RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest – Final day by the numbers
Main stage headliner: Metric – lots of Canadian content today!
1st cloud coverage of the week: Also, the first precipitation Ottawa has seen since June… all 10 minutes of it. Remarkable weather for the entire festival.
Band 1: Today, the first band we saw was Toronto’s Young Empires. Big, riff-based indie pop – also quite funky… reminded me of Friendly Fires at times – we (and the festival) quite enjoyed it.
Minutes K’Naan was late: 30. Didn’t matter – the Somali-Canadian singer/rapper played his trademark style to a very good response from the crowd. Like Diplo, K’Naan is one of those artists, who could perform on the main stage of almost any festival on the planet, and kill.
Combined age of 3 members of Jamiah on Fire and the Red Machine: 39. 3 incredibly young kids, with incredibly good playing chops. All I heard was Hendrix covers, so I’m not certain if these kids do any songwriting, but holy crap can they play.
Vowels needed by BZRK: 3. Thick synths and house beats. A small crowd, but a pretty polished set from a young DJ.
Time into Wintersleep‘s set that we were convinced they were awesome: 1st note. Incredible songwriting, passionately performed by one of the best bands on the planet. We don’t need to go on and on about how good Wintersleep is – you already know that. We’d just like to point out the incredible dynamic range their set has. Very few bands can play quiet and loud with such perfect intensity.
2009: The last time we saw Felix Cartal was at Chicago’s Lollapalooza several years ago. Very hard electro – dance music’s riff rock – perfectly executed by the Vancouver DJ.
What we think 100% of bands from Victoria sound like: Current Swell. Beautiful harmonies of a chilled-out acoustic groove… surf country? Does that genre exist?
25 VIPs: The Weeknd‘s side-stage was as packed as any act this week. We were not sure what to expect from Scarborough’s futurebeatmaker and singer. He played his set with drums (lots of triggers), synths, bass, and guitars – and it sounded AMAZING.
Going into this set, I kept thinking, ‘how the hell is he going to pull off his studio sound?’ This totally worked – gave the big moments that certain something that only a live band can give, and made The Weeknd’s vocals really stand out as incredible and unique. Fantastic show.
9:30: The final 2 acts of 2012 Bluesfest took the stage. Wolfgang Gartner hit a dark stage lit with deep reds, and Metric hit a dark stage lit with dark blues. Gartner is one of the heaviest DJs I’ve ever seen… deeeeep house. Metric continues to take steps towards being a behemoth band. This year, on the heels of a very polished, glossy album release, they played a very polished, glossy set to close out a fantastic week on the Ottawa river.
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Final thoughts tomorrow.