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Month: July 2009

Bluesfest Day 5: Girl Talk!

I am mighty pissed off about one thing from yesterday – as I walked onto the grounds and grabbed a daily schedule, I was informed of a schedule change – that Land of Talk would be switched with Jenn Grant and would play at 6:15 instead of 4:45. So we just kinda wandered around and caught some bits and pieces elsewhere, noteably New Mastersounds from the Uk, who were great fun and were not happy until everyone on the Hard Rock Stage hillside was standing and enjoying the show.

Then later as we were making our way to The Black Sheep stage at 6:00 to see Land of Talk, we bumped into a friend who claimed she’d just come from watching them! That they went on at 4:45 as scheduled! I double checked, and sure enough, the schedule I had indicated a change, the schedule posted in the Wired tent indicated a change, but THERE WAS NO CHANGE!… angry angry.

Then we spent the better part of the next hour trying to stay dry due to the rain (THAT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE!), and waiting for Girl Talk! I’ve seen GT before in Montreal, and while I’d say that show was better overall in terms of energy and vibe (Montreal crowds are just amazing), one thing I did appreciate was being able to be relatively close without the fear of being in an out-of-control pit (Montreal was insane – I stayed in the balcony).

Girl Talk always puts on an amazing show – his live sets have become legendary for their energy and party atmosphere. He always says that he recognizes that he’s a laptop dj, and who wants to just watch a guy f’ing around on a computer, so he tries to take it to another level. With various projectiles and confetti and beach balls and giant ballons, plus the lucky selected group of people dancing on stage (in MTL, people just rushed past an overwhelmed security team and tore down railings to get up there!), the Girl Talk show is quite a spectacle, really something that has to be seen to be believed.

The sound from the main stage last night was notably lower – damn stupid complainers in Ottawa! – in fact, we were at the far end of the main field and hadn’t even realized Joe Cocker had started playing until well into his first song. We stuck around for a bit of his set, but unfortunately were feeling a bit broken, on my part after 5 days of bluesfesting with two nights in a row of mad dancing to Matisyahu and Girl Talk, and the body just isn’t as resilient as it once was.

So there were a couple of big misses, obviously missing Land of Talk was a huge disappointment, but we also didn’t get to catch Thunderheist at either of their performances yesterday – they were on at the same time as Girl Talk, so we missed them there, and then they were supposed to play Byward Blues later on, and we’d planned on making it down there, but as I mentioned previously, we were all feeling pretty broken and decided to rest our weary bones instead. At some point you have to accept the fact that you just can’t see everything!

Tonight is pretty light – only one stage open and one headliner: Stone Temple Pilots. Should be fun. 7 days left!

Included below is a bit of the mad spectacle that is Girl Talk.

UPDATE: From what I understand, Land of Talk was initially delayed because the drummer was caught up at immigration and so they made the switch, but then problems cleared up at immigration and he ended up making it in time, so they switched back. My problem with this is that they had already distributed flyers with the change made, including the one that I got! I’m still really pissed off about this. I was looking forward to seeing them!

recently on

  • WWIII propaganda posters: #
  • may have a spare ticket for opening night of Bluesfest tomorrow (wed) evening – The Black Keys, Jeff Beck, among others… takers? #
  • Boooo lawnchairs and boooo umbrellas – Amos the Transparent is kickin it tho #
  • The Black Keys ROCKED! #
  • great night at Bluesfest – Sergent Garcia had the Black Sheep Stage hopping! #
  • My Bluesfest, Day 1: Amanda Rheaume, Amos the Transparent, The Black Keys, Jeff Beck, and Sergent Garcia – #
  • RJD2 has been moved to Whisky bar tonight – guess Ritual hasn’t sorted out their Liquor License yet #
  • Also, Sergent Garcia has been added to the free stage at York Street tonight – go if you get a chance! #bluesfest #
  • so cool: #
  • Here we go, Holy F*ck! #
  • Missed Iron and Wine – oops – damn tight scheduling… Ben Harper, here we come! #
  • Under Pressure! Awesome! #
  • My Bluesfest, Day 2: Holy F*ck, Metric and Ben Harper – with video! #
  • The Stills! #
  • Now down to the market to see The Proclaimers and Arrested Development #
  • I want to see @matisyahu this weekend! Ottawa! #
  • Thanks @matisyahu – can’t wait! #
  • Arrested Development was awesome! #
  • Bluesfest Day 3: The Stills, The Proclaimers, Arrested Development, Jackson Browne and Peter Murphy: (inc. video!) #
  • Gettin wet with Hey Rosetta! #
  • Got me a spot nice and close for Matisyahu! #
  • Matisyahu was amazing tonight! #

Bluesfest Day 4: Matisyahu!

Just a quick video post today – no time to write anything up.  Yesterday was Hey Rosetta! and Matisyahu, both great performances, Matisyahu being one of two shows I’ve most been looking forward to this week (the other being Girl Talk tonight).

Speaking of tonight, the list is as follows:  Land of Talk, King Khan & BBQ Show, Girl Talk, Joe Cocker, Thunderheist, Mistress Barbara.  On my way there soon!

Included below a video of Matisyahu crowd surfing during King Without a Crown.  The camera I’m using takes better video than my other one, but the sound is crap.  So what are you going to do.

Bluesfest Day 3: Arrested!

What a day of music!  Started at 6:00 at the main festival grounds for The Stills from Montreal.  I’ve only recently gotten into these guys, but really enjoyed their showing here.

Then we trekked across town to York Street for The Proclaimers who were great, but really I only know 2 songs of theirs, and they played them – so cool, I guess.  The big blowout performance of the day for me goes to Arrested Development.  What a blast – York Street was packed with people dancing their brains out.  This show made all the running around totally worth it!  I had a permanent smile on the whole show – the dancing, the singing, the rapping, the beats and the band, and what a party vibe it was!

Then we hiked back over to Lebreton for some Jackson Browne, and I scooted over to the Subway (you’ll always be The River Stage to me) Stage for a quick look at Steve Earle.  Both shows were great from what I saw, but really nothing at this point for me could even hold a candle to what had happened at York Street earlier.

That is until I hit Maverick’s at midnight for Peter Murphy!  I never really knew anything about this guy – other than he was with BauHaus, and had a track on the Pump Up The Volume (great movie!) soundtrack.  After a late start, due to some issues with the sound system which forced them to scale back the show a bit, Peter took the stage and had the audience wrapped around his finger for the hour and a half show.  That voice!  That sound!  The band was solid, and Peter’s vocal power and stage presence was just incredible.  I’m so glad to have gotten a chance to see him at such an intimate space.  Thanks to my good friend Jordan for the recommendation!

Only missed one show that I really wanted to see, DeVotchKa.  The timing just didn’t work out – still, not bad for the amount of running around we did.

Tonight will be pretty light in terms of schedule – Hey Rosetta! at 7pm and then one of the acts I’ve most been looking forward to, Matisyahu at 9:30!  I actually won two free tickets from Matis for tonight (I’m still blown away by the direct message from him over twitter!) – I’m so looking forward to this – I think I’m going to have to get right down front for a change!

Below is a video of Arrested Development performing their hit Mr. Wendall.  Sorry for the shakey camera – hey, you try taking video on a still camera with no image stabilization and a party as rockin’ as this going on all around you!

Bluesfest Day 2: Relentless!

Ben Harper blew us all away last night, and that’s just about all there is to say about Day 2.  Oh, except that Metric FUCKING ROCKED, proving that they deserved the upgrade to the bigger stage this year, and Holy Fuck was just, well, holy fuck they were good – I loved the garage sale of instuments they work with.

I’ve never seen Ben Harper play live before, and to be honest, I never really even knew much of his stuff. I’ve known OF him for years of course, and I know some of his songs, but I just never really spent much time with his music. Well, with last night as an introduction, that’s sure to change. What a great performer – he laid it all out for us, and the crowd loved him and he was so appreciative and obviously loving every minute up there. Highlight of my night was the cover of Queen’s Under Pressure, one of my favourite songs.

Emily Haines of Metric was in a super-chatty-good mood last night and was interacting a lot with the crowd. I only caught a bit of their show last year, but I think they benefited from the bigger stage and the bigger crowd due to the exposure from the recent release of their album, Fantasies. If nothing else (and there’s lots to love about the “church of” Metric live show), Emily is a lot of fun to watch, frolicking around the stage in an aerobic display of stage antics that takes the wind out of you just watching.

Missed a few things I’d hoped to see – I got down to the site a bit later than expected, so I didn’t get a chance to catch my friend Marie-Josee Houle, and there was just too much overlap of good shows to catch my other good friend Ana Miura, or Iron & Wine.  I also didn’t make it down to see RJD2 as I’d hoped – was just too tired and couldn’t find a companion to join me for the show and wasn’t feeling like drinking alone.

Tonight will be spent running back-and-forth between venues: The Stills at LeBreton, then The Proclaimers and Arrested Development at York Street, then back to LeBreton for DeVotchKa, Jackson Browne, and maybe a bit of Steve Earle and King Sunny Ade. Then if all goes well, back down to Mavericks for Peter Murphy. Phew!

Included below is a video of Ben Harper and Relentless7 playing an amazing cover of Queen’s Under Pressure – I know, the video is piss-poor quality and really shakey and has terrible sound, but well, that’s what you get.

My Infinite Summer: Week 2 and a bit

I was so proud of myself – for TWO WEEKS, I was right on schedule with my reading!  I was able to follow along on the Infinte Summer website, peruse the forums, I was doing JUST FINE.  Until this week.  I’m now 25 pages behind, and falling back quickly.  I know we’re only into the second day of Bluesfest, but I blame Bluesfest.  This 25 page gap wouldn’t be so bad if I could spend some time on the weekend catching up, but that’s SO not going to happen.  What’s going to happen is Bluesfest (BOOZEFEST), and that’s about it.  My life is music for the next 11 days.

I am, of course, carrying the book with me everywhere, so any chance I get I’ll read what I can.  But I’m a slow reader at the best of times, and a page or two at lunch, and a page or two on the way to Bluesfest and on the way home, and at best a couple of pages before passing out of exhaustion each night, is just not going to cut it.

I only hope that I’ll be able to get caught back up at the end of it!  Even if I don’t, I’m not going to give up – I will finish this book this time through, on schedule or no.  It’s just so much more fun to be able to follow along with everyone…

By the way, I am really enjoying the book.  As befuddling as it can be sometimes, it’s always entertaining.

Bluesfest Day 1: Aftermath

What a great kickoff to an amazing festival!  Had a blast last night.  Started out with Amanda Rheaume, a festival favourite, who kicked it off in style on the Rogers Stage, just as the sky cleared after a very short torential rain pour that threatened to dampen Day 1 (and caused some pretty nasty little mud pits to form – here’s hoping a couple of dry days will fix those up!)

Part way through her set, I did my usual first-day wander around the festival grounds to get a feel for things and orient myself to the slight variations in layout from last year – not much different, some porta-potties in different locations, a few different tents, a bit more food and some slight variations on the positioning of the Gold Circle areas and such.

Next up was Amos the Transparent, Ottawa natives who were happy to be home playing to a crowd that was happy to have them back.  I really enjoyed their set, though it highlighted an aspect of the annual Lawn Chair debate that is one of my biggest peeves about the whole situation:  the fact that a huge section right in front of the stage is filled up and blocked off by people who are not even fans of these guys, these people have just setup early to reserve their spots for Jeff Beck, causing a great big dead space right in front of the stage with no dancing or movement at all, with the band’s actual fans pushed back or to the side.  DAMN YOU LAWN CHAIRS!

Back over at the Rogers Stage, The Black Keys played big rockin’ crunchy guitar tunes to a lawn chair-less crowd that was happy to be shoulder-to-shoulder and bouncing around to their great big sound.  Definitely the highlight of the night for me, this two-piece (Drums and Guitar/Vocals) from Akron Ohio rock hard to pump out sound that would be impressive from a five-piece band.

Jeff Beck is definitely a guitar god, and there was some impressive wailing going on at the main stage last night, but to me this stuff is headphone music – endless guitar solos just don’t cut it for me.  So I took a tour over to the Black Sheep Stage and caught Sergent Garcia from Paris, who had the crowd literally jumping from front to back with their Cuban dance party vibe, a great end to the first night.

No pictures or videos from last night, since I realized right before I was leaving the house that the battery in my camera was dead.  I’ll try to do better the rest of the week, I promise.

Tonight, I’ve got a big old list of bands to see and a big old dilemma over whether or not to catch George Clinton down at York Street, whose show will overlap both Metric and Iron & Wine at the main festival grounds.  Think I’ll have to make a game-time decision once I get down there and see how I feel.

Bluesfest 2009: Day 1

Gonna be scrambling to see everything again this year (did you see my possibly impossible list?), and getting right to it on the first day!  Here’s the rundown of day 1 for me:

6:00pm – Amanda Rheaume
7:00pm – Amos the Transparent
8:00pm – The Black Keys
9:30pm – Jeff Beck

So I’ll just be running back and forth between the two main stages, which isn’t too bad…  There’s some other stuff I’d like to see at the smaller stages, like Monkey Junk, Eric Lindell, Tympanic… but there’s only so much I can do!  I know, I know, there’s some actual BLUES being played at the other stages that I really should see…  Actually, I’ve seen Amanda Rheaume before, so maybe I’ll take a run over to  the Subway “you’ll always be the River Stage to me” Stage for a bit.  We’ll see.  Hopefully the weather holds off for what promises to be an excellent kickoff to Bluesfest 2009 – see you at Lebreton!

Bluesfest: The Scourge of Lawnchairs

On this first day of Bluesfest 2009, which also happens to be the kickoff to the annual Bluesfest Lawn Chair debate, let’s get things started with Peter Simpson of The Big Beat’s take on the issue:

The Official Big Beat Position is that lawn chairs should be banned from Bluesfest. They are a menace. They’re boring for the performers, they take up too much room and too many lawn chair sitters have an inexplicable belief that they’re entitled to a clear view of the stage.

The festival is getting bigger all the time, and surely it’s now big enough that a lawn-chair ban could be sustained. If a few hundred people choose not to come because they can’t stand or sit on the ground, so be it. And perhaps there are ways to accommodate the small number of [People in Lawn Chairs] who are genuinely, medically unable to stand for long periods. There are tens of thousands of more people who are legion enough to make the festival a success without the sitting few.

Click through for the rest, including some anecdotes of incidents involving lawn chairs and the people in them. I’m with Peter on this on – lawn chairs have no business at a festival of this size. No other festival allows them. They’re a hassle, they take up too much space, and they’re potentially dangerous. And worst of all is the attitude that the people in the chairs bring with them. Hey man, lighten up – it’s a concert – get up and dance and leave the lawn chairs at home!