Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ottawa Bluesfest 2012, Day 8

For once I managed to get out my apartment in time and down to Lebreton Flats. My punctuality was largely triggered by a desire to see Grimes live. The adorable deathtronica gamin has been getting rave reviews for both her recorded and live shows, and I quite like her recorded output. It was also an instructive show: If you're playing in the bright sunlight it's apparently a good idea to have a a shade for your electronics so you can see which lights are blinking. Grimes looked like she was getting a sunburn as she played, but she managed to soldier thanks to swigging from a wine bottle and dumping water on her head. By comparison, cohort Blood Diamonds didn't appear to break a sweat, even wearing a dark suit.

Grimes at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Grimes at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

Next up was The Airborne Toxic Event. They were slated to play a show in Ottawa at Zaphod's in 2009 I hoped to attend. For whatever reason they couldn't make it. Three years later and they're on the main stage with their big melodic indy rock sound playing for an appreciative audience and running about quite a bit.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
The Airborne Toxic Event at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

And now to shake my cane in the air like an angry geezer. When I was a young man, Fat Possum artists were old blues dudes and rednecks, not these kids with their newfangled keyboards and suchlike!. Strange to see a bedroom popster like Youth Lagoon on the same label as R.L. Burnside, but there he is, and there he was on the River Stage not impressing me terribly.

Youth Lagoon at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Youth Lagoon at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

After a quick return to see some more of Airborne Toxic Event, I went by the Black Sheep Stage to see Carolyn Wonderland's second set of the fest. This time she didn't have to cope with blinding rays. As ever, she sounded quite good.

Carolyn Wonderland at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Carolyn Wonderland at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

Then it was over the hill to see Blitzen Trapper, who started things off in a mellow mood, sounding a bit like Neil Young, circa Harvest (baring Young's unique vocal qualities, mind you - these guys are more into the harmonies), and ended up somewhere around Live Rust. It was a killer set all the way through. They also made me think of Tom Petty and Co.

Blitzen Trapper at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Blitzen Trapper at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

I stayed around to watch 95% of Blitzen Trapper's set, but I wanted to both grab a bite to eat and see some of Big Boi's set. He was also really excellent. Some great DJing from Cutmaster Swift and rapping assist from Blackowned C-Bone.

Big Boi at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Big Boi at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

Finally, Bad Religion. I've always been a fan, and they put on a good show, though I suspect some of the ferocity of their earlier days has faded a bit. I would have liked things a bit better if once again the bass sound had been pushed up. Perhaps the crowd wasn't large enough to cushion the low end. The mosh pit kicked up quite a bit of dust; the crowds, heat and lack of rain are really doing a number on the War Museum's front lawn. I actually saw one guy emptying sand out of his shoe!

Bad Religion at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Bad Religion at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 11, 2012

Altogether, a really good day at the festival.

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