One of the best things about summer is that there’s no shortage of music festivals, and I was excited that I would finally be able to attend the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest this year without anyone holding me back. However, finding a decent parking spot that is somewhat close to the Lebreton Flats became the bane of my existence. By the time I walked there I was a hot, sweaty mess, so upon my arrival I made it my first order of business to find a cold beer immediately.
Once I met up with our photographer, we made our way to the Monster Energy Stage to check out a local band called Blues And Company. We were only able to catch a few songs before we had to scoot over to the next act, but all I could think about was how much their sound reminded me of Jimi Hendrix, and when they started playing a cover of “When The Levee Breaks” (Led Zeppelin), I was pretty much sold.
Over at the Canadian Stage, indie rock band Family Of The Year had quite a large crowd in attendance. I had never heard of them, and I knew I wasn’t alone when I heard the people next to me say “..this is some indie band called ‘the perfect family’ or something.” Cheers, people. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Keefe had been wearing a cast due to a broken hand, but delivered a wonderful performance nonetheless. The most notable moment was how responsive the crowd was to a song called “Hero,” which was used in the film Boyhood.
Not long after that, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts were set to hit the Claridge Homes Stage. Having gone solo, Weiland is best known as the former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.
The band kicked off with “Crackerman” (Stone Temple Pilots) where Weiland used a megaphone (which would also be used in a couple other songs later on) to create different vocal effects, making it a killer start to their set. While the majority of songs played were from their most recent album Blaster, I really enjoyed the nostalgia brought on by the performance of STP songs I haven’t heard in ages such as “Big Bang Baby,” “Vasoline,” and “Dead & Bloated.”
We experienced a slight change in genre as we headed over to the Bell Stage to check out Canadian electropop artist Allie X. Now, considering that this type of music is not my cup of tea, I will say that she had an incredible voice; I even marvelled over it. She put on an interesting performance while keeping somewhat of a poker face the entire time, playing songs from her latest EP CollXtion I.
We were on our way over to the Canadian Stage once again in hopes of checking out Shakey Graves when unfortunately I had to cut the night short due to unforeseen circumstances. I also wound up missing out on Nas and Iggy Azalea, which is likely for the best because I probably wouldn’t have been able to understand ‘Ziggy Iggs’ anyway, thus concluding day one.
Written by Jamie Markell
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson