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 13, 2011

Although I still have a few beefs with the stages bass-heavy sound mix, it was rendered irrelevant by an otherwise killer show.
  • Show reminder: Casino, The Box Tiger and Grand Motel perform at Zaphod's; Haligonians Sanktuary and Black Moor join Descendant, A Darker Day  and The Blood Red Truth at Mavericks; The Elmdale hosts Quebec Redneck Bluegrass Project.

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