RBC Bluesfest – Day 1 executive summary

Day 1 of RBC Bluesfest is over. It was awesome. Here are our thoughts about what we saw on day 1 in easy-to-read executive summary format. There will be a quiz at the end.

The Split: This band does not look like they sound. “A new band” (their words, not ours) The Split was soulful and surprisingly crunchy and gruff. Their YouTube videos do not do their live performance justice – this band is heavy (that’s good!) Would recommend.

Bahamas: From Barrie, Bahamas have a knack of having one part in every song that completely grabs the crowd’s attention. Sonically, the guitars sounded completely unique and oddly all matched each other. Seriously, what was the last folky-indie band that had at least 3 matching guitars?!

Jimmy Eat World: As they started their set, what looked like an apocalyptic storm system blew by to the north, the sun came out, and probably the most polite, nice bands we’ve ever seen took the stage. Jimmy Eat World is not the most animated band on stage (not necessarily a complaint) but they ripped through a surprisingly deep catalogue. To put this band into perspective – consider the Twitter account. Not the be-all-and-end-all decider of talent, but a good gauge for popularity. The Black Keys: 478,000+ followers. Jimmy Eat World: 2.7 MILLION.

Grand Funk Railroad: Yes – right now, you are reading a review of Grand Funk Railroad on an indie music blog. Deal with it. This style of music, “Detroit City Rock&Roll Soul” is not really our thing. But, any other band on the planet that sounded like this, we’d rip them apart. Grand Funk Railroad fucking invented it. Therefore, they are cool.

 The Cat Empire: Incredible jazz/soul/gypsy chops on this Melbourne band. We don’t typically love bands that could be described as ‘collectives’. This typically means, “too many solos.” But, Cat Empire pull it off – sounding fun, worldly, and intimidatingly talented while doing it.

The Cat Empire

The Cat Empire’s Harry Angus (real name). RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO/Marc Desrosier

DVBBS: Now THIS is some Can-Con! Drop-masters from Toronto smoked and chugged their way through a set of big room pounders. The only thing between these guys and the absolute top of the North American DJ pile is about $500,000 worth of lights. These guys can kill it Still, hearing these guys scream into the mic and rap along with songs reminded me how good this dude is.

The Black Keys: Gotta get this out of the way – the sound at the start of this show, where we were standing, sucked. But, it says a world about this band that they could have sound so bad that we complained about it (read our reviews – we love everything!) and still deliver the absolute moment of the night when they performed Little Black Submarines with the help of a sold-out crowd… goosebumps.

The Black Keys Bluesfest Ottawa

Patrick Carney playing on one of the most bad-ass looking drum sets ever. RBC Bluesfest Press Images PHOTO/Marc Desrosier

Moment of the night: Black Keys – Little Black Submarines crowd sing-along

Pleasantly surprised by: The Split

Most bad-ass gear: The Black Keys

Party Factor: 7.


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