The forecast was looking beautiful yet again for our second day at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, the only downfall being the lack of shade at Lebreton Flats which made it difficult to keep cool and stay hydrated. Regardless, I was especially excited about the day’s lineup featuring The Glorious Sons and Blue Rodeo.
First up on the Bell stage was alternative rock band Failure, who reunited somewhat recently in 2013, and played their first show together since 1997 in February of 2014. Homegrown in the 90s grunge/alternative era, the band is easily comparable to Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, and continues to pump out sludgy riffs accompanied by emotional vocals which largely define the genre. I very much enjoyed their set and would highly recommend them to anyone who is a fan of the bands listed above.
Over at the Canadian Stage, a group called The Ooohh Baby Gimme Mores (The OBGMs) were getting into their set, and ooh baby I had enough after the first song. Maybe I hadn’t consumed enough alcohol yet, but their sound was all over the place and way too busy for me, so I took it upon myself to break for lunch instead.
Hat Fitz & Cara had a couple of time slots at the festival, and since we didn’t get a chance to see them Saturday, we made a point in checking them out on Sunday at the Monster Energy Stage. It’s difficult to label their sound as it varied with each song, but I would say they’re contemporary with a little bit of everything ranging from country, to blues, to folk. Their album Do Tell was released in May 2014, and is available for purchase through their website and iTunes.
We retraced our steps back to the Canadian Stage to see a highly anticipated band from Kingston, The Glorious Sons. The band emerged onto the music scene after winning HTZ-FM Rocksearch in 2013, and have had continuous success ever since with multiple radio hits. When the boys came out on stage, singer Brett Emmons was slugging back a full bottle of wine to himself, which would later be tossed into the crowd. These guys put on a phenomenal performance with top notch vocals and tons of energy, playing crowd favourites such as “Mama,” “Heavy,” “White Noise,” and “Lightning.” I haven’t been swept off my feet by a band since I discovered Monster Truck a few years ago; I would go to another one of their shows in a heartbeat.
We moved onward to the Claridge Homes Stage to check out the ever-so-animated CeeLo Green. Forgive me, I don’t tune into “The Voice” on a weekly basis, but I was unaware that CeeLo is actually a huge fan of rock n’ roll. Accompanied by female musicians, he put on a soulful rock performance including a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I wasn’t too sure what I could expect from this performance, but I ended up being pretty surprised and satisfied with it.
I didn’t have much of a chance to check out Arkells at the Canadian Stage as their set overlapped with Ceelo’s and Blue Rodeo’s, but I heard a number of fans raving about their performance, and many friends rushing each other to hurry up in the washrooms to return to their set.
Meanwhile, at the Bell Stage Blue Rodeo took things down a couple notches with a laid back performance. Familiar songs echoed through Lebreton Flats while the crowd, and even some folks passing by the festival, sang along to their favourite songs. I couldn’t have asked for anything better to end my Sunday night.
Written by Jamie Markell
Photography by Isa Hoyos
*edited by Kate Erickson