The final day of RBC Bluesfest has arrived. As is tradition, get there early to watch the Youth Ottawa Showcase, Blues in the School, Be in the Band, and the Bluesfest Choir perform on The Black Sheep Stage from 1:00 to 6:15. Bluesfest has also added a Rock U Showcase for new rock bands from the area to test their material. You never know, some of these artists may one day headline the City Stage (or whatever it may be called in the future).
And tonight’s co-headliners offer something similar, but more from an “old vs. new” perspective. You cannot go wrong with Canadian favourite City and Colour or roots-rock legend James McMurtry. But besides these artists, here are some other acts to see today.
Bryan Ferry – Claridge Homes Stage, 8:30 PM
Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry is here! The venerable artist has long been underrated for his influence on the rock and pop scenes, although as Ferry has gotten older he has become more of a crooner. Long-time fans of the band and the musician will be on cloud nine while people being introduced to Ferry for the first time will be impressed by the 70-year old’s vigour.
Max Gomez – Barney Danson Theatre, 9:30 PM
If you are searching for the next great singer-songwriter, Max Gomez should be your choice. The alt-country / rock artist comes from the Tom Petty and Jason Isbell mould, crafting vivid stories that are personal and applied with a social conscience. And no, Max Gomez is not a pseudonym for Jimmy Fallon, although Gomez bears a striking resemblance to The Tonight Show host.
The Zolas – City Stage, 7:00 PM
Seeing how The Zolas visit the city every 6 to 8 months and have established a big, loyal following, they should just move here. Over the years, they have fine-tuned their radio-friendly pop-rock, as heard on their new album Swooner. These gents from Vancouver always put on a great live show, and maybe on this occasion co-frontman Jonathan Gray may do some crowd surfing. If you want to meet up with the band, tell them you will take them to Union613 and say Ben sent you. Oh, check out an interview with the band from two years ago. Much likely has not changed.
Bonnie Doon – Claridge Homes Stage, 1:00 PM
Post-punk band Bonnie Doon is an interesting choice to commence festivities on this day. One thing is for sure, they will get the festival’s final day off to a blazing start. So if the sun doesn’t melt your face on this hot day, Bonnie Doon surely will.
The PepTides – City Stage, 3:00 PM
One of the funnest bands around, The PepTides probably should have a later time slot. But whether it is early or late, the soul-funk-pop-rock collective will put on an entertaining show with their colourful performances and costumes. Make sure you stretch before seeing them because you surely will be moving in ways you didn’t think you could.
The Slow Century – Monster Energy Stage, 3:00 PM
The Slow Century could be every person’s superhero – journalists by day, rock stars at night. Their melodic rock approach is a cross between The Weakerthans and Wintersleep, so they will have the people grooving to their warm melodies. It is music where you just want to grab an iced tea, sit back, and wallow away a beautiful summer day.
Wotts – Barney Danson Theatre, 3:30 PM
Ottawa’s hip-hop scene is flourishing, and among the groups helping to lead the way are Wotts. They are not your prototypical hip-hop collective; their approach is eclectic and to a degree experimental. The band infuses classic R&B and soul, Motown, and rock. Calling this collective creative would be an understatement.
Amos The Transparent – City Stage, 5:00 PM
One of the city’s most beloved band is Amos The Transparent, who continue to draw big crowds in and around the city. Their last album saw the sextet move towards more of a folk-pop / folk-rock sound, but with some changes to the band could they return to their indie-rock roots? Hopefully they will offer a hint this evening of what is to come.
The Powergoats – Monster Energy Stage, 5:00 PM
If you are craving one last dose of blues-rock, then check out The Powergoats. While the quartet (sometimes a septet) does not quite have the same buzz behind them like some of the aforementioned artists, their early evening time slot should result in them winning over more fans. Their live shows are reportedly terrific, so don’t be surprised if you, like the band, will be drenched in sweat once their hour has concluded.
Merganzer – Barney Danson Theatre, 5:00 PM
You probably know Mika Posen’s name, as she is the violinist for Timber Timbre and has performed with Agnes Obel. What you might not know is that Posen has a solo project that goes by the name Merganzer. Similar to the bands she supports, her pop approach is experimental yet dazzling. Think Julia Holter with a violin, and that is what you get with Posen’s Merganzer.
leMeow – Claridge Homes Stage, 6:00 PM
“Soul-infused indie pop smothered in sass”, that is how Gin Bourgeois and James Rooke describe their project, leMeow. People will be familiar with the band, as they were a regional finalist in the CBC Music’s Searchlight competition. It is not difficult to understand why people are excited about leMeow’s future – a cinematic sound that is etched in the music of the ’60s and ’70s. Then there is Bourgeois’s voice, which is stunning and unforgettable. By the end of their performance on Sunday evening, these two adjectives might also be uttered by Bluesfest patrons.
Barry and The Blasters – Monster Energy Stage, 6:30 PM
Barry and The Blasters are veterans of the Ottawa music scene, blasting their blues, blues rock, and classic R&B sounds across the city for a decade. Not surprisingly, they are considered on of the city’s best live bands, and now we will get a chance to witness for ourselves whether this proclamation is indeed true.
Monday I Retire – Barney Danson Theatre, 6:30 PM
One of the great things about Bluesfest is that they love bands who are bringing a fresh and new approach to traditional genres like jazz, blues, soul, and pop. Monday I Retire is one such group, who actually combine all four genres. Their music is smooth, sultry, and at times blissful. If you’ll be at the festival with your half, considering cooling off in the Theatre and fall in love all over again.
Scary Bear Soundtrack – Barney Danson Theatre, 8:00 PM
The award for best band name goes to… Scary Bear Soundtrack! The quartet’s music, however, is anything but scary – it is dreamy, lush indie pop. The band’s sound is akin to Portland indie band Blouse, and there are also some similarities to Alvvays and early The Raveonettes. Sounds like the formula for future success?
All-Star Blues Revue Hosted By MonkeyJunk with Special Guests
The final Blues Revue curated and hosted by MonkeyJunk should be another memorable event. Joining the Juno Award-winning band are Paul Reddick, Lance Anderson, The Texas Horns, and possibly some surprise guests. You’ll have to attend to find out.
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