Canadian Musician Does RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 – Day 4Thursday, July 16th, 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. Following an off-day for the fest on Monday, here are photos and findings from Tuesday, July 14th – Mark’s final day onsite.
A wet and stormy day at LeBreton Flats couldn’t stop another round of great performances at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015. Operators were the first band to perform on Tuesday evening, delighting the audience at the Claridge Homes stage with their raw synth rock.
Dan Boeckner, an indie rock veteran whose other bands include Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, and Divine Fits, was happy to introduce Ottawa to his latest act. Operators don’t stray too far from Boeckner’s catalogue, but freshen the sound with a greater emphasis on keyboards and beats that kept the Bluesfest crowd moving, including the catchy track, “True.”
As the dark clouds approached LeBreton Flats, METZ took to the Canadian stage. Taunting the rain to come, METZ tore through “Knife in the Water” as a mostly younger crowd jumped, moshed, and sang along. METZ performed an equal mix of songs from their debut album as well as their latest release, II, including “Nervous System” and “Spit You Out.” Vocalist and lead guitarist Alex Edkins took over the stage with his wild guitar moves and intense screaming vocals. Bassist Chris Slorach was on par with Edkins in his booming bass sound and poses, and drummer Hayden Menzies kept a tight beat. Edkins announced that METZ would play two more songs, the first being “Acetate,” the lead single from II. As the song progressed, the sky opened up and the rain came hard, but neither METZ nor their fans slowed down.
Bluesfest ended up making the decision to cut METZ off just before their last song (which likely would have been their regular epic closing number “Wet Blanket”). As I left the stage to seek shelter from the downpour, the sounds of Future Islands performing their mega-hit “Seasons (Waiting On You)” from the main stage provided the soundtrack to the storm.
The downpour let up to a lighter rain in time for The Black Lips to perform on the Canadian Stage. The garage rock band’s members traded vocals on almost every song, sounding tight and enthusiastic as their fans rocked out. The Black Lips brought out some of the only crowd surfers I noticed during Bluesfest as well. The rain kept coming and the wind picked up steadily but The Black Lips played through it as it were a beautiful summer day.