It was the final Saturday of the 2014 edition Ottawa Bluesfest, featuring hip hop with a dash of alternative rock and comedy.
If you have never been to the Ottawa Bluesfest, let me get you up to speed. The event spans over 10 days and funnily enough, features all genres of music and not just blues as advertised in the name. It has become a staple attraction every summer for people to visit the city and take in a few good shows. The event is in its 20th year and the momentum is still going with genuine top act and featuring local talents. There is something for everyone on the Lebreton Flats.
Today was no exception as the day featured local acts like Atherton to the legendary Snoop Dogg. We got there just after the doors opened to catch Atherton, who have a good contingency of support dancing to his beats and rhymes at the Claridge Homes Stage. He had great stage presence even if the crowd might not have been as big as expected, being the first act of the day. What really made him stand out was his sense of humour, he kept saying that the crowd was mostly just his friends and when he finished his set early, he decided to come out and play another song for his fans. He told us he just wrote the song with his buddy Johnny Cash that morning, going into a verse of “Ring of Fire.” Entertaining.
Next up, we decided to go check out some Canadian roots rock alt country John Allaire and the Campistas who were entertaining the folks sitting in the lawn chairs and having a few ‘Pops’ at the Bell Stage. They are well oiled machines, you could tell they have been doing this for a long time and the crowd was digging it. John Allaire made mention that the stage and venue were pretty big and they were not at Paddy’s Pub, one of the local joints you can catch John signing in. A great performance, and John took time to acknowledged the passing of Tommy Ramone who had died the previous day.
We then skipped over to the River Stage that is appropriately named, as it’s by the river, to enjoy the music of Jonathan Becker and the Northfields. Their music was fun and perfect for a nice, hot summer’s day. Judging by their reaction to being on the big stage, they were happy to be there and make us smile with the funky music. Jonathan said that he wished he had his own guitar guy like the big bands. Another great local act killed it, so how would the big guns fair?
Action Bronson came out to a legion of fans and he didn’t disappoint with an over the top stage presence! This guy has a lot of energy and does not like be restricted to an area. So what does he do, he comes down from the stage, hops on a golf cart, and proceeds to drive it through the crowd all while rapping. Impressive, to say the least. Then he just left the cart there and walked through the hundreds of fans , high fiving them and continuing to show off his rapping talents. I had never seen something like this and I thought this would have been the highlight but it wasn’t. The craziest thing is, he actually went into a Port-A-Pottie, closed the door, and continued rapping. Sick is all I can say about this guy as he later hung from the stage and just put everyone in awe! Great job taking this day to the next level.
Bob Saget came out with his raunchy comedy routine to please the crowd. Funny, great storyteller, you must see him! One fan (Charlie) will have memories forever being named the son he never had. Best of set, the song he sang “My Dog Licked My Ball” so wrong yet fucking hilarious! This isn’t Danny Tanner from Full House anymore.
Deltron3030 came out and brought their unique style of music to the table. I call it Hipster Rap and it works, featuring Rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, DJ Kid Koala, and producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura. The melodies and rhymes flowed nicely and was a fun show. Aaron Bruno (Awolnation) even joined them for a song.
Speaking of Aaron Bruno, his band Awolnation came crashing down on the Bell Stage, recently of the success of the hit song “Sail” that is featured everywhere, many people were excited to see what they had to offer. They were on-point musically, but one must say that the expectations were high, seeing these guys live and while it was good, I felt like there was something missing. One thing that wasn’t missing was the red mic and red socks, maybe it was just a little too mellow for this crowd. His singing was good but his talent lies with his growls, which he doesn’t use enough.
The last act on the Claridge Homes Stage was none other than Childish Gambino, which is the alter ego of actor/comedian Donald Glover (Community). He came on stage with authority wearing an opened up Hawaiian shirt and shorts. To the delight of the crowd, there was barely any room to move as everybody was taking it all in, enjoying the fun times.
Finally after a 20-25 minutes delay, the rap Icon Snoop Dogg hit the stage and gave a great performance, singing hits like “Gin and Juice” and “Nothing But a G Thang.” Snoop Dogg presence was felt; he killed it while wearing local colours of the Ottawa Senators.
Another successful day!