Canadian Musician Does Ottawa Bluesfest 2014 – Day 1Friday, July 4th, 2014
Samantha Everts, founder of YouRockRed, is on the ground at RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa for Canadian Musician. She’ll be posting show reviews and (great) photos throughout the festival’s run, so check back often for the latest from one of the country’s largest and most hyped music festivals.
20 is a great age for partying in Ottawa. You’ve hit 19, you don’t need a fake ID anymore to go clubbing in Hull, and you damn well know where to catch good live music. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Mark Monahan’s Bluesfest has delivered its biggest lineup yet with Lady Gaga, Cyprus Hill, and tonight’s headliner, Tegan and Sara, representing just a small sample of the talent out for the 10-day music festival lauded by Billboard as one of the best North America has to offer.
Forget about the sleepy government town stereotype; cowboy boots came out to be knocked for the first night with Blake Shelton fans swarming the main stage; however, we were more interested in hometown heroes Amos the Transparent over at the Black Sheep stage. Amos the Transparent are an Ottawa-based indie rock band who’ve appeared on MuchMusic and CBC’s Q but have kept their new material since 2011’s Goodnight My Dear, I’m Falling Apart a secret until this summer.
It was a pleasure to hear their folkie new single, “This Great Escape” and ’50s-tinged “Death and Uncertainty” done with their new female vocalist and guest horn player from Kalle Mattson’s band providing backing harmonies.
Tegan and Sara proved why they are worthy festival headliners, opening their set with “You Drove Me Wild” and “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye” (hello?). With legions of fans being introduced to them through Heartthrob‘s breakout single, “Closer,” which dominated pop charts internationally, it was surprising the twin duo played so many older songs for the 5,000 or so people crowded in front of the Claridge stage. It was very telling of the audience in that this writer could see over the entire crowd – and I’m 5’5″. Tons of tweens at their first show, parents with children on their shoulders, and dozens of hipsters sang along together as the sun went down at Lebreton Flats. Posters held up in the crowd declared fans’ undying devotion to the band with slogans like, “You Make My Heart Throb!” or just plainly, “Tegan and Sara – You are awesome!”
Stage banter was minimal but still managed to promote the Tegan and Sara mantra of being true to yourself. “Dance if you want to! Tegan and Sara is all about being you!” You could tell that the women have really catered themselves to a younger crowd now in how the swearing from club shows 5-6 years ago was non-existent. What was present was a surprising mix of older songs from If It Was You (“Monday, Monday, Monday,” “Living Room,”) So Jealous (“Walking with a Ghost,”) and Sainthood (“Alligator.”)
The rest of the energetic set lit in pinks and blues was focused on songs from Heartthrob and the crowd wasn’t disappointed. Despite predictions of rain, the sky was clear and a cool breeze from the Ottawa river graced the festival goers as they left with new pop favourites just a little bit closer…
More to come…
YouRockRed is the brainchild of experienced artist consultant Samantha Everts, whose music industry insights are built on more than 10 years working in the Canadian music scene. They provide comprehensive promotion and growth strategies for musicians and their work from grant writing, marketing and promotion to running kick-ass events across Canada. Clients include Kalle Mattson, Amos the Transparent, and Sunparlour Players. www.yourockred.com.
Follow Bluesfest adventures on Twitter @urockred