Canadian Musician @ The 2014 Ottawa Folk FestivalMonday, September 15th, 2014
While the weather may no longer be conducive to T-shirts and tank tops, that doesn’t mean summer festival season has ended for 2014. Samantha Everts, founder of YouRockRed, represented Canadian Musician at this year’s edition of the Ottawa Folk Festival, with an impressive lineup of performers that included the likes of Lorde, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Foster the People alongside Canadian talent like Blue Rodeo, Serena Ryder, Hey Rosetta! and many other acts. Here are Sam’s thoughts on the event’s second day (her first) and some great shots of the performers.
While we skipped out on Foster the People due to crazy rain, a pint-sized Kiwi was headlining the next, considerably non-folky night.
Local openers The Strain filled up the stage with their brand of electro-pop that shares similarities to the likes of Mother Mother and Tegan and Sara. A crowd of about 1,000 watched and clapped along to their danceable beats. The brother-sister duo used electric synth-style melodies melded with rock chords through older songs like “Roar” and new ones like “Reflections.” Lead singer David Taggart moved across the huge stage with the stamina of a festival veteran. Really poppy loops that are easy to sing along to.
If Phantogram and Metric had a love child, then Vancouver-based synth rock band Dear Rouge would be it. I was eager to see this band as I’d missed them at NXNE a few months earlier. Their song “I Heard” is just so damn catchy (and, let’s admit it, sexy, with lyrics repeating, “Do it, do it, do it, do it”). Lead singer Danielle McTaggart came out rocking blue lipstick and leather jacket like no other and proved the band’s buzz status warranted. The set was incredibly energetic with Taggart rolling on the stage floor at times and reaching out to the audience to wave back and dance. I can’t wait until their full-length album is released as I want to hear more than just their newest single, “Best Look Lately.”
Lorde’s mostly teenage fans were lined up long before she hit the minimally lit main stage. Having seen Lorde at Osheaga, I knew that there would be no backing band, no backing vocalists, just a DJ hidden in the dark. Lorde doesn’t need any gimmicks. The Grammy winner came out in a black cape, whipping her dark long hair and punching the air as she ripped into opening numbers “Glory and Gore” and “White Teeth Teens.” The smoke and intense light show included songs off of Heroine but also two unexpected covers: Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” and “Heavenly Father” by Bon Iver, though she Lordified them to her own style so that it wasn’t until halfway through each number that this reviewer recognized them.
After her second costume change into an all-white flowing suit, Lorde told a drawn out story about the crazy house party she threw at 15 in New Zealand that inspired the song “Ribs,” giving depth to the lyrics, “And laughing ’til our ribs get tough / But that will never be enough.” Her final costume change into a red robe, complete with cape and gold crown, gave the 17-year-old a regal appearance under the fully-lit crystal chandelier that glowed over her for the remaining songs, which closed out with “World Alone.”
Representing the folkier side of the line-up that night, Serena Ryder kept the energy up and perked the ears of Lorde’s exiting cloud by opening with a song that’s dominated airwaves across North America. In a fringed-leather jacket, she launched into the Juno-winning song of the year, “Stompa,” to thousands of enthusiastic fans singing back every word. Ryder was joined by a cellist and keyboardist who also provided backing vocals. The smiling Ontario singer greeted the audience warmly and treated them to an Etta James cover song, “At Last,” before going into her next two hit songs, “For You” and “Fall.” Ryder raced across the stage with a Flying V guitar and was feeding off the crowds cheers.
More to come from the rest of the weekend…
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.