Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ottawa Bluesfest 2012, Day 1

Well Bluesfest is in town again, and it's never been less bluesy!. In fact I discovered that the Blues Society isn't even at the festival this year. The time, it passes ... My favourite part of the Buesfest was always the world music acts, but it seems they weren't a draw. Instead we get DJs. Not that I didn't enjoy Day 1 of this year's Bluesfest, though. First, those RFID bracelets do make getting in and out a snap. I arrived around showtime yesterday, and there were zero lines to speak of. Mind you, that might have had more to do with the lineup.

My first stop was the Electro Stage which, contrary to the map, is now located where the Black Sheep Stage once was - the Blacksheep is now where the Hard Rock Stage used to be. I've heard many food things about Hull combo Fet. Nat, and now drummer Olivier Fairfield from various other area combos of an experimental/art-rocking nature such as J'envoie. They made me think of a francophone Pere Ubu.

Fe. Nat. at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Fet. Nat. at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

After a bit I went off to see a very intense performance by Loon Choir, a seven-member local band which blends some tough sounding guitars with keyboards and violin for some heavy duty strong art-rock. They released their sophomore LP, Fire Poems, earlier this year and I definitely expect to hear more from them.

Loon Choir at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Loon Choir at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012 

Now, the real reason I was keen to head off to Bluesfest yesterday was to finally get an opportunity to see the legendary Melvins perform. They did not disappoint. They are billing themselves as Melvins Lite, but this is obviously a relative term. With Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle on double bass they're more than heavy enough to satisfy their fans. They also dressed up for the occasion.

The Melvins at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
The Melvins at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

After that was done, I headed over the hill  to see a bit of Akron/Family. Myles Seaton was in full-on testify mood when I passed by and snapped a few photos.

Akron/Family at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Akron/Family at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

My real destination was the River Stage, to see another 1990s musical crush, Fishbone. In a more just musical world, these guys would be headlining the main stage. However, they've had their ups and downs, so I'm just glad to see they seem to have returned at full force, judging from their super-funky performance.

Fishbone at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Fishbone at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

I also went to see a bit of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals rocking out. Pretty good, with a bit of a southern vibe.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

For the last show of the night I went to see Billy Bragg, and to hear Billy Bragg and Tiesto. Bragg was not pleased at the disco beats coming over the hill, though from up front they weren't any competition for his guitar. He engaged in some chit chat about the dangers of cynicism, the dangers of Twitter and sported a red square in support of the striking students in Quebec.

Billy Bragg at Ottawa Bluesfest 2012
Billy Bragg at Ottawa Bluesfest, July 4, 2012

A good time, and the weather couldn't be nicer.
  • Show reminder: Hmm, should I stick around at Bluesfest tonight to see LMFAO, or go to Babylon to see White Lung, Critical Convictions and Pregnancy Scares? Sal Piamonte performs at Zaphod's; Ari Abrams and Brett MacLean play the Elmdale.

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