RBC Bluesfest – Day 4 executive summary

Sunday night @ottawabluesfest. Fun. headlining.

The Joy Formidable: The show of the festival thus far. I liked this band before the day started, and now I love them. The Welsh threesome brought some serious power, noise, and beauty in a short, continuous set. Not only was this an incredible show, it was also the most epic set finale I’ve ever seen – a blasting climax that most bands would run for 30 seconds, but The Joy Formidable played for 5 minutes. Awesome!

Wu Tang Clan: Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) came out in November of 1993. Almost 20 years later and 8 of the original 10 members – sans Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Inspecta Deck – were on the stage in front of a huge smoke-covered crowd in a light rain on the main stage.

Being the sound guy for a group of 8 yelling rappers must be almost impossible, and the sound was not awesome for this show. But, that’s not what Wu Tang Clan is about – they are all about the energy a big coordinated crew can bring to a live performance.

This was an educational session about how live hip hop used to sound.

Wu Tang Clan

Wu Tang Clan party like it’s 1993.
RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO/Marc Desrosier

Hunter Hayes: Mentioned here because of how hilariously different this guy is from the Wu Tang Clan. These 2 artists back-to-back will compete with the BB King/Skrillex collision that will happen on the final Sunday for “biggest sound clash.”

DJ Zattar: One of the best DJs in the city, DJ Zattar played the “energy drink that will not be named here” stage and brought an R&B & soul mix that was amazing. Also, he does it all on vinyl – respect!

Tegan & Sara: They seem very nice, and played their songs very well. However, after seeing The Joy Formidable earlier in the day, I couldn’t help but thinking how much more noise I wanted T&S to make. Not a fair comparison at all, but an honest opinion. Tight harmonies and catchy pop songs – wish it rocked a bit harder.

Diamond Rings: This guy is a throwback. A pop musician who executes exactly like a new wave band. The strength hear is the songs this guy writes. The structure, the lyrics, the chord progressions are genius, and they are executed by a good band behind a real showman with amazing style.

Fun.: This band sounds like a pop opera. I really want to like these guys, but they are too cute for their own good at times. I think they are a good enough band to be Elton John, but too often end up sounding like a Pixar soundtrack.

It is awesome, however, to see a pop star show where a polished band with lots of showmanship actually come out and execute songs. Definite respect for this band, but waaay too cute for me.

Moment of the day: The Joy Formidable’s final crescendo.

Honourable mention: Wu Tang Clan telling the crowd, “I want to see those umbrellas spinnin’!” Not their most bad-ass moment.

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Tomorrow, can’t miss: Baauer & RL Grime.

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