RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest Tee-Up

So it’s summer, and you’re still planning which giant music fests you’re going to “do”. Well… us too. We have a few nailed, and have posted plenty of advice on others in the past year. We’ll be back at one of our faves this year – the marathon genre-bender (‘bender’ is double-entendre) that is Ottawa’s Bluesfest.

The key to this festival is going in with an open mind; there are so many different styles on display. It’s a beautiful festival because you’ll see metal fans bobbing their head to hip hop, 60 year old blues fans rocking out to young indie bands, and even music snobs like me singing along to country songs.

Here’s our checklist for this year’s fest:


  • Drink first beer of festival.
  • Jimmy Eat World (late 90’s radio almost ruined this band for me – but they’re still cool)
  • DVBBS (you like big buildups in your dance music?)
  • Cat Empire (not sure about these guys, but they look like excellent musicians)
  • The Black Keys (as a card-carrying music blogger, I am legally required to attend all Black Keys concerts within 100km)

DAY 2:

  • Friday night – start with Camera Obscura (any band that John Peel loved has gotta be worth the time)
  • Hustle in order to not miss a note of Frank Turner (and hope it’s even HALF as good as this)
  • Garland Jefferies (a contemporary of Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen = bad. ass.)
  • She & Him (“play something from Elf!”)
  • Zac Brown Band (Just because this is an indie music blog doesn’t mean I can’t talk about country… will definitely give this a try.)

Day 3:

  • Amadou & Mariam (blind guitar-virtuoso couple from Mali – really excited for this one)
  • Belle & Sebastian (admittedly, I know squat about this band. But enough people worship them that there’s gotta be something to it.)
  • Zed’s Dead: The champagne glass of screamo-dubstep.
  • Dixie Chicks: The champagne glass of liberal country-music women.

Day 4:

  • The Joy Formidable (few bands can explode sonically like this one – hope they pull it off live!)
  • Wu Tang Clan (might even buy a t-shirt)
  • Tegan & Sara (Hope they wear Wu Tang t-shirts)
  • Diamond Rings (Was impressed last year when he performed with Grimes)
  • Fun. (I think I’d probably like this band if I hadn’t heard about them through a 12 year old girl)

Day 5:

  • Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Blew me away last year. How is she not touring arenas?)
  • The Specials (The Specials has been in my car since I could drive)
  • Baauer & RL Grime (Yeah – we played ’em first.)
  • Rush (Have seen them before, and frankly thought they were a bit boring. But they’re Rush, so I’ll watch and try my hardest to like them)

Day 6:

  • Sleep

Day 7:

  • Killer Mike (One of my favourite tracks of 2012)
  • El-P (hip hop legend – can’t miss this dude)
  • Solange (One of Pete’s favourites from 2012. He’s making me go.)
  • Bondax (We’ve never posted anything from Bondax, but they’ve been on the shortlist a bunch of times. Shortlist no more!)
  • Weezer (Ottawa is still buzzing about their last Bluesfest show. Psyched)
  • Passion Pit (This is a band that I love, that I never write about. Foolish – about to change that in 2013)
  • A Tribe Called Red (Ottawa beats – tremendously talented dudes… excited for this one)

Day 8:

  • The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (The most bad-ass blues band on the lineup. Can’t miss that one)
  • The Tragically Hip (Every Canadian who graduated high school prior to 2005 has some sort of epic night in their past where The Tragically Hip was the soundtrack.)
  • Kenny Wayne Sheppard (A virtuoso. Looking forward to showing up and being floored by skills)

Day 9:

  • Loon Choir (Another talented Ottawa band – and very nice folks. Loved ’em last year.)
  • Matthew Good (Big respect for this guy’s hustle and commitment to doing it the right way)
  • Great Big Sea (Laugh all you want at me listing this one… but this will be the drunkest night of the festival, and Great Big Sea will be the epicentre)

Day 10:

Day 11:

  • Yukon Blonde (Looking forward to indies follow-up)
  • Alice In Chains (The heaviest of all the bands they big-brushed “Grunge”. Should kick ass)
  • BB King (BB King is a boss. Also, want to be able to say, “ent to Alice in Chains, BB King, Skrillex night)
  • Dog Blood (2 of the biggest names in dance music crammed onto one stage. Should be a party)


So that’s it! This is not an exclusive list… and there’s always someone who blows us away. See you there.



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