In most years, Bluesfest would start at 1:00 on the weekends, but they’ve pushed the times back to 3:00. As such, festival goers can sleep in a bit, enjoy a nice brunch, and come fully charged for eight hours of solid music. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone today. Our RBC Bluesfest July 11th Gig Picks, though, stray away from Iggy Azalea. You’ll find me likely hanging out at one stage today.
Ottawa acts are also listed below. To find a bit more about the artists, check out the Ottawa Soundmakers series.
Alvvays – 8:30 PM, Canadian Stage
When one of the bands that had one of our favourite albums of 2015 saunters into town, they’re obviously going to make this list. In the midst of a cross-continental tour, the Canadian indie darlings are still benefiting from their breakthrough hit even though it was released nearly a year ago. While the members of Alvvays are in their early and mid-twenties, their music resonates with the indie-pop of the ’90s, but it’s a soundtrack for a new generation.
Shakey Graves – 7:00 PM, Canadian Stage
One of the most affable and personable artists on the scene is Alejandro Rose-Garcia – a.k.a. Shakey Graves. On stage, he is engaging and self-deprecating, but his musicianship is top-notch, often performing as a one-man band or with the assistance of his friend and drummer Chris Boosahda. His album, And The War Came, saw Rose-Garcia refine his sound and his songwriting while also testing new bounds. This entire package – songwriter, musician, entertainer, human being – is why Rose-Garcia is making his third visit to the Bluesfest in the past four years.
The Growlers – 5:45 PM, Canadian Stage
It seems like California rockers The Growlers have been around for ages. The truth is, they’ve only been around for 9 years. Their mix of indie rock, surf-rock, and garage rock plus their often amusing but honest songs resulted in a legion of fans. Their late-afternoon, early evening time slot is perfect, as their shimmering sound will have people swaying as they play songs from their latest album, Chinese Fountain.
There is also some great local talent on display today. Leading things off is The Reverb Syndicate (3:15 PM, Canadian Stage), who always put on a fun and entertaining show. Creating music that can best be described as the soundtrack for a possible ’60s spy movie with a surf-rock twist, the quartet will be playing songs off their fantastic new album, Odyssey. Get ready to boogie and be prepared to have arguably the best time at the festival.
But if surf, spy rock isn’t your cup of tea, Eddie Quotez (3:00 PM, Bell Stage) might appeal to you. An emerging rapper, hip-hop artist, and producer from the area, Quotez will get the bodies moving with his pulsating electronic music and smooth poetry. And if hip hop, rap, and lyrical poetry is your thing, G. Grand (4:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage) is worth checking out with his West Coast-style wordplay. A talented and gifted artist, G. Grand, who is originally from London, Ontario but now calls Ottawa home, has the opportunity to be the next great Canadian rapper.
Or maybe you’re looking for some classic blues and blues rock. Then the aptly named Blues & Company (3:30 PM, Monster Energy Stage) are your ticket. Long playing shows in Carleton Place and area, Blues & Company will be making their Bluesfest debut. Just expect some good old-fashion blues rock. Another blues alternative is Al Wood and The Woodsmen (4:00 PM, Monster Energy Stage). Their harmonica-driven blues mixes with roots and a touch of soul to create that Chicago blues feel.
One of the more interesting bands from the area is Ponygirl (7:30 PM, Barney Danson Theatre). Their lush psychedelic-folk is stunning and quietly euphoric. Within the confines of the Barney Danson Theatre, be prepared to be swept away and transported to a whole new realm.
There will also be more local talent on display in the She’s the One contest. It begins at 3:45 in the Barney Danson Theatre. Check the chalkboard to see who will be performing.
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