This day sucks not because it’s suppose to rain but rather there are so many conflicts today. These conflicts are what I love and dislike about Bluesfest. And no, I’m not talking about Lynyrd Skynyrd (9:30, Bell Stage) and The John Butler Trio (9:30, Monster Energy Stage) performing closing sets (although those two do present a conflict). The 7:00 slot, in particular, has some tough acts to decide on, and it was difficult leaving Mama Kin (7:00 PM, Monster Energy Stage) off this list because the Australian singer’s folk-pop is imaginative and engrossing. Danielle Caruana, the woman behind Mama Kin, also is a vivid and fabulous storyteller. Omitting her from this list was made easier because of an interview Danielle recently did with me in advance of the band’s performance. You can find the chit chat with Danielle Caruana here.

Other acts worth seeing today are the multi-genre sounds of Antibalas (8:00, Monster Energy Stage) and the physical garage-rock of Atlanta’s The Black Lips (8:15, Canadian Stage). In addition, singer-songwriter Hamish Anderson (8:30, Barney Danson Theatre) makes his debut at Bluesfest. The twenty-three year old, Melbourne, Australia native’s combination of blues, roots, folk, and blues-rock is imaginative, brilliant, and mind-blowing. Hear his entire self-titled EP on SoundCloud. (Thanks to fellow blogger “Anna” from Portland for the tip & check out her awesome blog). This is arguably the best day of the music!

Anyway, here are the RBC Bluesfest July 14th Gig Picks. The Ottawa performers are as always below, and you can check out the Ottawa Soundmakers series for more info.

Future IslandsFuture Islands – 7:00 PM, Bell Stage

Many people became fans of Baltimore’s Future Islands after their performance on Late Night with David Letterman went viral thanks to the dance moves of frontman Samuel T. Herring. At The Revue, most of us were fans from their early beginnings, but their 2014 album, Singles, only further cemented our fandom for the trio. The album was one of our favourites for 2014 due to their soaring indie pop-rock and their clever lyricism. The trio is often pushing the envelopes, creating music that is dynamic and sometimes even challenging but always brilliant.


METZMETZ – 7:00 PM, Canadian Stage

Arguably one of the most scintillating and awesome post-punk-rock bands around, METZ will be bringing their newest album, II, which they released in the spring via Sub Pop. The album maintains the blistering and intense sound of the Toronto trio. Be prepared to come out of the show drenched in sweat and, if you’re right in the thick of the crowd, with a few bruises as well. METZ are one of Canada’s best musical exports in recent memory.


OperatorsOperators – 6:00 PM, Claridge Homes Stage

If METZ is one of the Canada’s best bands, Dan Boeckner is a Canadian icon and genius. Through his ventures with Wolf Parade, Spoon’s Brit Daniel via the project Divine Fits, and The Handsome Furs, Boeckner has helped redefine Canadian indie rock, inspiring the likes of Arcade Fire and Metric. His latest project is Operators, where he joins with Devojka and Sam Brown. Their synth-pop-rock follows on Boeckner’s previous bands, but Operators’ sound is more lush and cinematic. However, if an Operators’ show is anything like Boeckner’s previous outfits, the gig promises to be entertaining and full of energy.

Ottawa Musicians

There are a quartet of local artists on the Bluesfest bill. The Lucas Haneman Express (6:00 PM, Monster Energy Stage) are a funk-soul band whose music will induce involuntary body swaying. They are one of the few funk-oriented bands, so you might want to catch them. Also creating catchy music, but in a surf-pop-rock style, are New Swears (6:00 PM, Canadian Stage). It’s probably going to feel like a beach party when these guys get on stage, as their sound is cross between The Beach Boys, Real Estate, and Mac DeMarco. Should be a blast!

Speaking of blasts, The Haig’s (6:00 PM, Barney Danson Theatre) music is heavy, edgy alt-rock. It borders as well on prog-rock, although not quite Rush territory. Their sound most resembles London-Paris rock-noir band Savages. But if you’re looking for something a bit more light-hearted and that leans towards folk-pop, then Gold and Marrow (7:15, Barney Danson Theatre) are your answer. If you didn’t already know, Gold and Marrow is the new project of Ottawa favourite Shannon Rose, who has joined with her husband and music collaborator Steven James to create a new sound.

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