Canadian Musician Does RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day 1Monday, July 13th, 2015
Toronto photographer and Canadian Musician correspondent Mark Matusoff is on the ground in Ottawa for this year’s edition of the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest. Here are photos and findings from Mark’s first day at the fest.
There is only one Yeezus in the world, and last night he rolled into RBC Bluesfest as the Friday night headliner along with some other international acts that had Lebreton Flats in downtown Ottawa packed.
Earlier in the day, Vancouver pop-punk outfit Mariana’s Trench were a welcome surprise to the lineup in how energetic and fun they were to watch, even if you don’t listen to pop radio.
The crowd shouted back lyrics to their radio toppers like “Pop 101” and “Celebrity Status” and shrill screams of teenage girls rang out with every duck face and Iggy-Pop inspired stance leader singer Josh Ramsay struck to the delight of the audience. They were even louder when the 4-piece announced they were playing some new songs, which were in the same vein of their Juno-winning catalogue.
Jungle by Night is a funk-based brass band hailing from Amsterdam that played the Canadian Stage. It was impossible to not enjoy the 9-member outfit’s grooves. They were obviously so excited to be performing at Bluesfest, repeating how grateful they were for the opportunity.
Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown’s 50th Anniversary satisfied those who were there to see some actual guitar-based blues rock. The audience was relatively small but was pleased to hear the sweet sounds of classic British Invasion blues.
Chance The Rapper was very well received by the audience at the Bell Stage. Dedicated fans were lined up as early as 9 a.m. that day to get a spot for Kanye West. Chance was the perfect opener, delivering a high-energy performance that had the crowd singing, jumping, and moving.
Omitting that he was 45 minutes late, the mostly teenage crowd ate up every beat Kanye sang out to including “Black Skinhead,” “Runaway,” and “Jesus Walks.” The show began with an orange lighting grid lowering towards the stage, like a UFO landing, illuminating the stage with a bright orange light. Kanye appeared just as the grid stopped a few feet above his head, and the Daft Punk sample from “Stronger” kicked off a show full of West’s greatest hits.
Contrary to West’s recent Yeezus Tour in 2013 in Toronto at the ACC that was a huge production with art-film references, costumes, and a mountain built on stage, West’s Bluesfest performance was stripped down, featuring only the artist himself on stage, bathing in the orange glow. No costumes, no videos or interludes, and little stage banter aside from West confirming that he doesn’t care what negative press he gets.
As the night was coming to a close, West had to interrupt his song “Flashing Lights” to fit in a few more tracks. “I have too many motherfucking hits” he laughed as the show continued. The energy of the performance continued throughout the night, leaving everyone in the crowd happy. “I want you to remember this night,” West said. “I want you to tell your children about