Yesterday’s lineup featured a heavy dose of local bands. Today, the organizers have arranged a lineup filled with more artists from outside the region, many of whom are making their debut at Bluesfest and are among indie music’s rising stars. Needless to say, they are must-see acts today.
San Fermin – Barney Danson Theatre, 9:30 PM
The eclectic collective San Fermin arrive in Ottawa on the heels of last year’s stellar album, Jackrabbit, which was one of our 50 Favourite Albums of 2015. Their varied sound and multi-instrumental approach make San Fermin New York City’s answer to Arcade Fire, but done with more on orchestral and alternative-pop flair. It is a bit unusual to have the eight-piece San Fermin squeezed into the small Barney Danson Theatre. At the same time, the intimate and tight enclosure should make for a memorable performance.
Wild Child – Monster Energy Stage, 7:30 PM
For the better part of the past year, Austin, Texas band Wild Child has been cutting a swath across the continent with their rip-roaring, boisterous indie-folk and Americana mix. Their third album, Fools, catapulted the band into the indie music spotlight. From euphoric folk-pop anthems to intimate and thoughtful Americana, Wild Child provided a refreshing take on a genre rife with copycats. It is no wonder why tens of thousands of people have become fans of the band in the past year.
JD McPherson – City Stage, 7:00 PM
Stateside, JD McPherson‘s reputation has reached legendary status. He is one part a classic blues rocker, who is telling gritty and dark stories. On the other hand, he’s the modern-day equivalent of Dan Auerbach, offering a forward-looking approach that takes the genres from the moody to the anthemic. The combination results in music that is emotionally and physically moving, making McPherson and friends’ gig a must-see on this day. Fans of Langhorne Slim surely will not want to miss this set.
Steve Hill – Black Sheep Stage, 6:30 PM
Now this should be awesome. Steve Hill is a one-man band from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, but first and foremost he is an old-fashion rocker. Hill has traveled across the globe, and it is not a surprise that his fanbase has swelled over the years where he is now a much sought-after performer. If you are interested in seeing Hill, be prepared to stay for the entire set. Seriously, you won’t want to leave.
Belly – City Stage, 5:15 PM
Arguably Ottawa’s biggest musical export right now is rapper/hip hop artist Belly, who has collaborated with The Weeknd, Drake, and many others. That says an awful lot about Belly’s talent (although he is far from being an Oscar-winning actor). A maestro of the wordplay and with the microphone, it will not be long before people around the world will be imitating his style and chanting his name. On this late Sunday afternoon, the thousands of youth who will descend upon Bluesfest will surely be expressing their love for the local star.
Jordan McIntosh – City Stage, 3:00 PM
Country music fans looking for the genre’s next heartthrob do not need to look further than Carleton Place’s Jordan McIntosh. For that matter, with a handful of singles released on country radio, most of which deal with love, the 20-year old musician has already melted many hearts across the country. Don’t be surprised to see a swell of young women and girls at the festival early this afternoon.
Adult Children – Barney Danson Theatre, 3:30 PM
Banjo. Check. Fiddle. Check. Dark folk music. Check. The air-conditioning of the Barney Danson Theatre. Check. Count me in as one who will be catching Montreal-Ottawa duo Adult Children. While Maxim Cossette and John Aaron Cockburn’s music can reach the rip-roaring, fiddle-focused music of the East Coast, they are at best when they enchant us with a haunting approach. Their EP, Elements, is worth a listen, as the duo take us on visceral ride through “Sun”, “Earth”, “Wind”, “Moon”, and “Fire”.
The Jimmy Tri-Tone Band – Black Sheep Stage, 3:30 PM
The Jimmy Tri-Tone Band have been building a solid fanbase in and around the National Capital Region as well as a reputation as one of the area’s leading folk-rock bands. Their sound is classic and their music is timeless. Do not just go for the music but to also observe the talents of James Walters and Randelle Ashley. Both play multiple instruments with great skill, so if you’re an aspiring musician you might learn a trick or two.
Thrust – Barney Danson Theatre, 5:00 PM
Thrust are referred to as a “power trio”, although not necessarily in the classic sense. The multi-instrumental band comprise of Jamie Holmes (drums), Ed Lister (synth/trumpet), and Clayton Connell (keys/synth) and they play a fusion of jazz, blues, funk, and soul. Think of them as Ottawa’s more symphonic and laid-back answer to Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD. Now if they just could team up with a rapper and they might just explode.
STEAMERS – Claridge Homes Stage, 6:00 PM
Every city has a power folk-rock band, and Ottawa’s version is STEAMERS. Akin to The Head and The Heart, the sextet will have the audience on the main field dancing, clapping, and even occasionally fist pumping. Also do not be surprised to see the thousands of people lining up for food and a drink come swarming to the stage to enjoy the band’s ear-pleasing music.
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