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Bluesfest Days 6,7,8: KISS Army, baby!

Well the past couple of days have been a blast – even though 6 and 7 lacked any mind-blowing performances, KISS more than made up for that last night.

Day 6 was a strange day at Bluesfest – only one stage open, only three bands playing.  I only made it down for the second half of Gym Class Heroes, and I was wishing I’d caught more – those guys were a blast.  A little bit of rain didn’t dampen anyones spirits as the place started to fill up for Stone Temple Pilots.  Now I must admit that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this show – I was a fan back in the 90’s, but that seems so long ago now, and I just didn’t have a lot of interest.  They put on a great show, and I’m interested to see what they turn out in their new album that will be coming out later this year.

Day 7 there wasn’t anything I was particularly excited about either- Our Lady Peace just doesn’t do it for me.  We caught Ice Cube, which was a pretty big disappointment – first off, the volume was way too low – we weren’t even far back, we were at the sound booth – but bylaw was out in full force with their little decibel meters and the show suffered for it.  I also guess I’m just not a big gangsta fan, so what are ya gonna do.

Other than Ice Cube, my brother and I just kinda wandered around the rest of the night – I kinda like nights like that, where you don’t have anything particularly invested in any one show, so you’re free to roam and check out whatever you want and hopefully discover some new stuff in the process. Our travels took us to Xavier Rudd, a Bluesfest favourite who I’d seen in a smaller more intimate venue to which the Bluesfest experience couldn’t compare.  Then to The Zombies for a few minutes, Toots & The Maytals at the Hard Rock stage, then over to the Spam Allstars at the Blacksheep stage.  All great performances, but there was one mad-dancing-fool at Spam Allstars that had us entertained for a good 40 minutes.

And then there was Day 8.  It started off well enough with a showing by the Arkells who got us off to a great rockin’ start.  Then Beast on the Bank of America stage, who I didn’t really know anything about, but I actually bought their CD later on – wow, I haven’t bought a CD in a LONG time!  Then for a little fun over to Silent Disco, which is a lot of fun to watch with headphones off, and I can’t help but think would be a lot more fun with headphones on if it was a better DJ.

And then there was KISS.  30,000 fans jammed onto the main field and the KISS army out in full force, these rockers turned out a 2 hour plus rock show of epic proportions!  There was fire, there were explosions, there was blood, there were wailing guitar solos and monster drum solos and Paul Stanley flew over the audience and Gene Simmons stalked the stage and flicked his tongue and if there was a roof to be blown off, they surely would have done it.  And for one night, Ottawa was ROCK CITY.

I’ll save my whining about how the volume wasn’t quite where I’d have liked it, at least at the beginning of the show, and about how difficult it is to get a good spot when 30,000 show up to that venue for another time.  For now, I’m just basking in the afterglow that always follows a really great rock show.

I’ll post some video later – didn’t get much.  Too busy rocking out.

Up tonight:  Styx – or more specifically, Gowan their new lead singer.  Gowan was the first concert I ever went to, and while I know this will really be a Styx show, I noticed on their setlists that they’ve been playing one or two Gowan songs on this tour.  Memory lane, here I come baby!

Bluesfest Day 8: TURN IT UP!

I haven’t written anything the past few days because I’ve been low on time, and low on enthusiasm – not much has really blown me away – I will write days 6 and 7 up later, but for now let me talk about tonight.  Tonight is a big night.  I have a lot of stuff to see, including the one that I think half the city is going to show up for tonight, KISS.  Apparently the lineups have already started at the gates – excitement is high – it’s going to be a wild show tonight!

But here’s the thing, you Ottawa complainers:  you’ve already ruined half the shows with your incessant whining about the volume.  When Joe Cocker played the other night and I was standing just across the field from the stage, I didn’t know he had started until well into his first song because the volume was WAY TOO LOW!  Ice Cube’s beats yesterday lacked any kind of punch, I assume thanks to the bylaw officer standing in front of me taking his readings.  Sound bleed from other stages is worse than ever because of the decreased volume.

Dear Ottawa, can we lighten up just a bit?  I know, we’re all sleepy public servants and all this fun is really starting to cramp our style, but can’t we all just learn to have fun for just one day? (or dare I ask for just one week?)  Let’s put away the lawn chairs and decibel meters and get bylaw off the speed dial and just revel in the fact that the legendary KISS is here and it’s going to be the most beautiful night of the festival, and tonight let’s just ROCK ‘N FUCKIN’ ROLL!